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Morning Coffee: Wall Street bank execs’ $100m stock options bonanza. Millennium bond chief blindsides billionaire boss

The Trump Bump has been kind to the CEOs of some of the biggest Wall Street banks. Executives at some of the biggest Wall Street banks have sold nearly $100m worth of stock since the presidential election, more than in that same period in any year over the past decade.

The timing of the share sales makes sense, since they happened at the peak of the “Trump bump” as financial stocks shot up on expectations of Trump loosening regulation, lowering taxes and spurring economic growth. The KBW Nasdaq Bank index has risen almost 20% since Trump’s win, three times the gains of the broader market.

What is more, bank executives have sold an additional $350m worth of stock to cover the cost of exercising options, per the WSJ, twice the amount sold for that purpose at big banks in the entire year leading up to the election.

The timing couldn’t have been better for some Goldman Sachs executives, as the post-election increase in share prices gave value to some options that were on the verge of becoming worthless. Just in the nick of time, the post-election equities surge turned half a billion dollars’ worth of stock options into winners just days before some were going to expire. For example, six current Goldman Sachs executives and board member and ex-CFO David Viniar exercised options for about $200m worth of shares. All told, since the election, Goldman executives became eligible to buy at least $500m worth of stock at below-market prices after a 33% rise in the share price, the WSJ reported.

Separately, the top lieutenant and presumed successor of Israel “Izzy” Englander, the billionaire founder of Millennium Management, abruptly resigned earlier this month. Departing No. 2 Michael Gelband wants to pay the cost to be the boss, and rumor has it that he may co-found a hedge fund with Hyung Soon Lee, Millennium’s former equity chief who was cut loose in October during a restructuring.

Englander may have been caught off guard by Gelband’s resignation, but he should have seen it coming after refusing the fixed income chief’s request for an ownership stake in the successful hedge fund, according to Bloomberg.

Englander is now alone again at the top of his $34.4bn asset management juggernaut without a succession plan, making some employees and investors nervous.

Gelband bragged in an email to Millennium staff that he turned around the previously money-losing fixed-income group to generate $7bn in trading revenue. He claimed to have had just three losing months during his eight years on the job, not including costs such as transaction charges and compensation, Bloomberg reported.


Oil and gas company Saudi Aramco has invited investment banks such as Morgan Stanley and HSBC to make their pitch for an advisory position on what will likely be the largest initial public offering ever. (Reuters)

Former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov was again found guilty of theft for taking the bank’s high-frequency trading code to his next job. (Bloomberg)

Despite Bill Gross’s best efforts, Janus Capital Group’s fourth-quarter profit fell 34% as performance disappointed, leading to investor outflows of $1.6bn in advance of the fund company’s merger with Henderson Group. (Bloomberg)

Legendary Vanguard founder Jack Bogle has issued a warning to asset management professionals. (Business Insider)

Why you should want to work for a family office (Forbes)

A team is leaving fixed income hedge fund Structured Portfolio Managers to start Nara Capital Partners, which will invest in both commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities. (Reuters)

Here are all of the things keeping hedge fund billionaire George Soros up at night. (Business Insider)

Thousands of workers come to the U.S. every year via the H-1B program, but Trump is likely to put a stop to all of that by changing the visa rules. (WSJ)

With the Trump administration planning to clamp down on hiring foreign IT workers, U.S. companies are facing fierce competition for cybersecurity professionals, driving up pay. (WSJ)

Immigrants entering the U.S. after 2010 look a lot different than their predecessors – they are more likely to be highly educated Asians, and a higher percentage are software developers, applications and IT systems specialists, economists and market researchers. (Bloomberg)

Deloitte is building a blockchain laboratory in Dublin. (Business Insider)

White male banking attitude is unacceptable (Bloomberg)

Do most financial services firms foster an anti-parent workplace? (New York Times)

Photo credit: The Walt Disney Co.

AUTHORDan Butcher US Editor

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