• Jamie Dimon Op Ed: No more ‘too big to fail’
  • Barofsky Says TARP ‘Almost Certainly’ Will Bring Loss to U.S.
  • Pay czar backtracks
  • Robin Hood Says ‘Hell Yeah’ to Recovery Led by Goldman Bonuses
  • Corzine to Aid Christie Transition, Has No Post-Governor Plans
  • Citadel’s Moment for Redemption
  • Eliot Spitzer Avoids Talk of Hookers in Harvard Ethics Speech
  • Buffett Says U.S. Should Put Pressure on CEOs of Rescued Firms
  • Two potential buyers closing in on Playboy

Jamie Dimon Op Ed: No more ‘too big to fail’ – Washington Post

Our company, J.P. Morgan Chase, employs more than 220,000 people, serves well over 100 million customers, lends hundreds of millions of dollars each day and has operations in nearly 100 countries. And if some unforeseen circumstance should put this firm at risk of collapse, I believe we should be allowed to fail. As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently put it, “No financial system can operate efficiently if financial institutions and investors assume that government will protect them from the consequences of failure.” The term “too big to fail” must be excised from our vocabulary.

But ending the era of “too big to fail” does not mean that we must somehow cap the size of financial-services firms. Scale can create value for shareholders; for consumers, who are beneficiaries of better products, delivered more quickly and at less cost; for the businesses that are our customers; and for the economy as a whole. Artificially limiting the size of an institution, regardless of the business implications, does not make sense. The goal should be a regulatory system that allows financial institutions to meet the needs of individual and institutional customers while ensuring that even the biggest bank can be allowed to fail in a way that does not put taxpayers or the broader economy at risk……

Barofsky Says TARP ‘Almost Certainly’ Will Bring Loss to U.S. – Bloomberg

Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the $700 billion U.S. financial-industry bailout, said the program will “almost certainly” result in a loss to taxpayers.

“We need to temper or be realistic about our expectations, a dollar-for-dollar return is just highly unrealistic,” he said yesterday at the Bloomberg Washington Summit. “It’s almost certainly going to be a loss.”….

“Tens of billions of dollars are likely to be lost on the automotive bailout,” Barofsky said. In addition, some banks that received TARP money are failing, so the aid they received will be wiped out…..

Pay czar backtracks - NY Post

The government’s special master for executive compensation said yesterday that he is “very concerned” that plans to rein in Wall Street bonuses may, in fact, be backfiring.

Companies including American International Group and Citigroup, which are under government control, have complained that pay restrictions will cause them to lose talented bankers and dealmakers to rivals.

“I’m very cognizant of the concerns expressed by these companies,” said Feinberg at an event hosted by Bloomberg LLC. “The law makes it clear that the determinations I render are designed, first and foremost, to make sure those companies thrive and that the taxpayers get their money back.”….

Robin Hood Says ‘Hell Yeah’ to Recovery Led by Goldman Bonuses – Bloomberg

David Saltzman, executive director of the Robin Hood Foundation, may be one of the few people who refuses to demonize a Wall Street recovering from record losses with earnings that may include record bonuses.

“Let me be emphatic about that one: ‘Hell yeah,’” Saltzman said during an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters. “It’s clear that New York City is better off in all sorts of ways if there’s a healthy financial community.”….

Corzine to Aid Christie Transition, Has No Post-Governor Plans – Bloomberg

…..Corzine denied speculation that he has met with Bank of America Corp. about becoming chief executive officer when he leaves office Jan. 19. He said he hasn’t made his mind up whether he will return to Wall Street. The governor, who vacationed on the Caribbean island of St. Bart’s since his defeat, said he isn’t sure what he will do after his term ends.

“I’ve been reading books,” he said during a session with reporters that lasted less than two minutes. “I haven’t given a great deal of thought to that, and when I figure it out you’ll be the first to know.”…..

Citadel’s Moment for Redemption - Wall Street Journal

The golden age of hedge-fund investing was like seeking membership in an exclusive club. Plenty of investors were happy to get in without questioning the rules. Now, the small print has left some with bills they never envisioned.

In October, the gates finally opened at Citadel Investment Group, ending a 10-month stretch when withdrawals were forbidden. But while that comes as a relief, investors aren’t exactly free to go.

Citadel allows investors to withdraw up to one-sixteenth of their balances in any quarter. But larger amounts are subject to penalties if investors collectively redeem more than 3% of a fund. There is a rising scale of penalties reaching a maximum of 9% for amounts exceeding 50% of an individual balance….

Eliot Spitzer Avoids Talk of Hookers in Harvard Ethics Speech – Bloomberg

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer delivered a speech at Harvard University’s Center for Ethics sidestepping his personal ethical breach: His relationship with a prostitute.

Only government regulators can force transparency in the financial markets, Spitzer said today during his talk entitled, “From Ayn Rand to Ken Feinberg – How quickly the Paradigm Shifts. ….

Buffett Says U.S. Should Put Pressure on CEOs of Rescued Firms – Bloomberg

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said the U.S. should demand greater sacrifices from the heads of bailed- out companies.

“More sticks are called for,” Buffett told business school students at Columbia University yesterday in a town-hall discussion broadcast by CNBC. “There should be more downside to the head of any institution that has to go to the federal government to be saved for reasons of the greater society.” He shared the stage at the event with Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates…..

Two potential buyers closing in on Playboy – LA Times

Hef may soon have a new boss.

Brand management firm Iconix Brand Group and a group led by Jim Griffiths, the company’s former entertainment president, are both in advanced talks to acquire “gentlemen’s” entertainment company Playboy Enterprises Inc. and take it private for more than $300 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Both companies have been talking to Playboy management for about a year, the person said. A Playboy spokesman declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Iconix…..

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