Cuomo Wins; Geithner, Liddy Play Defense

cityfile · 03/19/09 05:38AM

Andrew Cuomo has won the battle to force Bank of America to turn over the names of the 200 Merrill employees who earned the largest bonuses right before the firm was acquired. He says he'll release the info today. [CNN, NYT]
• As you can probably imagine, it's been "the worst week in a string of bad weeks" for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. [NYT]
• Of course, it's also been a pretty lousy few days for AIG chief Ed Liddy, who walked into this big mess when he took the top job last September. [NYT]
• A record number of hedge funds were forced to close up shop last year: About 1,471 hedge funds were liquidated in 2008. [NYP, DB]
• The Fed plans to buy $300 billion of long-term Treasuries and hundreds of billions of dollars more in mortgage-backed securities. [BN, WSJ]
• JPMorgan reports the bank's CEO, Jamie Dimon, earned about $19.7 million in total compensation for 2008. And how did you do last year? [Reuters]
• Citigroup has canceled its order to buy three new jets. [Dealbreaker]

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 03/13/09 06:47AM

Jamie Dimon (left) is the CEO of JPMorgan. Byrdie Bell (right) goes to a lot of parties. What do the two have in common? Absolutely nothing, except they're both celebrating birthdays today: Dimon is 53; Bell is turning 24. William H. Macy turns 59 today. Kathy Hilton, the woman who brought Paris Hilton into this world, is 50. Emile Hirsch is 24. Mets pitcher Johan Santana is turning 30. Political commentator Charles Krauthammer is 59. Mediabistro founder Laurel Touby is turning 46. Common is 37. Danny Masterson is 33. Dana Delany is 53. And Neil Sedaka is turning 70. Weekend birthdays after the jump!

You're Beginning to Hurt Jamie Dimon's Feelings

cityfile · 03/11/09 01:35PM

The problem with the economy isn't that financial institutions took obscene risks over the past few years in search of extraordinary returns. Or that tone-deaf banking CEOs have been undermining the system (and the terms of the bailout) by handing out bonuses and sending execs on lavish trips. The problem is that too many people are making fun of bankers! At least that's what JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon says: "When I hear the constant vilification of corporate America, I personally don't understand it... I would ask a lot of our folks in government to stop doing it because I think it's hurting our country." Are you listening, Washington? If this sort of stuff continues, Dimon might be forced to resort to The Claw! [BN via NYM]

Showdown in DC: Who Made How Much

cityfile · 02/11/09 03:59PM

The CEOs of eight big banks appeared on Capitol Hill today to take a beating before the House Financial Services Committee. Not surprisingly, members of the committee spent much of the day squeezing in bits designed to earn points with constituents, an amusing reminder that the only thing worse than Wall Street chief executives taking taxpayer dollars to lavish them on employees are semi-literate Washington bureaucrats in cheap ties looking to score airtime on KWCH in Wichita.

Pay Caps, Canceled Trips, Defections

cityfile · 02/04/09 06:58AM

• More details about President Obama's plans to limit Wall Street pay are emerging. So is plenty of criticism. "I don't think the president should paint everyone with the same brush," says JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon. [BN, WSJ, BN]
• Wells Fargo has scrapped plans to host a employee conference in Las Vegas after the bank was pummeled with criticism. [WSJ]
• A dozen top bankers from Merrill-BofA have defected to Deutsche Bank. [TD]
• Lazard's fourth-quarter profits dropped by 50 percent. [DB]
Daniel Och is doubling down on his hedge fund, Och-Ziff. [WSJ]
• Both Citigroup and the Mets say they're standing by their stadium plan. [NYP]
• Bloomberg LP is laying off staff. [Clusterstock]
• The House will hear testimony about Bernie Madoff today from Harry Markopolos, the investigator who tried to blow the whistle on him. [NYT]

Jamie Dimon Comes Undone

cityfile · 01/29/09 12:08PM

Jamie Dimon is falling apart! Okay, not really, but the Wall Street Journal's Heidi Moore was rightfully concerned by the sight of the JPMorgan CEO when he sat down with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo in Davos today. Dimon turned up "unshaven, with mussed hair and clad in a spare black pullover sweater," and sported a "slightly sleepy, groggy demeanor that indicated he may have just rolled out of bed." Keep in mind, though, that this is Maria Bartiromo he was talking to. Given her illustrious past, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that the two were still recovering from a late night out. [WSJ, CNBC]

Gloomy Days in Davos

cityfile · 01/26/09 09:54AM

The World Economic Forum kicks off tomorrow in Davos, Switzerland, but it won't be nearly as exciting as in years past: The financial crisis has led many CEOs and politicians to abandon plans to attend the conference of heavy-hitters. Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein won't be there, although he's reportedly sending "his deputy." Former Lehman CEO Dick Fuld won't be there, of course. Nor will John Thain, who, rather ironically, was scheduled to participate on a panel entitled "The Bank of the Future." And while Citigroup is still sending five executives, the bank's chief, Vikram Pandit, isn't one of them. (Citi isn't sending a "support staff" this year either, which means the execs who do make the trip may be forced to carry their own briefcases and fill up their own glasses of water.) Worst of all? There won't be too many celebs on hand to divert attention away from the depressing, gloomy discussions of economic doom.

Wall Street's New Pissing Contest

cityfile · 01/21/09 02:54PM

With banking stocks caught in a downward spiral, there's a wonderful way for bank CEOs to both demonstrate confidence in the institutions they lead and one-up their rivals: Just buy a lot of stock in your own company! Following the news earlier today that Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis plunked down $1.2 million for 200,000 shares of BoA, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon has now officially upstaged him by purchasing 500,000 shares in his bank for $11 million. Your turn, Vikram! [Clusterstock]

Disappointment at JPMorgan, BofA Asks for More

cityfile · 01/15/09 07:14AM

• JPMorgan Chase posted a 76% drop in profits in the fourth quarter, results that chief Jamie Dimon eloquently described as "very disappointing." [WSJ]
• Washington is close to finalizing a deal to give Bank of America billions in extra cash to help it "digest" the purchase of Merrill Lynch. [Reuters]
• What's Morgan Stanley doing with its bailout cash? It's buying an oil supertanker, which is what we'd do, too, if someone gave us $10 billion. [BN]
• An exec at Blackstone has been charged with insider trading. [CNN]
Carl Icahn is suing fellow activist investor Warren Lichtenstein. [DB]
• The Dow dropped 248 points yesterday with Citigroup taking a particular beating, shedding 23 percent. But that doesn't mean Vikram Pandit isn't doing his best to keep morale up. [NYP, WSJ]

Rescue in Washington, 'Toxic' Bonuses

cityfile · 12/19/08 06:31AM

• President Bush announced a rescue plan for General Motors and Chrysler that will provide $13.4 billion in federal loans. [CNN]
Jamie Dimon and Bob Rubin will go bonus-less this year. [Reuters]
• Not surprisingly, Credit Suisse's plan to pay out bonuses with "toxic" securities has "elicited livid reactions from senior bankers." [WSJ]
• A former Lehman employee has been charged with insider trading. [CNN]
• One person who will profit from the Madoff mess: Bruce Wasserstein. Lazard has been appointed to sell the trading operations of Madoff's company. [WSJ]
• There are two—yes, two—books already in the works about Madoff. [TBS]

Steve Schwarzman's $3 Mil. Birthday Bash: Any Regrets?

cityfile · 10/30/08 01:11PM

Steve Schwarzman's 60th birthday party last year may go down as the last, great party before the fall. Days after closing on what was then the biggest leveraged buyout in history, the $39 billion purchase of Equity Office Properties, the billionaire chairman of the Blackstone Group invited 500 people to the Armory on Park Avenue for a party that cost an estimated $3 million. A very long list of notables turned up—Donald Trump, Barbara Walters, Barry Diller, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon—as did many of the people who have now become poster boys for the global financial crisis, like former Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O'Neal, ex-Bear Stearns chief Jimmy Cayne. Rod Stewart was paid $1 million to perform for the assembled guests; Patti LaBelle sang "Happy Birthday." And the room was designed to replicate Schwarzman's $40 million co-op at 740 Park Avenue. So does Schwarzman have any regrets now the economy has crumbled and he was depicted as a real-life Gordon Gekko in the relentless press coverage that followed?

Handicapping the Obama Cabinet, NYC Edition

cityfile · 10/29/08 08:50AM

The Observer has a round-up of some of the New York-based FOB's (or Friends of Barack) who are expected to have a major voice in Washington if the Democratic nominee wins the election next week. Who, exactly? Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, and Richard Holbrooke should all have a place at the table, assuming any of them are interested. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon will almost certainly have Barack's ear, as will New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, who is believed to be a contender for Treasury Secretary. Some of the lesser-know figures who will be on speed dial: Citi exec Michael Froman; Jamie Rubin (the son of Bob); Jeh Johnson, an attorney at Paul, Weiss; Josh Steiner, a private equity pro who works with Steve Rattner; former Lazard exec Josh Gotbaum; law professor Seth Harris, financier Orin Kramer; Robert Wolf, the CEO of UBS Americas, and Preeta Bansal, a partner at Skadden, Arps. [NYO]

Dimon Takes Down Pandit

cityfile · 10/16/08 12:44PM

JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon and Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit don't like each other much: In one widely-reported encounter between the two men earlier this year, Dimon told Pandit to "stop being such a jerk" on a conference call of Wall Street CEOs. It looks like Dimon is getting the last laugh. Not only did Citi announce another huge loss today, and embarrass itself last week with its failed bid to acquire Wachovia, now Dimon's JP Morgan has officially surpassed Citi as the largest bank in the US. If it's any consolation, Vikram, you do live in a nicer apartment building.

Action Figure Seeks New Home

cityfile · 10/01/08 06:41AM

"Unemployed and foreclosed male WaMu Teller Doll seeks position in your action figure collection. Includes cell phone, CAN! outfit, teller tote bag, trading card, and a handsome plastic dude with a permanent smile." Just three days left to grab a bit of banking history! Assuming, that is, our hunch is correct and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has no plans to remain in the action figure business. [EBay]

Welcome to the World of Commercial Banking!

cityfile · 09/24/08 09:08AM

So if investment banks are taking shelter from the financial shitstorm by morphing into commercial banks, does that mean Wall Streeters will soon have to deal with getting paid like commercial bankers, too? Good question! Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein took home $70.3 million last year; JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon collected $27.8 million; and Lehman Brothers chairman Dick Fuld walked away with $35 million. Of course that's not what their counterparts in commercial banking are making. Bank of America's CEO, Ken Lewis, earned a meager $16.4 million last year. (We're weeping, too.) "I think they [investment banks] are going to have to come more in line with a more traditional compensation plan," says one expert. Guess you might have to wait a few more years before you can afford that loft in Tribeca or four-bedroom in Scarsdale! [NY Post]

Jamie Dimon's $300K Advantage

cityfile · 07/21/08 12:35PM

JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon doesn't exactly have a rep as the most sympathetic guy. He's long been known to berate employees, he once got physical with a former colleague, Deryck Maughan, and he's been just as blunt with the press. ("What do I think of our competitors? I hate them! I want them to bleed!" he once exclaimed when asked about his competition.) More recently, he made news after he told Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit to "stop being such a jerk" on a conference call. So it might come as some surprise that he's a wee bit more generous than Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein when it comes to writing checks to charity. Dimon handed out $1.8 million last year (compared to Blankfein's paltry $1.5 million), including a $1 million gift to the University of Chicago and $120,000 to Columbia's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. The full report after the jump.

Jamie Dimon Will Trade You a Gift Card for Your Gun

cityfile · 07/16/08 01:48PM

Got an illegal firearm sitting around the house? Good news: If you bring it to one of six churches this weekend, you'll earn yourself a $200 Chase gift card. No questions asked! Do note, though, that you can't simply waltz in with the gun in plain sight. To qualify, you'll need to wrap it up in a plastic or paper bag. Feel free to turn up with a rifle, handgun or a shotgun—they all qualify although BB guns will only earn you $20—and there's no need to remove the ammo: You can bring them loaded. And this unusual marketing arrangement is clearly a win-win for Jamie Dimon's notoriously aggressive JP Morgan Chase: Not only do illegal gun owners represent a valuable demo (all those ill-gotten stacks of $100 and no place to put them!), we also suspect fewer guns on the street also translates into fewer tellers with guns pointed in their direction.

Why CNBC's Kneale Should Go To Jail

Ryan Tate · 07/08/08 09:30PM

Dennis Kneale joined his CNBC colleagues today in effusive praise of JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. After Power Lunch host Bill Griffeth said Dimon was "very entertaining" at an FDIC event and "had a career as an after-dinner speaker," Kneale added that Dimon was a "guy talking about what he knows." And when Kneale's longtime nemesis Charles Gasparino argued that Dimon's comments should be treated more skeptically — "discounted by 50 percent... because there's a degree of flackery here" — Kneale strongly disagreed (clip after the jump). It's odd that Kneale is offering kind words for Dimon rather than bashing the dealmaker, given that Dimon thinks the CNBC talking head should be thrown in jail.

Street Talk

cityfile · 07/08/08 04:47AM
  • Allying itself with Carl Icahn, Microsoft says it's open to restarting talks with Yahoo if Yahoo's board is replaced. [WSJ]

Anecdotes Prove Bear Stearns Savior Is A Jerk

Hamilton Nolan · 05/29/08 10:31AM

The WSJ wraps up its three-part series on the Bear Stearns Wall Street clusterfuck today, and it is a masterpiece of financial journalism that's a lock for a Pulitzer. Uh, not that we care. In the final installment, various cutthroat maneuvers lead to JP Morgan's bitter $2-per-share salvation of the troubled Bear. And it's clear that enemies of JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon (such as: formerly wealthy people who work at Bear Stearns!) were very forthcoming sources on this story, because two of the best anecdotes in the piece do nothing but make him look like a snippy asshole: