While You Were Working - April 10

The board at Barclays REALLY showed some love for Jes Staley

As more details about the involvement of Barclays CEO Jes Staley in an attempt to unmask the identity of a whistleblower, three things have become abundantly clear:

  1. Jes Staley really likes to defend his friends.
  2. Jes Staley really needs to learn the basics about whistleblower rules.
  3. Despite #2 above, the board at Barclays really wants to keep Jes Staley as their CEO.

Here is a snippet of the tick-tock of actions that has Staley in hot water:

The first bid to identify the writer was halted after both Staley and the information security team, which normally handles cyber threats and other security matters, were told their actions were inappropriate.

The following month, however, Staley asked whether the whistleblowing probe had been cleared up. When he was told it had been closed, he once again instructed security to find out who wrote the letters. He did this, the bank said, because of his “honestly held, but mistaken, belief that he had clearance to identify the author of one of the letters”.

Those two paragraphs readily display the ardent affection the Barclays board must have for Staley. If the board wants to defend the first investigation as some kind of honest mistake, I will laugh at them but at least consider it plausible. But how can the second investigation be an honest mistake if Staley had already been instructed to stop the first one because it was inappropriate?

The SEC realized people write fake news about the markets

When you think about it, it is really very quaint. The SEC, after all these years of rigorously policing financial markets, has decided there might be mischief afoot in the financial news business. Apparently the regulator, which operates on such a desperately thin budget that it can’t afford to pursue actual wrongdoing (or at least get anyone to admit wrongdoing), has enough time and budget to monitor the veracity of stories on “news” sites like Seeking Alpha, Benzinga and Wall Street Cheat Sheet. Caveat emptor people, caveat emptor.

Wells Fargo clawed back $75 million more from Stumpf, Toldstedt

The board of Wells Fargo has decided to clawback an additional $28 million from former CEO John Stumpf and $47 million from Carrie Tolstedt, the executive who was formerly in charge of the sales division that spawned the great fake account scandal. That brings the running tally of money clawed back from Stumpf to $69 million, while Tolstedt has had to cough up a paltry $67 million. Well, at least they don’t have to worry about going to jail.

Tesla is now America’s most valuable car company

With a market capitalization of around $51 billion, Tesla is now America’s most valuable automaker. And Elon and his crew didn’t even need a government bailout to get there!

United Airlines did Delta Airlines a YUUUUUGE favor

Delta Airlines was having a nightmare weekend from a PR perspective as storms that took place days ago rattled the airline’s operations to the point where passengers and crew have been slamming carrier in the news and on social media. But lo and behold, United Airlines stepped up to the plate yesterday and managed to surpass Delta in the stupidity department. United overbooked one of its planes and when the time came for the airline to remove passengers from a flight to make room for 4 United employees who the airline decided needed to be on the flight, the police were called on board the plane and they proceeded to violently remove one man. And then United CEO Oscar Munoz made matters worse when he issued a statement apologizing for having to “re-accommodate” passengers. Re-accommodate? In what ways did United accommodate that guy in the first place?

I would also be verrrry keen to learn more about the process United used to “randomly” select which passengers would be removed. It just seems awfully convenient that they chose the guy they did instead of some Gronk-sized passenger who might have presented a different kind of … ummm … challenge.

WYWW Appetizers

WYWW Main Course

The Bundesbank issued a working paper on “Bank stress testing under different balance sheet assumptions”