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"The corporate brand is not only used to improve competitive positioning and express company aspirations, it can also be a powerful tool to motivate employees."

Market Populism: Karl Cates

The line -- if there is one -- between free-run capitalism and the greater good.

Nov 30
2009

Bankers resist giving IRS a peek at foreign accounts

Posted by kcates in UBSUBSSifmaSifmaoffshore bankingoffshore bankingIRSEuropean Banking FederationEuropean Banking Federationcompliance

kcates

The latest wrinkle in the IRS crackdown on offshore tax evasion comes in a wave of industry opposition to a proposal that the agency routinely be given names and account numbers of U.S. customers who stash money in foreign banks.

The alternative to divulging such information?  A 30 percent withholding on payments made by U.S. residents who have accounts in foreign banks.

Nov 25
2009

Guilty or not, Galleon is damaged

Posted by kcates in Untagged 

kcates

I'm not a lawyer but the assertion this week by Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of Galleon Group that the feds shouldn't have wiretapped him because they didn't need to seems kind of - what's the lawyer word? - specious.

A big piece of the government's case is built around wiretaps in which Galleon associates seem to be talking about insider trading in a manner that's not very flattering to their defense (20 people have been indicted).  "If the wiretaps are suppressed, it won't completely destroy it, but will definitely pull the rug out from under the government's case," Joseph DiBenedetto, a criminal defense lawyer not involved in the case, tells the NY Times.

Nov 24
2009

Unemployment: 'Not as bad' doesn't equal good

Posted by kcates in Untagged 

kcates

It's a cliché to say that the latest joblessness stats are "not as bad" as the last report.  But there you have it, fewer first-time filings for unemployment benefits in the week ending Nov. 21 than in the week before that.

The Labor Department usually releases the report on a Thursday, but published it today because tomorrow is Thanksgiving (irony alert).

Nov 23
2009

Credit-rating reforms underscore lost trust

Posted by kcates in Standard's and PoorsPIMCONRSRONationally Recognized Statistical Rating OrganizatMoody'sFitchcredit-rating agenciescompliance

kcates
 

Wondering who in these tumultuous times you can trust to rate mortgage securities?

Join the crowd.  Thus the coronation last week of PIMCO by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in announcing its hiring of the world's biggest bond fund to stand in for the companies -- Moody's Investor Services, Standard's and Poor and Fitch -- that have the government imprimatur to do this work but haven't executed so good these past couple of three or four years.

Nov 18
2009

For Goldman, sorry seems to be the smartest word

Posted by kcates in TARPLloyd BlankfeinGoldman Sachsapology

kcates

 

Goldman Sachs, finally, is responding constructively to the public relations beating it's been taking these past several profitable months. 

Nov 18
2009

How UBS decides who to give up to the IRS

Posted by kcates in UBStax evasionIRSamnesty

kcates

The deal between the IRS and UBS is getting quite the flurry of attention. Turns out the Swiss banking giant hasn’t been just pulling names out of a hat in cooperating with the American tax inquiry. It’s followed a cutoff point on the size of accounts – and then, presumably, pulling names out of a hat.

The WSJ reports that somewhere in the neighborhood of 14,700 U.S. taxpayers have stepped up to take advantage of an amnesty program on the IRS investigation into broader offshore tax evasion. But the agency is quick today to say that UBS still owes it about 4,000 names. The bank has turned in roughly 500 people but its agreement with the IRS promises 4,450.

Nov 17
2009

Note to employers: don't ask for DNA

Posted by kcates in healthcareGINAgenetic testingDNAcompliance

kcates

New-law alert: Companies can no longer ask employees to part with genetic background information.  The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act – from here on out known as GINA – goes into effect this month and what it boils down to for employers is a ban on any requirement that would make workers cough up (so to speak) such information.  It also explicitly bars companies from using genetic information in deciding whom to fire, hire or promote.  And it makes it illegal for employer health-care plans to use genetic information to determine whether a worker is included in such a plan.

"A lot of people incentivize employees to provide this family medical information,” John C. Stivarius Jr., an Atlanta lawyer and expert on the new rule tells the NY Times. “They give them some extra paid time off if they participate in surveys. Now they can't do that.”

Nov 11
2009

Bear Stearns acquittals aren't the last word

Posted by kcates in SAC CapitalGalleoncomplianceBear Stearns

kcates

 

Prosecutors gamely accepted Tuesday's jury decision to acquit two former Bear Stearns hedge fund executives, and champions of the defendants said it was a sign that the government was banking too much on public rancor toward Wall Street and not enough on evidence.

Nov 06
2009

Galleon et al: It's 'The Wire' all over again

Posted by kcates in secinsider traderhedge fundsGalleonFBIcompliance

kcates

That's some creepy stuff the feds wheeled out on Thursday in their indictment (names here) of 14 more people in the Galleon Group insider-trading scandal.  

It's a tangled and unseemly web prosecutors are describing (the art department at the SEC posts a helpful diagram here).

Oct 28
2009

The EU is turning big banks into smaller banks

Posted by kcates in treasuryObamaNorthern RockKarl CatesINGGreenspanBarney Frank

kcates

In a move that sent jitters through the banking industry this week - and that may yet infect the U.S. - the European Union told public-bailout recipient ING to get rid of its insurance holdings and focus on its original business - banking.

It's the fallout of the devilish deal ING implicitly bought into when it accepted public aid, and it reduces Amsterdam-based ING's status enormously - its insurance business is what it's known best for.

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