You know your annual meeting went smoothly when the big story wasn't the shareholder vote, but rather the venue. So give the PR folks at Goldman Sachs credit for adroitly focusing people on Utah.
Given his surprising victory in the shareholder vote, Jamie Dimon has a surprisingly clear path laid out in front of him. He has been given a vote of confidence (despite the wrenching London Whale episode) to take care of business, which boils down to two essential tasks.
The drumbeat of news regarding Bank of America's compliance (or lack thereof) with the national mortgage settlement has been unrelentingly negative.
The debate about too big to fail has taken some interesting twists lately.
One school administrator for a posh private school in Manhattan told the New York Post that, "Sometimes, the parents are so high-maintenance, you almost rather see a nanny."
The news that Steven Cohen received a subpoena has led to some head-scratching and lots of tea-leaf reading, though in the end it's still unclear what the prosecution has in mind.
Lawyers for Rajat Gupta, the disgraced former Goldman Sachs director and ex-head of McKinsey, made the case for a new trial at a hearing this week.
Is Steven Cohen likely to be criminally charged?
Just two weeks before its 2013 annual shareholder meeting, JPMorgan's board had plenty to worry about. They set up a war room to grapple with the upcoming vote, and there was deep concern as the early vote trickled in, showing that a proposal to split the chairman and CEO positions was winning. The board started pulling out all the stops in a stepped-up lobbying campaign.
If the vote to split the Chairman and CEO positions at JPMorgan was indeed a referendum on Jamie Dimon, the combative leader of the bank just scored a resounding victory. In what has to be considered something of a shocker, just 32.2 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the split, compared with 40 percent last year.
In the end, will the shareholders win anyway?
Is it best to see Utah as the latest regional financial center, akin to a Singapore or Brazil? Or is it the latest outsourcing hotspot, akin to Mumbai or other outposts?
The news that top Wall Street banks have formed a partnership to develop an alternative to Bloomberg's chat service is not novel. The financial information juggernaut, which has its eyes on electronic trading as well, has long inspired fear in top banks, even before it became the leading vendor.
The latest flurry of subpoenas and the admission by SAC Capital that it was cooperating less with prosecutors may be a sign that any recent hope for a settlement is now off the table. In a good faith negotiation, pressure tactics are held in check. When the good faith runs out, both sides pull out all the stops.
I noted recently that big banks were all too willing to sell their stakes in China banks these days. The latest is that Goldman Sachs has launched an offering of $1.1 billion worth of Hong Kong-traded shares in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), basically the bank's entire remaining stake.
Kudos to the New York Times Magazine for delivering the most complete picture yet of Rajat Gupta, the former head of McKinsey and director of Goldman Sachs who was found guilty of insider trading. His fall from grace ranks as perhaps the most stunning since the insider trading investigations began.
The big picture on the sorry state of restitution for aggrieved mortgage holders is that banks have paid less than half the $5.7 billion in cash owed to troubled homeowners under nearly 30 settlements brokered by the government since 2008, according to a Washington Post analysis.