The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether investment-advisory firms, which collect fees for channeling investors into hedge funds, are adequately supervising their clients' money, sources said. The regulator is also examining whether the firms are dealing with conflicts of interest.
U.S. lenders have been working with struggling homeowners to modify their mortgages through the Home Affordable Modification Program. However, issues related to mortgage modification have prompted borrowers to head to court to resolve the problem. Homeowners' lawsuits generally allege that lenders are breaking their contracts by not offering permanent modification to those who stuck to a trial payment plan.
Market participants are increasingly confident that proposed capital rules for banks, known as Basel III, would be less strict than previously feared and would be gradually implemented. The change in sentiment has boosted European bank stocks.
Former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio, R-N.Y., has downplayed his role as a Washington lobbyist for JPMorgan Chase during the height of the federal bailouts in 2008, but the relationship has attracted intense scrutiny from rivals in the gubernatorial race in New York. The popularity of Republican candidate Carl Paladino, for example, is driven by public anger against Wall Street and presents a particularly strong threat to Lazio.
As trading has become more concentrated in first and last hours of session, which make up more than half of the day's volume, the founders of Briargate Trading, a proprietary-trading firm founded in 2008, spend the downtime playing golf or at the movies. They can attribute their freedom to high-frequency trading, which increases the focus of trading in the morning when the market opens and in the afternoon before it closes.