All Articles Finance Modern Money ICYMI - March 28

ICYMI – March 28

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Modern Money

A collection of stories from SmartBrief publications and around the web…

Stumbling Stress Tests: Now that the convoluted results of stress tests conducted by U.S. Federal Reserve are in, all eyes can shift to Europe as the European Central Bank and European Banking Authority prep for their own brand of testing. However, Mayra Rodríguez Valladares from MRV Associates is rather pointed in her skepticism of the Europeans’ methods: “Given banks’ enormous data collection and aggregation challenges and the fact that the stress tests are likely to rely on a risk-weighted asset framework where banks get to pick a lot of the risk drivers for the models, no one should hold their breath about the validity of those stress tests.”

Adding insult to injury: All those Bank of America shareholders who were angered by the actions of Ken Lewis during the firm’s takeover of Merrill Lynch have got to be smoldering yet again. Not only did Lewis beat the wrap, but BofA is going to pay his $10 million fine for him.

Recruiting the next generation of finance IT leaders: The Financial Services Roundtable hosted a panel discussion Thursday on innovation. Cybersecurity was a hot topic, with execs from Visa, GE Capital, Allstate, Fifth Third and Principal Financial sharing their insight. One interesting tidbit related to the recruitment and training of technology experts. All the panelists said current threats call for more diversity in the kinds of workers they recruit, with more focus shifting to Gen Y candidates and those with military backgrounds. Bill Cary from GE Capital also noted his firm has enjoyed success recruiting in strategic regions like Michigan and New Orleans, where GE has gone in a re-trained workers affected by the recession or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Dumb and dumber – March Madness version: Buried at the bottom of this story about how a campaign video for Mitch McConnell accidentally featured highlights of Duke basketball rather than the Kentucky Wildcats is this little nugget about McConnell’s likely opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes: “Grimes had already miffed fans by picking Wichita State to beat Kentucky in her tournament bracket. The Wildcats beat the previously unbeaten Shockers 78-76.” I am not sure what is worse. A campaign staffer not knowing a Blue Devil from a Wildcat (after all, they’re both blue and white), or a candidate in arguably the most important congressional campaign of the fall irking the basketball-crazy electorate by picking against one of her state’s two powerhouse teams.

Speaking of Mitch McConnell…: The distinguished gentleman from Kentucky is featured in the hilarious opening credits of “Alpha House” – the original TV series from Amazon. Despite all the hype surrounding “House of Cards,” I am starting to wonder if “Alpha House” might be an even better send up of the current state of politics and life in the Beltway. After all, “House of Cards” jumped the shark at the end of the first episode of Season 2 (if not earlier).  Meanwhile, John Goodman and Co. kept the laughs coming throughout the whole first season of “Alpha House.” We’ll see what Season 2 brings …