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While You Were Working – June 20

Another boo-boo at Barclays, a boon for custody banks, the ongoing public pension debacle, and Bowen bolts from the CFTC,

2 min read

Modern Money


Barclays faces criminal fraud charges - Photo credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Barclays’ boo boo

As has been hinted at for a few days now, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office charged Barclays and four former executives with fraud related to conduct during the financial crisis. The criminal charges represent the first such charges leveled at any banker as a result of the crisis.

One fun little parlor game would be to hypothesize about the role Richard Boath, the ex-European head of financial institutions for Barclays, will play in the case. Boath took Barclays to an employment tribunal last year and accused the bank of wrongful dismissal. Other recent headlines have centered on lawyers who are expert “witness-flippers.” If the SFO has one of those, then it seems Boath might be a tasty target.

Otherwise, don’t get riled up about the fact that criminal charges have actually been filed. A conviction is far, far away and so is any jail time.

Custody banks started dancing the jig

Plans by the Trump Administration to roll back taxpayer protections by tweaking the way financial firms calculate leverage may deliver a windfall for custodian banks. In fact, such a big windfall that some analysts see earnings per share climbing 19% at BNY Mellon and 26% at State Street in 2018.

Public pension predicament

I don’t know about you, but if I was a public employee – other than a police officer or firefighter – and I was counting on my pension to provide me a secure retirement, I would be very, very nervous. Why not police and firefighters? When push comes to shove, they always seem to garner special political cover that other public servants never quite enjoy – not even soldiers.

The CFTC became a commission of 1

CFTC Commissioner Sharon Bowen has announced she is stepping down. Chris Giancarlo, who is awaiting confirmation to become the chair of the CFTC, is now the only member of the CFTC. Bowen’s move sparks two questions:

  1. Which lobbying firm is she going to join?
  2. If a commission intended to have 5 people only has 1, do we still call it a commission?

WYWW Appetizers

  • Someone think the Treasury Department’s goal of 3% growth ain’t gonna happen.
  • Another vote for euro clearing taking place in … well … Europe.
  • Now that you know who won’t be playing for a while, the PGA is gonna start testing for PEDs.