Countering West Coast Pull, by Helping Finance Start-Ups Sell in New York
When Jeff Bezos, then a New York hedge fund employee, decided to start Amazon in 1994, he quickly moved to the West Coast. So did Mark Zuckerberg, who moved from Harvard to California in 2004 to find the technology talent and financing needed to build up Facebook.
Today, the West Coast exerts a similar tidal pull for start-up companies in finance. Nine of the 15 United States financial technology “unicorns” — companies worth $1 billion or more, as tracked by CB Insights — are in the San Francisco area. These Bay Area companies, which are not public, include the online payments processor Stripe, the online lender Social Finance and the finance website Credit Karma. Full Article
The Private Equity Firm That Quietly Profits on Top-Selling Drugs
Cashing in on rising drug prices often unleashes an outcry from consumers and politicians.
But a little-known private equity investor, Royalty Pharma, has built an unusual investment portfolio valued at $15 billion — it buys up the rights to royalties on future drug sales — while largely avoiding public controversy. By its own count, Royalty Pharma owns partial rights to seven of the 30 top-selling drugs in the United States, including giants like Humira, the arthritis treatment that is the single biggest-selling medication in America. And its deals have been getting larger. Full Article
Behind the Scenes at Orchard Platform, a Struggle to Innovate
On a warm morning early last year, a start-up founder named Matt Burton addressed a group of 175 investors and executives at the sleek glass IAC building in Chelsea.
Mr. Burton described how his company, Orchard Platform, already a provider of loan data to financial institutions, would soon unveil its own trading platform for loans. Full Article
Former Chief of A.I.G. Tries to Fight the Headlines
Maurice R. Greenberg, the often combative former chief executive of American International Group, began a news media counteroffensive on Monday to repair his legacy days after the bruising end to his 12-year court battle with the New York State attorney general.
Mr. Greenberg, 91, complained at a news conference on Monday of being outspun by the attorney general’s office on Friday, when it somewhat unexpectedly announced a settlement in a 2005 civil accounting fraud case against him that was brought by Eliot Spitzer when he was state attorney general. Full Article
Former A.I.G. Executives Reach Settlement in Accounting Fraud Case
Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chief executive of American International Group, reached an unexpected settlement ending a tumultuous, decade-long battle over civil accounting fraud charges first brought in 2005 by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
Mr. Greenberg, 91, and his co-defendant, Howard Smith, A.I.G.’s former chief financial officer, reached the agreement with the current New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, who announced it on Friday. Full Article
Investors Sharpen Focus on Social and Environmental Risks to Stocks
Pfizer stock was riding high in June 2015, up 128 percent in five years, making it the second-most valuable American drug maker. Nine out of 10 Wall Street research analysts recommended that investors hold it in their portfolio, if not buy more.
That same month, however, a different type of research firm downgraded Pfizer to its lowest rating, reflecting what it considered increased risks from factors that other Wall Street analysts typically ignore: environmental, social and corporate governance issues, or E.S.G. Full Article
Kochs and Other Madoff Investors Are Winners in Fight Over Profits Held Abroad
The company led by the American billionaire Koch brothers, along with dozens of banks and fund managers, kept billions of dollars in profit from Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme in accounts offshore. As it turns out, that was a good decision.
Koch Industries and others who invested in the Madoff fund from offshore accounts won a key ruling in federal bankruptcy court on Monday, when the judge said certain funds held abroad — estimated at about $2 billion — could not be made available to victims of the Madoff scheme. Full Article
Goldman Sachs, Bank to the Elite, Makes Pitch to the Masses
Goldman Sachs, long the banker to the rich and powerful, has a message for ordinary folks — debt happens.
On Thursday, Goldman will introduce its first advertising campaign ever aimed at getting individuals — even those who may barely qualify for credit above the subprime range — out of their higher-cost credit card debt by replacing it with a fixed-rate, lower-cost personal loan. Full Article
A.I.G. Ex-Chief Ends Testimony in Fraud Case Unbowed
The six-day courtroom confrontation between Maurice R. Greenberg and lawyers for New York State accusing him of orchestrating sham transactions as chief executive of American International Group 16 years ago ended Thursday without any knockout blows. Full Article
A.I.G. Ex-Chief Maintains He Knew of Nothing Improper in ‘Sham’ Deal
A lawyer for New York State finished questioning Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chief executive of the insurance giant American International Group, without cracking his insistence that he did not know of anything improper in the transactions at the heart of his civil accounting fraud trial.
On Wednesday, Mr. Greenberg’s fifth day on the stand in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, David E. Nachman, a state trial attorney, focused on the windup and aftermath of a two-step $500 million reinsurance deal with General Reinsurance Corp. Full Article
Former A.I.G. Chief Denies He Knew of Payback Terms in Reinsurance Deal
Maurice R. Greenberg, a former chief executive of the insurance giant American International Group, said on Tuesday that he was not aware of certain repayment terms in a reinsurance deal that lies at the center of his civil accounting fraud trial.
In Mr. Greenberg’s fourth day of testimony in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, a lawyer for the state asked about the Sept. 14 testimony of the former A.I.G. executive Christian M. Milton, who described a mechanism under which A.I.G. would repay General Reinsurance Corp. a fee for the reinsurance. Full Article
Ex-A.I.G. Chief Parries Inquiries on Offshore Reinsurer in Fraud Trial
Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chief executive of American International Group, told the judge presiding over his civil accounting fraud trial on Thursday that the motive for one key transaction was to help certain A.I.G. employees get continuing losses “off their back” in a competitive corporate culture. Full Article
Former A.I.G Chief Spars With Prosecutor at His Fraud Trial
Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chief executive of American International Group, clashed with a New York State prosecutor on Wednesday over the extent of his role in a transaction at the center of his civil accounting fraud trial.
In sometimes-heated exchanges with the state trial attorney, David E. Nachman, during his second day on the stand in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Greenberg was shown what was said to be evidence that he had received a memo from and met with Joseph H. Umansky, a former A.I.G. executive who outlined the possible transaction in question. Full Article
A.I.G. Ex-Chief Testifies at Trial, 11 Years After Charges
Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chief executive of insurance giantAmerican International Group, took the witness stand on Tuesday for the first time in his state civil accounting fraud trial in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Mr. Greenberg and former A.I.G. chief financial officer Howard I. Smith face charges first brought in 2005 by Eliot Spitzer when he was the New York attorney general that they buffed up the insurer’s financial results with fraudulent transactions in 2000 and 2001. The trial was delayed by numerous pretrial appeals, many by the defense. Full Article
Investors Stick With Assets That Mimic Hedge Funds
Mutual funds that mimic hedge fund strategies — the so-called liquid alternatives sector — were among the hottest investments just a few years ago. Despite lagging returns and setbacks at several noteworthy funds, retail investors until recently have stuck with them even as they have pulled billions of dollars out of other funds.
There may be early warning signs that that is about to change. Full Article
Trial Begins for Maurice Greenberg, Ex-A.I.G. Chief Accused of Fraud
The 11-year-old accounting fraud case against the former American International Group chief executive Maurice R. Greenberg finally came to trial on Tuesday in a state courthouse in Lower Manhattan.
A senior New York State trial counsel, David N. Ellenhorn, said that while defense lawyers had used “delaying tactics,” including seven pretrial appeals, “the day of reckoning” had finally arrived for Mr. Greenberg, who is known as Hank, and A.I.G.’s former chief financial officer, Howard I. Smith. Full Article
After 11 Years, Case of A.I.G.’s Ex-Chief Is Going to Trial
It will not be the trial of the century. It may just feel as if it has taken that long to get underway.
More than 11 years after civil charges were filed, New York’s case against Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chief executive of the insurance giant American International Group, goes to trial this week. Full Article
Jefferies, Free of the Restraints of Bigger Banks, Is Emboldened
When the activist investor Carl C. Icahn bought 15 percent of the organic and natural products maker Hain Celestial in 2010, the company’s chief turned for advice to Mr. Icahn’s own Wall Street banker, Richard Handler, the chief executive of the investment bank Jefferies. Full Article
Sandy Weill’s Wine Country Retirement, With Notes of Rue and Chagrin
SONOMA, Calif. — Sanford I. Weill, who built Citigroup into a too-big-to-fail colossus and dominated the New York charity and social circuit more than a decade ago, lately can be found relaxed in jeans attending local wine country social events or riding his John Deere farm utility vehicle across his property to visit the neighbors. Full Article
General Mills and 7-Eleven Join the Venture Capital Crowd
At first glance, the maker of Cheerios and Cocoa Puffs might not fit the image of a cutting-edge venture capital investor.
But with the food business moving to healthier offerings and online distribution, General Mills has created a venture capital unit that recently led a $3 million investment in Rhythm Superfoods, a specialty start-up that makes kale chips and broccoli crisps. Full Article
DECEMBER 24, 2015
Obscure Corner of Wall St. Draws Skepticism From Investors
Most companies listed on American stock exchanges are conventional, familiar businesses like Apple or Exxon Mobil, but the stock market also contains many obscure, even mysterious, specialized sectors that operate with much less public awareness.
In recent months, one of those groups of specialty firms has been drawing attention as controversy has increased over some of its tactics and results. Full Article
NOVEMBER 5, 2015
Two Former Traders Found Guilty in Libor Manipulation Case
A jury in Manhattan on Thursday found two former London traders guilty in the first convictions in the United States stemming from the global investigation into the rigging of an interest rate benchmark known as Libor.
The verdict against the two, Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, after less than a day and a half of deliberation, was a surprisingly quick victory for the Justice Department as it makes a renewed effort to prosecute individuals for financial crimes. Full Article
OCTOBER 28, 2015
Lead Defendant in U.S. Libor Trial Challenged Over Inaction
A federal prosecutor confronted the lead defendant in the first criminal trial in the United States in the Libor interest rate scandal over his failure to intervene in more than a dozen instances in which traders at his bank improperly sought to influence the critical rates.
In a 105-minute cross-examination Wednesday morning, Carol L. Sipperly, a prosecutor trying the case in federal court in Lower Manhattan, presented the former Rabobank trader Anthony Allen with numerous emails, text messages and a few recorded phone calls in which traders asked that the bank’s Libor submissions be raised or lowered to help them make money. Full Article
OCTOBER 27, 2015
Top Defendant Testifies in First Libor Criminal Trial in U.S.
The lead defendant in the first criminal trial in the United States of traders in the Libor interest rate scandal took the stand on Tuesday, offering point-by-point rebuttals of prosecution charges that he had participated in a conspiracy to help traders at his Dutch bank profit from sham submissions for the widely used financial benchmark.
Anthony Allen, the London-based former head of global liquidity and finance at Rabobank, said that when he had sent email or text replies appearing to agree to traders’ demands for higher or lower Libor submissions, he was actually trying to push back or brush them off. Full Article
OCTOBER 14, 2015
Libor-Rigging Trial Begins for 2 Former Rabobank Traders
The first criminal trial in the United States of traders accused of manipulating a global interest rate benchmark got underway in Manhattan on Wednesday.
Two Britons, Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, both former London-based traders at the Dutch bank Rabobank, are accused of conspiring to submit fraudulent rate reports for the benchmark known as Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, in order to help colleagues profit on trades. Full Article
SEPTEMBER 7, 2015
Crowdfunding a $500 Million Ferris Wheel, With a Wall Street Spin
Investing in stocks is at times compared to a thrill ride — a rocket ship taking off, or a roller coaster rushing down.
The comparison may be more apt than usual for a new investment — a 630-foot Ferris wheel under construction on Staten Island — that soon will be marketed via a Wall Street version of crowdfunding. Full Article
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
Philip Falcone, Former Head of Vast Fund, Tries a 3rd Act
Philip A. Falcone, the brash hedge fund titan who once managed $26 billion before stumbling and running afoul of regulators, is pressing ahead on a new comeback effort, his second.
His latest investment platform is a publicly traded company with $800 million in assets called HC2 Holdings. It has bought a couple of midsize businesses — an undersea cable installer and a steel fabricator — that are intended to generate cash to help support several smaller growth prospects that include operations in wireless services, natural-gas truck-fueling stations, life sciences, insurance and sports. Full Article
AUGUST 6, 2015
The Never-Ending Lawsuit Against 2 Former A.I.G. Executives
Charles Dickens invented the interminable estate dispute Jarndyce v. Jarndyce for “Bleak House,” his 1853 novel. In real life, the Federal Trade Commission once took 16 years to force Carter’s Little Liver Pills to drop the word “Liver.” And antitrust regulators spent 13 years on a case against IBM before the Reagan administration dropped it abruptly.
Now a civil lawsuit is entering the pantheon of long-running court cases, passing 10 years in May with no end, or even a trial, in sight. Full Article
JUNE 7, 2015
Protections for Late Investors Can Inflate Start-Up Valuations
Warning: Some unicorns may be smaller than they appear.
The recent proliferation of so-called unicorns — start-up technology companies valued at more than $1 billion — has been greeted variously as a sign of healthy innovation or an indication that valuations have become dangerously overheated. Full Article
MAY 13, 2015
For Lending Start-Up, a Man Who’s Been Through a Few Cycles
Through three decades, Jerry Weiss wore coats and ties to the offices where he managed credit risks at the nation’s biggest banks — a 50-story Citigroup tower in Queens and the 60-story Chase Manhattan Plaza in Lower Manhattan. Full Article
MARCH 3, 2015
Pension Funds Trail Individuals in Embracing Index Funds
More individuals are pouring money into so-called passive investing or index funds, which aim to match the performance of the main stock and bond markets, but larger institutions like pension funds and endowments have been slower to follow suit, despite the potential for higher returns and lower fees. Full Article
JANUARY 7, 2015
Challenged by Upstarts, Lenders Try New Strategy: Cooperation
Employees at MasterCard thought they saw a drop-off in credit card volume last spring at one of their merchants, a legal services provider. Checking further, they found they had a new competitor, Behalf, a start-up small-business lender backed by two venture capital firms that makes credit decisions in just a few seconds. Full Article
OCTOBER 22, 2014
A Book, Four Funds and a Flood of Cash
Joel Greenblatt had been a successful investor for two decades before his best-selling “The Little Book That Beats the Market” was published in 2005. But the hedge fund niche he first pursued — “special situations” like spinoffs and other corporate restructurings — was modest in scale, and the most he had managed directly for outside investors was $500 million. Full Article
SEPTEMBER 15, 2014
Pressure for High Marks at Harvard Extends to Its Investment Chief
The chief investment officer of the Yale endowment, David F. Swensen, set the bar for universities starting in 1988 when he created a widely imitated blueprint for high-octane investment returns with heavy doses of private equity and other alternatives to stocks and bonds. Full Article
SEPTEMBER 8, 2014
Banks Face Tension Over Sales of In-House Products
Since the market collapse of 2008, scrutiny has intensified on the way large banks and securities firms treat their brokerage customers, particularly when it comes to steering them into the firms’ own products. Full Article
JULY 25, 2014
A Landlord Rents Office Space, and Maybe a Picture or Two
Many business owners want their offices to reflect good taste, with fine art on the walls. But they must weigh the cost against the vagaries of the marketplace. A few good years, and the millions come rolling in. A few setbacks, and the banks send a crew to pack up the furniture. Full Article
JULY 12, 2014
Jockeying for Position in the Bond-Fund Sweepstakes
AS he came to early prominence in the 1980s, Bill Gross was sometimes called the Peter Lynch of bonds, after the better-known manager of the Fidelity Magellan stock mutual fund. Full Article
JUNE 9, 2014 8:38 PM
Competition Is Stiff to Manage Tech Billions
When Microsoft went public in 1986, its chief executive and largest shareholder, Bill Gates, wound up with a broker at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm that had led the company’s initial public offering. Full Article
MAY 26, 2014 9:48 PM
As His Foundation Has Grown, Gates Has Slowed His Donations
Bill Gates, who as the richest American has become one of the foremost advocates of philanthropy, has reduced the pace of his own giving to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the last decade. Full Article
MARCH 5, 2014, 8:24 PM
After a Dazzling Early Career, a Star Trader Settles Down
When Paul Tudor Jones II began his career as a Wall Street trader in the 1980s, some colleagues spoke admiringly of his ability to “shoot the lights out” by scoring huge profits on big market swings. Full Article
JANUARY 13, 2014, 8:19 PM
Stung by Scandal, Giant Pension Fund Tries to Make It Right
Réal Desrochers, head of private equity investments at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, hopes to improve the fund’s performance, and reputation. Full Article
DECEMBER 5, 2013, 2:34 PM
Investors, Dismayed by Losses at Sears, Pull Money From Hedge Fund
Edward S. Lampert was once hailed in the same league as Warren Buffett, but his struggles with Sears have disenchanted a number of investors. Full Article
DECEMBER 2, 2013, 6:28 PM
A Second Act for a Top Wall Street Strategist
J. Tomilson Hill, the former co-chief executive of Lehman Brothers, reinvented himself by applying his deal-making skills at the Blackstone Group. Full Article
NOVEMBER 28, 2013, 8:48 PM
Some Big Public Pension Funds Are Behaving Like Activist Investors
Some of the biggest public pension funds are engaging with, and sometimes seeking to oust, directors of companies whose stock they own. Full Article
SEPTEMBER 5, 2013, 3:53 PM
A New Divestment Focus on Campus: Fossil Fuels
Concern over global warming has spurred students to dust off investment choice as a weapon in their campaign. But whether it will be as effective this time is another matter. Full Article
AUGUST 7, 2013, 10:32 AM
Not Banks, but Still Lending Money and Drawing Investors
The success of Lending Club, which links up borrowers with investors who are willing to make loans, has spawned imitators and venture capital backers that are looking for similar results. Full Article
MAY 16, 2013, 9:02 PM
Aiming for the Top, Again
Fred Eckert was once a star investor, but by 2011, he was bankrupt, divorced and had spent two months in a coma. Full Article
MAY 7, 2013, 7:56 PM
A Humbled Kleiner Perkins Adjusts Its Strategy
After big hits in the dot-com boom, Kleiner Perkins has been sideswiped by a series of lackluster bets in green technology and missed chances in social media. Full Article
APRIL 11, 2013, 4:49 PM
In Push for Gender Equality, Breaking Down the Boardroom Door
Concluding that “there was no demand for women” on corporate boards, Beth Stewart decided to start a business to find them. Full Article
MARCH 21, 2013, 5:16 PM
Pressured, Investment Firm Is Said to Skip Fees
Faced with weaker returns, some big investors have been pushing private equity firms to lower fees or make other concessions. Full Article
JANUARY 7, 2013, 6:07 PM
Dartmouth Controversy Reflects Quandary for Endowments
The connections of trustees can prove profitable for a university, but they can also create the appearance that the college may have nonfinancial motives for picking investments. Full Article
NOVEMBER 29, 2012, 7:24 PM
Despite Setbacks, Investor Is Bullish on Clean Technology
After taking a hit on investments in biofuel companies, Vinod Khosla seems unwavering in his commitment to the clean energy industry, pouring more money into start-ups. Full Article
OCTOBER 26, 2012, 11:41 AM
Citigroup Pays Fine and Fires Star Technology Analyst
Citigroup paid a $2 million fine and fired two employees after authorities accused the bank of improperly disclosing confidential information to media outlets about YouTube’s earnings and Facebook’s initial public offering. Full Article
AUGUST 29, 2012, 8:35 PM
GSV Capital, Placing Bets on Start-Ups, Falters
GSV, the largest of several closed-end mutual funds that offer ordinary investors a chance to own stakes in privately held companies, has been hit particularly hard by Facebook’s troubles. Full Article
December 05, 2013
Why The 4% Retirement Rule Is No Longer Safe
Ever since a California financial planner named William P. Bengen proposed it in 1994, retirees have relied on what’s known as the 4% rule – if they withdraw 4% of their nest eggs the first year of retirement and adjust that amount for inflation thereafter, their money would last at least 30 years. Full Article