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March 22, 2012

It’s been a long wait, but we’re finally getting around to sending out Counterparties by email every weekday afternoon. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. (See, you knew there was a reason you gave us your email address.) If you’re not registered, and don’t want to go through that process, email (which is also our tips line) and we’ll try to add you to the list manually. This is very much an experimental work in progress, so all feedback is greatly appreciated.

Wall Street’s pre-approved, 100% compliant social media presence (managed by committee):

IMPORTANT WALL STREET COMPLIANCE NOTE: This email does not contain any mention of furry animal characters commonly known by a name that combines “M” and “uppets,” nor should this email be interpreted as the an endorsement of the aforementioned term as a rhetorical signifier of anything other than a furry, arguably adorable and/or hilarious group of animal characters.

Goldman Sachs employees will now find it impossible to discuss their favorite children’s television show over company email, thanks to the linguistic scrubbing Reuters’ Lauren Tara LaCapra reports on today. The bank’s metaphor crackdown — no using colorful language for your own account — makes a certain amount of sense. After all, when Goldman attempted a private offering for Facebook stock last year, it had to give staffers a private tutorial in how to explain it to older clients, since they’re prevented from viewing the site at work. Due diligence was done in coffee shops, we suppose. Which brings us to Wall Street’s latest halting, mind-numbingly boring attempts to use social media. One Morgan Stanley Smith Barney account, @InvestFayMSSB, has now been deleted, after putting out immortal tweets like “Next stop Dow 57,757? Don’t count on it but Tuesday’s bullish session is in the books.”)

This, as the NYT’s William Alden describes, is Wall Street’s pre-approved, 100% compliant social media presence (managed by committee). If you’re a financial professional, do not expect to have your market-making insights unleashed upon the Twitter-sphere any time soon. Alden notes that Deutsche managing director Ted Tobiason has been allowed to tweet by the company’s corporate brand police, but he seems to mostly read out data to his followers:

Pandora down 24% day after rpting weak qtr/guid. Some small impact on other recent Internet IPOs. #P down 32% from IPO #IPO
Mar 07 via Arkovi Social Media Archiving Favorite Retweet Reply

This is the kind of twitter user to which we’d politely suggest “You’re doing it wrong.” It’s unclear, given the regulatory concerns of having financial advisers tweet, what Wall Street’s “value-add” is in social media.

Or, it could be, as Felix suggests, that the social media conversation has just become “less of a wunderkammer, and more of a regrettable necessity.” Which actually sounds like a pretty apt description for today’s Wall Street banks.

And now for today’s links:

Cut the Check
Meet the conservative Texas billionaire who’s the election’s biggest campaign donor by far. He wears $3,000 Brioni suits and Wal-Mart underwear. And he’s given $18 million to date – WSJ
Related: Obama’s largest campaign donors include Goldman, JPM employees – Bloomberg

Nannies who earn $180,000 per year — the economics of childcare by the super wealthy – NYT Mag
: Don’t forget the opportunity cost of staying at home to look after your kids – Forbes

Here’s Adam Davidson, in the NYT:

Alas, it seems that there just aren’t enough “good” nannies, always on call, to go around. Especially since a wealthy family’s demands can be pretty specific. According to Pavillion’s vice president, Seth Norman Greenberg, a nanny increases her market value if she speaks fluent French (or, increasingly, Mandarin); can cook a four-course meal (and, occasionally, macrobiotic dishes); and ride, wash and groom a horse. Greenberg has also known families to prize nannies who can steer a 32-foot boat, help manage an art collection or, in one case, drive a Zamboni to clean a private ice rink.

How payday lenders hide their Super PAC contributions by creating shell companies – Bloomberg

The academic argument that the good times are not coming back – NYT
And the academic argument that fiscal stimulus pays for itself — Economist

Deutsche Bank dodges Dodd-Frank by “de-banking” itself – WSJ

Your Hours Are Not Wasted
The Reddit comment that landed its writer a gig writing a major motion picture – Wired

A handy guide to the highly flawed JOBS Act which Congress just passed – Fortune

Must Read
“The White Savior Industrial Complex”  – @TejuCole on Kony2012 – Atlantic Wire
How income inequality undermines our democracy – NYT

Why Larry Summers lost the presidency of Harvard – Mathbabe

EU Mess
The euro zone may already be in a technical recession – FT Alphaville

Consumer credit is growing faster than any time in the last decade – Daniel Alpert

It’s About Time
Chrome is overtaking IE as the most popular browser in the world – The Register

The Oracle
The Buffett Rule would raise about $31 billion over 10 years – Reuters

Economics Everywhere
Cold-brewed coffee is “no longer a trend. It’s mandatory” – NYMag

The war on universal grammar — and Chomsky’s research – The Chronicle

And, of course, there are many more links at Counterparties.


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