Felix Salmon

Counterparties: Revenge of the machines

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California’s clever opt-out retirement idea

Last year, I said that states should not adopt defined-contribution pension schemes: they should stick instead to the defined-benefit plans they’ve had until now. I still believe that — but I’m also a big fan of SB 1234, a bill making its way through the California legislature. The bill would create the Golden State Retirement Savings Trust — a kind of pooled defined-contribution pension plan for the millions of Californians who lack access to a workplace retirement plan.

Bernanke on the defensive

The most entertaining speech of the week came last night, from Clint Eastwood; the most important came this morning, from Ben Bernanke. In his keynote speech at Jackson Hole, Bernanke reviewed the Fed’s actions since 2007, concluded that they have done a lot of good, and ended on a note suggesting that more of the same is in order.

What I did on my summer holiday

I’m back! I apologize for the fact that this blog — and all of blogs.reuters.com, for that matter — was down for the past two weeks. I did put a few posts up in the interim at felixsalmon.com, but I’m back where I belong now.

Counterparties: The new “nice guy” at Barclays

At the top of its list of criteria for a new CEO, Barclays seems to have had “not Bob Diamond”. That’s the message the under-fire bank sent three weeks ago with its appointment of vocal corporate governance hawk David Walker as its new chairman. And it’s been reinforced by today’s announcement of Anthony Jenkins as its new CEO. Jenkins will be paid £1.1 million ($1.7 million) annually and be eligible for bonus and incentive pay of up to £7.15 million ($11.3 million). 

HFT charts of the day, trading-cost edition

14speed-articleInline.jpg The Nanex HFT chart I posted last week went viral, becoming by far my most popular post of the year; I even did a version of it for Buzzfeed. In the comments to that post, Kid Dynamite defended high-frequency trading by saying that spreads have tightened in substantially for everyone as a result of HFT. But neither of us really had the numbers — until now.

HuffPo Live: The Fox News of the knee-jerk left?

Huffington Post Live launched today. Don’t call it streaming video: “it’s really a platform for engagement,” in the words of its founding editor, Roy Sekoff. What does that mean in practice? Let’s play Celebrity Google Hangouts! Here’s your host, Josh Zepps. Take it away, Josh:

Counterparties: Robo-suing is the new robo-signing

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com

The art of earnings reports

Arthur Brisbane, the NYT public editor, has a characteristically skittish column on earnings reports. He quotes lots of journalists (Dean Starkman! Gretchen Morgenson! Larry Ingrassia! Jim Cramer!), and ends with advice worthy of Polonius: