Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

SEC’s Schapiro says journalist job cuts worrying

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Mary Schapiro, America’s new top cop for the securities industry, said the current mass culling of journalists’ jobs is a concern because it could reduce the number of leads that regulators get as they seek to crack down on nefarious behavior.

“It’s an absolute worry for me because I think financial journalists have in many cases been the sources of some really important enforcement cases and really important discovery of practices and products that regulators should be profoundly concerned about,” the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission told the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit in Washington on Tuesday.

“But for journalists having been dogged and determined and really pursuing some of these things, they might not be known to the regulators or they might not be known for a long time,” she said.

But Schapiro, who was speaking a day after Conde Nast announced the closure of its glossy business magazine Portfolio only about two years after it launched, held out some hope for the business reporting trade. She said that some journalists should consider applying for jobs at the SEC.

SEC’s Schapiro shows little interest in Cox’s pet projects

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When he was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Christopher Cox got slammed by many for failing to protect investors during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, including missing Bernie Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme. Now, to add insult to injury, his successor is showing little interest in his pet projects concerning corporate disclosure and accounting standards, and questioning whether at least one of them is even appropriate.

Cox’s interest in forcing listed companies to file financial reports using technology that makes it easier for investors to read and analyze the data became almost an obsession during his time at the SEC from August 2005 until this past January. Indeed, the SEC voted through a rule to require 500 of the largest public companies to begin filing their reports with the technology known as XBRL, or extensible business reporting language, by the middle of this year, with the rest instructed to comply over the following two years.

from Funds Hub:

Shadow of Madoff

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It's hard enough for fund firms to get investors to put money into markets when stocks are so volatile, but it seems they're also still having to wrestle with the bad publicity from U.S. financier Bernard Madoff's giant fraud.

rtr23ea9Ashraf Mohamed, portfolio manager and head of Islamic funds at investment firm Stanlib in South Africa, told the London leg of the Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit that investors are still nervous of another Madoff.

Islamic finance just one more crisis victim?

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It’s not just traditional western banks that are hurting — the recession is hitting Islamic finance hard, too.

The industry, which operates according to Islamic law and hence has an in-built conservative investment strategy, is seen as relatively insulated from the financial crisis. But some executives at the Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit are not so sure.

Audio – The family jewels

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This week’s annual Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit has been a pretty rich event.

Oh, the guests have been stellar, for sure, but there’s also been a lot of talk about gold and jewelry and the prospect that maybe someday this lousy economy will turn around.

Audio – For best M&A results? Don’t forget the fish and the booze!

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There is an entire industry out there about what to do to make a merger a success. Many of us know bankers or lawyers who work for weeks and hours on end just to make sure their deals are perfectly done with all the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted.

Millions of dollars are spent on just teaching people the best way to get a transaction from idea to completion.

Audio – Kinross in the ‘Sweet Spot’

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In the M&A world, this is where you want to be.

Kinross Gold’s CEO Tye Burt said at the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit on Wednesday that as far as mergers and acquisitions go, his company is in a pretty good place — there are more deals hitting his desk, sellers are getting more motivated and Kinross, the third-largest of the Canadian gold miners, has the cash to do a little shopping.

While Burt did not expect to be party to one of those huge mega-deals, he did indicate the company was keeping its options open — and was listening for bargains.

Audio – A little less joy down the road for Joy Global

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Mining and construction equipment maker Joy Global actually had a pretty good week for itself.

The company released its first-quarter results last Wednesday, which topped Wall Street’s expectations and sent the shares up more than 15 percent.

Audio – Everybody loves a winner in Vegas, baby!

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It seems that any sentence about Las Vegas, the people who work there or the stocks of the companies that run the big casinos ends better with the word “baby”. It’s almost like you can hear Frank saying it to Dino on their way into some smoky, after-hours cocktail party.

So, even though Bill Lerner, casino and gaming analyst at Deutsche Bank didn’t exactly end his comments on casino stock picks like Sinatra might have … well, it’s Vegas, baby!

Audio – Bad is bad

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Trying to compare one recession or economic downswing to another is a little like trying to decide which hurricane was the worst.

I mean, if you were sitting in the middle of Hurricane Katrina, it’s not going to matter too much if Hurricane Hugo’s winds were 10 miles an hour faster. They both weren’t a lot of fun.

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