Investors voted against Vikram Pandit’s comp largely due to his wooly incentive plan. Facing similar discontent last year, GE added decent hurdles to better align boss Jeff Immelt’s pay to the conglomerate’s performance and shareholder returns. Citi should go a step further.
The Oracle says he has at last identified someone to replace him as boss of Berkshire Hathaway when he’s gone – but isn’t saying who. Given that one prime candidate left amid controversy and the company has underperformed of late, Buffett should name the person he has in mind.
The European Central Bank’s cheap money and the siren call of high yields are luring global investors into the European junk bond market. But the region’s slowing economy could suck the wind out of the market’s sails.
Canada and Japan are worried the U.S. crackdown on prop trading will undermine their government bond markets. It’s another example of the unintended consequences of regulation. But it’s also hard to see why U.S. taxpayers should subsidize borrowing rates for foreign states.
Finance directors may start giving finance ministers a run for their money. The woeful state of national balance sheets will push risk-averse investors into highly rated companies such as Microsoft. Corporate bonds could prove more attractive than even top quality sovereigns.
The Gray Lady has regrouped since flirting with oblivion three years ago. After purging non-core assets, cutting debt and parting ways with its CEO, the Times looks ready for a deeper digital dive. Before it can take that plunge, the firm may need to pay its controlling family.
Many still reckon on making an 8 pct annual return. That’s now unrealistic for a fairly safe portfolio, as a new Breakingviews calculator shows. Fund managers need to bring expectations down to earth. But instead, some like the dangerous idea of borrowing to juice returns.
Orson Welles once hawked Californian wine using the tagline: "Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time." The same could be said about the U.S. Treasury and 50 or 100-year bonds. Maybe it's finally the right moment to actually sell some.
Fast cars and fast money can go to the heads of traders. U.S. money market funds are a vehicle for pretty cautious investors, but the managers have a dizzying $2.5 trillion to play with. The Federal Reserve is raising concerns that they’re driving way too fast.
Warren Buffett isn't too old to try something new. His Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate is buying back an unlimited amount of both classes of shares, at up to a 10 percent premium over book value. Investors like to copy what Buffett does, but stock repurchases are best left to the Oracle of Omaha.