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HBO nails startup life
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>HBO's "Silicon Valley" is the most realistic TV or movie portrayal of the tech world in Silicon Valley according to entrepreneur and executives, reports The Atlantic. But outside of the blatant look at tech life, "Game of Thrones" and "Gossip Girl" are better at displaying the cutthroat behavior, misogyny, and power struggles that define the industry, insiders say. Ouch.<br /> Photo: SUB SONIX</p>
Is Goldman making a statement by firing cheating junior executives?
Capital Markets
<p>Perhaps most surprising about last week’s news that 20 Goldman Sachs analysts were dismissed from the elite banking organization for cheating was how easy it was for test administrators to catch the offenders — highlighting the fact that those cheating should have known their unsophisticated search tactics could be so easily tracked.</p> <p>Presumably tech savvy millennial Goldman Sachs recruits used traceable company computers to cheat on tests</p> <p>Goldman Sachs is more often than not the subtle bank that, on a relative basis, keeps its head above water out of the fray. It is perhaps for this reason that when Bloomberg News first reported that 20 entry level analysts were caught cheating on a basic exam, people took notice. Cheating on this exam was a practice Bloomberg reporter Sofia Horta E Costa had said in a broadcast interview occurred in the past across Wall Street without punishment, hence a degree of surprise. When Business Insider’s Julia La Roche reported Monday that the cheating was relatively easily to detect – Google searching for test answers on Goldman Sachs-controlled computers – it appeared that the assumed generally tech savvy millennial audience didn’t think much about the possibility of getting caught or being investigated. In fact, La Roche’s article contains statements that indicate dismay and incredulity that they would be held accountable for cheating on such an insignificant test. In other words, the “best and brightest” on Wall Street were surprised to have beeninvestigated and then dismissed for cheating in this particular instance. Had they assumed they would be monitored and investigated for cheating on the relatively inconsequential test one might expect their behavior to have changed.</p> <p>But is the cheating scandal and more specifically Goldman’s punishment for unethical behavior a sign of the times?<br /> History of Wall Street cheating from money laundering to inconsequential exams<br /> From 2008 onward, it can be documented that in the real world, large bank executives benefited from having investigations blocked and generally avoided consequence from what were illegal actions. Both the CBS News program 60 Minutes and PBS Frontline documented investigations into fraud surrounding the 2008 mortgage crisis had been blocked, and charges ranging from market manipulation to money laundering for terrorist organizations and drug cartels resulted in fines being paid generally by shareholders rather than punishment assigned to individual corporate executives. Just like the test cheaters, it can be argued that among some in the banking elite the very thought of being investigated for criminal behavior was incredulous.<br /> When the bank executives essentially operated without being held accountable for their actions, wha</p>
Tiger founder gives $3.5M to UNC
Lifestyle
<p>Hedge fund legend and billionaire Julian Robertson has donated $3.5 million to UNC-Chapel Hill.</p> <p>Robertson, chairman and general partner of Tiger Management, is a 1955 UNC graduate, reports the Triangle Business Journal. The school says his donation will be reinvested in academics. Robertson has been a steady giver to UNC, creating a scholarship program in 2000 with a $24 million gift.<br /> Photo: Evonne</p>
ECB defends QE plan
Capital Markets
<p>Christian Noyer, a senior European Central Bank Council member, says that the quantitative easing program was "well calibrated" and doesn't need adjustment, reports Reuters. Analysts on the other hand are skeptical that the QE was implemented at the right time, and doesn't need some fine tuning. Looks like the game of "Central Bank wait-and-see" continues.<br /> Photo: jam_90s </p>
Charles Schwab continues ETF ascent
Asset Management
<p>Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) was a late entrant to the exchange traded funds business, debuting its first ETFs six years ago, but the California-based brokerage giant is making up for lost time.</p> <p>At the end of the third quarter, ETF assets custodied at Schwab climbed 10 percent on a year-over-year basis to $237 billion, according to Schwab Third-Quarter Snapshot. Bond funds have been prolific asset gatherers this year with fixed income ETFs listed around the world now home to combined $500 billion in assets under management. Schwab is getting a piece of that action as more than half of the company's third-quarter ETF inflows went into bond funds with a third going into U.S. equity products, according to Schwab data.</p> <p>“RIA Clients captured 49% of the 12-month ETF flows, up from ...</p> <p>Full story available on Benzinga.com<br /> Photo: Got Credit</p>
Dodgy bitcoin rustling DEA gets over 6 years
FinTech
<p>Another Bitcoin case has come to a close and another name has been added to the crytopocurrency's hall of infamy: Carl Force. The dodgy DEA agent – whose nefarious misdealings during the Silk Road investigation were uncovered earlier this year – has been sentenced to 78 months in prison.</p> <p>Reuters reports that Force 'fessed up to charges of extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said the scope of his betrayal was "breathtaking."</p> <p>Force was part of the team looking into Silk Road, the shady darknet drug marketplace that was shut down in October 2013,</p> <p>He told the judge:  "I'm sorry, I lost it and I don't understand a lot of it." When it comes to bitcoin he is probably not the only one. Which is why it's more than likely we see a few more scandals on the horizon.<br /> Photo: Vincent Diamante</p>
Fidelity ramps up expansion efforts in Shanghai
Asset Management
<p>Continuing its drive to expand in the mainland, Boston-based Fidelity announced the establishment of its wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) in Shanghai.</p> <p>The enterprise, according to Pionline, is meant to “facilitate future expansion plans in the world's second-largest economy,” adding that Mark Talbot, the firm’s Asia-Pacific ex-Japan managing director, said that “the WFOE could open the door for Fidelity to offer domestic investment capabilities to local institutional investors the firm already serves for their offshore investment needs.”<br /> “[It] provides us with another channel should we gain approval to offer additional capabilities in the future.”<br /> Fido already has a sizable presence in the region. Aside from its office in Beijing, the investment leviathan also has equity and bond analysts stationed in Shanghai, not to mention an over 350-strong ops team based in Dalian.<br /> Photo: David Almeida</p>
For those of us sick of the squash court, there are alternatives
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>If Saturday morning soccer is getting old, or you are finding the humdrum of Wednesday night squash a little too repetitive, why not try something else?</p> <p>Business Insider has thrown together this intriguing list of sporty pastimes from around the world. Food for thought when organizing that next office team exercise. That said, it will take some convincing to get the finance department to clear that expense claim for half a dozen racing goats.<br /> Photo: Peter Grima</p>
Knight in shining armour: Alibaba's $3.5B bid for Youku Tudou
Venture Capital
<p>It looks like Alibaba could add another string to its bow with a bid to buy US-listed Youku Tudou. For the ailing Chinese video site the timing could not be better.</p> <p>Alibaba says it's offering to pay $26.60 per American depositary share to acquire the 82% it doesn't already own. The offer represents about a 30% premium on Youku Tudou's last closing price prior to the bid going public and values the company at $5.1 billion. Tech Crunch reports that total offering is worth $3.5 billion, when taking the cash already on Youku's book already into account.</p> <p>Its a welcome development for the one-time venture capital-backed Youku which, despite its dominance as China's answer to YouTube, has had a miserable loss-making run on US public markets. Its chairman and CEO Victor Koo has already pledged his shares in support of the deal.</p> <p>Alibaba already holds an 18% stake having made a strategic investment in May 2014. The decision to gobble up the rest may be fairly opportunistic but it's a large leap for Alibaba as it looks to spread its e-commerce empire to include digital content. Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said this:</p> <p>"We believe that the proposed transaction, with tighter integration of our resources, will help Youku achieve exciting growth in the years ahead by leveraging Alibaba's assets in living-room entertainment, e-commerce, advertising and data analytics. Digital products, especially video, are just as important as physical goods in e-commerce."</p> <p>With Baidu’s iQiyi and Tencent’s QQ video services already operating in this space its is yet another front on which the China's internet giants are battling fiercely for dominance.<br /> Photo: Hans Splinter</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Boaz Weinstein is on the warpath
Hedge Funds
<p>In the latest twist on the Saba Capital vs. Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP) saga, Saba’s Boaz Weinstein essentially told Forbes that he’d rather slash his wrists than give PSP a single cent:<br /> “PSP recklessly and maliciously attacked me and my firm. Read our motion to dismiss – it shows that we did absolutely nothing wrong and that is why we will not settle this suit for 1 cent.”<br /> The man has a point though. Taking a quick gander at PSP’s complaint, it seems that the Canadian pension may be making something out of nothing here:<br /> “to calculate the NAV of the Class A shares of the Fund in satisfaction of the pending requests to redeem those shares as of March 31, 2015, defendants deviated from their past practice by using for the first time a different method for valuing the MNI bonds in the Master Fund's portfolio, namely, they used a bids-wanted-in-competition ("BWIC") process that purportedly produced materially depressed bids reflecting a significant liquidity/blockage discount from the values previously assigned by defendants to the Master Fund's holdings of MNI Bonds.”<br /> Given that a) PSP’s supposedly one of Saba’s largest clients (and thus a large chunk of capital) and that b) Saba’s would be selling a big block of bonds into a depressed market, doesn’t this method sound – at least – a rational thing to do?</p> <p>Also, there’s this little nugget from Saba’s motion to dismiss which, if true, might prove to be more than just a pebble in the shoe for PSP:<br /> “the valuation process PSP describes in its complaint is entirely consistent with the governing documents—indeed, they required it under the circumstances. The Investment Manager was not obligated to continue using a valuation methodology under conditions in which it did not generate reasonable, reliable and accurate valuations for the bonds at issue. Saba turned to a methodology that did achieve such valuations. In any event, PSP cannot sue the Fund itself for breach of contract, because the governing documents demonstrate that the Fund plays no role whatsoever in the determination of the NAV.”<br /> This thing could go a long way though, so stay tuned.<br /> Photo: Andy Maguire</p>