Wednesday 10th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: KPMG has appointed Adrian Stone as its UK head of audit with immediate effect, succeeding Tony Cates who now leads KPMG's international markets and government practice. Stone joined KPMG's Sheffield office in 1984 and has been an audit partner since 1997. He previously held several senior roles in KPMG's audit practice including head of audit for the north of England and Scotland, chief operating officer for the UK audit practice, head of internal audit and head of KPMG's department of professional practice. He has been KPMG's interim head of audit since November last year - Bridge Bank says it has provided faith based Spark Networks with a $10m revolving credit facility - BNP Paribas Securities Services has been appointed by Sampo Group, the Finnish financial services group, to provide global custody and settlement services for Sampo’s €25bn of insurance assets held globally - Saudi Arabia is reportedly reconsidering the requirement for foreign companies setting up in the country to have a local partner. A committee led by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Labour, will look at ways to spur additional inward investment into the realm, according to newspaper Asharq Al Awsat. The committee is expected to ease the bureaucratic barriers for foreign firms that want access to the Saudi Arabian economy. Foreign direct investment is vital as the kingdom looks to make up foreign exchange losses and balance its $98bn budget deficit – European president Donald Tusk met with Georgian premier Giorgi Kvirikashvili today. Discussion focused on continued reforms of the Georgian judiciary, rule of law and human rights are important priorities and I underlined the EU's readiness to assist. It is crucial that criminal investigations and prosecutions be evidence-based, transparent and impartial, in line with the commitments of the Association Agreement. “I share Georgia's concerns about the continued implementation of the so-called “treaties" between Russia and Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I saw for myself the situation at the administrative boundary line, including the "borderisation" [sic] process, during my last visit to Georgia,” said Tusk following the meeting. The European Union will continue to give its firm support for the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.” - February 9th 2016: The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) at its meeting today confirmed the appointment of Małgorzata Zaleska as President of the Management Board of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, following her appointment as president on January 12th. Zaleska is the director of the Institute of Banking, Warsaw School of Economics; the Chairperson of the Committee of Finance Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences; a member of the NBP Economic Research Committee; a member of the Central Commission for Degrees in Finance – Today’s equity markets tell a tale of fears of a global slowdown with even the US considered a candidate for recession. The US session yesterday was not pretty, with the S&P500 down 1.42%. The index has lost around 9% of its value this year and is now 13% below the nominal high that it reached last year. The DJIA was down 1.1% and Nasdaq100 fell 1.59%. The Nasdaq100 is now 17.92% below the nominal high that it reached last year. Swissquote says: “The sentiment is risk-off at the moment, with gold reaching $1,200 for the first time since June. Gold’s bullish momentum continues yet commodity linked currencies such as the AUD and NZD failed to gain the advantage as outside precious metals and other commodities broadly fell. In particular, WTI Crude is now back around below $30 a barrel over continued oversupply concerns. Markets are now fearing that this period of lingering low oil prices could last a long time”. – In the Asian session Japanese stocks fell more than 5% and the yield on the benchmark government bond dropped into negative territory for the first time. The decision by the Bank of Japan to introduce negative interest rates looks to have pushed down yields for both short and longer termed bonds. In afternoon trading in the Asian session, the benchmark 10-year government bond was yielding minus 0.025; in other words, investors were willing to lend the over-indebted Japanese government money for 10 years and get back less than they put in. Remember that Japanese sovereign debt is more than double the country’s GDP. The question is now, how far down can yields go? Moreover, when will central banks stop flirting with negative interest rates. It is a dangerous policy. The stock market took the brunt of investor fears today, as the Nikkei Stock Average closed y down 5.4%, falling 918.86 points to finish at 16,085.44. This is a sizeable drop and the largest one-day fall for about two and a half years. Yet again, the yen did well, rising against the US dollar to 114.80. Financial shares took the brunt of today’s pain with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MTU) shares closing down 8.7%, and Nomura Holdings losing 9.1%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended the session 2.9% lower, and New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was down 1.3%. India's Sensex was 1.2% lower. Chinese, Singapore and Korean markets are closed today. In Europe, equity futures are mixed. The CAC40 has dropped 0.22%, the DAX is down 0.21% while the FTSE100 is unchanged, but there’s still half a day’s trading to go.

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Lessons from an Industry Titan: Jamie Dimon’s Testimony

Friday, 15 June 2012 Written by 
Lessons from an Industry Titan: Jamie Dimon’s Testimony This week, J.P. Morgan Chase’s CEO, the highly regarded Jamie Dimon, testified before the US Senate banking committee regarding the failures of its Chief Investment Office (CIO), the group responsible for certain well-publicized losses. We thought his testimony provided more than a few lessons on governance matters and the state of the world generally. Here they are: http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

This week, J.P. Morgan Chase’s CEO, the highly regarded Jamie Dimon, testified before the US Senate banking committee regarding the failures of its Chief Investment Office (CIO), the group responsible for certain well-publicized losses. We thought his testimony provided more than a few lessons on governance matters and the state of the world generally. Here they are:

"[W]e are still reviewing the facts...”

Lesson: Never speak out publicly in a definitive way until you fully know the facts.  You will not fully know the facts for months.



"...I will explain everything I can to the extent possible."

Lesson: Even for Dimon, transparency matters.

"CIO's strategy...was poorly conceived and vetted.  The strategy was not carefully analyzed or subjected to rigorous stress testing.... CIO's traders did not have the requisite understanding of the risks they took.”

Lesson: Didn’t we learn this lesson in 2008? Back then we learned that some strategies had assumptions that seemed poorly founded in retrospect. This was particularly true about the behavior of the mortgage markets and their derivatives.  Guess the lesson is that most people never learn this lesson. Before a system or strategy is implemented, and periodically thereafter, management (including the board) should ask the probing questions. Make no assumptions on this score.

"Personnel in key control roles in CIO were in transition and risk control functions were generally ineffective in challenging the judgment of CIO's trading personnel.”

Lesson: The press reported that the CIO’s then-current chief risk officer began to internally express his concerns about London office trading strategies last year. This past January, he was replaced as the head of risk by a former trader who, at least according to the press reports, had no prior risk management experience. This lesson relates to human nature: it's very hard to appreciate someone who has a different point of view. Watch out – he may be right.

"Risk Committee structures and processes in CIO were not as formal or robust as they should have been.”

Lesson: Assessments have to be substantive, robust, and “real”, and be tested and documented regularly as assumptions and/or reality changes. Structure, process and formality may not protect you from all losses, but they can provide a protective shield that will hopefully mitigate them. Be sure to build your protective shield. 

 

Deborah Prutzman

Deborah Prutzman is the founder and CEO of The Regulatory Fundamentals Group (RFG), a New York-based firm that designs and implements business and risk solutions for alternative asset managers and institutional investors. RFG's senior-led team employs a robust suite of tools, including practical alerts on new and potential industry developments and its powerful RFG Pathfinder® knowledge management platform which simplifies the challenges of operating in a regulated environment.  To learn more about The Regulatory Fundamentals Group call (212) 537-4058, email a representative at Information@RegFG.com or visit RegFG.com

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