Credit Suisse faces shareholder revolt; Scottish insurer lampooned over new name

Receiving Wide Coverage …

Shareholder revolt

Top shareholders of Credit Suisse are planning to vote against reelecting key board members at this Friday’s annual meeting, “a broadside against the bank’s leadership following a $5.5 billion loss from hedge fund Archegos Capital Management,” The Wall Street Journal reported. Several big investors “said they would vote against the reappointment of Andreas Gottschling, chairman of the bank’s risk committee,” while “Norges, an arm of Norway’s central bank that runs its sovereign oil fund, said it would also oppose re-electing the lead independent director Severin Schwan and Richard Meddings, a veteran British banker who is overseeing investigations into Archegos and Greensill.”

Separately, Goldman Sachs, which said it lost an “immaterial” amount of money in the Archegos collapse, is “monitoring the total amount of loans borrowed on margin,” President and COO John Waldron said Monday, according to Reuters.

“That’s an extraordinary (level) of margin debt,” Waldron said, referring to the industrywide total of about $800 billion, “a roughly $300-billion increase over the past year.” “We’re watching that carefully,” he said.

On Tuesday UBS disclosed that it lost $774 million from Archegos while Japan’s Nomura raised its total losses to $2.85 billion, up from an original $2 billion, the Journal reported. Financial Times

Profit surge

HSBC said its first-quarter profit more than doubled to $3.88 billion from $1.79 billion in the year-earlier period, The Wall Street Journal reported. Financial Times

Can I buy a vowel?

The Scottish insurance company Standard Life Aberdeen “is changing its name to Abrdn, a step the fund manager insisted would create ‘a highly differentiated brand’ after several difficult years following its 2017 merger,” the Financial Times reported. “The new name, pronounced Aberdeen, will create a ‘modern, agile, digitally enabled brand,’ the company said.”

“The name change was widely mocked online, with more than 400 comments posted on the FT website, many ridiculing the rebranding. Several asked if the Abrdn name was a late April Fool joke.”

“Abrdn’s rebrand, which comes after the fund manager was hit by a 17% fall in full-year profits and the loss of its crown as the U.K.’s largest listed investment house, reflects the ‘clarity of focus’ of the new company’s leadership team, according to newly installed CEO Stephen Bird,” the FT said. “Abrdn’s rebranding isan apparently serious switch that has gone down poorly, placing it at risk of joining the category of brand changes that do not stick.”

“The company, with roots that stretch back to 1825, said the move is meant to standardize branding among its multiple businesses and form part of its efforts to be modern and agile,” the Journal said. “Among the problems it was trying to solve stem from trademark law, which put off limits the generic Aberdeen, the Scottish city where one arm of the company was founded in 1983. Another was a more modern conundrum, which was how to get the firm to appear more prominently in search results. The firm’s website ranks in 35th position for the keyword ‘Aberdeen’ in the U.K., which might scarcely exist as far as Google is concerned.”

Wall Street Journal

Soccer and supremacy

JPMorgan Chase’s “role as the money behind the defunct soccer Super League in Europe shows the growing prominence of U.S. banks in the region’s economy, including the continent’s most beloved sport. The move on European soccer is an extension of the growing dominance of American banks over their local banking rivals advising Europe Inc. Europe’s top five investment banks by revenue are U.S.-based.”

New York Times


“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gone from curiosity to punchline to viable investment. They have made a lot of people very rich — making the entire category harder than ever to ignore,” the Times says. “All the while, the true believers and veterans of the 12-year-old digital currency industry insist that the underlying tech is real and transformative and finally — finally! — ready to upend nothing less than the global financial system and internet as we know it.”

Yet even the Federal Reserve is still “trying to get its head around digital currency,” especially one that might be issued by the central bank.

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