• Liberating the Board of Directors


    Giving non-executives ultimate authority . . . and then holding them accountable

    In five years – maybe sooner — Boards of Directors in the US are going to govern their companies much more freely than they do now.    

    Today, more than half the companies in the S&P 500 combine the roles of Chairman and CEO.  When those two positions are held by the same person, the CEO listens only to himself.  He also basically gets to handpick all the other members of the board and senior management.


    Rebalancing Bonuses, for Goodness Sake

    Now where are the ‘animal spirits’ going to go?

    Deutsche Bank just took its most daring step yet to reprogram its workforce.  It adopted a policy denying the bank’s top-performing traders plum promotions and fat bonuses if they’re deemed to be “disruptive” or non-team players.  


    Why Sukuk Are Catching On

    Publicly-beneficial financings with predictable revenues and profit potential

    This June, the UK became the first non-Muslim sovereign to issue sukuk and, later this month, South Africa will become the second.   Luxembourg and Hong Kong are reportedly soon to follow.   


    Did Bill Ackman Trip over Allergan?

    In amassing his huge stake, he may have stepped into insider trading territory  

    If his death threat against Herbalife wasn’t risky enough, Bill Ackman’s recent hook-up with Michael Pearson of Valeant Pharmaceuticals has turned into an even more precarious campaign. 


    Connecting with an Angel

    Taking a high-potential start-up to the next level

    Angels are investors who finance start-ups after the entrepreneurs have put up their own capital and raised additional funding from so-called friends & family.  Angels only invest in new businesses which they believe can return big numbers. 

    Blood Money

    France’s Very Bad Bank

    Did BNP Paribas get off easy?

    As the most liquid currency on the planet, the American dollar is by far the denomination of choice in international trade.1  Those who can’t access it are effectively barred from global commerce.

    Businessman in big problem(special photo f/x)

    Lifting the Lid on Private Equity

    Who knew what PE managers were hiding from their investors?

    Are private equity documents so opaque that even sophisticated investors couldn’t possibly figure out how much PE firms actually earn (or save) from their portfolio companies?

    Themis 3391

    The Curious Case of Jérôme Kerviel

    Whose fault is it when your job is to make as much money as possible?

    Back in 2008, it certainly looked as if rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel was acting alone.

    He had built up derivative positions in the astronomic amount of €50 billion ($68.5 billion) – way beyond his trading limit – and had admittedly concealed them from his employer, Société Générale, by creating fake, offsetting trades in its computer systems.  


    Is Activism Good or Bad?

    It all depends on your investment time horizon . . .

    Statistically, hedge fund activism was off the charts in 2013.  It was the top-performing hedge fund strategy by far and its practitioners won more proxy contests, attracted more capital and targeted bigger fish than ever before.