• Two More Black Eyes for Private Equity

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    Is the PE industry any more ethical than the universal banks?

    Ever since Mitt Romney failed to make the economic case for private equity during the last presidential campaign, PE’s public image has been battered even further.

    Last year, seven of the leading PE firms in the U.S. paid almost $600 million to settle a class action lawsuit claiming they had rigged the bids in 19 leveraged buyouts between 2003 and 2007 and cheated target company shareholders out of fair market prices for their stockholdings.

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    Back to Basics for Insider Trading

    Who cares whether the original tipper got a quid pro quo?

    Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson –hedge fund portfolio managers whose 2008 convictions and prison sentences1 for insider trading were just vacated by the Second Circuit Court in New York — can thank a Wall Street insurance analyst by the name of Raymond Dirks for their new-found innocence and freedom.

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    Hedge Funds in the Doldrums

    The deflating effects of underperformance and overregulation

    Warren Buffet’s wager with Protégé Partners epitomizes the gloom hovering over the hedge fund industry.  In 2008, the Oracle of Omaha bet the New York-based fund-of-funds $1 million that index funds would outperform hedge funds over the next 10 years. 

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    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.    

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    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.  

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    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.   

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    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. 

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    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. 

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    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.