Top BrokerDealer’s Babble Takes on Bloomberg Chat

babbleGoldman Sachs, the brokerdealer world’s most iconic investment bank is developing its own instant messaging service that could be used as an alternative to Instant Bloomberg, the chat tool contained in Bloomberg terminals. The project, nicknamed “Babble,” appears the brainchild of Goldman Sachs but won’t be exclusive to just one bank, according to CNBC. Rivals including J.P. Morgan are also said to be involved.

Banks have plenty of reason to run their own instant messaging services. First, there is the relationship with Bloomberg, which was forced to apologize after granting reporters access to client information stored in Bloomberg terminals. But CNBC says that the main reason for the move isn’t a lack of trust between the two firms or any particular security concerns. Rather, it’s a money and an integration issue. Bloomberg terminal leases cost upwards of $20,000. Plus, Babble is being designed so that it can be integrated with other tools that banks and clients can share, according to the report.

“It will be interesting to see how much a fully-functioning chat alternative would affect Bloomberg. As of last year, Bloomberg’s flagship terminal business accounted for 85% of the company’s revenue, though the firm is actively trying to diversify its business. Still, chat functionality isn’t the only use for the terminals, obviously. Wall Street has been trying to wean themselves off Bloomberg terminals for a while now. Would a chat replacement really be a deathblow? Unlikely. But who knows – maybe it will give banks a bit more leverage in negotiations.”

Fidelity Investments Partners With BrokerDealer Credit Suisse for IPO Deal Flow

Fidelity Investments and investment banker/brokerdealer Credit Suisse have formed a partnership that gives Fidelity’s retail brokerage clients access to participate in initial public offerings and follow-on equity offering underwritten by Credit Suisse. The partnership opens up IPO investing for customers of Fidelity’s registered investment advisor (RIA) network, its family office clients and its retail brokerage customers who qualify.

For Credit Suisse, the arrangement opens up its potential investor base to a wide arena of new customers. “It gives us the ability to distribute shares into the mass market that we didn’t have before,” David Hermer, Credit Suisse’s head of equity capital markets for the Americas, told New York Times DealBook.

About 232 companies have gone public so far this year, nearly 79 percent more compared with those in the period a year earlier, according to data from Renaissance Capital. By Mr. Hermer’s reckoning, the I.P.O. surge is still only in its early stages.

Credit Suisse completed 63 book-run IPOs in the first half of 2014, its most active half-year period on record. For that period, Credit Suisse ranks number two for IPOs in the U.S. and in the EMEA area–Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Looking ahead, Credit Suisse is working on several high-profile deals, including the much-anticipated IPO for Chinese internet company Alibaba.

And, the thinking goes, the more companies that Credit Suisse helps take public, the more that Fidelity customers benefit. The IPO participation is open to Fidelity investors with a minimum of $500,000 in retail assets.

Accredited Investor Rule Subject To Change Thanks to Crowdfunding and JOBS Act blog update courtesy of extract from

FINALTERNATIVESThe Securities and Exchange Commission is considering changes to its 30-year-old definition of “accredited investor” that could have serious implications for the crowdfunding industry.

Accredited investors are permitted to participate in private securities placements, and since the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012 opened the door to general solicitation for investors, many have been finding those opportunities through crowdfunding platforms.

The current definition of an accredited investor, written in 1982, says it is a person with earned income in excess of $200,000 (or $300,000 with a spouse) in each of the prior two years or one with a net worth over $1 million (alone or with a spouse), excluding the value of his/her primary residence.

Those pushing for change say the income thresholds have not been updated for inflation—that in today’s dollars, $200,000 and $300,000 would be $500,000 and $700,000.

But critics, like Brendan Ross, president of Direct Lending Investments, say such a change would halve the number of accredited households in the U.S., which today make up, by the SEC’s own calculations, 7.4% of all households.

Ross, who manages a short-term, high-yield small business loan fund, told FINalternatives that as regulators “become more educated on the implications of such a change, they will be less likely to move forward.”

“This would negatively impact the investment management industry as the number of accredited investors would sharply decrease. It’s unlikely that the SEC would want to impinge upon the private placement industry, which is the source of most financial innovation. Value investing, small companies, emerging markets, commodity funds, and REITs all started with accredited investors putting money into private placement vehicles, which then evolved into mutual funds.”


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BrokerDealer Icon “Ace” Greenberg; Frmr Bear Stearns Chief is Dead

Courtesy of AP

Courtesy of AP blog post courtesy of extract from Bloomberg LP

July 25- Alan C. “Ace” Greenberg, who as chief executive officer of Bear Stearns Cos. transformed a small bond shop into the fifth-largest U.S. securities firm before it collapsed in 2008 in one of the key events of the global credit crisis, has died. He was 86.

He died Friday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York of complications from cancer, his son, Ted Greenberg, said in an e-mail.

An amateur magician and bridge player, Mr. Greenberg took over New York-based Bear Stearns in 1978, when it was a private partnership with about 1,000 employees and $46 million in capital. He expanded shareholders’ equity to $1.8 billion and headcount reached 6,300 by 1993, when he handed power to James “Jimmy” Cayne, himself a one-time professional bridge player. Mr. Greenberg stayed on with Bear Stearns as an equities trader.

The forced sale of 85-year-old Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in March 2008 followed a bank run by clients that left Bear Stearns on the brink of bankruptcy. The firm’s troubles traced to 2007, when two of its hedge funds tied to the real estate market collapsed. In a 2010 book, Mr. Greenberg said the run on Bear Stearns in 2008 stemmed from “a groundless rumor” that it had a liquidity problem at a time when it had $18 billion in cash reserves.

Chairman emeritus

On March 16, 2008, JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon agreed to buy Bear Stearns for $2 per share, later raised to $10. The stock had traded at $172 in January 2007. After the sale, Mr. Greenberg became vice chairman emeritus of JPMorgan.

“It’s hard to imagine a financial services industry without Ace,” Mr. Dimon and the firm’s head of asset management, Mary Erdoes, said Friday in a memo to employees.

Facebook, Inc. $FB Founder Mark Zuckerberg Now Worth $33 Billion as Shares Surge

Mark Zuckerberg is now richer than Google Inc. co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, despite the company’s contentious IPO just 2 years ago with lead investment banker and brokerdealer Morgan Stanley.

According to Bloomberg, the Facebook Inc. chairman has added $2 billion (USD1.6 billion) to his fortune after the world’s largest social network closed at a record $74.98, and a rose further to $75.07 in after-hours trading.

The stock surge has pushed Zuckerberg’s net worth to $33.3 billion, taking him past Brin, 40, and Page, 41.

He has also surpassed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, 50, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The index ranks Zuckerberg at No. 16 now with the Google founders at 17th and 18th respectively. Bezos occupies the 20th spot.

“He’s just getting started,” David Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect,” told Bloomberg in a telephone interview. “He’s going to become the richest person on the planet.”