Tag Archive for ‘Morgan Stanley’
As investors increasingly grapple with how to assess “sustainable” business practices and their impact on corporate performance, a new non-profit organization has launched to develop sustainability accounting standards for use by publicly listed U.S. companies in their disclosure statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Widespread demonstrations in support of Occupy Wall Street have put the financial crisis back into the national spotlight lately. So here’s a quick refresher on what’s happened to some of the main players, whose behavior, whether merely reckless or downright deliberate, helped cause or worsen the meltdown.
Many major banks invest in companies that engage in the environmentally destructive practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, whereby the tops of mountains are removed by explosives to expose thin seams of recoverable coal. Despite some banks’ stated intent to limit such financing, a Sierra Club/Rainforest Action Network “report card” indicates that few are yet walking the talk.
Almost a year ago, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act into law. Now, some emerging roadblocks reinforce a fear that Dodd-Frank, which was intended to touch on almost every aspect of the American financial system, may never provide the sweeping reform it promised.
Cash bonuses paid to New York City securities industry employees declined by nearly 8 percent to $20.8 billion in 2010, as Wall Street firms shifted toward more deferred compensation and higher base salaries, according to an estimate released by the New York State Comptroller. For the average Wall Street worker, however, that still translated into a 2010 cash bonus of $128,530.
Reporter Jesse Eisinger suggests that Goldman Sachs’ announcement last week of a plan to increase transparency and disclosure does not resolve some big questions about the investment banks’ role in financial markets. “Could there be an argument that Goldman should break up into three smaller, more focused companies?” he asks. “It would be better for the financial system, and just might lead to the self-improvement that Goldman is searching for.”
It’s been over three years since credit markets started shaking with the early tremors of the subprime crisis, and two years since that spread into a marketwide collapse. Prosecutors, regulators, Congress and journalists have spent the year uncovering the financial shenanigans that brought the market to its knees. It’s been marked by a few blockbuster settlements and more revealing investigations — as well as by some noticeable inaction in the reckoning.
When President Obama came into power on the heels of the financial crisis, he pledged to beef up the Securities and Exchange Commission, a chief watchdog of Wall Street. But with a strapped budget and the changing political winds in Congress, that plan may come up short.
John Mack, Chairman of investment bank Morgan Stanley, says that in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the number one issue for the financial industry is regulation. “We need to find some link to bring regulators around the world together, and a more systematized way of communicating and understanding risk,” Mack says. “We need to figure out a way that we have a systemic risk manager and make sure they have the resources to understand, monitor and help regulate our industry.”
If you’re one of the many trying to determine where blame might lie for the financial and economic crises of the last two years, John Gillespie and David Zweig would suggest you look in the corporate boardroom. Their new book – “Money for Nothing: How the Failure of Corporate Boards Is Ruining American Business and Costing Us Trillions” – is rich with unfortunate detail.