These are stories Report on Business is following Friday, May 16, 2014.
The polite Canadian
The Financial Times points out that Colin Fan is a Canadian, as though that says it all.
It’s right there in the fifth paragraph of a story that’s making waves today – and prompting jokes across Twitter - as Mr. Fan tries to tame some boastful, raunchy traders at Deutsche Bank.
The Financial Times got it hands on an internal video that Mr. Fan, the co-chief of Deutsche Bank’s investment arm, sent to his troops warning them to watch their language and their discretion in this era of heightened regulatory scrutiny.
“Some of you are falling way short of our established standards,” Mr. Fan is seen as saying on the video.
“Let’s be clear: Our reputation is everything. Being boastful, indiscreet and vulgar is not okay,” he warns.
“It will have serious consequences for your career. And I have lost patience on this issue.”
Mr. Fan, once named by Fortune as part of its “40 under 40” group, notes that “all your communications” may be reviewed given the regulatory scrutiny.
And that, he says, “includes your e-mails, your conversations and your conduct.”
This is far from the first time that the comments of traders have been the stuff of legend, in some cases catching the eye of regulators.
A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive, for example, famously wrote in The New York Times about the bank’s culture, and how clients were at times referred to as “muppets” by some managing directors.
It was Goldman, too, that several years ago, after some internal messages were made public, warned employees not to swear in e-mail communications. (Or, for that matter, use ****.)
As for Mr. Fan, who was schooled at Harvard and moved up the ladder at Deutsche Bank, he’s being touted as a possible CEO.
Here’s what The Wall Street Journal said about him in 2011: “The Chinese-born Canadian is known for helping to clean up the bank’s credit-markets business after the financial crisis and for leading a push to provide services to emerging markets in their home countries.”
For me, it’s amusing to see how some people portray Canadians: Either we’re hosers or the most polite folks in the world. CNN, for example, recently took a look at us, citing a study that showed “90 per cent of Canadians aged 18-25 apologize if a stranger bumps into them.”
And it was earlier this year that the assistant editor of the Financial Times wrote that Mark Carney, the former Bank of Canada governor who’s now chief of the Bank of England had brought a new air to the Old Lady of Threadneedle. The piece was headlined A breath of Canadian air freshens fusty Britain.
Mr. Fan’s mantra, by the way, according to Fortune, is that “fortune favours the bold.”
But not the vulgar.
- See the video (subscription)
- Mark Carney brought a ‘Canadian feel-good effect’ to ‘fusty’ Britain: Financial Times
- ‘Branding’ Canada: Yoga pants, potash and the quaint town of Dildo
- Official slams Goldman Sachs as he quits: ‘Toxic’ culture, clients as ‘muppets’
- They’re not LOL-ing at Goldman
Investors are in a downbeat mood again this morning as they try to make sense of the global economy.
Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 1.4 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.1 per cent.
In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX were down by between 0.1 per cent and 0.4 per cent by about 8:45 a.m. ET, while the Paris CAC 40 was flat.
“Global equity markets remain mired in red overnight with the move away from risk continuing to support the bond market rally into the end of the week,” said Carl Campus of BMO Nesbitt Burns.
“Though there weren’t many major overseas developments on Friday, financial markets are clearly still skittish from the lack of positive catalysts this week … and as the situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, with little sign that a peaceful resolution can be achieved ahead of the planned May 25 presidential elections and U.S. and Europe mulling further sanctions.”
Abbott to buy CFR
Today brings another big deal in the rapidly-consolidating drug industry.
Abbott Laboratories unveiled a $2.9-billion (U.S.) deal for CFR Pharmaceuticals, a Latin American pharmaceutical group, that would see the American company buy its target’s parent and bid for the rest.
"With its scale and leadership positions in the region, strong commercial and development organizations, well-respected leadership team and a trusted portfolio of recognized brands, CFR is one of the leading branded generic companies in Latin America," said Abbott chief executive officer Miles White.
- David Parkinson in ROB Insight (for subscribers): Pharma's new math: Less R&D, more M&A
- A look at the M&A frenzy in global health care
Darden sells Red Lobster
Darden Restaurants Inc. is selling Red Lobster amid a push by some shareholders to stir up the pot.
The U.S. chain has already said it would sell or spin off the seafood restaurant group, though The Wall Street Journal reports some investors had wanted a broader move.
Darden is selling Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1-billion in cash.
Streetwise (for subscribers)
ROB Insight (for subscribers)
- U.S. housing starts up sharply, permits highest since 2008
- Onex swings to profit, hikes dividend
- Wells Fargo sets up in Aberdeen as part of U.K. expansion
- French economy minister talks tough on foreign takeovers