11 Top Financial Stock Stories of the Week: Wells Fargo, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, and More
Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s top financial industry business headlines:
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC)
On Tuesday, the firm announced a quarterly common stock dividend of $.25 per share, marking a rise of 3 cents, or 14 percent, per share from the third quarter. The dividend is payable March 1st, to stockholders of record on February 1st, as approved by the Wells Fargo board of directors the firm has approximately 5.3 billion shares outstanding.
Wells Fargo has been charged in a lawsuit brought by the German state-owned bank WestLB. Allegations include the mishandling the investments of a collateralized-debt obligations vehicle that was created by the plaintiff which was bailed out and dissolved subsequent to the 2008 financial crisis. A public agency in Germany, Erste Abwicklungsanstalt, formed to take over and wind up WestLB’s assets. House of Europe Funding I, a CDO issuer based in the Cayman Islands, filed a complaint Wednesday in a Manhattan federal court that accuses Wells Fargo, as trustee and collateral administrator, and Collineo Asset Management of “rampant mismanagement” and “flagrant disregard” by investing more of the funds raised by House of Europe Funding I in other CDOs than were permitted.
The United Kingdom’s number-two bank, has begun consultations with 9,000 domestic employees as it gets ready to slash jobs at its investment bank. On Tuesday, the firm sent a memorandum to employees, described by a spokesperson as an “exercise being carried out so that we can start to effect some of the strategic changes.” The results will be announced on February 12th. Chief Executive Antony Jenkins is remaking the culture at the bank and concentrating on more profitable businesses in the face of tougher capital requirements and banking scandals.
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Invesco Mortgage Capital (NYSE:IVR)
Invesco said Tuesday that it will make a public offering of 15 million shares of its common stock, and will allow the underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 2.25 million shares. The underwriters are permitted offer the common stock periodically in one or more transactions in the over-the-counter market, or through negotiated transactions at market prices or at negotiated prices. The firm will use the net proceeds to make additional purchases of residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities and mortgage loans, on a leveraged basis, and also for other general corporate purposes.
Legg Mason (NYSE:LM)
In a Tuesday securities filing, the asset manager Legg Mason reported that it would take pretax charges of $734 million in the most recent quarter, in line with its prior estimate, to account for factors including writing down asset values, and uncertainly around its stock price and the search for a new chief executive. Earlier in January, Reuters reported that the firm had been approached by some of its senior managers and private equity firms, in regards to plans to take it private, which option its board rejected at least until it finds a new chief executive.
Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NYSE:NSM)
The firm has priced a securitization from its special purpose vehicle Nationstar Agency Advance Funding Trust at approximately $900 million in mortgage servicer advance receivable-backed notes. The Trust’s note issuance is an asset-backed securitization of servicer advance receivables made on-backed residential loans backed by Freddie Mac, and the series notes are backed servicing fee advance receivables.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)
JPMorgan’s Co-Chief Control Officer Cindy Armine will supplant Martha Gallo as its global head of compliance, says The Financial Times. Gallo has been the firm’s compliance chief for more than two years, and will remain with the bank.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)
As a result of an impressive fourth quarter from its wealth-management division, Morgan Stanley will spend in excess of $500 million during the next 18 months in improving computer systems for the 16,780 financial advisers and support staff who work in its brokerage joint venture with Citigroup. President Gregory Fleming commented in a memo to all Morgan Stanley Wealth Management employees on Wednesday, seen by Dow Jones Newswires, that his company plans to make tech investments “above and beyond basic running costs” in order to “ensure and accelerate the improvement of our platform’s stability and functionality.”
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Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS)
A large shareholder, CtW Investment Group, sent a letter to the firm on December 13th, calling on the board to adopt an independent chairman. CtW works with pensions sponsored by a group of unions, with 5.5 million members and $200 billion in assets. Goldman is now attempting to keep the proposal off the proxy ballot, following an endeavor in 2012 against a like proposal by a different activist group that resulted in the company naming a lead outside director.
The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX)
Blackstone has announced a partnership with a management team, led by the former Executive Chairman at Element Power and former head of Iberdrola Renewables Pedro Barriuso, through which to form Fisterra Energy, a firm owned by funds managed by Blackstone on behalf of its private equity investors. The new company’s primary concentration will be to identify, develop, finance, construct and operate large scale independent power projects in markets seeing capacity or transmission shortfalls, with a focus in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Home Loan Servicing Solutions (HLSS)
The firm sees Eagle Asset Management take a 10.94 percent interest, by its now holding a bit over 1.5 million shares. Data from a 13-G filing by HLSS on Wednesday.
On Thursday, KeyCorp shareholders were disappointed as the Cleveland-based bank posted an unanticipated jump in expenses during the fourth quarter during the previous three months. Along with other banks trimming costs to outweigh the pressure on revenue from falling interest rates, KeyCorp has been doing the same, but it has also said that it will continue to invest in future growth, so it might take until the second half for expenses to start decreasing. Expenses increased by 5.4 percent year-over-year, and 3 percent from the third quarter to $756 million, while revenue rose by 9.8 percent to $1.1 billion for the same period but fell 4.4 percent from the third quarter.