Our take on the investing, financial, & economic themes of the day

Why We Sold Wells Fargo

19 October, 2016 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Below is an excerpt from our sell report for Wells Fargo.  Many commentators have missed the real significance of the bank scandal, we think, which is about managerial negligence and a weak commitment to its fiduciary obligations to the shareholder owners of the bank.  Wells Fargo’s ... read more...

Britain’s fortunes

28 June, 2016 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
One fact that complicates my previous argument about Britain’s fortunes, post-Brexit, is the comparative underperformance of the FTSE 250, which tracks mid-cap companies.  Such mid-caps are typically less globally oriented, compared to the larger companies in the FTSE 100.  As the WSJ ... read more...

The Decline of Community Banks

23 June, 2015 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
The Wall Street Journal reports today on a partnership between the online consumer lending start-up Lending Club and 200 community banks around the country.  The statistic in the article that struck me was this: Community banks—those with less than $10 billion in assets—made slightly more than ... read more...

On the (Predicted) Decline of Banks

26 August, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Silicon Valley is trying to eat JP Morgan’s lunch.  That’s the way JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon put it a few months ago.  He was referring to the hot sector of the technology industry profiled recently in an opinion column by journalist Gillian Tett (Financial Times, “Upstarts ... read more...

For Big Banks, $100bn in Government Fines is a Small Price to Pay for $590bn in Government Subsidies

1 April, 2014 by Matthew O'Brien, Ph.D. in Commentary
Earlier this week the Financial Times tallied up how much Wall Street banks and their foreign rivals have have paid in fines since the financial crisis.  The total is about $100 billion.  In this chart the FT lists the top four banks in terms of fines paid: $100 billion is a lot of money. ... read more...