Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Barclays CEO resigns after rigged-rate scandal

Welcome to the morning roundup. Here's a look at today's banking and finance news.

Barclays. Barclays CEO Robert Diamond has resigned after the British bank agreed to a multimillion-dollar fine to settle findings that it had tried to rig benchmark interest rates. The Associated Press writes that in the days since the bank was fined more than $450 million, its CEO "came to symbolize everything wrong with international banking."

JPM. Current and former brokers at JPMorgan Chase & Co. said the bank emphasized its sales over its clients' needs, the New York Times reports. The financial advisers said they were encouraged to push JPMorgan's own products even when competitors had better-performing or cheaper options.

BlackRock acquisition. Asset manager BlackRock Inc. will buy Swiss Re Ltd.'s Private Equity Partners AG to extend its investments into infrastructure, Bloomberg reports. Swiss Re's $7.5 billion European PE and infrastructure unit will be integrated with BlackRock's existing business. BlackRock was once part of Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. The bank shed its stake in the firm as it worked to streamline operations and sell off non-core businesses.

Housing market. Private equity firm Blackstone Group has spent more than $250 million this year buying foreclosed homes with the intention of renting them out, people with knowledge of the effort told Bloomberg. The goal is to acquire enough assets to take public as a real estate investment trust or sell to another company, the sources said.

Stocks flat. U.S. stocks opened flat this morning ahead of the Independence Day holiday, Reuters writes.