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Silicon Valley bank parent company seeks bankruptcy protection

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The parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, taken over last week by the US, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The SVB Financial Group, along with its CEO and Chief Financial Officer, came under attack this week. class action it alleges that the company did not disclose the risks of future interest rate hikes to its business.

SVB Financial Group is no longer affiliated with Bank of Silicon Valley after being taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. His collapse was the second largest bank failure in US history after his death. Washington Mutual in 2008.

The bank’s successor, Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, is under FDIC jurisdiction and is not included in the Chapter 11 filing.

“The Chapter 11 process will allow SVB Financial Group to preserve value as it evaluates strategic alternatives for its valuable businesses and assets, especially SVB Capital and SVB Securities,” William Kosturos, chief restructuring officer at SVB Financial Group, said Friday. .

Regulated broker-dealer SVB Securities and venture capital funds, as well as private lending fund platform SVB Capital and its general partner organizations are not included in the Chapter 11 application and continue to operate as usual.

SVB Financial Group’s funded debt is approximately US$3.3 billion in aggregate principal of unsecured notes. There are no claims against SVB Capital or SVB Securities. SVB Financial Group also has $3.7 billion of preferred shares outstanding.

SVB Financial Group estimates that its liquidity is approximately $2.2 billion. The Santa Clara, California-based company said it also has other high-value investment securities accounts and other assets for which it is exploring strategic options.

Closing of Silicon Valley Bank last Friday and New York Branded bench two days later brought back bad memories financial crisis that plunged the US into the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

On weekends federal governmentdefined in restore public confidence in the banking system have moved to protect all bank deposits, even those that exceed the FDIC’s $250,000 individual account limit.

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Biden Asks Congress for New Tools to Deal with Failed Bank Executives

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WASHINGTON. On Friday, President Biden asked Congress to pass legislation giving financial regulators sweeping new powers to seize ill-gotten gains from bankrupt bankers and impose penalties for failures.

The proposal, in response to last week’s federal bailout of depositors at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, would also seek to bar bankrupt bank executives from other positions in the financial industry.

The measures contained in Mr. Biden’s plan will build on the existing regulatory powers of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Administration officials were still weighing on Friday whether to ask Congress for further changes to financial regulation in the coming days.

“Increasing accountability is an important deterrent to future mismanagement,” Mr. Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

“When banks fail due to mismanagement and excessive risk, it should be easier for regulators to seek compensation from executives, impose civil sanctions and again ban executives from the banking industry,” he said, adding that Congress should pass legislation to make this possible.

“The law limits the administration’s powers to hold executives accountable,” he said.

One clause of the proposal would expand the FDIC’s ability to recover bankrupt bank executives in response to reports that a Silicon Valley Bank chief executive sold $3 million in bank stock shortly before federal regulators took him away. a week ago. Regulators’ current powers to recover funds are limited to the largest banks; Mr. Biden will expand them to include banks the size of Signature and Silicon Valley Bank.

Unlike top Silicon Valley Bank officials, a senior Signature Bank chief executive and one of his board members bought the firm’s shares last Friday when it was in turmoil, regulatory reports show. Signature Chairman Scott Shea bought 5,000 shares of Signature and one of its directors, Michael Pappagallo, bought 1,500 shares.

The President is also asking Congress to lower the legal barrier that the FDIC must remove to bar the bankrupt’s bank manager from working anywhere else in the financial industry. This option currently only applies to executives who “deliberately or persistently neglect the safety and soundness” of their institutions. It also seeks to expand the agency’s ability to impose fines on executives whose actions contribute to the failure of their banks.

The proposals face an uncertain future in Congress. Republicans control the House of Representatives and oppose Mr. Biden’s other attempts to tighten federal rules. A 2018 law to repeal certain banking regulations that were approved in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis was passed by the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Danes chided Mr. Biden for focusing on regulation and indicated that he would not support any move to introduce new rules in the banking sector.

“What we don’t need is more onerous rules for well-managed and sound Montana banks that haven’t failed,” Mr. Danes said in a statement Friday night.

Democrats have been much more vocal in their support for the call for new rules. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown of Ohio said in a statement emailed to reporters that regulators need “stricter rules to curb risky behavior and expose incompetence.”

He added that in addition to leaders who failed in their duties, there should be a way to hold “the regulators who are tasked with watching them” accountable.“.

In a letter to the chairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FDIC and the Fed, Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat of California, asked regulators to use the “maximum extent” of their current powers to detain senior executives and executives from both banks. are accountable to the directors of the board of directors.

She added that the Dodd-Frank Act, enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, gave agencies more power than they have so far used to tie financial industry executive compensation to successful risk management strategies.

“While I am moving quickly to develop legislation on foreclosures and other collapse-related matters, it is imperative that your agencies act now to investigate these bank failures and use the available enforcement tools you have available to engage executives. to full responsibility for any illegal activity. she wrote.

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On post-Brexit Britain and the future of conservatism

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The message of the end of austerity has certainly reached the Center for Policy Studies (CPS). On June 10, the CPS launched Post-Brexit Britain, a new collection of essays edited by George Freeman, written largely by his fellow 2010 MP recruiters. CPS rented the largest room at 1 George Street, a huge hall adorned with gilding and portraits of bearded Victorians, and treated guests not only to decent sandwiches, but also to champagne and scones with cream and strawberries. Several leadership candidates such as Sajid Javid and Dominic Raab made speeches. Penny Mordaunt cackled like a mother hen (I wonder if her decision not to run in this leadership election could prove that she is the most sensitive student in the class of 2010). Mr. Freeman loudly declared that his book gives the party “a new conservatism for a new generation” and the intellectual tools it needs to fight the resurgent far left.

His enthusiasm is infectious. But he asks too much. His book is more like a priest’s egg than a Viagra pill capable of resurrecting a flagging conservative philosophy, not to mention a hand grenade aimed at the headquarters of Corbinism. In his preface, Mr. Freeman rightly argues that the Conservative Party is facing a crisis of the same magnitude as it faced in 1848, 1901, and 1945. to the fact that Thatcherism offers no obvious solution to pressing problems like overcrowded suburban trains. Various participants are also addressing issues that conservatives have shied away from, such as the importance of devolution.

However, much of the book demonstrates how difficult it is for a party to get intellectual refueling while still in government. Matt Hancock’s head of health secretary is startlingly bad: predictable praise for technological innovation, devoid of interesting examples, and written in a string of clichés. (One well-read Tory quipped that the fact that the chapter was so bad proved that it was written by its supposed author and not by an assistant.) The book as a whole is noticeably free from detailed discussion of such topics as social assistance. (the issue that killed the party in the last election) or corporate reform. The Conservative Party as a whole will have to do more than that if it is to make a strong case against the resurgent far-left Labor Party.

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Great cover pack this week New statesman to “Closing the Conservative Mind” (with the promise of more!). Robert Saunders argues that the Conservative Party has always been a party of ideas much more than it wants to pretend: its resurgence in the 1940s and especially in the 1980s was due to its willingness to embrace radical new thinking about the basic building blocks of society. . But now, instead of ideas, the party has nothing but the ideology of kamikaze (“Brexit or crash”) and empty faith in markets and technologies (see above). Theresa May was an idea-free zone (compare her to Lord Salisbury or Arthur Balfour). Boris Johnson, her almost certain successor, is no longer an intellectual, despite his ability to quote Latin tags. There are some interesting thinkers in the party, like Jesse Norman and Rory Stewart (both sadly old Etonians), but it’s much more the party of Gavin Williamson, a former fireplace salesman who boasts of a lack of interest in political theory. than a party of these eccentric “reading men”.

The job is well done. But can’t this apply equally well to liberal thinking or Labor thinking – or perhaps to Western thinking in general? The Blair-Cameron-Clinton liberalism that dominated politics in the 1990s and early 2000s has run its course. This liberalism was based on a simple formula: just add social liberalism to economic liberalism and you have the ingredients of a good society. More astute observers of politics have always known that this is too good to be true: Daniel Bell, in his book The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, demonstrated that social liberalism can destroy the moral capital that forms the basis of economic liberalism.

But over the past few years, we have learned that Mr. Bell rather underestimated the contradictions of his position. The biggest problems that most capitalist societies currently face stem from the extremes of both forms of liberalism. The excesses of economic liberalism have given us giant corporations that stifle competition and, in the case of Internet companies, develop a sinister form of surveillance capitalism. The excesses of social liberalism have given us various forms of social breakdown that can be seen in the most extreme manifestations in America: a record number of broken families; an epidemic of drugs, especially opioids; millions of men who have dropped out of the labor force and lead a life of petty crime and binge watching TV. It is unfair to blame only social liberalism for these problems. They have a lot to do with the destruction of manufacturing jobs and the legacy of slavery. But social liberalism clearly has something to do with it: loosening inhibitions on self-destructive behavior leads people to make decisions that, in the long run, may leave them either addicted to drugs or lacking the skills or self-discipline to become productive members of society. A prime example of the collapse of dual liberalism is San Francisco, where hundreds of homeless drug addicts live on the streets, and tech billionaires and would-be billionaires must dodge piles of human feces as they go to the latest sushi craze. compound.

And then there is Labor thinking. The Labor Party responded to the collapse of neoliberalism not by trying to create a new progressive synthesis, but by re-embracing one of the bloodiest ideologies of the 20th century. Jeremy Corbyn, the man who makes Theresa May look like an intellectual, has surrounded himself with hardline Marxists like Andrew Murray and Seamus Milne. pages of David Kot’s book “Companion Travelers”. John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, is undoubtedly one of the smartest men in Parliament, inclined to reinforce his Trotskyism with ideas borrowed from other traditions, especially the cooperative one, and able to use new ideas (such as taking 10% of the shares into state ownership) for old purposes. But the fact that he is such an energetic walker should not hide from us the fact that he is going in the wrong direction and is trying to bring his country off the cliff. As long as this gang is in power, Labor’s mind is not so much closed as dead.

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V New statesman the cover more or less coincides with the publication of George Will’s new great work, a 640-page study of conservatism called “Conservative Sensibility” (Mr. Will says he chose “sensibility” over “reason” because “reason” was already occupied by Russell Kirk). The “Conservative Sensibility” – a stream of philosophical reflection on the great American and European conservative traditions – is proof that at least one conservative mind is still open. Mr. Will still surpasses all his rivals in his ability to combine high thinking with a shrewd ability to understand everyday American politics. The reception of the book is also evidence that it was not only conservative minds that were closed: when, as a Princeton graduate, he recently approached a group of Princeton students, these privileged children decided to turn their backs on him for various unknown intellectual sins. But Mr. Will’s book also implicitly supports the thesis of closing the conservative mind: it’s hard to imagine any of today’s embittered young conservatives of the “movement” who would have lasted fifty years in journalism like Mr. Will, and still have enough strength. to, let’s say, release a big book at 78 years old.

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French protesters take one last angry tug ahead of vote on pension bill

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PARIS. Hundreds of thousands of French demonstrators flooded cities across the country on Wednesday, and striking workers disrupted railroads and closed schools to protest the government’s plan to raise the legal retirement age in a last show of force before the contested bill was passed. voting on Thursday.

The march – the eighth such national mobilization in two months – and the strikes epitomize the confrontation between two apparently unshakable forces: President Emmanuel Macron, unwavering in his determination to revise pensions, and large crowds of protesters who have vowed to keep fighting. even if a bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 is passed by Parliament—as many believe.

“Macron didn’t listen to us and I don’t want to listen to him anymore,” said Patrick Agman, 59, who marched in Paris on Wednesday. “I don’t see any other option but to lock down the country now.”

But it remains unclear what form the protest movement will take from here, whether there is enough room for it to turn into some of the unbridled social unrest that France has experienced before, or slowly die out.

Despite crowds marching in cities from Le Havre in Normandy to Nice on the French Riviera on Wednesday, a joint committee of legislators from both houses of parliament agreed on a joint version of the pensions bill, sending it to a vote on Thursday.

While it remained unclear whether Mr Macron received enough support outside of his centrist political party to secure a vote, the prime minister could still use special constitutional powers to push the bill through without a vote. It’s the tool the government used to pass the budget bill in the fall, but it risks subjecting it to a vote of no confidence.

In a sense, Wednesday’s demonstrations were the latest attempt to prevent the bill from passing into law. “This is the last call to Parliament not to vote for this reform,” Laurent Bergé, head of the country’s largest trade union, the French Democratic Confederation of Labour, said at a march in Paris.

According to the agency, three-quarters of the French believe that the law will be passed. study This was reported on Wednesday by the sociological service Ellabe. And many protesters looked beyond the vote, convinced that a new wave of demonstrations could force the government to withdraw the law once it was passed.

Some teachers said they had already notified their directors of the next strike. Others said they saved money in anticipation of future strike-related wage losses.

“In fact, the goal is to hold out as long as possible,” said 26-year-old Benedikt Pelve, who was demonstrating holding a cardboard box in which she raised money to support the striking railroad workers.

Throughout the route of the march in Paris, colorful signs, banners and graffiti reflected the determination to continue the fight, regardless of the consequences. “Even if it’s rubbish, we will get out of this mess,” read the red graffiti on the wall, a reference to the rubbish heaps that have accumulated in all the cities of France due to the garbage workers’ strike.

Rémy Boulanger, 56, who has participated in all eight nationwide demonstrations against the pension bill, said anger has grown among protesters at the government, which he says has “remained deaf to our demands.”

France relies on payroll taxes to fund its pension system. Mr Macron has long argued that people should work longer hours to support retirees who live longer. But his opponents say the plan will unfairly affect workers, who have shorter life expectancies, and point to other financial solutions such as taxing the rich.

According to an Ellabe poll, about 70% of French people want the protests to continue, and four out of 10 say they should intensify.

Trade union leaders have hinted that the mobilization will not stop, but so far have not disclosed their plans. “It’s never too late to go out,” Philippe Martinez, head of the far-left CGT union, said on Wednesday.

France has a long history of street demonstrations as a means to bring about or block change. More recently, the “yellow vest” movement that started in 2018 led to demonstrations that continued for months and forced the government to abandon plans to raise fuel taxes. But the last time the French government caved in to demonstrators and revoked a law already passed was in 2006, when a contested youth employment contract was repeated.

“Redoing 2006 would be ideal,” Mr. Boulanger said. But he acknowledged that a sense of fatigue is spreading among the protesters — Wednesday’s protests were smaller than they were a week ago. He said he was instead looking to the next presidential election, more than four years away, to bring about change.

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