Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Contract was for 2.4-million salary. But left out the period

Some things-with-a-twist we noticed this week. Get the top business stories on weekdays on BlackBerry or iPhone by bookmarking our mobile-friendly webpage.

Follow Michael Babad and Globe top business news on Twitter

This is what you earn. Period Here's the synopsis of a great Bloomberg News story on a fight involving a former employee and JPMorgan & Chase that's playing out in Britain's High Court of Justice: Currency trader Kai Herbert, based in Switzerland, says he quit his job at UBS in mid-2010 to join the Wall Street firm in Johannesburg for what he thought was a salary of 24-million rand, or more than $3-million, because that's what his contract said. Oops, said JPMorgan. There was a typo, and it should have been 2.4-million rand. "That must have been the moment your heart sank," the judge said this week at the trial, where Mr. Herbert is suing the bank.

Story continues below advertisement

31 things to do in Whitehorse No dry GDP or CPI report, this. A look by Statistics Canada this week at two different surveys finds: "The percentages reporting multiple sexual partners were fairly consistent across the country. The exception was Yukon, where 54 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds reported having had intercourse with more than one partner in the past year, compared with the Canadian average of 32 per cent." Just as an aside, the Far North website lists 30 things to do in Whitehorse, and that's not one of them.

Go west, young man and woman From the same Statscan study: "In Alberta, the percentage reporting multiple partners had been below the national figure in 2003, but by 2009/2010, the percentages were not significantly different."

From a 2011 Toronto-Dominion Bank study showing people pouring into Alberta from other provinces: "Higher income and better employment prospects are natural migration magnets. Other factors such as geography/location, language, age structure, and others may also influence migration decisions." I'm starting to wonder now about those "others."

One last go at the Statscan study ... "In 2009/2010, 66 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds reported having had sexual intercourse at least once." Imagine being the pollster asking the 24-year-old the "at least once" question.

Go ahead, say more dumb stuff Mitt Romney's aide didn't only boost the stock of his Republican rivals with his Etch A Sketch comment on CNN this week, but also shares of Ohio Art Co., the Etch A Sketch maker that trades over the counter. The aide's comment - "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again" - went kind of a viral. Maybe he could say something next about Mega Brands , the Canadian toy maker who's stock is well down from last year, and help out its shareholders.

Honey, please watch that rope Most city mayors would like to bring an auto plant or high-tech darling to their town. Meet Doug Ellison of Medora, North Dakota, who wants a fake gallows. He wants to stage mock shootings, followed by mock hangings, in the Old West-like tourist town as "one of the big attractions." He'd pretend to shoot someone, and then someone would pretend to hang him, according to The Associated Press, but he'd have a harness so he wouldn't be hurt when he takes the plunge. He wants the gallows on his own property, though his wife Mary is fretting about tourists messing up her flowers.

Tweet of the week From @ftmoney, referring to property taxes in Wednesday's U.K. budget: "7% stamp duty 'will do for property market as guillotine did for the Marie Antoinette's wig maker.' So says mortgage broker."

Story continues below advertisement

You can't rewrite that! Jesus Christ Superstar co-writer Tim Rice would like to change the script if he could. As Fortune reports: "Not to the songs, they're fine. But all the stuff in between. The words." Um, I didn't think you could actually change that story.

Foxes and henhouses Here's what Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said Tuesday as he projected mining royalties would climb to $415-million in 2016-2017, and grow tenfold over a decade, from an annual average of $42-million over the last few years: "In finance, we usually don't count our eggs before they're hatched. Of course, if the hen is there, the eggs are going to be laid tomorrow."

Here's what George Papaconstantinou, Greece's Finance Minister at the time, said June 28, 2010: "So there is a lot of potential that allows me to be reasonably optimistic that by the end of the year we will get to the ... target that we have set."

Hollywood's new take on Wall Street First, Gordon Gekko, a.k.a Michael Douglas, did a PSA for the FBI on financial crime. Now, Richard Gere looks back on the corporate raider role that helped propel him to world's-sexiest-man status in Pretty Woman and decides it was wrong to make "those guys seem dashing." Thankfully, he told Woman's Day, we're "more skeptical" of them now. In his latest movie, Arbitrage, he pulls a Madoff, as a hedge fund boss in trouble. " Susan Sarandon co-stars in this one, but, given the context, I can still envision Julia Roberts saying "big mistake."

Runner-up tweet of the week From @Kendragarden, someone I follow to brighten my day: "I Just watched Saved By The Bell for the first time in years. How is my generation in charge of anything?"

One of these things is not like the other From the press releases of various federal departments this week: Harper Government supports the 2012 Ford World Women's Curling Championship Harper Government creates jobs and growth through investments in culture in British Columbia Harper Government invests in Great Lake clean-up Harper Government boosts tourism by investing in War of 1812 commemorations in southern Ontario Harper Government invests in arts, culture, and official languages in Newfoundland and Labrador Harper Government announces funding to support case managers in the health care sector Harper Government Invests in the Festival les Petits Bonheurs de Montréal Government of Canada helps swine producers boost exports

Story continues below advertisement

You did it my way Chairman John Cleghorn, whose Canadian Pacific Railway is under intense pressure from activist shareholder Pershing Square, wants shareholders to know just what they have to do in the run-up to what promises to be a dandy of an annual meeting. He's urging shareholders to "read the management proxy circular carefully" and then use the "WHITE proxy" to vote for CP's board nominees. Don't pick Pershing's blue. And don't forget he's backing Mr. Green, the CEO. Seriously, if you're following the fight and reading the document that closely, you know white from blue and how you want to vote in Calgary. Otherwise, why not skip the 134 pages and opt for the 103-page Coles Notes version of The Odyssey?

Buy low ... While I was looking for the CP circular on its investor website, I noticed the company uses an icon of a stock fever line, pointing up, of course. It's interesting because of its striking similarity to the actual performance of CP shares , but only since about late September, when Pershing began buying shares and fighting for change. It's a different story when you go back a few months. Click here to compare the two.

Honourable tweet-of-the-week mention From @credittrader: "Did the ECB just 'save' Italy again?"

Loonie gets the deep freeze Adopting Canada's loonie as Iceland's currency is "not a ridiculous idea in my mind, but neither is it for the time being something we are considering as the government," the country's minister of economic affairs told David George-Cosh of Dow Jones this week. So there you have it. Have fun with the euro, people.

The wheels on the bus As PR setbacks go, kudos to Danielle Smith for how she handled the bust bus incident this week. The incident was funny and, in the end, so was the the leader of Alberta's Wildrose Party. As the Wildrose folks unveiled their campaign bus at the legislature, there was Ms. Smith's image, larger than life, her head and shoulders just above the back wheels, which, in turn, were just about where your imagination suggests they were. Ms. Smith said via Twitter: "Glad to see everyone is so interested in our bus. ;) Guess we'll have to make a couple of changes huh?"

Round or square? It's not quite as grand as the is-the-world-flat debate was in its day, but I've oft wondered about round burgers versus square. And I'm not sure this tells us anything on that score, but Wendy's , home of the square patty, has now inched past Burger King as the second largest burger chain in the U.S., based on sales.

Spring in the air The folks at the online dating service Lavalife offer five tips for "spring cleaning" your social life, the fifth of which advises you to "unleash the inner matchmaker in those around you by making sure everyone in your orbit knows you're single and available." Sound more like a public display of self pity and begging? It actually worked for Steve Carrell's character in Crazy, Stupid, Love, but before you try it remember that he had a bare-chested Ryan Gosling as his wingman.

Colour commentary of the week From Derek Holt and Dov Zigler at Scotia Capital: "The Grand Old Party will present its vision of fiscal policy today, but it stands a snowball's chance in a Florida retirement community of going anywhere."

Report an error
About the Author
Report on Business News Editor

Michael Babad is a Report on Business editor and co-author of three business books. He has been with Report on Business for several years, and has also been a reporter and editor at The Toronto Star, The Financial Post and United Press International. His articles have appeared in major newspapers around the world. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.