Late Lunchtime Links: Analyst predicts Merrill Lynch will spin out of Bank of America very soon

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In yesterday's excitement about the suggestion that Barclays (Capital) should spin out of Barclays, it was easy to overlook the lone voice of Chris Whalen on Fox TV. Founder of Institutional Risk Analytics and a long term critic of banks and investment banking, Whalen confidently predicted that Bank of America will spin out Merrill Lynch, "quite soon."

"It's a portable business," said Whalen and although Merrill has been integrated into BofA, it could be "spun out very easily". The most likely method would be via an IPO, he suggested. The only problem would be the $30bn+ in outstanding litigation exposure attached to Merrill, which Whalen said the bank would have to 'take with it."

Meanwhile:

Standard Chartered: A $340m fine looks remarkably lenient. (WSJ)

Knight Capital’s trading loss was caused by dormant software that was inadvertently reactivated when a new program was installed. (Bloomberg) 

Brett Icahn, Carl Icahn’s laid back son, who graduated from Princeton 10 years ago, has been given $3bn to invest by his father (FT)

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable want to reopen the debate on whether retail banks should be allowed to sell currency swaps and interest rate swaps. (FT)

M&A bankers stress that they are always very busy. Under no circumstances do they sit around drinking tea. (Financial News)

Jon Moulton will be reading this book on the Plague this summer. Other private equity professionals detail their summer reading lists here. (Financial News) 

Job candidates who order a glass of wine during an interview over dinner are viewed as less intelligent than those who order a soft drink. (Economist)

Are social comparisons making you hoard knowledge? (Peerreviewedbymyneurons)

What’s the link between intelligence and success as an investor? (Stumblingandmumbling)

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