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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Federal Reserve's Next Step; Revolving Door of World's Boardrooms
Aired September 21, 2010 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: The small print of a very big decision. We'll have the Federal Reserve's next step, live on this program.
The revolving door of the world's boardrooms. Why life as a CEO may be short lived.
And keeping her company in check, Burberry's CEO tells us what she did right during the down turn.
I'm Max Foster in for Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Hello to you.
Now, in just a few minutes we'll finding out if the Federal Reserve has decided to take further action to kick start the U.S. recovery. With short-term interest rates extraordinarily low right now, just what tools does the Fed actually have left? Well, it does have a few. Maggie Lake joins me now to help this break down for us.
Maggie, we've been talking today about quantitative easing. It is that time of the month, take us through it.
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: I certainly is and you're right. The Fed has had to be on the defense arguing that yes, they do still have tools left and one of the ones that we are going to be focused on is, as you said, quantitative easing. Everyone in the market calls it QE2, and if only it sounded the big horn, like the actual cruise ship. Instead we are going to have to parse through, as you said, the fine details for hints about that.
Quantitative easing, of course, is essentially, you know, cranking up the printing machine. Printing money, using it to buy things like bonds, keep those rates down in order to continue to stimulate the economy. Well last time, you might remember, there was a little sentence in there which indicated to everybody that, yes, they were going to consider using that tool if needed. This was the language they used. And this is what we are going to be looking for again, this time, to see if the door is open.
"The Committee will continue to monitor the economic outlook, financial developments. And will employ its policy tools as necessary to promote economic" growth.
They're talking about quantitative easing. Last time we got what was considered QE2-lite. They said they were going to reinvest the principle coming in from their existing investments. In other words they're not going to shrink the balance sheet. That was just a baby step toward that. Are they going to do something more aggressive this time and announce actual purchases, new money going into buying up Treasuries or even mortgage-backed.
The thinking right now, Max, is maybe not at this meeting, although we may get more definitive hints. The current thinking is maybe something in November, but we're going to have to wait and see.
FOSTER: Didn't it used to be that interest rates?
LAKE: Yes, exactly. Remember that? Whether they raised it or lowered it. Not anymore, but funny that you bring that up, because you know it has been pointed out, to economists that although they are very low, they could go to absolute zero. Or more interestingly, the Fed could start to charge banks when they leave their deposits with the Fed. It is something that hasn't been done before.
It would be seen as a very aggressive move, but something that would sort of push that money out the door of banks. The Fed saying you can't park it here. We're not going to pay you any interest. In fact, you are going to pay us if you want to do that. Again, that is something that is considered way down the road, if the economy really started to fall apart. But it has been pointed out it is a tool that the Fed could use.
FOSTER: They have to be really careful, haven't they? Because you were talking there about the sensitivities of the language here, but a slightly wrongly worded statement could have a huge impact on sentiment.
LAKE: Absolutely. And we've seen that already. How they gauge how they economy is doing and that is going to be part of the statement that we also look at really closely. And importantly if you are in the camp that thinks the Fed is going to do some kind of quantitative easing, say in November, or a little bit further down the line, then they would have to start to bring down, to ratchet down their economic forecast. Right now there is sort of last statement, they said, yes, the pace of recovery is slowing, but we are still on track with the recovery. If they downgraded that in any significant way, in this policy statement for many that would be a sure signal that QE2 is coming. So that economic, the balance of risks, their gauge on how the economy is doing is going to be really critical in this statement, Max.
FOSTER: OK, Maggie, back with you a little later on as we get the results of that.
Now, a CNNMoney poll shows more economists are now worried about the U.S. slipping back into recession, the background to this. CNNMoney.com surveyed 31 economists. They rated the possibility of a double dip at 25 percent. Just six months ago that same poll showed a 15 percent chance. So, that is a sign of the times, too.
Let's dig deeper into the poll with Paul LaMonica, of CNNMoney.com. He joins us from our New York studios.
Just take us through this and what you understand this to mean.
PAUL LAMONICA, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, thanks, Max.
You know, as Maggie was pointing out with the Federal Reserve going to be trying to figure out whether or not more needs to be done to stimulate the economy, economists are growing increasingly concerned about whether or not the economy will slip back into recession. It has clearly lost some momentum. And it is going to be something that economists are going to be watching very closely going forward. Any hints about what's going on with the job market, the unemployment level, which remains stubbornly high right now.
FOSTER: OK, Paul, thank you very much indeed. It is a fascinating backdrop to all of this today. The Fed meeting, crucial, even though things may not change, it is all about indications and what is going to happen ahead of time.
Let's have a look at the Dow and see how the investors are actually interpreting what is going on today. It is flat, currently. But we may well get a reaction in the next hour as we get the reaction from the Fed-to the Fed.
Stocks here in Europe closed lower as selloffs in Nokia and Deutsche Bank overshadowed debt sales by Ireland, Spain, and Greece. Meanwhile, investors were also kept on the sidelines as they awaited the latest policy statement from the Fed. The mining sector lead the retreat, dragged down by falling metal prices.
Now we are just a few minutes away from that Federal Reserve announcement. Next we'll head to the New York Stock Exchange where investors are braced for that news.
FOSTER: We are expecting the Federal Reserve to make its latest announcement on interest rates anytime soon. It is expected in the next few minutes. We're keeping an eye on the Fed Web site, to see when it is coming through. Nothing yet. But we are expecting no real change in interest rates but we are very eagerly anticipating what may be coming in the commentary, any indication of more spending, more cash spending in the economy, which may help boost it. Or that might be delayed until next month. We're going bring you the details as it comes through to us.
Just when the Catholic Church, meanwhile, didn't need another scandal the Vatican bank is being investigated in connection with a probe into money laundering. The bank's chairman and managing director reportedly has been placed under investigation. And $30 million seized from a Vatican bank account.
In the meantime the Vatican has told CNN it is perplexed and baffled by the probe, because the Holy See, aims for total transparency in its financial dealings. So what, exactly, is the Vatican Bank? Well, the bank, which is formally known, as the Institute for Religious Works, was founded back in 1942. It is much like any other international commercial bank, but also invests any funds given to the Holy See for religious works.
It is not the first time the bank has faced trouble. In 1982, you remember, you may remember, it was involved in a major scandal arising form the fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano.
Our next guest is internationally known. His book, "The Laundryman" in which he uncovered the true extent of global money laundering. He is an expert in this area. Jeffrey Robinson joins me now, live from CNN New York.
Thank you very much indeed. Can you just explain what we mean by money laundering? Because this may be as innocent as some lost paperwork or some badly filled out paperwork. Or it may be much bigger than that. Let's just explain what we're talking about here?
JEFFERY ROBINSON, AUTHOR, "THE LAUNDRYMAN": Yes, well money laundering is a slight of hand, if you will. It is the machinations that you go through to take generally, illegally obtained funds. And then move it into some sort of funds that appear to be legal. Now, the obvious thing is drug trafficking. The trafficker collects cash on the street, he needs to do something with it. He puts it into banks, he puts it into auction houses, he buys products he sells products. Moves them through bank accounts, across borders, into secret banks, brings it out the other hand, so it looks like an investment in real estate, that he can live on; legitimate funds, a legitimate-looking funds.
Corporate money laundering is slightly different. When you get to big corporations or institutions, what they tend to do is they take money and they put it into slush funds that they hide so that the source of that money, that they then spend on say, corruption, or political influence, is not directly related back to them. Enron is a perfect example of what was going on when they had several thousand shell companies in the Cayman Islands, like Acme Trading and Acme Investments, that sort of thing.
So there are two kinds: The drug trafficker who needs to take his cash and make it look legitimate on the other end. The corporation or the institution that wants to spend money in a certain way that it is not directly attached to them. They want it to look legitimate, coming from a different source. That is money laundering.
FOSTER: When we hear that the Italians have frozen funds in a Vatican bank account. What can we learn from that?
ROBINSON: Well, you can learn that somebody, someplace is wondering what those funds are, where they came from, or where they were going? Now, if you go back to the fall of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of the Communist Party. In those days there was one bank. Russian organized criminals suddenly understood that the way you can make money is not to rob a bank but to own a bank. And suddenly there were several thousand banks in the Soviet Union, based in Moscow, largely. But the other areas of the former Soviet Union as well.
Where you could, as you owned a bank, put money in, take money out, do all sorts of things. Now, if you have transparency, real transparency, and not tax transparency-which is very different-if you have real transparency, you can't move that money because people are auditing those accounts. If you have a secret bank, you can do anything you want to. And if you are inside that bank, money laundering becomes the most fun you can have with your pants still on.
FOSTER: And so what do we know about the Vatican Bank? I'm not-you know, we can't make any allegations here. This is an investigation, this is very early stages. But what do you know about it and what it does? And how secretive it is?
ROBINSON: Well, it is probably the most secret bank in the world, because they don't publish their reports. Nobody really knows what goes on. They are a member of the OECD unit that is looking at tax transparency. That's why I made that distinction. And they are trying to get on the OECD white list, which is tax transparency. So that people who are avoiding tax can't use that bank. But what happens to the funds once it comes in, or how they go out, and how those funds are spent, good question. This makes Switzerland look like a glass jar.
FOSTER: And looking back in history, how has the Vatican handled such allegations in the past?
ROBINSON: Badly, very badly. Go back to 1982 and Banco Ambrosiano, which was a phony bank bankruptcy that lead to the death of Mr. Calvi under Blackfriars Bridge in London. That had to do with Exocet Missiles in Argentina, that had to do with money laundering, and a group called Paduay (ph), which is P2, which is a Masonic organization that had ties to everybody, including inside the Vatican Bank. There was a lot to be answered for in 1982, and I suspect if somebody knows how to look they'll be a lot to answer for in 2010.
FOSTER: OK, Jeffrey Robinson. Thank you very much indeed for your insight there from New York.
Expecting any moment now, the decision from the Federal Reserve on interest rates, crucially, commentary on monetary easing. If there is going to be any such thing we are going to across to Alison Kosik now who is monitoring this for us, from the stock exchange.
Where they are watching this more eagerly than anywhere else, Alison.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: (AUDIO GAP) He's with Seaport Securities. You know, the Fed has decided to leave, of course, the interest rates unchanged.
It is what they said in their statement, though. They did acknowledge that there was a slowdown in the summertime. What is your take on what they came out with?
TED WEISBERG, SEAPORT SECURITIES: Well, I mean, the risk for us is that the message would be in fact more negative, you know, than we expect. I mean, that-I think they're just reconfirming the fact that the economy just continues to limp along. And clearly they are in a-they're poised to do something, to help stimulate the economy, if they have to. But on balance I think the message is pretty much what we expected. They are just on hold and they are watching.
KOSIK: How important is it for Wall Street to know that the Fed standing by to sort of come to the rescue if we see the economy deteriorate more? Once again they did acknowledge that there was a slowdown in the summer and it was brutal here on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
WEISBERG: Well, you know what, they're in a difficult position. Because, you know, it is like a giant ship at sea, you just can't stop it and turn it around on a dime. And so they, I guess they have to be somewhat proactive in terms of anticipating a little bit what they think the economy is going to do. You know the risk is that whatever it is they are going to do, whether they do nothing, or do something. That they just overstayed their welcome and wait too long.
So, I think they are kind of on the head of a pin at the moment and can probably be easily pushed one way or the other. I'm not sure what will push them. The stock market, at least, as we stand here, you know, it has gone slightly plus, with a little negative initially. You know, we just have to see. But I think there was nothing in that message. That was dramatically unsettling or dramatically different from what perhaps we might have expected.
KOSIK: So is that a disappointment to Wall Street? I know we are in going into the positive column right now, but was Wall Street hoping for more?
WEISBERG: Well, no. I don't know, I think, I think what Wall Street would like to see is some real positive traction with growth. I know it sounds very contrary, but I think, what we would like to see is the Fed say, you know, what, we're not going to do anything. We're going to switch our stance. We are more concerned about the economy heating up and we're concerned about interest rates going up, which would be a kind of a report card that all of their measures of the last couple of years are finally getting some positive tractions.
I think Wall Street and Main Street would like to see something more positive in the way of growth. I think the current environment is, you know, continues to be difficult economically.
KOSIK: Is there anything the Fed can do to really spur that growth, beyond, of course, there has been the discussion of launching this quantitative easing, part two?
WEISBERG: Listen, I'm sure there is a lot they can do. You know we are just lowly traders here. We're not economists. And all we know about the Fed is quite frankly what we read in the papers and what we hear from guys like you. Listen, I'm sure there is a lot of stuff they can do. The risk is if they have to basically be more proactive in terms of stimulating the economy I think it is really a negative. It is kind of a negative vote on the economy and reinforces the fact that the economy continues to limp along and in some fashion still on life support. And I think that is what you don't want to see. The fact that they are willing to do something clearly is a positive. Let's hope they don't have to do anything. I think we should be rooting for the reverse, quite frankly.
KOSIK: All right. Teddy Weisberg with Seaport Securities.
Just, by the way, Max, the markets have turned into positive territory. The Dow now up 36 points. We were in the negative just before the Fed came out with its statement. Max, back to you.
FOSTER: Positive response from there, Alison. Thank you very much indeed.
FOSTER: I've got the Fed statement in front of me. I'm just going to read the key moments out of it.
"The Committee will remain or will maintain that the target range for the federal funds rate at naught to a 0.25 percent."
So interest rates not changing.
"It continues to anticipate that the economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the funds rate for an extended period."
So, similar language to before, no expectation for rates to come up at any time in the future. That is what we can read into that.
Crucially, though, "The committee will continue to monitor the economic outlook and financial developments. And is prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery."
So some suggestion there that it may use monetary policy in future if needed, but not right now.
Now in a moment we'll meet the fresh faces at the top of some of the world's biggest companies. You'll find out who is stepping up and who is shipping out. And what it takes to be a good boss.
FOSTER: Recently (ph) it seems there is room at the top in major company boardrooms. CEOs are falling like autumn leaves it seems at the moment and empty chairs are being filled at the same time. Here is who is in and who is out of those revolving doors.
First of all, the boss, of Lloyd's Banking Group, Eric Daniels. He says he'll retire next year. Daniels was in charge of the take over of H- Boss (ph), widely seen as a poison chalice. Every major bank in the U.K. has now switched leaders since the crisis of 2008.
Bring in the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, well he is actually now comfortably in place at the rival Oracle. A few problems there, ahead of that appointment, HP has just settled a lawsuit against Hurd over his departure. It is costing Hurd at least $15 million in lost share options though.
It is Stephen Elop's first day there, at Nokia, and it was a bit of a baptism of fire for him. Shares tumbled 4.5 percent in Helsinki, as Nokia denied reports of delays of its new N8 smart phone. Nokia says it is grappling with huge demand and while phones will be shipped in September they might not arrive until October.
And October is the month Bob Dudley, here, takes over at BP. And his main task will be to repair the company's soiled reputation. Dudley's predecessor, Tony Hayward, became a hate figure in the U.S., at least, following the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
So, tough jobs for all those people taking new jobs.
It isn't easy to cling to the top job, especially, when times are tough, according to a report for Forbes.com. Turn over of CEOs was 50 percent higher in the run up to this recession than it was in the last one. The reports author say 40 percent of new CEOs leave within 18 months, and 64 percent never make it to four years in the job. The cost of replacing the boss begins, would you believe, at $12 million for smaller firms. And it can go as high as $52 million for the larger ones. It is estimated that not having the right leaders across American industry, around $40 billion a year.
Not Professor Woods is the director of the Global Economic Governor's Program, at the University of Oxford. I asked her whether there is a problem with the way boardrooms currently appoint leaders.
NGAIRE WOODS, DIR., GLOBAL ECON. GOVERNOR'S PRGM., OXFORD UNIVERSITY: I think there is always a temptation to use-to think about leadership as just the individual and to think about how you train leaders as just unleashing what is within them. At Oxford we are taking a very different view. Leadership is about how well you understand the needs of your institution, your company, your society, and how well equipped you are to translate those into solutions and policies that empower and help your organization to flourish.
So, as we look at these leadership appointments, and think, firstly they are trying to signal too much through the leadership decision and there is a real risk that instead of judging a leader by what-by just the individual, they are forgetting that the leader should be judged by what kind of organization do they leave behind. Have they built and institution that can flourish and can continue to succeed long after them, or not?
FOSTER: Time will tell, for example, whether Bob Dudley at BP will achieve that. But I think you are giving a nod to BP there in what you were saying. Because his appointment is largely PR driven, some people are arguing, to show a fresh start with BP. I think even he would concede that to a point. Do you think that is a mistake then?
WOODS: I think it is tough. That they are choosing someone that knows the company well, and that is a positive step. I guess what we-you know, in the School of Government what we are going to be doing is equipping people with the necessary skills in science, economics, law, politics, communication, and so forth. To really take forward a global leadership role and to be aware of the global context in which they are working. And I think both of those lessons are important for the BP leadership. It is how they travel across the different aspects of their business, which is not just about engineering, or geo engineering, but also necessarily involves political communities and stakeholders, and how they travel across the world doing that.
FOSTER: The person being appointed to BP has to have completely different skills from, for example, the person appointed to Nokia, effectively being flown in to rescue future growth in that company.
WOODS: Well, what they have in common is a need to really understand what makes their business work, not just what is wrong with it, and who their real stakeholders are and how they can best serve those stakeholders to make the organization work. And I think those are transferable skills.
FOSTER: Professor Woods, there, from Oxford.
Now, one man would no doubt shun all of that advice in favor of his own personal mantra, that greed is good. It is Gordon Gekko, of course, the classic crooked Wall Street trader played by Michael Douglas in the movie. Gekko is back on the big screen in Oliver Stone's update of the classic film. Stone remains fierce in his criticism of the Wall Street bankers he blames for the financial crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLIVER STONE, FILMMAKER: They did a lot of evil. You know, when you have done years of evil, you just don't turn it around in a year. And these bankers that got in-first of all, many of them should have gone to jail, I think. It was a disgrace what they did. But they got away with it because they are on the cover of "Time" magazine and they are respectable, they had a lot of money. We worship billionaires.
FOSTER: And we'll bring you the rest of that interview a little later in the show. You've got to watch it. He is a fascinating character.
Our very own Jim Boulden will also be getting a glimpse of the glitzy world of top managers when he talks to the CEO of the fashion line, Burberry. He'll find out what she thinks it takes to be a good CEO.
Now U.S. traders are working out what the latest rate setting decision means for them. We'll be taking a closer look at the reaction over there on Wall Street in just a moment.
FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster in London. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. But first here are the main news headlines.
FOSTER: Now the Fed has spoken, as we mentioned earlier. U.S. interest rates will stay close to zero. In its statement the Fed says, "The pace of the recovery in output and employment has actually slowed." Jobs wise it notes that employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls basically they are scared of hiring right now. It also says inflation is likely to remain subdued for some time. It is currently below the Fed's target level for sustaining growth and creating jobs.
As we have been reporting the Fed's decision is in and the latest Fed policy statement before the U.S. midterm elections, where the economy will be front and center. Maggie Lake is pouring over the detail for us.
You've been looking at the wording. What stood out for you, Maggie?
LAKE: Yes, you know, it looks as though, Max, that the central banks is laying the groundwork for coming in and providing more stimulus, at least if the economy weakens any further. They are taking another step in that direction. It is not very obvious but they did tweak the statement in a couple of really key places.
I do want to point out, though, we are seeing a very subdued reaction in the stock market. As always, as you said, it is not just about a change in interest rates anymore. It is very hard to sort of understand what the Fed is doing and that is confusing for a lot of investors. So we may see this change as people sort of digest this.
But here is initially the part that everyone seems to be zeroing in on. When they are talking before about the tools that they have to use. They changed the statement a little bit and made it more obvious they are talking about additional stimulus.
"The committee will continue to monitor the economic outlook and financial developments and is prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and return inflation to levels consistent with its mandate."
Last time they just said they were going to monitor, employ tools as necessary that could have meant either way, including increasing them, should inflation rear its head. And it is the part they said about inflation that is also sort of leading people to believe that the Fed is getting very close to pulling the trigger for additional quantitative easing.
They talk about "underlying inflation currently at levels that are below what the committee judges most consistent over the long run with their mandate to provide price stability."
What does that mean? They're getting concerned about deflation. This is something that has been talked about a lot. No sign of it yet. But that fear that the U.S. could flip into that Japan-style lost decade clearly on the mind of Fed officials. They seem like they are getting ready to do something, I should point out. One still dissenting, Thomas Hoenig, he doesn't want them to go down that line. So a healthy debate within the Fed, but it looks like they are taking one step closer to accommodation, once again.
FOSTER: Maggie, thank you very much indeed for that.
Let's get some more analysis on the Fed statement. Peter Morici is a professor of international business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, at the University of Maryland. And he joins us now live from CNN Washington.
Thank you very much for joining us. What did you make of that wording? That additional accommodation they're talking about?
PETER MORICI, PROF. OF INT'L. BUSINESS, UNIV. OF MARYLAND: Well, they are acknowledging reality. The U.S. economy is indeed slowing again, although it hasn't gone negative. Yesterday's statement about the end of the recession was almost meaningless given how much it was hedged.
We have to recognize there isn't much left the Fed can do. It already has a price of money that is near zero. Additional quantitative easing won't mean that much because mortgage rates are already at rock bottom levels. The real problem here is the exchange rate. Modern economics teaches us that if you have a fixed exchange rate in a depressed economy, namely the dollar versus the yuan in this case. There is not much more that monetary policy can do. We are making a big party over something that is not very significant, that is Fed policy, right now.
FOSTER: Is there also a concern that if they were going to do some more quantitative easing it would show that they are very much behind other countries, which seem not to be easing at all, they're cutting back.
MORICI: Well, what does it mean? I mean, we have a lot of money out there. And the banks can't lend it, or won't lend it. In reality the money is in the wrong places. It is at the JP Morgan, but it is not at the Toledo Savings & Loan. I don't think it is a question of being behind. I think it is a question of the West. The European Union, Japan, United States, not confronting China, because it is essentially, controlling their monetary policy. You know, every day China goes into the foreign exchange market and buys dollars and turns around and then buys bonds, euro bonds, U.S. bonds, what have you, with those dollars. And in turn keeps interest rates depressed.
So, I think we have gone as far as we can with interest rates. We have to have an exchange rate adjustment so trade will adjust, vis-a-vis China, and the Western economies will have enough demand to grow.
FOSTER: The truth is, though, that people do look at these statements with great interest and if there was any alarming wording within that statement it would have sent the market sideways, so it is not completely irrelevant.
MORICI: Oh, absolutely not. As long as the market puts weight on what the Fed says, what the Fed says is relevant. Certainly, suppose the hawks, like Hoenig, who are worried about inflation, had their day. And the Fed said, well, you know, while we're concerned about the economy sinking, we're going to have to keep a tight rein on the money supply or we're going to have to cautious about further easing. That would have sent the market in the other direction, certainly.
FOSTER: OK, and in terms of the economic news that we have been getting through, do you think the statement next month will actually be a bit tougher and it may well be talking about quantitative easing for real. This has left the option open this month.
MORICI: Oh, I think we are headed for quantitative easing, simply because the Fed perceives that it must be perceived as doing something. And private sector employment growth is now so tepid. Let's put this in context. Last month if we subtract out the government's subsidized private sector jobs. Things like health care and social services, and temporary jobs. The private sector only added 10,000 jobs net of those. That is- there are 5,000 counties and cities in the United States that is two per county. Wherever you find one job you have to walk another half a mile to find another one. It is that tepid.
FOSTER: OK, and we are just looking at the markets there at the bottom of the screen. You can see the Dow is up, it was hardly moved before we had the statement. So just explain for people around the world why the Dow is up and why the reaction was actually positive to a statement that was pretty bland, actually?
MORICI: Well, I think the market has been afraid that sooner or later the hawks will have their day with regard to all of the liquidity that the Fed is has pumped into the system. There is an awful lot of money out there that is not being used. And any concern by the Fed about inflation becoming a problem despite the slowing and jobs growth, would send the markets south. So as long as the Fed stays on its present policy course, the market is happy.
FOSTER: Peter Morici, thank you so much for joining us yet again, on the program. Always good to have you on.
MORICI: Nice to be with you.
FOSTER: Now when we return Oliver Stone discusses his latest movie release. And it is all about Wall Street, it is called, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps". And we'll discover what prompted one of Hollywood's most controversial directors to make his first ever sequel.
FOSTER: Earlier on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS we told you about the changes at the top for some of the world's biggest companies. Let's now get Hollywood's take on life in the boardroom. And the hotly anticipated release of "Wall Street: Money Never Sleep". CNN's Maggie Lake caught up with this legendary director Oliver Stone.
OLIVER STONE, FILMMAKER: It's a 1980s movie. It was about greed, excess consumption, and it reached its apotheosis in 2008, when the crash happened. That was a significant warning. It was like a triple by pass heart attack to the system itself, of capitalism, and it questions- everything is in question, everything. The way we do business, the banking system of the United States is not functioning in a healthy manner. And there are-I mean, its scandalous. In essence what Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas, was doing in the 1980s became legitimate in the 2000s. That's what happened, the banks became Gekko.
(BEGIN MOVIE CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone reminded me I once said, "Greed is good." Now it seems it is legal, because everybody is drinking the same Kool-Aid.
LAKE: After "Wall Street" Gordon Gekko, although a villain, was loved by many people-or at least admired. He is quoted so often. How has our relationship with bankers changed?
STONE: Totally, I mean, there is distrust. I mean, the thing about Gekko was, I don't think that everybody admired him because he was a gangster. He was busted at the end of the movie, but they liked that world. And the idea of money was novel, and I think in the 1980s it shows you that was a signal of this era of mass lust for money.
In the `80s they started to put these Gekkos on the cover of magazines and CEOs were worshipped, the dollar was worshiped. And you should see-the numbers rose. The hype, it was $100 million, for example, to buy a huge business back in the eighties. By the 2000s, when I went back to Wall Street it was like $1 billion to get into the game, a $1 billion? That is 1,000 million, you know?
(BEGIN MOVIE CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And maybe I was in prison too long.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One watch, one mobile phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But sometimes the only place to stay sane and look out through those bars and say, is everybody out there nuts?!
(END MOVIE CLIP)
LAKE: Jake Moore the-in this movie, "Money Never Sleeps" is the one we cheer for, sort of, as we watch it.
LAKE: Right, who is wonderful in it-and yet, some of the tactics used are the same as the villain's in the movie. The rumors, the double dealing? Do you think-it's a very fine line, it seems. Do you think it can be ethical, in business, in that world, at those levels?
STONE: That is what makes it interesting. Wall Street, though, is a back drop. I mean there are all these personal dramas going on. Shia LaBeouf plays a young investment banker, he is a good guy. He's an idealist, he's trying to build up an energy company with, capitalize it for a lot of money, and it is an alternative energy, kind of a clean energy. And he, you know, part of the movie is that the tension that exists between and values. He has a girlfriend, his fiance is Carrie Mulligan who is the daughter of Gordon Gekko.
So, it brings into question, he does double deal, he does pass false rumors against Josh Brolin, who is an evil banker. And he does-he has a dark side. So does Carrie, for that matter, she withheld information. Michael Douglas, very torn figure, because wants his daughter back, he really has good motivations there. But then on the other hand, he wants to be a player again. That is Wall Street for me. It is all nuances. Even people who are villains will fool you.
(BEGIN MOVIE CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I saw you on television the other night. You are quite the bear. You be careful, you know, your daughters financial health is now in our hands.
(END MOVIE CLIP)
LAKE: Is this the period that the U.S. financial-sort of community is going to be able to repair its image around the world?
STONE: It's not that easy. They did a lot of evil. You know, when you've done years of evil you just don't turn it around in a year. And these bankers who got in-first of all, many of them should have gone to jail, I think. It was a disgrace what they did. But they got a way with it because they are on the cover of "Time" magazine and they respectable, they had a lot of money and we worship billionaires. Basically that is what it is about. Nobody wants to put them away.
LAKE: So, you think we still do, after everything that has happened?
STONE: At the end of the day America is in love with money. You know, they love a good success story.
FOSTER: Oliver Stone speaking to Maggie Lake earlier. Fascinating interview.
Now summer time is going away, but there are some summer areas of Europe where the nice weather it staying put. And Guillermo has the details, of all the bad news for you.
FOSTER: Now, some surprises for people living in India. I imagine if you opened up your newspaper this morning and it talked to you. Well newspaper readers in India didn't have to imagine when a Volkswagen ad in "The Times of India" started speaking today.
(RECORDED MALE VOICE) (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
FOSTER: It is not what you expect, it is a little difficult to understand the audio, but the advertising company's are looking to capture the attention of emerging middle class, all across social media in India are talking about it with generally positive responses to the innovative campaign, but many were startled by the talking ad. You would be.
"It has been used to freak out two individuals at work, and it is only 2 p.m.," Uttara Rajgopal, Tweeted.
And a well-known Indian humorist Tweeted, "Did TOI really think that their readers are so dumb they can't read? A print ad with a voice over that won't shut up? Where's my hammer?"
I tend to agree. In a moment, more live advertising on the cat walk at leather fashion week. The head of Burberry reveals her latest model, for business.
FOSTER: Another fashion week is strutting off into the sunset, tonight. And it leaves behind a lucrative legacy as well. In all the fashion industry is worth more than $57 billion to the U.K. It is a massive, massive industry. That is according to a report commissioned though by the British Fashion council. The report says London fashion week is crucial in driving the growth of the industry. It attracts millions of visitors to the U.K. every year, at the very least.
Now this, is Christopher Bailey. He is the creative director of Burberry. He is on the runway there, of Burberry's London show, which took place a few hours ago. As fashionistas were snapping up his frocks , traders also were keen to buy.
Now Burberry shares end the day up more than 1 percent. So what was on show, clearly pleased the investors in what has become a very successful company. The British coat (ph) brand showed its new collection at London Fashion this Tuesday. And earlier Jim met the CEO of Burberry on the red carpet. And he began by asking her how Burberry's new line reflects the world's exit from recession.
ANGELA AHRENDTS, CEO BURBERRY: We're thrilled that we were able to outperform in a down turn. And as the tide seems to be shifting we are really looking to optimize the opportunity. So, think that confidence came down the runway for us. And that is a little more fitted, a little more feminine, a little more leather.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: I noticed a bit more leather this time around.
And your share price is up strongly, up 80 percent over the last year. As you say, you went through the downturn, but you were investing heavily, weren't you, when you were rebranding yourself in many way?
AHRENDTS: You bet. You know, again, an amazing team. And we knew going into the downturn that we had to, you know, in some ways we said baton down the hatches, and just stay intensely focused. And so we drove over 50 million pounds of efficiencies out of the back end of the business and cleaned up a lot of the legacy issues that we had adopted. By the same token, we didn't stop a single bit of the investment on the front end of the business.
BOULDEN: And that means new stores all over the world.
AHRENDTS: That means anything the consumer sees. So, we didn't decrease our marketing budget, we didn't decrease our sales and service program in the stores, our training program, nor did we slow down any of the renovations. We put two flagships on hold, but we wanted to be the first ones out, when the tide would turn. (AUDIO GAP)
And 125 media partners streaming this live with us today. Reaching tens of millions of potential consumers, and honestly, you know, gaining mind share, making the brand really kind of modern, relevant, to a whole new group that possibly hasn't been able to see the runway show before.
BOULDEN: And this idea of the retail theater now, people can actually order it immediately, get it in seven weeks, even though this is the 2011 collection?
AHRENDTS: It is. And especially the VIPs who are invited to all of the events at the 25 flagship stores, so they will be able to click and buy. And I think that is what you have to do, though, to stay ahead of the curb with a luxury consumer. They have so much, the have exclusive products. So, you know, if they love it, why wait? Why jeopardize those losing the sale six months later? Why not commercialize it now?
BOULDEN: So, a bit of impulse shopping then?
BOULDEN: As the CEO how much time do you spend on the fashion side? How much do you spend on the execution side? In other words, it could be any company, where does your time (AUDIO GAP)
AHRENDTS: You know, it is so balanced. And as a CEO I always say that I'm a 50/50. I'm half right brain. I'm half left brain. And on my right I have a brilliant chief creative officer like Christopher. And on my left, I have Stacy Cartwright, a brilliant (AUDIO GAP) CFO, who is incredibly left-brained. So, it is a team of people, that together we divide and conquer. But-and I always tell them, I know enough about every area, to be dangerous.
AHRENDTS: And, you know, I've grown up in the industry for 30 years. So it depends on the day. It depends on what is going on. But it could be very balanced throughout a day, very balanced throughout a week, but I spend as much time with Christopher as I do with Stacey.
BOULDEN: We talk so much about the CEOs are under so much pressure these days. Has it really changed in the last few years, has the down turn made a difference? Has all the pressure on CEOs made a difference?
AHRENDTS: I don't have a basis for comparison. It is my first time to be a CEO. I mean, I set the example.
AHRENDTS: In the way that I work, how I work and so I am-again, I don't have a big basis for comparison. But for me, it is just, it is so important that they see Christopher, Stacy and myself, they see this team, just working and driving for results. And that just permeates throughout the company. That-
BOULDEN: How much is a team, then? As a CEO, it is very much about the people around you as well.
FOSTER: Head of Burberry there, speaking to Jim. Ever fashionable, Jim, of course.
We are going to bring you up to date now with our top story here, on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. It is all about the U.S. Federal Reserve. It has spoken in the last hour and has decided to leave interest rates steady, near 0.2 zero. In a statement, the Fed's chief, Ben Bernanke, indicated it might do more later to stimulate the economy.
This is, what I see is a crucial line it is prepared to provide additional accommodation, if needed to support the economic recovery. So, effectively keeping the door open, to more stimulus, but not stimulating it right. Now, the Fed says the pace of the recovery in output and employment has slowed down. That is the background here.
Jobs-wise it notes that employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls. Basically they are scared of hiring right now. I also says that inflation is likely to remain subdued for some time. And it is currently below the Fed's target level for sustaining growth and creating jobs. We'll have the European markets and the Asian markets after a short break.
FOSTER: Let's check on the U.S. markets now. They have turned around in the last half an hour, and that is because the U.S. Federal Reserve left those interest rates steady and indicated the door is open to more stimulus, into the economy, but not right now. As you can see the down is up nearly half of 1 percent, so pretty marginal, but positive nonetheless.
Stocks in Europe closed lower, dragged down by Nokia and Deutsche banks, both stocks finished down 4.5 percent and overshadowed successful debt sales by Ireland, Spain and Greece, which many people weren't expecting.
Investors were also kept on the sidelines as they awaited the latest policy statement from the Fed there. The mining sector lead today's retreat, dragged down by falling metal prices. Now the markets in Asia closed on a mixed note ahead of the Fed's policy meeting. And a whole slew of regional holidays later in the week. Exporters lead the decline in Japan with a stronger yen hurting the carmakers and in Hong Kong, reports suggest ARG's application to list shares of its Asian life unit, has been approved by the stock exchange.
This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Max Foster in London. Thanks very much for watching. "WORLD ONE" starts right now.