UBS Exec Cozies with Obama, JPMorgan Gets Help Unwinding Trade, Hedge Funder Bullish on Greece: Roundup

Voting with their wallets: The relationship between a top U.S. executive at UBS and President Barack Obama “makes people’s hair stand on end” at the bank, The New York Times reports. Robert Wolf, the Swiss bank’s chairman for the Americas, has raised $500,000 for the president’s reelection campaign, and frequently sends friends photos of himself with the commander-in-chief. The relationship may have been considered an asset in 2008, when Wall Street shelled out to elect President Obama. With the financial services industry shifting support to Republicans in the coming election cycle, UBS took what The Times calls an unusual step in requiring Mr. Wolf to route all media inquiries through the bank’s press office.

Elsewhere on the fundraising circuit, Capital New York reports on financiers who donated to a Mitt Romney super PAC, highlighting one Goldman Sachs managing director who shifted support from Mr. Obama to his Republican challenger.

Unwinding the whale: Trading in the corporate derivatives index behind JPMorgan’s recent trading losses surged on Tuesday, as a record $31 billion in contracts changed hands, up from more usual daily volumes in the $2 to $3 billion range. According to Bloomberg, JPMorgan enlisted the aid of BlueMountain Capital Management—the hedge fund whose founder Andrew Feldstein helped create the market for credit derivatives when he worked for JPMorgan in the 1990s—in effort to disguise the banks moves in the credit swaps market. The New York Post says total losses from JPMorgan’s disastrous trade will likely range from $4 to $6 billion when the lender reports second-quarter results next month.

Alone in Athens: Hedge fund manager George Elliot, the son of a Greek mother and British father, has raised more than $63 million for a fund that invests exclusively in shares of Greek companies. “It takes time to convince, but when you show them the numbers and you really do not focus on the macro but the micro of individual companies, then people start to get excited,” the Naftilia Asset Management founder told Bloomberg. “At the same time, we are extremely lonely. We are one of the few people out there feeling optimistic.”

Whither Europe: Greece’s new coalition plans to ask Europe for an additional two years to meet fiscal targets, Reuters reports. Spain paid a new record to borrow on medium-term bonds, and data indicate that institutional investors are steering clear of Spanish debt, leaving the nation’s enfeebled domestic banks to buy Spanish bonds. Contagion is dragging Italy into the heart of the European debt crisis, as yields on the nation’s sovereign debt become more highly correlated with Spanish debt

Insider trading: Steven A. Cohen, founder of SAC Capital Advisors, was recently deposed by Securities and Exchange Commission investigators. According to Bloomberg, they wanted to know about trades the hedge fund made close to market-moving news, such as earnings reports and merger announcements. James Sanders, the founder of Blue Index and the recipient of the longest insider-trading sentence handed down in Britain, spent his ill-gotten gains on wine and other luxury items. Sumitomo Mitsui, Japan’s second-largest banking group, fired a senior banker amid an insider-trading probe. If you missed it yesterday, Reuters reported that baseball hall of famer Eddie Murray is part of an insider-trading inquiry.

News to pols: A bi-partisan group of lawmakers realized after Facebook’s initial public offering that the IPO process favors institutional investors.

Name game: A 58-word definition of high frequency trading was the source of much disagreement among industry players at a government-sponsored hearing.

With subtitles: New York Magazine translates Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for the rest of us.