It was only a matter of time: back in March, following revelations of the Lehman Repo 105 scam, we speculated that the days of Ernst & Young are numbered. Back then we said "we are confident that (again, with the assumption that we live in some
semblance of a sane/ration world), E&Y's Financial Services Office
and quite possibly the entire firm. Integrity is the number one
currency for an auditor, and just like Anderson, E&Y's just went out
in a puff of green-colored smoke." Today we learn that Andrew Cuomo is about to make E&Y's life a whole lot more difficult. Per the WSJ "State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is close to filing the case, which
would mark the first time a major accounting firm was targeted for its
role in the financial crisis." Too bad - E&Y was surely hoping that just like everything else in this corrupt country, out of sight would mean out of mind, and soon everyone would forget about the firm's involvement in the biggest bankruptcy in history. Better luck next time...
FINRA oversees the broker dealers, and 70% are calling for increased transparency. FINRA blew them off. Those 70% represent America more than the large banks located on Wall Street. What truly amazes me is how little attention is being paid to this outfit.
Are Expert Networks About To Be Exposed As The Ringleader In The Biggest Insider Trading Bust In History?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/20/2010 11:04 -0500
Over a year ago, Zero Hedge published an expose in three parts (two of them in the form of direct letters to Andrew Cuomo) discussing the possibility that so-called "expert networks" are nothing less than legalized insider trading rings for the uber-wealthy, operating largely unsupervised, and leaking selective information to preferred clients. For those who may be new to this topic, we suggest catching up on Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Subsequently, we also suggested that expert networks would be implicated in the bust of Galleon Partners, the Goldman "Huddle", the collapse of FrontPoint Partners and, most recently, that expert networks may have been directly or indirectly involved in facilitating the record historical P&L of such hedge fund "titans" as SAC Capital. Today, via the Wall Street Journal, we realize that not only have the good folks at the SEC been diligently reading us for the past 13 months, but that we may have been right all along (once again). To wit: "Federal authorities, capping a three-year investigation, are preparing insider-trading charges that could ensnare consultants, investment bankers, hedge-fund and mutual-fund traders and analysts across the nation, according to people familiar with the matter. The criminal and civil probes, which authorities say could eclipse the impact on the financial industry of any previous such investigation, are examining whether multiple insider-trading rings reaped illegal profits totaling tens of millions of dollars, the people say. Some charges could be brought before year-end, they say." Good bye expert networks (and many, many hedge funds) - we hardly knew you.
My take on the election and what it might mean.
I have one question: Are Lloyd Blankfein, Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin members of the NYC Harvard Club? If not, they should be...
BN *AG CUOMO EXPANDS PROBE OF NEW YORK FORECLOSURE ACTIONS
BN *CUOMO DEMANDS INFORMATION FROM BANK OF AMERICA, WELLS FARGO
BN *CUOMO DEMANDS INFORMATION FROM WELLS FARGO, GMAC MORTGAGE/ALLY
BN *AG CUOMO ALSO CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF SOME FORECLOSURES
BN *CUOMO CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF SERVICERS ENGAGED IN ROBO-SIGNING
Well, come on, the guy is running for some political office somewhere.
FINRA not only failed, but the question that needs to be fully explored is whether it acted on material, nonpublic information as it liquidated its ARS bonds in 2007, at the expense of the investors it was supposed to be protecting.
How Goldman's Counterparty Valuation Adjustment (CVA) Desk Saved The Firm From An AIG Blow Up (And Opens Up A Whole New Can Of Wormy Questions)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/25/2010 16:23 -0500
In today's NYT, Gretchen Morgenson does a good summary of how Goldman was demonstratively net short net short AIG (or net long its CDS, depending how one looks at it) via nearly 100 counterparties to the tune of just over $1.7 billion in net notional, after Chuck Grassley released several previously classified documents disclosing Goldman's CDS position as of September 15, 2008, the day of Lehman's bankruptcy. As Gretchen summarizes: "According to the document, Goldman held a total of $1.7 billion in insurance on A.I.G. from almost 90 institutions. Its exposure to A.I.G. at that time was $2.6 billion. Goldman bought most of the insurance from large foreign and domestic banks, including Credit Suisse ($310 million), Morgan Stanley ($243 million) and JPMorgan Chase ($216 million). Goldman also bought $223 million in insurance on A.I.G. from a variety of funds overseen by Pimco, the money management firm." While the topic of how the world's biggest asset management firm in the face of Pimco (and specifically its massive Total Return Fund) could have a net short CDS position (i.e., unlimited downside exposure), and how this is supposed to demonstrate prudent capital management, is ripe for evisceration, we will leave it for another day, as there is something more notable in the Grassley disclosure that has to be discussed. While Gretchen is correct that the external position of Goldman's exposure vis-a-vis AIG is indeed a total of $1.7 billion in long CDS, if one were to actually present the gross number, the truth would be starker: as the Grassley document reveals, the firm's gross exposure for its IG flow and structured finance desks goes from a positive $1.7 billion net exposure, to a ($2.9) billion net exposure, a massive $4.8 billion swing! What is it that in one fell swoop moved the firm from having a huge long bet on AIG, to a major short CDS position, one that nearly entirely covered the firm's $2.6 billion in legacy risk exposure? Enter Goldman's Counterparty Valuation Adjustment desk.
SEC's announcement of a paltry and ridiculously small $550 million Goldman settlement a few minutes before market close means all is well with the economy (and presumably the resignation of Lloyd Blankfein now that Goldman admits it is not admitting fraud). We presume whatever backdoor cash is involved will also stop the Cuomo criminal case into Goldman. The tactical surgical strike to ramp the market also coincided with last minute announcement that BP has halted a leak - which was the expected pressure test and is not news at all, but who cares -buy buy buy! In other news: ES and SPY disconnect massively, as nothing makes sense any more.
As the heat wave sizzles North America and Europe, global pension heat is rising. Let's hope stock markets keep sizzling instead of fizzling because at this rate, it won't take long before we reach the pensions boiling point.
Game theory causal relations are now superseding simple myopic "in-a-vacuum" economic variables. Are you prepared for the paradigm shift? David Einhorn is (and so are we).
The worst kept secret in New York politics is out: the Attorney General has officially announced he is running for governor. From nydailynews.com "After months of speculation of when he will make the formal announcement, Cuomo tossed his hat into the ring on his campaign website Saturday morning." Alas, any changes at the top will do nothing to cure the number one problem in both New York, as well as all other states: insolvency. Too bad New York is so bankrupt that pretty much nothing can help, least of all those tens of billions in NOL carryforwards at Wall Street's investment banks which will make sure New York State corporate tax receipt coffers are empty for years to come.
There does not seem to pass a day anymore without Goldman having to do a daily trip to CVS to buy a barrel of KY. The NYT reports that today's criminal investigation comes courtesy of Ny AG Andrew Cuomo who is now investigating whether 8 banks provided misleading information to rating agencies in order to inflate grades of mortgage and other securities. The banks in question are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole and Merrill Lynch. We are confident that unless "misleading information" is a euphemism for massive and totally unwarranted fees (and expenses), and oftentimes criminal leaks (Deep Shah comes to mind), Cuomo will find little to base an actual investigation on. Furthermore, as an escape mechanism, the rating agencies can always place the blame on Microsoft for creating a faulty Excel product whichalways # Ref'ed out whenever the agencies tried to put in anything less than infinite growth rates.
Just in case you were wondering what the reason for Goldman's weakness today was. Presumably this news was leaked in what is SOP for our capital markets. Let's recap: SEC - idiots; Barofsky - not idiot. If anyone will uncover something criminally actionable (hello Andrew Cuomo), it will be Neil, not those corrupt crony puppets at the SEC. We will get you more news once we see it.
We expected Dylan to explode during today's show. We were disappointed as he somehow managed to contain it, and did a pretty good recap of the Goldman affair (if a little too many matchbox cars on the show for our taste). The notable take home for us was that CT AG Blumenthal said that "criminal charges have to be pursued against Goldman." We are sure Cuomo is not too far from this line of thinking. And we would be remiss if we did not point out that credit has to be given where it is due: Gretchen Morgenson (whom half the blogosphere was bashing a month ago over semantics) and Louise Story broke the entire story 4 months ago, and the SEC complaint reads verbatim from the authors' December 24 article.