A Detailed Look At Goldman's Mortgage Trading Strategy In Late 2006 And 2007; The Goldman "Directive"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/25/2010 19:04 -0400
One of the key topics over the next week will be just what was Goldman's exposure to the mortgage industry in 2006 and 2007, and was the firm actively short mortgage exposure or was it merely, as it claims, just a market maker without any active positions on its prop desk. Courtesy of Carl Levin's recently declassified Goldman emails and presentations we get an extensive glimpse into Goldman's net exposure, its DV01, its counterparties, as well as how the firm was planning on interfering with the market when it needed liquidity to offload legacy positions. We also get a rare glimpse into the contributions from Tourre's mentor, Jonathan Egol. Let's dig in.
Many is the time I would review a write-up of a new deal and scribble in the margins, "Get to the bleeping point!'' Unless you can articulate, up front, exactly what assets we would be lending against, and what circumstances would cause us to lose money (i.e. a quick-and-dirty breakeven analysis), you don't really know what you're talking about. And if you don't have a good grasp of that issue, everything else you have to say is superfluous, a waste of time. This lack of common sense is pervasive, extending far beyond the financial services industry. (When, over the last seven years, have you ever heard a journalist ask, "How many troops do we have to replace those currently deployed in Iraq?") In certain markets, most notably, CDOs, this lack of common sense was institutionalized. It's evident in the deal book for Abacus 2007 AC-1, at the center of the S.E.C.'s case against Goldman. What risks are investors assuming? The presentation doesn't say. There's a reference portfolio of 90 subprime mortgage bonds, on pages 55 and 56, which ostensibly would be insured via credit default swaps for the benefit of Goldman. But, as the small print says, "Goldman Sachs neither represents nor provides any assurances that the actual Reference Portfolio on the Closing Date or any future date will have the same characteristics as represented above." According to my bias, everything else in the 66-page presentation is superfluous. And the real reference portfolio for Abacus 2001 AC-1 remains, to my knowledge at this point in time, hidden from public view.
Alan Grayson Discloses That Dodd Bill Covertly Eliminates Already Passed Legislation Requiring Full Fed AuditSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/23/2010 11:07 -0400
Once again we get confirmation that Chris Dodd is nothing but a paid manservant for his Federal Reserve masters, in addition to being a lame duck, whose last days in office are meant to do everything to allow the old-school Wall Street ways of endless secrecy and Fed bailouts to continue in perpetuity. As Ryan Grim points out "Alan Grayson and co-author Rep. Ron Paul passed legislation through the House that would allow the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Federal Reserve and, after a delay, release the information to Congress. It was a remarkable victory, with a populist coalition beating back the combined lobbying efforts of the Treasury Department, the Fed and Wall Street banks. The Senate has been more hostile territory for the Fed audit provision. Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) opposes the Grayson-Paul version, but allowed a much more restrictive audit proposal from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) into his bill." Why and how Dodd believes he can stand against this critical issue, that over 80% of America supports by demanding Fed transparency, is beyond any rational attempts at explanation. How he hopes to get away with it is even more mindboggling.
The (in)famous Greg Lippmann is gone. The question is why? Is Deustche Bank about to report the next Wells receipt? Of course not: Goldman did not do so even though it held it for 9 months.
Even as Bank of America is preparing to restart securitization and thus provide the single greatest gift to creditors the world over, as this is merely the first step in wiping out/transferring yet more trillions in private sector debt, it has done the public a bigger favor by compiling the following list of key terms for all those lost in the current labyrinth of definitions,acronyms and euphemisms. Since following the Goldman legal plight will require a facility with some heretofore quite complex constructs, the following catalog is a must read for all financial novices.
I know I'll raise my hand to the aforementioned question. The issue is,
as I huffed and puffed about how overvalued GS is, particularly
considering the amount of risk that it faced, I got a lot of blow back. Goldman has a lot of risk surrounding it that no one wanted to recognize - until now!
- ABACUS 2007-AC1 is a $2 billion notional synthetic CDO (the “Transaction”) referencing a portfolio (the “Reference Portfolio”) consisting of RMBS obligations.
- ACA Management, LLC (“ACA”) will be acting as Portfolio Selection Agent in this Transaction.
- ACA currently manages 22 outstanding CDOs with underlying portfolios consisting of $15.7 billion of assets
- The 360 WARF target Reference Portfolio selected by ACA consists of 90 Baa2-rated mid-prime and subprime RMBS bonds issued over the past 18 months.
- The CDO tranches amortize principal using a full sequential amortization sequence, avoiding any reduction in the relative subordination of the CDO tranches.
- The CDO tranches will have a projected average life(2) of 3.9 to 4.9 years, which is shorter than the average life of most traditional ABS CDOs executed in the current market environment.
- The CDO tranches do not bear any available funds cap risk and other related interest shortfall risks.
- Goldman Sachs’ market-leading ABACUS program currently has $5.1 billion in outstanding CLNs with strong secondary trading desk support.
Banks are busted, all of the big guys were doing the Lehman thing, and it gets worse. I take a look under the hood of the big boys to see what they were hiding. On a side note, as I type this the story is breaking all over the place. Is this the return of true, investigative reporting? I hope so!
Guest Post: The Andean Nightfly Pamphlet - A West Side Story Of Post-Baby-Boom Doom, Oil And Power Being Shifted (On A Platter) To The BRICSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/08/2010 23:13 -0400
Quite a ride in the Andean cordillera last night. Flooded Inca roads yielded fresh new bumps which in turn shook the gringo tourist, and synapses went to work. Pondering the idiocy of being born in the 1970s and what not. And taking action as per global warming. Sold my coat to an asshole who still believes in winter. The jerk! I've knocked down the garage and I'm growing broccoli. If you want to cheer up today, stop reading this and snort a line of pollen.
We the famous people of the West are in a bad shape. No matter how rosy the media put it; current state of affairs is feverish like 1937 (at best). The last 50 years of all-out complications from geopolitics to socio-economics seem impossible to digest. Our situation would compare to Mike Tyson after a sex change: same but different, with a totally erratic output. And probably dangerous.
The ECB just disclosed that it will continue accepting sub-A rated debt as collateral post January 1, 2011, as was widely speculated, merely to facilitiate funding needs of countries which are getting increasingly lower-rated by the rating agencies. Furthermore, the ECB has made it clear that this whole exercise is merely for optical purposes: "The new haircuts will not imply an undue decrease in the collateral available to counterparties." What is notable, however, is that the ECB has highlighted it will no longer accept non euro-denominated collateral after 2010. This is not good for countries which plan on syndicating dollar-denominated debt, as has been recently the case for Portugal, and, currently, Greece. Although in Greece's case we tend to think the country doesn't give a rat's behind about whether new issuance will be eligible, andis much more focused on just avoiding default.
Full Text Of Trichet Speech Following Today's Monthly Monetary Policy Meeting Of ECB's Governing CouncilSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/08/2010 09:05 -0400
Regarding our collateral framework, the Governing Council has decided to keep the minimum credit threshold for marketable and non-marketable assets in the Eurosystem collateral framework at investment-grade level (i.e. BBB-/Baa3) beyond the end of 2010, except in the case of asset-backed securities (ABSs). In addition, the Governing Council has decided to apply, as of 1 January 2011, a schedule of graduated valuation haircuts to the assets rated in the BBB+ to BBB- range (or equivalent). This graduated haircut schedule will replace the uniform haircut add-on of 5% that is currently applied to these assets. The detailed haircut schedule will be based on a number of parameters which are specified in the press release to be published after todays press conference.
In order to manipulate bond fund NAVs, two employees "actively screened and manipulated dealer quotes", "fraudulently published NAVs", made "price adjustments" that "were arbitrary and did not reflect fair value." The list keeps going. "This scheme had two architects - a portfolio manager responsible for lies to investors about the true value of the assets in his funds, and a head of fund accounting who turned a blind eye to the fund's bogus valuation process," - Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. Sharp Mary barked today. FINRA & the SEC bit.
- Bank of Japan keeps benchmark rate at 0.1%, says recovery remains intact.
- China said to consider Yuan trading versus Ruble, Won, Ringgit.
- China said to sell three-year bills in signal interest rates may soon rise.
- Euro-zone March composite PMI 55.9 vs. 53.7 Feb.
- Fed sees inflation slowdown tempering need to reverse stimulus.
- Greece may find lukewarm US reception to dollar bonds on deficit concern.
- Oil declined from an 18-month high.
In a surprising move, the FRBNY has just released the holdings of Maiden Lane I, II and III. Some preliminary observations: ML 1, in addition to holding a boatload of CDOs, has quite a few Residential whole loans, a variety of single names CDS, of which the bulk is CMBX, AMBAC, MBIA, PMI, CDS on Commercial Real Estate, CDS on Munis, CDS on non-agency RMBS, CDS on Non-residential ABS, some treasuries, and just under $3 billion in Interest Rate Swaps. ML 2, as noted, contains $35 billion of Non-Agency MBS. It also contains $280 million in cash, held with a Goldman Sachs account. (GOLDMAN SACHS FIN SQ GOVT FS). ML 3 consists of a variety of CDOs whose notional value is given as $56 billion. Once again, the Fed parks its cash of $383 million in this account with Goldman Sachs.
"In sum, in response to severe threats to our economy, the Federal Reserve created a series of special lending facilities to stabilize the financial system and encourage the resumption of private credit flows to American families and businesses. As market conditions and the economic outlook have improved, these programs have been terminated or are being phased out. The Federal Reserve also promoted economic recovery through sharp reductions in its target for the federal funds rate and through large-scale purchases of securities. The economy continues to require the support of accommodative monetary policies. However, we have been working to ensure that we have the tools to reverse, at the appropriate time, the currently very high degree of monetary stimulus. We have full confidence that, when the time comes, we will be ready to do so." Ben Bernanke. Too bad the Chairman will not add that time will not come until the US finally implodes.