Goldman's Releases Walkthru "Toolkit" Of How It Will Respond To Second Coming Of Greg Smith's Muppetgate

Greg Smith's "tell all" book about Goldman is out, and as a result Smith, Goldman, and the infamous muppets are about to get their second half-life of 15 minute fame, starting with Smith's interview by the just as dramatic Anderson Cooper in this weekend's episode of 60 Minutes. The result is that after having to write a memo to his employees once already providing marching orders on how to handle the first iteration of muppetgate, a few hours ago Goldman again released a "briefing toolkit" titled "Media Interest in Greg Smith's Book" in which it prepares its employees for the coming brief if acute storm of renewed public criticism as a result of Goldman once again being in the headlines, if only for another 15 or so minutes.

Eurozone Bank Supervisor Plan Found To be "Illegal"

While we have largely resumed ignoring the non-newsflow out of Europe, as it has reverted back to one made up on the fly lie after another, or just simple rumor and political talking point innuendo in the most recent attempt to get hedge funds starved for yield (and chasing year end performance) to pursue every and any piece of Italian and Spanish debt (at least the until euphoria ends and the selling on fundamentals resumes) the latest development from the FT bears noting as it has major implications for Europe's make it up as you go along "recovery." According to the FT: "A plan to create a single eurozone banking supervisor is illegal, according to a secret legal opinion for EU finance ministers that deals a further blow to a reform deemed vital to solving the bloc’s debt crisis. A paper from the EU Council’s top legal adviser, obtained by the Financial Times, argues the plan goes “beyond the powers” permitted under law to change governance rules at the European Central Bank." The punchline: "The legal service concludes that without altering EU treaties it would be impossible to give a bank supervision board within the ECB any formal decision-making powers as suggested in the blueprint drawn up by the European Commission."

Moody's Slaps ESM With Negative Outlook On Day Of Its Official Launch

Europe just can't catch a break these days. While French Fitch naturally came out earlier with a AAA rating and a stable outlook, it is Moody's, which has yet to follow through in S&P's footsteps 14 months later and tell the truth about America's AAA rating, that moments ago spoiled the ESM "inauguration" party by branding it AAA, but with a Negative outlook. So much for the most 'supersecure' CDO on earth: looks like we are not the only ones to assign comical value to the ESM's €80 billion first loss "Paid-in" tranche. Because that 12% in buffered protection can disappear very quick if and when the central planners lose control.

Frontrunning: September 27

  • Madrid Protesters March Again as Spain Braces for Cuts (Bloomberg)
  • Euro Can Bear Fewer Members as Czech Leader Calls Greeks Victims (Bloomberg)
  • Chinese Industrial Profits Fall 6.2% in Fifth Straight Drop (Bloomberg)
  • China pours $58bn into money markets (FT)
  • Beijing vows more measures on Diaoyu Islands (China Daily)
  • Noda vows no compromise as Japan, China dig in on islands row (Reuters)
  • Politico’s Paul Ryan Satire: The Joke’s on Them (Bloomberg)
  • Electoral Drama Shifts to Ohio (WSJ)
  • German opposition party targets banks (FT)
  • Fed action triggers fear of new currency wars (FT)
  • Ex-Credit Suisse CDO Boss Serageldin Is Arrested in U.K. (Bloomberg)
  • Romney ‘I Dig It’ Trust Gives Heirs Triple Benefit (Bloomberg)

JPM's London Whale May Face Jail Time For Mismarking Billions In CDS

When first the speculation and subsequently the confirmation that in addition to suffering massive losses on its IG-9 position, JPM had engaged in massive, reckless and criminal CDS mismarking with the intent to defraud and to boost the appearance of profit for selfish reasons, we promptly concluded that "Jamie Dimon's "tempest in a teapot" just became a fully-formed, perfect storm which suddenly threatens his very position, and could potentially lead to billions more in losses for his firm." So far, the regulators which are currently on page two of "CDS for Absolutely Corrupt Criminal Morons", are only slowly catching up. And while the stench will eventually lead to Jamie, as what happened in the over the counter, unregulated CDS market has most certainly happened at the tens of trillions in other OTC products traded by JPM, most of which are IR swaps, tying it all back nicely to the Libor scandal of which JPM is also a part, the first person who will certainly experience some major pain as the JPM scapegoating plays out, is none other than the London Whale himself Bruno Iksil, who was loved by all at JPM when he was making money, and is now being hung out to dry, once the bank is in the prosecution's cross hairs.

Your Taxpayer Dollars At Work

Not like anyone would expect anything more, technically, less, but it is always gratifying to know there is someone, somewhere willing to fight for the little guy. And lose.


Criminal Inquiry Shifts To JPMorgan's Mispricing Of Hundreds Of Billions In CDS: Is Dimon The Next Diamond?

On the last day of May, when we first learned via Bloomberg that there was even the scantest likelihood that JPM may have been massaging its CDS marks within the (London-based of course) CIO organization - the backbone of hundreds of billions in notional exposure, and thus a huge counterfeited benefit to trader bonuses and corporate earnings - we wrote, "The Second Act Of The JPM CIO Fiasco Has Arrived - Mismarking Hundreds Of Billions In Credit Default Swaps" in which we explained precisely how this activity would and did take place, precisely why other traders caught doing the same are on the verge of being thrown in jail, precisely why everyone else does it, and precisely why the biggest CDS self-reporting and client/banker owned-organization (this is where images of Libor should appear), MarkIt, may well be implicated in everything - very much in the same way that the BBA is the heart of Lie-borgate. Because unlike all other allegations of impropriety, most of which rely on Level 2 and Level 3 assets whose valuations are in the eye of the oh so very sophisticated beholder (in this case JPM) who has complex DCFs and speaks confidently when explaining marks to naive, stupid outsiders (in other words baffles with bullshit), when it comes to one of the last places where Mark to Market is still applicable and used: the OTC CDS market, and where daily P&L records are kept, it will take any regulator, enforcer, or criminal investigator precisely 1 minute to find out if there was fraud, or gambling, going on here. Most importantly, it opened up the firm to a criminal investigation. Which as Reuters reports, is precisely what has now happened.

Frontrunning: July 16

  • Looks like the troops won't be steamrolled: JPMorgan Blaming Marks On Traders Baffles Ex-Employees (Bloomberg)
  • The Goldman "Huddle" goes to Blackrock - Surveys Give Big Investors an Early View From Analysts (NYT)
  • At least housing has bottomed: London House Prices Plunge As Supply Rise Adds To Lull (Bloomberg)
  • Christine Lagarde and Nicolas Sarkozy embroiled in new corruption inquiry (Telegraph)- at least that fraud they created: Others helped them create it.
  • Heat Leaves Ranchers a Stark Option: Sell (NYT)
  • Merkel Gives No Ground on Demands for Oversight in Debt Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • The euro skeptics have the best lines again (FT)
  • Wen Says China’s Economic Recovery yet to Show Momentum (Bloomberg)
  • Europe’s Banks Face Tougher Demands (FT)
  • Madrid Region To Sell 100 Office Buildings Amid Austerity (Bloomberg)
  • China eases taxes for foreign companies (FT)

David Takes On The Porn-Addicted Goliath: Egan-Jones Countersues The SEC

A month and a half after the SEC took a much-deserved break from watching taxpayer-funded pornography, and stumbled on the scene with its latest pathetic attempt to scapegoat someone, anyone, for its years of gross incompetence, corruption, and inability to prosecute any of the true perpetrators for an event that wiped out tens of trillions in US wealth, by suing Egan-Jones for "improperly" filing their NRSRO application in what was a glaring attempt to shut them up, the only rating agency with any credibility has done what nobody else in the history of modern crony capitalist-cum-socialist America has dared to do: fight back. We have only three words for Sean Egan: For. The. Win.

Chris Martenson: "We Are About To Have Another 2008-Style Crisis"

Well, my hat is off to the global central planners for averting the next stage of the unfolding financial crisis for as long as they have. I guess there’s some solace in having had a nice break between the events of 2008/09 and today, which afforded us all the opportunity to attend to our various preparations and enjoy our lives.

Alas, all good things come to an end, and a crisis rooted in ‘too much debt’ with a nice undercurrent of ‘persistently high and rising energy costs’ was never going to be solved by providing cheap liquidity to the largest and most reckless financial institutions. And it has not.

James Montier On "Complexity To Impress", Monkeys With Guns, And Why VaR Is Doomed

"One of my favourite comedians, Eddie Izzard, has a rebuttal that I find most compelling. He points out that “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people, but so do monkeys if you give them guns.” This is akin to my view of financial models. Give a monkey a value at risk (VaR) model or the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and you’ve got a potential financial disaster on your hands." - James Montier, May 6

Santelli On CDS Regulation And Why Bank Analysts Failed

It would seem, just as during the crisis in 2008/9, that now might be an opportune time to push for 'improvement' in how banks are regulated (and more importantly how the instruments they trade in colossal size are priced and marked-to-market). Rick Santelli believes now has never been a better time but as his guest Tim Backshall of Capital Context notes, regulation of the CDS market can be summed up in one sentence "Get Them On Exchange". Something we have been saying for years (and has been tried before) but with dealers holding all the keys (to market-making) and exchanges cowering for fear of losing clients, we remain less optimistic. Santelli and Backshall critically address the complicity of banks, regulators, analysts, and The Fed in giving 'banks the benefit of the doubt' with regard their use of the bottomless pit of capital they implicitly have but what is more important is for the hordes of sell-side analysts and buy-side sheeple to understand just what this JPM debacle exposes about bank risk (VaR is useless), bank transparency (mark-to-model or worse is widespread), and bank valuation (traditional Price/Book metrics have no merit anymore).