Did Goldman And Tourre Break FINRA Regulations By Not Reporting "Fab Fabrice's" Wells Notice Receipt?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/17/2010 12:09 -0400
Yesterday we praised two NYT reporters for having uncovered the mess of the Goldman CDO scandal first, and we concluded, erroneously now it seems, that the SEC merely piggybacked on their disclosure to file charges against Goldman. However, as Reuters' Matt Goldstein reports, Goldman had received a Wells Notice from the SEC as far back as "six months ago", which predates the Morgenson and Story December 24 story. And as the SEC case would likely have taken at least one year to build up, we are confident that the SEC began their investigation into Goldman and Paulson well prior, likely in 2008 if not earlier. For those unfamiliar, a Wells is basically an advance warning that the recipient will be a target of an SEC investigation. We do not anticipate that anyone aside from Tourre (who, being just 27 at the time of the alleged transactions, in no imaginable way acted alone) and Goldman's legal counsel was aware of this development, although with allegations that Goldman was dumping various security holdings in advance of the announcement one can never be certain. One key line of questioning has emerged as a result of this disclosure: why was there no official notice anywhere in the public record of this Wells Notice receipt? The precedent is murky when it comes to corporations responsibility to report Wells Notice receipts: certainly, Goldman had no mention of this even in its March 1 10-K. What is however without question, is that Fabrice Tourre, who as we reported yesterday, is a registered broker dealer, has a responsibilty to modify his/her U-4 within 30 days of the Wells Notice receipt, yet as of yesterday there was still "no disclosure of any event about this broker." Assuming Goldman received the Wells 31 days ago or more, it begs the question did the firm, by allowing Tourre not to report the Wells Notice, break Finra regulations, and just why it believes it has the facility to do this?
GS&Co marketing materials for ABACUS 2007-AC1 – including the term sheet, flip book and offering memorandum for the CDO – all represented that the reference portfolio of RMBS underlying the CDO was selected by ACA Management LLC (“ACA”), a third-party
with experience analyzing credit risk in RMBS. Undisclosed in the marketing materials and unbeknownst to investors, a large hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc. (“Paulson”), with economic interests directly adverse to investors in the ABACUS 2007-AC1 CDO, played a significant role in the portfolio selection process. After participating in the selection of the reference portfolio, Paulson effectively shorted the RMBS portfolio it helped select by entering into credit default swaps (“CDS”) with GS&Co to buy protection on specific layers of the ABACUS 2007-AC1 capital structure. Given its financial short interest, Paulson had an economic incentive to choose RMBS that it expected to experience credit events in the near future. GS&Co did not disclose Paulson’s adverse economic interests or its role in the portfolio selection process in the term sheet, flip book, offering memorandum or other marketing materials provided to investors...The deal closed on April 26, 2007. Paulson paid GS&Co approximately $15 million for structuring and marketing ABACUS 2007-AC1. By October 24, 2007, 83% of the RMBS in the ABACUS 2007-AC1 portfolio had been downgraded and 17% were on negative watch. By January 29, 2008, 99% of the portfolio had been downgraded. As a result, investors in the ABACUS 2007-AC1 CDO lost over $1 billion. Paulson’s opposite CDS positions yielded a profit of approximately $1 billion for Paulson.By engaging in the misconduct described herein, GS&Co and Tourre directly or indirectly engaged in transactions, acts, practices and a course of business that violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. §77q(a) ("the Securities Act"), Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §78j(b) ("the Exchange Act") and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. §240.10b-5. The Commission seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, prejudgment interest, civil penalties and other appropriate and necessary equitable relief from both defendants.
How many ways can a Wall Street Banker bend over an institutional client before they scream "ouch"??? Let me count the ways (with a spreadsheet, may I add)...
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.
Senator Kaufman Reminds Most HFT Issues Still On Table; Notes Rising Market Structure Concern By Regulators And Market ParticipantsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/03/2010 18:28 -0400
Yet another much needed reminder that the topic of High Frequency Trading is far from resolved. On Tuesday, Senator Ted Kaufman reminded that increasingly more regulators and market participants remain divided over HFT, even as concern about possible improprieties associated with market structure grows. Kaufman's most recent topic of focus - order cancellations. He said the SEC should address the "burgeoning" number of order cancellations involved in high frequency trading, which, he added, are "clearly excessive" and virtually a "prima facia" case that battles between competing algorithms have become "all too commonplace, overloading the system and regulators alike."
Financial Economics, Deregulation and OTC Derivatives: Interview with Yves Smith of Naked CapitalismSubmitted by rc whalen on 02/22/2010 08:33 -0400
We ran an interview with our friend Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism today. She has done an excellent job of describing how the intellectual ghetto that was once financial economics has helped to destroy the world of investing and involuntarily turn us all into day traders. The full text follows below. -- Chris
The Syndicate Encouraging Corruption lately has been far more busy begging for money from the Tim Geithner's gargantuan budget than performing any enforcement, analysis, or regulation, case in point today's second attempt to kill any investigation into the ML/BAC merger. We hope some Congressional or Senate committee will finally find the guts to subpoena any and all communication between BACML, or any other banks, and the SEC related to this proposed settlement, to uncover just what the SEC's motives are to fast-lane yet another case involving the endless corruption on Wall Street. Luckily Cuomo is still there to pursue the punishment of real wrongdoing, since America is now completely unable to rely on the $1 billion publicly funded organization, which, at least on paper, "works in American investors' interest"... and by American investors we assume the agency does not refer to Goldman Sachs or Bank Of America. Yet judgment day for Mary Schapiro may soon be coming. Larry Doyle at Sense on Cents notes that next week FINRA's board of directors will finally address alleged wrongdoings by Schapiro. We join Larry in asking: "Will the Board realize it ultimately needs to be accountable to ALL its member firms and, by extension, to the American public at large? Will the Obama administration compel the Board to provide the transparency America so badly wants?"
The wild west days of social networking as a platform for stock tips and under the radar information exchange may be coming to an end. Or at least FINRA is finally realizing that there is more to stock manipulation than meets the eye, and in a radical change in policy (which up to now had been non-existent on the matter), FINRA will start policing and pouring through tweets, after announcing that "securities firms must keep copies of all business-related communications on social networks, whether those communications are official or from associated persons." Yet indicating just how woefully behind the times the SEC's much-feebler cousin is, FINRA has admitted that "the technology to grab those messages might not exist." The reason why FINRA should be concerned, as Securities Industry News highlights is that "Every Wall Street company – except possibly the smallest ones – have employees using social networks, creating potential liability problems for their employers, for whom they might not be speaking. However, many firms are also actively using these new platforms themselves, to reach out to customers, the general public, and potential new recruits."
The SEC has opened up the public comment section for File No. S7-02-10 "Concept Release on Equity Market Structure" also known as the "Help us because the SEC is hopelessly lost when evaluating the impact of high frequency trading" proposal. As the SEC points out: "This release is intended to facilitate public comment by first giving a basic overview of the legal and factual elements of the current equity market structure and then presenting a wide range of issues for comment. The Commission cautions that it has not reached any final conclusions on the issues presented for comment. The discussion and questions in this release should not be interpreted as slanted in any particular way on any particular issue. The Commission intends to consider carefully all comments and to complete its review in a timely fashion. At that point, it will determine whether there are any problems that require a regulatory initiative and, if so, the nature of that initiative." Most relevantly for Zero Hedge readers, the SEC's response solicitation form is now open and can be found here.
Schapiro Forces Perot Insider Trader To Refund $8.6 Million Profits, Still No Announcement On NYB Insider Trading CaseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2010 12:00 -0400
The SEC, which had its Dell-Perot insider trading case handed to them by various blogs, has forced the disgorgement of $8.6 million in profits from the perpetrator Reza Saleh. And while this action is completely insufficient to warrant the continued abuse of taxpayer money by the SEC, and its ongoing worthless existence, we still demand that the SEC immediately initiate an investigation into the blatant insider trading, most likely facilitated by a person at the FDIC, in regard to the New York Community Bancorp taxpayer funded acquisition of recently defunct AmTrust Bank. We will keep reminding the Chairwoman of her grotesque failing as anything but a bureaucrat who managed to milk FINRA for so much more than she is worth ($3.3 million to be precise, and other insane pension benefits), and is currently merely a figurehead, whose sole responsibility is to let the Ken Lewises off the hook with nothing but a handslap.
FINRA Initiates Probe Into Goldman's "Trading Huddle" And Comparable Practices By Other Wall Street FirmsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/17/2009 19:53 -0400
Could it be that the regulators are finally set on doing the one thing they are paid to do, i.e. regulatoring? Perhaps, especially when they are presented with all the data on a silver platter, as the WSJ did some time ago. The same WSJ reports that FINRA has now started a probe into the practice known as "trading huddles" which is merely another phrase for providing the best, most actionable data to one's preferential clients, and also a very politically correct and polite way of allegedly endorsing front-running.
A report by Bloomberg finally recaps the flagrantly obvious insider trading in NYB stocks and options, presented first here on Zero Hedge.
Mary Schapiro Must Immediately Investigate The FDIC's Confidential Information Leak In Another Blatant Insider Trading Case, Then ResignSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/04/2009 21:39 -0400
The degree of insider trading in this market is getting ridiculous. And the strangest thing is those who are executing on blatantly obvious material, non-public insider information, are no longer concerned the least bit about getting caught as they realize that the "mighty" SEC will do nothing against them, courtesy of the example the SEC has set by finding absolutely nobody "responsible" (except, of course, the regulator's own future employers who thus get immunity from prosecution) for the greatest market heist in history in which over $5 trillion has been transferred from the middle class to the Wall Street oligarchy (future providers of paychecks for SEC staffers).
Today's grotesque example of the SEC's futility to act as even a modest deterrent to insider trading activity: New York Community Bancorp (which, just so happens, is a $602 million recipient of TLGP debt), whose stock surged in the final minutes of trading for reasons (then) unknown. As reader QevolveQ pointed out at 5:30 pm, the activity in both the stock and the calls of the company was many standard deviations away from average and raised major red flags. Those questions were quickly put to rest when it became known at 6:33 pm that NYB would in fact receive FDIC subsidies to acquire newly failed AmTrust Bank in a transaction that would be "immediately accretive to earnings."
Total Lunacy: Mary Schapiro Made $3.3 Million In 2008, Perks Also Include Car Service, Club Fees And Full Expense CompSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/04/2009 16:51 -0400
We will post this without much commentary as the probability we would otherwise be sued for grossly indecent language in a public venue as well as libel and slander is very, very high.
Senator Dodd has Introduced a Sweeping Financial Reform Bill. Please Help Me Figure Out If Its Good or Bad, and What Its MissingSubmitted by George Washington on 11/10/2009 15:51 -0400
Is this bill good or bad? What's it missing?