In Prior Week Money Markets Recorded Biggest Outflow Since Collapse Of Lehman At $60 Billion, Or 2.2% Of AssetsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/19/2010 12:19 -0400
Well, the administration finally succeeded in getting everyone to join it in going all in on the Ponzi. In the prior week, money market funds record a humongous $60 billion outflow, or a whopping 2.2% of all assets. This follows a $30 billion outflow in the prior week, and is the single biggest outflow since the fall of Lehman ($144 Billion, when money markets needed a Federal guarantee to be saved). Joe Sixpack has thrown the dice and its has fallen on pyramid scheme. The chase for yield (who cares about return of capital, return on capital rules), continues in the high yield arena as well: after 2 $1 billion outflows a month ago, it is now smooth sailing. Lipper estimated that for the week ended March 17, HY funds saw an inflow of $597 million, a small decline from the $795 million in the week prior and and $314 in the week before. As for High Grade - fughettabboutit - last week was a record 54th consecutive week of inflows into HG (nevermind that foreigners sold the greatest amount of corporate bonds on record in January), at $1.3 billion. And the biggest loser - why equities as usual, which "explains" why credit is at two week lows even as stocks push all time records. For logic there is Math 101. For everything else there is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In the aftermath of the Zachery Kouwe plagiarism fiasco, the last thing Andrew Ross Sorkin's Dealbook needs is another scandal. Yet this is precisely what may come out of a recent column by the TBTF author, in which ARS insinuated that Lehman whistleblower Matthew Lee came forth with incriminating Repo 105 evidence only after he was made aware he was about to be "downsized." The Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum debunks this story, after pointing out some potentially gross misrepresentations in the Sorkin column, which go to directly to motive and to the integrity behind Lee's actions. "The Times’s DealBook editor Andrew Ross Sorkin, who wrote the column, quotes the sources saying the whistle blower came forward only after “it became clear” he was to be replaced in his job. We’ll get to that peculiar phrasing in a minute, but the main problem is the Times story gives no indication that Lee was called for comment. In fact, he wasn’t called, according to Lee’s lawyer, Erwin Shustak, whom I talked to yesterday. “I’ve never spoken to the man (Sorkin) in my life,” Shustak says. “Nobody’s spoken to Matthew.” That doesn’t meet a basic fairness test. As it happens, Shustak tells us that Lee had no idea his job was in danger." If indeed Sorkin misstated facts, a retraction is the only recourse as the potential for legal escalation on all sides of the story is huge. We are confident that while to Lehman managing directors $50 billion may have been a drop in the ocean, legal prosecution going after either ARS (or Lee) to reclaim it in part (or in whole) will surely make the Dealbook editor's head spin, even after accounting for Paulson and Geithner's 10,000 purchases of TBTF each (exaggeration ours... we hope).
Clinical Proof Of Banker Psychopathology: Repo 105's "Pimply" Importance To A Few Managing Directors' Lehman Equity StakesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2010 19:57 -0400
What is $50 billion between a couple of psychopaths? It's basically “a drop in the ocean” according to Max Abelson's account of how the Repo 105 fiasco is seen by the other side. Several ex-Lehman bankers speak off the record in "The repo men's new Lehman shrug" and confirm that not only is Wall Street terminally deluded in its own self-importance, but that basically everyone in finance is a megalomaniac, with no sense of relative worth, or any worth, for that matter, unless it goes straight into their back pocket. “I’m like, whatever" says London managing director #1, when asked what his reaction to the Repo 105 disclosure is. So when is it not "whatever?" $500 billion? $500 trillion? In its pursuit of finding ever more complex ways of defrauding the middle class silly (without the latter even being aware its share of net global wealth is about to decline from 1% to half that), Wall Street's bankers have passed the clinical psychopathology barrier, and will stop at nothing to destroy the wealth of everyone else not only with impunity, but with a smirk and a smile. Now that's net worth change you can believe in.
Senator Kaufman Makes A Stand Against The Criminality Exposed By The Lehman Examiner Report, Questions The Core Principles Of US DemocracySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/15/2010 19:26 -0400
Only a few days have passed since its release, and already the Mainstream Media has forgotten all about the Lehman Examiner Report, with barely an occasional mention. As the CJR points out, this unquestionably massive story of corruption and vice, is being covered up by powered interests controlling all the major news outlets, because just like in the Galleon case, the stench goes not only to the top, (in this case the New York Fed and the SEC), but very likely to various corporations that have vested interests in the conglomerates controlling America's key media organizations. One person, however, who refuses to let it go, is Senator Ted Kaufman, whose determined support for an overhaul of market structure we have followed over the past year. The Senator now moves on to yet another pressing issue: the disclosures of unprecedented impropriety conducted by virtually every person of responsibility within the Lehman organization, as well as associated firms like Ernst & Young, and regulators who were asleep at the wheel during the moment of greatest stress for the American financial system. Kaufman calls for a "a thorough investigation, both civil and criminal, to identify every last person who had knowledge that Lehman was misleading the public about its troubled balance sheet – and that means everyone from the Lehman executives, to its board of directors, to its accounting firm, Ernst & Young. Moreover, if the foreign bank counterparties who purchased the now infamous "Repo 105s" were complicit in the scheme, they should be held accountable as well." Zero Hedge sides with Senator Kaufman in this new endeavor (we have yet to see even one other member of Congress or the Senate stand up and voice their opposition to Lehman's criminal conduct). As Kaufman wisely points out: "I’m concerned that the revelations about Lehman Brothers are just the tip of the iceberg. We have no reason to believe that the conduct detailed last week is somehow isolated or unique. Indeed, this sort of behavior is hardly novel." We look forward to obtaining even more raw data on improprieties conducted by other financial firms, and we hold our breath until we can finally get a glimpse at the heart of that most corrupt and secretive organization of all - the US Federal Reserve.
How Lehman, With The Fed's Complicity, Created Another Illegal Precedent In Abusing The Primary Dealer Credit FacilitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/13/2010 15:44 -0400
Five months ago, Zero Hedge observed the nuances of the Federal Reserve's Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) and concluded that this artificial liquidity boosting construct was nothing more than yet another scam to allow banks to extract ever more money from taxpayers, with the complicit blessing of the Federal Reserve Board Of New York (as the original piece also provided an in-depth discussion of the triparty repo market which is now a parallel to the buzzword of the day in the form of Lehman's "Repo 105" off balance sheet contraption, it should serve as a useful refresher course to anyone who wishes to understand why while Repo 105 with its $50 billion in liability contingency may have been an issue, the true Repo market, with over $3 trillion of likely just as toxic assets, is where the real pain in the future will come from). The PDCF would allow assets of declining and even inexistent value to be pledged as collateral, thus making sure that taxpayer cash was funneled into sham institutions holding predominantly toxic assets, and whose viability was and is limited, yet still is backed by the Fed, which to this day continues to pour our money into them. Today, with a tip from the NYT's Eric Dash, we demonstrate just how grossly negligent the Federal Reserve was when it came to Lehman's abuse of the PDCF, and how the trail of slime of Lehman's increasingly obvious manipulation of its books goes to the very top of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and its then governor - a very much complicit Tim Geithner.
Lehman's Repo 105 Counterparties Barclays, Mizuho, UBS, Deutsche Bank, And KBC May Have Attempted To "Squeeze" The BankSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2010 11:16 -0400
Yesterday we asked just who the counterparties on Lehman's Repo 105 transactions were. Today we get our answer: the parties that Lehman used exclusively to mask its true leverage ratio were Barclays, Mizuho, UBS, Mitsubishi, Deutsche Bank, KBC and ABN Amro. This is accompanied by disclosure from the Examiner that these Repos, which should logically have been cheaper to Lehman due to the overcollateralization compared to regular matched repo (remember: 105 instead of 100 plus a minor haircut), in fact were pricier, prompting Lehman staffers such as Mike McGarvey to speculate that counterparties may "try to squeeze Lehman." This is quite a critical development ahead of the lawsuit between the Lehman estate and Barclays (a Repo 105 counterparty), which not only refused to bail out Lehman in the 11th hour, but to subsequently go ahead and in the definition of a fire sale acquire Lehman Brothers' North American brokerage operations for pennies on the dollar, coupled with some serious additional trickery on the side. Another oddity: none of the counterparties were US-based. Did US banks know too well about the imminent collapse of Lehman and thus refuse to participate in the Repo 105 window dressing game? Or, much more relevantly, was Lehman terrified by retaliation of its US-based peers, (be it CDS or stock-based) and as a result refused to open up its deplorable balance sheet to them?
Let's get something straight right off the bat. We all know there is a certain level of fraud in the financial industry. It is just that now it is endorsed by the government...
And The Lehman Disclosure Hits Just Keep On Coming; If Fuld Has Not Yet Left The Country, Doing So ASAP May Be A Very Good IdeaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2010 00:11 -0400
Reading through the thousands and thousands of pages of Valukas' report has proven, as we suspected early today, quite entertaining. After having first uncovered the Repo 105 accounting gimmick, and E&Y (and, in a normal society, Tim Geithner) coffin nail, we are convinced that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and sure enough, as we read along, more stunners come to light. We will update this post with new discoveries, but for now, we present the episode of the Fenway Tri-Party Repo Market Clusterfuck ("FTPRMC"), The Part Where Lehman Lied To Its Shareholders, And The SEC Gets The Middle Finger (Again), and the parable of Ben Bernanke's And His Scale Of 0 To 100 Of Systemic Fuckedupedness.
The "Repo 105" Scam: How Lehman Fooled Everyone (Including Allegedly Dick Fuld) And How Other Banks Are Likely Doing This Right NowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2010 18:53 -0400
Presenting a detailed look at "Repo 105" - the next soundbite sure to fill the airwaves over the next weeks and months, as more and more banks are uncovered to be using this borderline criminal accounting gimmick to make their leverage ratios look better. This is the first time we have heard this loophole abuse by a bank, be it defunct (Lehman) or existing (everyone else). There should be an immediate investigation into how many other banks are currently taking advantage of this artificial scheme to manipulate and misrepresent their cap ratio, and just why the New York Fed can claim it had no idea of this very critical component of the Shadow Economy.
We present the first two volumes (out of 9) of the massive 2,200 page compendium that represents the just declassified examiner's report in the Lehman bankruptcy case. We will post the other volumes shortly. Below are the key findings from a quick perusal of Anton Valukas' report, which we will be combing through over the next week. Pay particular attention to the Repo 105 scam which allows banks to materially misrepresent their leverage ratios whenever they so choose, thank you FASB, corrupt auditors (in this case E&Y) and Federal Reserve.
The 2,200 page report prepared by examiner Anton Valukas detailing the collapse of Lehman Brothers, will be declassified, as, according to wifebeater Judge Peck, it reads like a "bestseller", and is "one of the most extraordinary pieces of work product I have ever encountered." Now, for the first time, we will get an objective analysis into Dick Fuld's allegations that short sellers were responsible for the death of his firm, and just how it is that Barclays managed to (metaphorically) steal the perfectly solvent North American brokerage division for pennies on the dollar (with the Judge's blessing in the first place).
The New York Fed has released this week's Primary Dealer net holdings update. While the data indicates that PD's were aggressive sellers of virtually everything (USTs, Corps, Agency, except MBS) in the prior week, the one category that stood out was Treasury Bills, in which net short exposure reached levels last seen during the Lehman bankruptcy. Last week's net short exposure of ($15) billion compares to the ($26) billion two year low seen on September 17, 2008. The Lehman collapse period was very curious as during it PDs saw both a record selling in Bills followed by a record buying of Bills, all within a month: whereas in the week ended 9/17 $41 billion of Bills were sold/shorted, the week of October 22, saw a covering/buying spree of over $51 billion. We have not seen this kind of amplitude in the past two years. Over the past 5 weeks, PDs have sold a total of $29 billion in Bills, starting with a net long exposure of $13.8 billion in the week ended January 13, and culminating with a net short of ($15) billion on February 17.
Paulson Claims Guaranteeing Lehman Would Have Cost Fed Massive Losses; No Mention Of Massiver Losses Coming From GSEsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/29/2010 12:22 -0400
The man on a book mission, who just incidentally destroyed America with his failed "bazooka threat" containment policy, is out with some new truly brilliant revelations, like for example that the consequences of Lehman's collapse were exacerbated due to the unanticipated actions of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Lehman's receiver in the U.K., whose freezing of accounts is considered by Hank as the precipitating factor that nearly destroyed the money market system. Hank tops it off by saying that Lehman's $50 billion in impaired CRE loans posed a more substantial threat to the Federal Reserve than the $300+ billion in currently delinquent mortgages on the GSEs' books, which explains why he bailed out one and not the other.
Greece Update: Another Risk Record As Prime Minister Openly Talking Against Speculation, Lehman Deja VuSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/28/2010 10:14 -0400
At this point using the words "Greece" and "record" in the same sentence is starting to get uncool. Alas, today, it has to be said one more time. The country's CDS is now at 387 bps, another all time wide, while the spread to Bunds is just getting plain silly. Of course, the chorus of voices begging for calm is increasing, with Spain's prime minister the latest to claim that "nobody will be leaving the euro." It is unclear at this point if he is referring to Greece or Spain. This is coupled with Papandreou saying that he is "seeing speculation in world financial markets" regarding his country's risk, and the ever ubiquitous " rumors can create problems." Dick Fuld surely can sympathize.
Developing story: It was just a matter of time, as previously expected.
Ironically, on September 18th 2008 Lehman would undergo millennia of Chinese water torture just to get the sale done. How everything changes in one short year.