Maiden Lane III

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Barclays Wins Euromoney's Best Global Debt, Best Investment Bank, And Best Global Flow House Of The Year Awards





Financial magazine Euromoney, which in addition to being a subscription-based publication appears to also rely on bank advertising, has just held its 2012 Awards for Excellence dinner event. And in the "you can't make this up" category we have Barclays winning the Best Global Debt House, Best Investment Bank, And Best Global Flow House Of The Year Awards. Specifically we learn that "the bank’s commitment to the US is exemplified by the addition of another global senior manager to the country – Tom Kalaris is now going to be splitting his time between New York and London as executive chairman of the Americas as well as overseeing wealth management. Jerry del Missier, who has overseen the corporate and investment bank through its Lehman integration and was recently appointed COO of the Barclays group, says the bank is well positioned. "We came out of the crisis in a stronger strategic position and that has allowed us to continue to win market share and build our franchise. Keep in mind that the US is the largest investment banking, wealth management, credit card and investment management market in the world, and in terms of fee share will remain the most dynamic economy in the world for many years. As a strong global, universal bank operating in a competitive environment that is undergoing significant retrenchment, we like our position." That said, with the Chairman, CEO and COO all now fired, just who was it who accepted the various award: the firm's LIBOR setting team? And if so, were they drinking Bollinger at the dinner?

 


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Frontrunning: April 5





  • Portugal Says Some Town Halls May Need to Restructure Their Debt (Bloomberg)
  • Draghi Scotches ECB Exit Talk as Spain Keeps Crisis Alive (Bloomberg)
  • China PBOC Injects Net CNY25 Bln Into Money Market This Week (WSJ)
  • BoE warns on mortgage limits (FT)
  • Apple investigating new iPad WiFi issues, tells AppleCare to replace affected units (9to5Mac)
  • Juppé promises French hard line in EU (FT)
  • ECB liquidity fuels high stakes hedging (FT)
  • Fed’s Lacker Says Markets Saw Odds of Policy Easing as Too High (Bloomberg)
  • Japan minister to ask for nuclear reactor restart: media (Reuters)
 


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Is Brian Lin The Next Incarnation Of Joe Cassano?





In a must read Op Ed, Bloomberg's Jon Weil takes another long hard look at the balance sheet of the most undercapitalized bank in America (thank would be Bank of America) courtesy of the worst M&A transaction in history, namely its purchase of Countrywide, observes what everyone, even John Paulson now knows, that due to trading at half its book value nobody in the market gives even remote credit to the bank's asset "marks", and concludes that this organization, courtesy of an extremely lax regulatory and audit structure, which continues to allow it to mark any assets at whatever price it desires, could well be the next AIG: "There’s more
at stake here, however, than whether Bank of America’s shares
are a “buy” or a “sell.” The main thing the rest of us care about is the continuing
menace this company and others like it pose to the financial
system, knowing we never should have let ourselves be put in the
position where a collapse in confidence at a single bank could
wreak havoc on the world’s economy. Here we are again, though.
Curse the geniuses who brought us this madness." Indeed: once again, right before our eyes, day after day we allow various higher status quo-embedded individuals to take advantage of the gullible public by misrepresenting the massive risk that the left side of BAC's balance sheet represents, which can have only one conclusion: the same epic implosion that brought down AIG once the market reality caught up the with book myth. Yet in the case of AIG unbridled risk-taking and book mismarking we can at least put the blame on one person: the man at the heart of AIG FP, Joe Cassano, whose reckless bets nearly brought down capitalism. So our question is: is there someone at or affiliated with Bank of America that could soon double as a Joe Cassano for the 2010s? We have one suggestion (although certainly not exhaustive): Brian Lin of RRMS Advisors.

 


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Prepared Testimony By Fed's General Counsel To Be Used In Today's Ron Paul Hearing





Update: Hearing has been delayed until 3 pm.

While we await to find and bring to our readers the channel that will carry today's hearing between the House Financial Services Committee on the topic of "Federal Reserve Lending Disclosure: FOIA, Dodd-Frank, and the Data Dump" chaired by Ron Paul and Fed and NY Fed General Counsels, Thomas C. Baxter, Jr., and Scott G. Alvarez, below we present their prepared testimony that was just released by the New York Fed. The key section from the testimony: "We remain concerned that a more rapid release of information about borrowers accessing the discount window and emergency lending facilities could impair the ability of the Federal Reserve to provide the liquidity needed to ensure the smooth working of the financial system. If institutions believe that publication of their use of Federal Reserve lending facilities will impair public confidence in the institution, then institutions may choose not to participate in these facilities. Experience has shown that banks’ unwillingness to use the discount window can result in more volatile short-term interest rates and reduced financial market liquidity that, in turn, can contribute to declining asset prices and reduced lending to consumers and small businesses." Luckily, courtesy of $1.6 trillion in excess reserves, and the stigma now associated with Discount Window borrowings, for everyone except for Dexia, we doubt the Fed will ever have to worry about the discount window before the banking kleptoracy blows itself up once again.

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of January 26 - $1.129 Trillion In UST Holdings





The steady climb in Fed assets continues, with the left side of Bernanke's balance sheet swelling to just under $2.5 trillion, as US Treasury holdings hit $1.13 trillion, implying that the Fed's DV01 continues to increase on a daily basis with every single POMO, as we have been pointing out since last summer, and which the Fed decided to address last week by changing its "accounting" rules and guaranteeing its assets can never decline. The differential between the US and China is now $233 billion and rising. We expect our now second-largest creditor to realize the game theory balance of leverage (no pun intended) is shifting away from its favor (and to the Fed), and to respond accordingly. Alternatively, maybe someone will finally readjust the UK's holdings to properly reflect what could very likely be simply Chinese debt accumulation.

 


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Guest Post: Dirty Little Secrets About Goldman's Collateral Calls on AIG





When it comes to AIG's liquidity crisis, Wall Street's conventional wisdom absolves Goldman from blame. Goldman's people, so the story goes, were smart and therefore prescient about the declining values of CDOs. So their demands for cash margin from AIG, which insured billions of toxic CDOs for Goldman's benefit, were legitimate. By contrast, AIG's people, the poster boys for financial incompetence, kept flailing about because they were in denial until everything reached a crisis point in September 2008. Yes Goldman was smart, and yes, the people at AIG were clueless, which is why Goldman could pull off such an audacious scam. Goldman's demands for margin were made in bad faith, and possibly under fraudulent pretenses. The conventional wisdom overlooks a critical point: The legal documents had no teeth and might have been impossible to enforce. The problems with the documents, in the context of the overall business deal, require a bit of explanation. But it's worthwhile to remember that all these deals are governed by two truisms: First, if you skip a step in analyzing a structured deal, you probably end up with the wrong answer. And second, almost everything about CDOs is kept secret in order to protect the guilty.

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of January 13, $1.070 Trillion In UST Holdings





The steady climb in Fed assets continues, with the left side of Bernanke's balance sheet swelling to just under $2.5 trillion, as US Treasury holdings hit $1.07 trillion, implying that the Fed's DV01 continues to increase on a daily basis with every single POMO. The differential between the US and China is now $163 billion and rising. We expect our now second-largest creditor to realize the game theory balance of leverage (no pun intended) is shifting away from its favor (and to the Fed), and to respond accordingly.

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of December 16: $64 Billion Drop In Excess Reserves Provides Turbo Liquidity





At this point the weekly updates of the Fed's balance sheet are becoming more or less an autopilot issue: each week the Fed will add between $25 and $30 billion of Treasuries, with the only real question becoming how much mortgages are being prepaid, and what is the incremental liquidity boost due to the weekly change in excess reserves. But before getting into those, here is a broad look at how the Fed's balance sheet looked as of close today (including today's $6.8 billion POMO).

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of December 1: The Ponzi Must Go On





Now that the Fed is firmly number one in the world in terms of US Treasury holdings (actual marketable paper, not the mythical paper held by various insolvent trusts) with $926 billion in Treasury paper post today's POMO, providing Fed balance sheet updates seems like a moot point. After all, most people by now realize how this will end. And once Trichet starts monetizing debt too (not if but when, which will be followed by Japan, Switzerland, and China), the global Weimer endgame will come quickly. But for now, for the sake of tradition, here is the weekly update of the Fed's most recent balance sheet.

 


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Treasury Confirms That The Definitive Treasury-AIG-Fed Shell Game Will Proceed As Planned





This one is sure to get Barofsky's blood boiling. Reuters has just confirmed what even a retarded, diapered, midget money will immediately grasp is nothing but a shell game of massive proportions. Basically the Treasury has announced it will proceed with a plan to give AIG the $22 billion released by various TARP repayments (presumably in the form of a loan), so that... drumroll, AIG can buy back the Fed's preferred stock interests in various layers of the AIG cap structure. In other words: Treasury gives taxpayer money to AIG -> AIG buys back rescue equity from Fed -> both Fed and Treasury trumpet massive success of AIG rescue operation, even as nothing has been changed, and more taxpayer funds are stuck, only this time higher in the cap structure, allowing existing equity interests of other investors to be pushed further in the money.

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of October 27: A Look At Fed Asset Durations





As of October 27, the Fed's balance sheet was $2.3 trillion, of which the $837 billion in Treasury debt is of course a fresh all time record, soon to be eclipsed by the tens of billions added weekly as per QE2. There is roughly $13 billion left under the current POMO program ending in the second week of November, which by then will be supplemented by a new and improved almost daily POMO. In the past week, bank excess reserves increased by $16 billion after declining by $34 billion the week prior: total reserves stood at $1,008 billion, up from $993 billion the week before. And once again foreign holdings of agency/MBS debt dropped to a new 3 year low, dumping over $100 billion agencies in the Fed's custodial account over the past two months. Last, we take a look at the one topic that will soon be the most talked about subject by every pundit in the econosphere: the duration distribution of Fed holdings.

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of October 20; Foreign MBS Holdings Drop To 3 Year Low





As of October 20, the Fed's balance sheet was $2.3 trillion, of which the $832 billion in Treasury debt was a new all time record. As per the revised TIC data, Japan's latest holdings of $837 billion are about to be trampled by Brian Sack once again. More importantly, in the past week, bank excess reserves declined by $34 billion: total reserves stood at $993 billion, down from $1.026 trillion the week before. This was in addition to the Fed's $11 billion in POMO excess liquidity. Probably most importantly, foreign holdings of agency/MBS debt dropped to a 3 year low, dumping $100 billion agencies in the Fed's custodial account over the past two months.

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of October 13





This week we have official confirmation of our speculation from last week, that the Fed is now the second largest UST holder institution after China, with $821.2 billion in Treasurys. And courtesy of yesterday's POMO schedule announcement, according to which the Fed will purchase $32 billion in UST through November 8, at which point it was have $853 billion, we now know that Brian Sack will be the biggest holder of US Treasurys in the world (surpassing China's $847 billion). Aside from this there was little notable in the weekly balance sheet update: bank reserves increased by $29 billion in the past week, as Primary Dealers added even more to their purchasing capacity post the end of quarter window dressing (more in an upcoming update).

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of October 6 - We Are Number 2!





Last week, during our regular scheduled Fed balance sheet update, we said "We believe that within one week the Fed will surpass Japan as the second largest holder of Treasurys, and China, the current top holder, in just over a month." Ww were right: as of Wednesday, the Fed disclosed it held $819.1 billion in US Treasurys. That excludes yesterday's $2.1 billion POMO which settled today, which does in fact bring the total to above the $821 billion held by Japan as of the end of July. With only $25 billion to go, and a rate of monetization of about $8 billion per week (and likely faster now that prepays are accelerating), we believe the Fed will be #1 by the mid-terms, just in time for the QE2 party to really blast things off. Aside from this there was little notable in the weekly balance sheet update: bank reserves increased by $16 billion in the past week, as Primary Dealers added to their purchasing capacity post the end of quarter window dressing.

 


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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of September 29





Probably the most interesting thing in this week's Fed balance sheet update is that Treasurys held by the Fed are now $812 billion, an increase of $7 billion from the week before, which those who follow the FRBNY's almost daily POMO liquidity explosion know all too well. Indicatively, Japan owns $821 billion and China, $847 billion. We believe that within one week the Fed will surpass Japan as the second largest holder of Treasurys, and China, the currently top holder, in just over a month. Another notable item: Fed excess reserves were at $981 billion, a decline from $1.01 trillion at the beginning of the month, but most notably, in the past month this number hit a year low of $932 billion on September 15. One wonders just what securities the banks were buying up with these reserves? Keep in mind the stock market closed essentially at the level it hit on September 20, making one wonder just how much of a factor the nearly $80 billion decline in bank excess reserves in the first two weeks of the month may have been.

 


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