As pension plans face mounting financial strains, they will be scrutinizing every relationship, including the ones with their big custodial banks. If there is any truth to these allegations, State Street will see many of their pension clients switching to another custodial bank.
Tavakoli: "We Should Impose a 95% Excess Profits Tax—Or Windfall Profits Tax—On Certain Financial Institutions... Enriching Themselves" at Our ExpenseSubmitted by George Washington on 10/19/2009 21:11 -0400
Janet Tavakol says:
"During World War II, we imposed an excess profits tax. We should impose a 95% excess profits tax—or windfall profits tax—on certain financial institutions (including Goldman Sachs) enriching themselves with ongoing low-cost Fed funding and debt guarantees."
What do you think?
"I have seen many people debate whether gold is a bet on inflation or deflation. As I see it, it is neither. Gold does well when monetary and fiscal policies are poor and does poorly when they appear sensible. Gold did very well during the Great Depression when FDR debased the currency. It did well again in the money printing 1970s, but collapsed in response to Paul Volcker’s austerity. It ultimately made a bottom around 2001 when the excitement about our future budget surpluses peaked." - David Einhorn
Pass this on to people who get their news from the talking heads on tv . . .
I said it in 2007. I said it in 2008, and I'll say it again, the banking system is INSOLVENT!!!
Insult was just added to Ken Lewis' terminal injury (and it might get much worse).
Hot on the heels of realizing that the money you have now is getting close to worthless in order to bail out the Wall Street oligarchy, courtesy of the Chairman, Alan Grayson is taking his initiative to delay Bernanke's nomination direct to the people, and here is your chance to be heard. A new website Unmask the Fed is soliciting Americans' endorsement in getting to the bottom of the following question:
Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is up for confirmation
to his second term, but he has still refused to disclose where he sent
$2 trillion in taxpayers' money. Send a message to your Senators and ask them to make Bernanke come clean before his confirmation moves forward!
I have found evidence that this bank has $32 billion of naked (as in apparently unhedged) swaps on its books - just like AIG. The difference is this bank is bigger, probably has more exposure, and has already been bailed out - several times. Oh, did I mention the insured collateral is nearly half BBB rated or lower??? How about extreme management issues at the top, and I mean all the way to the top. A trunk full of junk, surrounded by drama! It should be an interesting conference call tomorrow when they report, that is if anybody decides to ask the right questions...
One of the quandaries of running a subscription service is that
when you have some really juicy stuff, you inherently limit the
audience that you are able to reach. Normally, this isn't that big a
deal. When you believe that there is a mass cover up aiming to prop up
the largest cadre of zombie, insolvent companies in modern history it
becomes a much bigger deal. This leads me to distribute a significant
amount of research for free.
The place where the real big boys play, high yield cash bonds and CDS in IG, has seen unprecedented activity over the past year. Overall, more than $1 trillion in corporate issues were sold in 2009, although in fairness $192 billion of this amount is courtesy of taxpayer subsidized TLGP sponsored financial issuance (Mr. Blankfein, speaking of transparency, when do you plan on paying back your portion of TLGP debt?). Yet real speculative mania has never been as evident as what has transpired in the junk bond domain: YTD more than $103 billion of BB- and below rater paper has been issued, compared to just $48.8 billion for all of 2008.
Three months ago Zero Hedge, amidst a whole lot of hyperventilating, schizo-paranoid ramblings, managed to discuss sponsored, or naked access, as a key concern in the ongoing debate against HFT. Once again, we feel humbled that the WSJ (SEC) has decided to read between our disjointed commentary and make a prominent article (regulatory issue) of this critical topic.
A month ago Zero Hedge speculated that the SEC was preparing to throw Wachtell Lipton and Ed Herlihy at the wolves, in case its planned settlement to indemnify Ken Lewis of all sins failed. Well, it failed, now that a jury trial is in the works to determine just how guilty Ken Lewis et al have been of shareholder fraud. And, as expected, Wachtell Lipton is about to be run over by a 200 ton freight train.
In January, Zero Hedge wrote about the bankruptcy of paperboard and packaging company Smurfit Stone Container Corp. As this occurred at the peak of the post Lehman crunch it was not very surprising. However, what is somewhat surprising is our recent encounter with a case study of the Jefferson Smurfit Group LBO by Morgan Stanley, in which Madison Dearborn acquired JSG for €2.3 billion, and subsequently spun off SSCC to the public. What caught our attention was the fees and expenses that the advisors charged MDP to facilitate a deal which ultimately cashed out the investor group by spinning off the eventual toxic assets of SSCC to a hapless public: Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch pocketed a whopping €248.5 million (yes, that's Euros). And for what: presumably for M&A fees, Loan fees, HY Bridge and Bond Fees and FX/Hedging Revenues. What they missed to point out is the primary reason for MD's generosity: extracting all the relevant assets out of a formerly stable and growing, operation, spinning off all the shitty ones (eventually attempting to arrange restructuring fees and/or DIP financing on the remaining SSCC husk), leveraging the company with a massive debt load, and subsequently IPOing into the next bull market.
Merrill Lynch (excuse me, BofA/ML as they like to put on the lead left side of REIT prospectuses), presents its case for why optimism dominates and all theories voices by perma-bears "have little founding in economic theory or history." What is notable from the below multi-pronged perspective on the definition of the term "recession" is that BofA/ML's entire argument rests on the premise of a fiat currency as taken for granted. Eliminate that, and the construct of imminent recovery from any and every economic cataclysm becomes immediately flawed. Ironically, the only reason there is no mass violence and civil uprisings right now (which would have been the case had RBS and HBOS gone under, an event which according to Bloomberg was mere hours away), is because printing presses the world over went into overdrive with wanton monopoly money (or nightcrawlers as they have been penned elsewhere in the blogosphere) creation (or destruction, depending on your perspective).
Steve Sakwa, who we may have had some harsh words for in the past, primarily during his Merrill Lynch tenure, shares some perspectives on Commercial Real Estate. His observation:
"From a financing standpoint things are far worse; from a fundamental standpoint things are certainly getting worse."