Risk Management

"The Shape Of The Next Crisis" - A Preview By Elliott's Paul Singer

"what you realize is that the lessons of ’08 will actually result in a much quicker process, a process that I would describe as a “black hole” if and when there is the next financial crisis.... Nobody in America has actually seen, or most people probably can’t even contemplate, what an actual loss of confidence may look like. What I’m trying to struggle with as a money manager, who really seriously doesn’t like to lose money, is how to protect our capital and how to think about the next crisis."

Bombshell: Deutsche Bank Hid $12 Billion In Losses To Avoid A Government Bail-Out

Forget the perfectly anticipated Greek (selective) default. This is the real deal. The FT just released a blockbuster that Europe's most important and significant bank, Deutsche Bank, hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis, helping the bank avoid a government bail-out, according to three former bank employees who filed complaints to US regulators. US regulators, whose chief of enforcement currently was none other than the General Counsel of Deutsche Bank at the time!

Rational Exuberance

Sixteen years ago today, Alan Greenspan spoke the now infamous words "irrational exuberance" during an annual dinner speech at The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Much has changed in the ensuing years (and oddly, his speech is worth a read as he draws attention time and again to the tension between the central bank and the government). Most critically, Greenspan was not wrong, just early. And the result of the market's delay in appreciating his warning has resulted in an epic shift away from those same asset classes that were most groomed and loved by Greenspan - Stocks, to those most hated and shunned by the Fed - Precious Metals. While those two words were his most famous, perhaps the following sentences are most prescient: "A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. I trust that we and our successors at the Federal Reserve will be important contributors to that end."

How America's Middle Class, And Future Pensioners, Bailed Out A Generation Of Overzealous Homebuyers

In the current Bernanke-Obama-Keynes toxic triangle (defined previously here) economy, blink too long and you will miss the latest bailout. While 4 years ago, it was America's M.A.D.-hostage taxpaying middle class that had no choice but to fund the trillions in direct Fed cash handouts and guarantees to bail out the banks, in the process saving and preserving the trillions in wealth for America's uber wealthy (the "1%") class, ever since then it has been the government's turn to rescue the country's lower and lower-middle classes (the "47%"), who, with no gun to their heads, decided to splurge during the height of the housing bubble (insurmountable mortgage payments and $0 down notwithstanding) and buy that aspirational McMansion that would make them so much more appealing in the eyes of the next door neighbor (who too could never afford their house in the first place). This has happened courtesy of a progressively more pervasive mortgage forgiveness plan, which has seen the total amount of debt funding a given home purchase shrink little by little each day. However, since there is no free lunch anywhere, certainly not when a bank's balance sheet is being impaired, like in 2008, someone is once again on the hook for this latest bailout. That someone, not surprisingly, is again America's middle class that lived within its means, that saved money while others splurged, and even put cash away for retirement, handing it over to various Pension investment vehicles.

House Republicans Find Corzine Guilty Of MF Global Collapse, Missing Funds; Democrats Refuse To Endorse Findings

It appears that these days not even the Corzining of client money can happen without it being split across furiously polarized party lines. As it turns out hours ago, the Committee on House Financial Services released an advance glimpse into a report to be released in its entirety tomorrow, which puts the blame for the collapse of not only MF Global, but also the disappearance of millions in client money, right where it belongs: the firm's then CEO Jon Corzine. Yet that Corzine corzined millions, leaving clients scrambling in bankruptcy court in an attempt to recover what should have been segregated money from the very beginning, and also just happened to blow up one of the 21 Fed-anointed Primary Dealers, is not surprising: this has been long known by everyone. Those who need a refresher are urged to recall the Honorable's testimony before the House... or maybe not: after all it is not as if Corzine himself could recall a whole lot. Where it gets interesting is that the former Democratic governor, and senator, not to mention primary bundler for president Obama, is, in the eyes of the members of the committee, innocent: All the democrats on the Investigations Subcommittee refused to sign off on the findings, meaning that to them, Corzine is completely innocent. That this is purely a political move is glaringly obvious. It is also abhorrent, because as long as political ideology gets in the way of pursuing and imposing justice, the Banana States of America will remain just that.

Spanish Banks May Face €17 Billion Margin Call As ECB Found To Lie About Collateral Haircuts

Mario Draghi has reassured the world that no matter how much 'crap' collateral is taken on to the ECB's balance sheet, their risk management process is rigorous and ensures the safety of the entity's capital thanks to well-devised haircuts and collateral. Once again, it appears from a report in Die Welt (via Bloomberg), Draghi lied, as the ECB is now checking terms on some lending to Spanish banks that may have already contravened the ECB's mandate allowing overly generous terms to be offered on the Spanish banks' collateral. As Bloomberg notes, the issue surrounds EUR80bn relatively short-dated T-Bills which were wrongly classified as rated 'A' instead of the 'B' that agencies - except DBRS! - had assigned (a vast difference) - which would imply (if the ECB re-assigns the correct rating) the affected Spanish banks would have to produce up to EUR16.6bn in additional collateral (cash or quality collateral that is non-existent in Europe). This of course "casts doubt on the quality of the ECB's risk management" and merely serves to confirm the Juncker-ian lies we have come to expect from Europe's leaders (economic and political). As Die Welt notes: "Critical observers ask: who actually controls the ECB?"

To Mike Bloomberg A Vote For Obama, Whom He Just Endorsed, Is A Vote For Climate Change

First, The Economist, now the man who owns the terminal that global finance uses each day to chat with one another, and occasionally to check the real time price of ESZ2 (if certainly not quite as much this year, and last, as desired). Mike Bloomberg's driving catalyst to chose the way he did? Climate change. Because to some it is the economy, to others: the number of cloudless sunny days in St Barts. The question for employees of Bain now: do they immediately disconnect their BBG terminals, or wait until next Wednesday.

Google Reports Early: Huge Miss Sends Stock Plunging

Google is down over 8% as it reported earnings early and surprised to the downside...

  • GOOGLE 3Q REV. EX TAC $11.33B, EST. $11.83B           
  • GOOGLE 3Q ADJ. EPS $9.03, EST. $10.65
  • Q3 REVENUE EX-TAC $11.33 BLN VS EXP. $11.83 BN
  • Q3 NETWORK REVENUE USD 3.13 BLN

Full EDGAR filing below...

Rats Scrambling Off The Titanic: Citigroup CEO, COO Both Step Down

Remember when we said the Citi numbers were a miserable joke? Apparently at least two people (not Jim Cramer who absolutely loved Citi's "hairless" result) were aware of this:

  • CITIGROUP NAMES MICHAEL CORBAT AS CEO VIKRAM PANDIT STEPS DOWN
  • CITIGROUP PRESIDENT-COO JOHN P. HAVENS ALSO RESIGNS
  • CITIGROUP NAMES MICHAEL CORBAT AS CEO VIKRAM PANDIT STEPS DOWN
  • CITIGROUP BOARD UNANIMOUSLY ELECTED CORBAT TO CEO
  • CITIGROUP SAYS HAVENS HAD BEEN PLANNING TO RETIRE AT YEAR END

And so the rat procession out of the titanic begins.

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.

China Sums Up US Financial Innovation: "Smart Kids Picking People's Pockets Is Not Very Good"

When fringe-blogs highlight the reality of the US banking system and its financial engineering as nothing but overly complex three-card-Monte, it can be shrugged off; but when the head of China's sovereign wealth fund (yes the same one that will bail the world out) notes that the JPMorgan loss highlights a system that has become too complex, perhaps some should listen. As Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, Gao Xiqing of CIC stated that "I think we do need to slow down a little bit instead of rushing up to all these fancy derivatives." The fact that the 'whale' loss was not a rogue trader but a systemic decision gone wrong on weak risk management of an overly-complex position was "the single most revealing thing" to Gao as he expressed concern about a society in which "all the best engineers are engineering financial products." Summing up the entire ethos of US financial innovation he concluded: "You have all the smartest kids to design these products, the only purpose of which is to get money out of other people’s pockets, that is not very good."

Is Gold Money? LCH Accepts Shiny Yellow Metal As Collateral

Whether it is because the CME just did it; or it's all their clients have left; or Gold volatility is lower than EURUSD volatility (9.0% vs 9.6% in last 3 weeks); or they see the painting on the wall of Draghi's grand-plans, the LCH-Clearnet just announced that as of August 28th, unallocated gold will be accepted as collateral for margin cover purposes. This now means all the major exchanges accept worthless barbarous relics as collateral - as well as worthless fiat paper 'money'.

Gold Continues To Be Money: CME Europe Now Accepts Gold As Clearing Collateral

Over two years ago, the US Clearing house of the CME, the world's largest derivatives marketplace, had no choice but to allow gold as collateral. Why: because as we showed some days ago, while in Europe bank deposits are expansive, in the US, financial system funding relies primarily on mythical assets as liabilities, i.e., those that exist primarily due to faith in the system, something which has been in short supply, as a result of which the $15 trillion (down from a peak of $23 trillion) shadow banking system long used to fund regular operations, has been imploding.  Couple that with a scarcity of other (re)pledgeable assets which in the US do not, unlike the UK, have an infinite rehypothecation chain, and one can see why back in October 2009 the CME had no choice but to accept gold as eligible collateral for clearing purposes. As of minutes ago, the European arm of CME Clearing has folded too, and has released a press release stating that it to0 "has extended the range of eligible collateral types to include gold bullion." Of course, this is the same gold bullion that Germany will be seeking to "repo" in exchange for sovereign bail outs as Europe's periphery continues to run out of endogenous money and has to increasingly rely on the benevolence of the Bundesbank. For now all we need to know is that another exchange just threw in the towel and admitted that contrary to Bernanke's stern position, gold is, indeed money.