2009 Year in Review

Submitted by Leo Kolivakis, publisher of Pension Pulse.

Aaron Task posted a good review of 2009 on Yahoo tech ticker. If 2008 was a year of fear, 2009 was a year of greed:

Huge fortunes were made in 2009 by investors like Warren Buffett and Appaloosa's David Tepper, who took the Fed and Treasury at their word when they said they wouldn't let certain (big) banks fail. Many others won big simply by being long as the unwinding of the "Armageddon trade" of late 2008/early 2009 gave a boost to the vast majority of stocks and sectors.


The year revived a lot of portfolios battered in 2008 and left egg on the face of many skeptics; yes, myself included. My concern earlier this year was banks weren't forced to write-down their toxic assets, and I'm still concerned there will be a related comeuppance. But I underestimated how much the Fed and Treasury could do to help the banks without addressing the core of the problem, as well as the animal spirits of speculators flush with easy money. I wasn't alone in this regard and a day of reckoning for the government's largess may yet lie ahead; but the market's momentum shows few signs of abating as 2010 beckons.

Instead of going over 2009 in great detail, I decided to post links to some of my favorite commentaries below. You'll also notice a couple of pics of Pension Pulse's Men of the Year above, Bernie Madoff and Harry Markopolos. Why Mr. Madoff? Because he represents the essence of what is wrong with our corrupt financial system. He's a despicable individual who scammed his fellow Jews and lots of other innocent investors as he criminally profited from one of the largest Ponzi schemes ever.

And Harry Markopolos represents what the system needs, namely, more competent and courageous people who are not afraid to speak up and tell the truth. His warnings were ignored as he vividly recounted in his testimony to the Senate. I applaud him for what he stands for and consider him a humble hero.

So let me get to some of my favorite posts over the past year:


Outlook 2009: Post Deleveraging Blues?

Pension Pandemic Part I and Part II

Here Comes the BARF?


Broken Pension Model?

Harry Markopolos's Regulatory Revolution?

It's All About Benchmarks, Stupid!

Why Can't We Properly Compare Pension Funds?

Age of Deflation?

And the Oscar Goes to Scumbag Billionaires!

The Model That's Killing Pension Funds?


D-process Changing Pension Rules?

Have Pensions Succumbed to Casino Capitalism?

Pension Fiasco: Another Trillion Dollar Bailout?

Death of Highly Leveraged Illiquid Strategies?

Jon Stewart & Bill Maher Are Simply Brilliant!

Rosy Projections of Pensions' Investment Earnings?

What Do Pensions Have in Common with AIG?

Mother of All Stealth Scams?

HOOPPLA! The Beauty of Bonds?

A Giant Experiment?


Checkmate for Pensions?

Pension Hearings at Parliament Hill

PSP's CFO in the Hot Seat

The Pension Killer?

Demystifying Pension Fund Benchmarks


Systemic Fraud at Public Pension Funds?

The "W" Recovery?

Is Inflation Inevitable?

Liquidity Drowning the Meaning of Inflation?

Why is Small Beautiful?


Big Money Suffering Performance Anxiety?

Will Liquidity Steamroll Over Pensions?

Pensions ‘Perfect Storm’ Looms?

A Convenient Untruth About Public Pensions?

The Meaning of Enough?

Pensions Apartheid?


Another Comment on Bonuses and Benchmarks

Paradise Found?

Good News for Hedge Funds?

Pension Poverty?

Wooing the Big One?


Will Commercial Real Estate Woes Sink Pensions?

Are Pensions Ignoring The Economic Rebound?

The Nuclear Option For Pensions?

Pensioners Taking a Back Seat to Bondholders?

A Private Equity Quagmire?

The End of a 30-Year Wealth Bubble?

On Blogging Brawls and Bragging Rights

Will Pensions Follow Harvard's Mea Culpa?

Ted Kennedy Jr. On Climbing Hills


Private Markets at a Breaking Point?

Recovery Will Mirror the Decline?

Private Equity on the Cusp of Golden Age?

Does Asset Allocation Still Work?

Are Hedge Funds Worth It?

Have Global Financial Risks Subsided?

More Bubble Trouble?


The Bullish Bear?

Another Bubble Sooner Than You Think?

Nortel Pensioners Take it to the Hill

The Death-Defying Dollar?

The Chinese Disconnect?

Soros on Alignment of Interests

Paranormal Activity to Another Black Monday?


Time to Get Serious on Pension Governance?

Fed Herding Investors to the Slaughter?

New Normal For Retirement Benefits?

Pension Tension on the Rise?


Santa Rally or Rally of a Lifetime?

The Great Unwinding?

Has Bubble Ben Shown His Hand?

Follow-Up on PSP's 2009 Annual Public Meeting

Mercer’s Little Alaska Problem?

Betting on a Big Rise in Yields?

A Crisis in the Making?

Oh Dear, CalPERSfornication Goes Global!

I hope you enjoyed my postings throughout the year. I want to personally thank all my readers and supporters, especially Diane Urquhart, Jack Dean of Pension Tsunami, and the team at Zero Hedge.

I wish all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year and I will follow-up shortly with my outlook 2010. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!