Goldman's Hit List: Bear, Moody's, NatCity, PMI, WaMu And Capital One

As Bruce Krasting disclosed yesterday, Goldman's Josh Birnbaum "slipped" when disclosing the firm's prop equity positions, in listing the companies his firm was actively shorting. We hope none of these were naked shorts as that would not reinforce the case of prudent risk management by Goldman's discount window-accessible hedge fund (in other words, the entire firm). Today, via the full exhibit list, we learn that in addition to Bear Stearns, in July 2007 the firm, via Josh, was also actively shorting a variety of other mortgage-related firms at the Structured Products Group via puts, which in addition to Bear, included Moody's, National City, PMI, WaMu, and Capital One. The firm only had a micro S&P long offset. As the list demonstrates, the firm had a big delta short in fins offset with no financial longs, thus refuting Josh's testimony that this was a "hedge" when in reality this was nothing than a directional short bet on fins. What is more troubling is that Josh was planning on expanding the list to a whole slew of other firms, and specifically competitors, most of which eventually going under: including Lehman, Merrill, and Morgan Stanley.

We are confident that sooner or later AIG made the list, if not so much on the equity short side, as long CDS. If anyone wants to make the conspiratorial case that Goldman may have had the upper hand on these firms by knowing their liquidity situation and profited from it by shorting them as each bank in turn experienced a bank run, this could be a good place to start. It also begs the question if Dodd's worthless bill has anything to see about predatory practices by Wall Street firms which actively short each other, potentially leading to a destabilization of the system.