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Sir Allen Stanford, the Ponzi artist

The Dark Knight - On Sir Allen Stanford
posted by Gyan on Apr 29, 2009 - 9 comments

Mr. Geithner has changed his return flight from Paris to New York on January 9th

Some have questioned Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's neutrality in dealing with the elite of the financial community. Here's his calendar [150MB pdf] for the last two years. You decide.
posted by Xurando on Apr 27, 2009 - 32 comments

The Devil and Goldman Sachs

Meet financial advisor Mike Morgan. He started an anti-Goldman Sachs website to examine "what part Goldman Sachs and their executives played in the current Global Economic Crisis." The investment bank and its lawyers told him to cease and desist. So Morgan sued Goldman (pdf). The response has been overwhelming. Morgan is now organizing volunteers to go after the other banksters. Want to help? There's a webinar scheduled tonight.
posted by up in the old hotel on Apr 15, 2009 - 40 comments

These bankers are Hoares

The separation of the ownership of a business from its management is one of the defining characteristics of the modern capitalist system. But ongoing failures of corporate governance, particularly in banking, have called into question these structures. Is there a better way? Secretive UK private bank C. Hoare & Co. has a solution that works for those customers it chooses to accept. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Apr 13, 2009 - 51 comments

Wouldn't You Be, Couldn't You Be, WON'T You Be The Narcissistic Society I Give Birth To?

A little old, but chock full of enough wackadoodle quotes to be your morning cup of head-go-boom-iness. FOX News on Mr. Rogers and his effect on "the narcissistic society he gave birth to": "This evil, evil man has now ruined a generation of kids." "Do you think that Mr. Rogers [...] ruined a crop of our newest, youngest generation?" "Instead of telling them 'you're special, you're great', why didn't he say, 'there's a lot of room for improvement, keep working on yourself'?" [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Apr 6, 2009 - 191 comments

Michael Osinski wrote the software that turned mortgages into bonds

My Manhattan Project: How I helped build the bomb that blew up Wall Street. [print version]
posted by blasdelf on Mar 30, 2009 - 34 comments

U.S. Becoming a Banana Republic?

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets) says Simon Johnson, a professor of entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, in the next issue of The Atlantic. He was previously Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the IMF from March 2007-August 2008. [more inside]
posted by Rafaelloello on Mar 27, 2009 - 48 comments

If FAS 157 started it will FAS 140 will keep the party going?

The Fed's Public Private Partnership Program, promises to clear down as much as $1T worth of "legacy assets" from banks balance sheets. Globally, equity markets responded positively. But what about assets held off balance sheet? [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Mar 27, 2009 - 27 comments

Madoff Congo scandal

The US Attorney's office has submitted email correspondence between Bernie Madoff and his victims, some of whom are more deserving than others. Via
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 23, 2009 - 60 comments

What the FEC couldn't figure out

Matt Taibbifilter: Among other things, the GAO report noted that the entire OTS had only one insurance specialist on staff — and this despite the fact that it was the primary regulator for the world's largest insurer! This week's MeFi stories have generally failed to explain the reasoning that caused the recession, even though Jon Stewart was basically on the mark. Now, Rolling Stone's only reporter lays it all out The Big Takeover, a typical combination of zealous snark and the overlooked, damning facts needed to clear up a ridiculously complicated story.
posted by shii on Mar 20, 2009 - 111 comments

A New Way Forward

Nationalize. Reorganize. Decentralize. anewwayforward.org wants you to organize a protest on April 11th to express your frustration and disapproval with how our elected officials have handled the economic crisis.
posted by geos on Mar 17, 2009 - 62 comments

Pitchforks to the right, torches to the left

Washington Post reports that the American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year. The payments to A.I.G.’s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses.
posted by dejah420 on Mar 14, 2009 - 93 comments

"Because the math is really complicated people assume it must be right."

They are known as “quants” because they do quantitative finance. Seduced by a vision of mathematical elegance underlying some of the messiest of human activities, they apply skills they once hoped to use to untangle string theory or the nervous system to making money. "They Tried to Outsmart Wall Street." [spoiler inside] [more inside]
posted by dersins on Mar 10, 2009 - 38 comments

Should creation of money stay in private hands?

Professor and economist Richard Werner proposes a solution for the current banking crisis, under which "... national debt and interest liabilities will not increase, but credit creation will." [more inside]
posted by woodblock100 on Mar 9, 2009 - 49 comments

To everything there is a season and this is true of Economics

Everybody knows the economy and thus the markets move in cycles. Economic expansion naturally leads to contraction, driven by credit and business cycles. But are economic booms followed by busts inevitable? [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Mar 6, 2009 - 32 comments

“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel

Don't Fuck with the Daily Show. [more inside]
posted by Lord_Pall on Mar 5, 2009 - 192 comments

Wall Street on the Tundra

"Iceland is no longer a country. It is a hedge fund." Also: exploding Range Rovers and the environmental impacts on elves. (Pre-vi-ous-ly.)
posted by shii on Mar 4, 2009 - 86 comments

The Chicago Tea Party

It's time for a new tea party, and this time derivatives securities are getting the soak. CNBC's Rick Santelli, reporting from the Chicago trading floor, wants to know if you're willing to pay for your neighbour's mortgage. He suggests a national referendum to let Americans vote on the $275 billion dollar foreclosure prevention plan. The markets have already cast their vote.
posted by Maxor on Feb 19, 2009 - 85 comments

He's no Bernie Madoff

Another massive Ponzi scheme uncovered. Meet Sir Allen Stanford and his bank. Sir Allen stands accused of running an $8 billion fraud. Read the SEC filings here.
posted by up in the old hotel on Feb 17, 2009 - 74 comments

it's good to be a banksta

Simon Johnson on Bill Moyers [1] (and, prolifically, making the public media rounds on npr [2]) tackling the bailout of the American Oligarchs, a.k.a. banksters... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 14, 2009 - 16 comments

Staring into the abyss

$550 Billion Disappeared in "Electronic Run On the Banks" (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by up in the old hotel on Feb 9, 2009 - 49 comments

alternative currencies

Hard up for cash? Roll your own :P [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 8, 2009 - 36 comments

Obama FAIL?

The Bad Bank Assets Proposal: Even Worse Than You Imagined -- the administration appears intent on building another black swan. This is political capitalism. [via]
posted by kliuless on Feb 4, 2009 - 103 comments

Deals of the Day

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank gave a bank, whose capital ratio equaled only 1.88% of assets at the bank, versus a desired level of about 6%, TARP money after heavy lobbying. Frank inserted into the bill a provision to give special consideration to banks that had less than $1 billion of assets, had been well-capitalized as of June 30, served low- and moderate-income areas, and had taken a capital hit in the federal seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (WSJ link) [more inside]
posted by SeizeTheDay on Jan 22, 2009 - 92 comments

Icelandic grannies and anarchists protest shoulder to shoulder demanding new elections in Iceland

Protests have rocked Reykjavík since Tuesday: Envious of Obama, Icelanders hurl yogurt and stage riots for new leaders, Global financial crisis overwhelms tiny Iceland, Flickr set of pictures of Tuesday's protest in front of parliament (complete with pepper spray on camera lens), AFP photos from Tuesday's protest, video from protests 1, 2, 3 & 4, Icelandic protesters pelt PM's car (includes short video). New age of rebellion and riot stalks Europe, The Icelandic "Facebook Revolution", Iceland is Burning part 1 & part 2 and Reuters factbox on Iceland and its economic crisis.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 22, 2009 - 45 comments

Fixing the Financial System

“There has been a failure of risk management to a point that is mind boggling." Obama advisor Paul Volker and the Group of 30 have issued a deceptively simple framework for fixing our financial problems.
posted by up in the old hotel on Jan 15, 2009 - 29 comments

Religious takes on the global financial crisis

The Dalai Lama blames the financial crisis on a decline in spirituality. Hindus blame it on greed. Saudi Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, blames the crisis on ignoring God's rules. Jewish scholars say we could have avoided a crisis by following Talmudic traditions. Pope Benedict sees the global financial system as "self-centred, short-sighted and lacking in concern for the destitute." Is it right to pray for the economy? (a Christian perspective). A Malaysian conference brings together Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, and Sikhs to discuss the crisis.
posted by desjardins on Jan 14, 2009 - 93 comments

protecting oneself legally and otherwise

A really useful legal help resource at e-Justice blog: 100 Free DIY Legal Resources on the Web includes The Attorneys Forum, free legal advice and support from professional attorneys, lawyers, and law firms nationwide. The archives include: How to Prepare for a Financial Apocalypse: 100 Tips and Tools to Secure What’s Yours l Top 50 Internet & Digital Law Blogs l World Watchdogs: Top 50 Human Rights Blogs l The Ultimate Guide to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu- 101 Resources to Help Anyone Learn the Gentle Art. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 13, 2009 - 19 comments

ARR! "dramatic action" ahoy :P

President Obama's plan for American Recovery and Reinvestment [pdf] might be thought of as TARP round two [1,2] -- instead of hiding the bodies, this one's preparing the ground for a big tent or the economic equivalent of war. There are critics and detractors (cramdown nation ;) left and right, natch, but also conservative supporters and progressive defenders to save or create three four million jobs; hooray! [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 11, 2009 - 51 comments

The Deaccessioning Debate

In these difficult economic times, what's a museum to do? Is an art collection a financial asset or a trust to be held in perpetuity? These questions are being raised by The National Academy in New York's recent sale (or "deaccessioning" in museum lingo) of two important paintings for $15 million to shore up its finances, first reported by Lee Rosenbaum's ArtsJournal blog. The museum's director told The New York Times that it was the only way for the 183-year-old academy, which runs a chronic operating deficit, to survive. The Association of Art Museum Directors censured the Academy and called on its members to suspend any loans of art to the institution. New York lawyer Donn Zaretzky's ArtLaw Blog has become ground zero for a fascinating debate involving art critics, museum directors, financial bloggers and others.
posted by up in the old hotel on Jan 7, 2009 - 40 comments

All predictions are wrong. Or are they?

Every year the Strategy Team at Saxo Bank, a Danish virtual bank, publishes a list of ten black swan class market events. Some of the more dramatic possibilities Saxo advance for 2009: crude trading down to $25 a barrel causing severe social unrest in Iran, the S&P 500 falling to 500, Chinese GDP approaching zero and several member states dropping the Euro. The complete 2009 list is here and for completeness their 2008 [ .pdf ] , 2007 [ .pdf ] and 2006 lists [ .pdf ] are also available. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jan 7, 2009 - 32 comments

The bubble to end all bubbles?

The cover of a major financial publication warns: If you're holding U.S. Treasuries, GET OUT NOW! [more inside]
posted by up in the old hotel on Jan 5, 2009 - 74 comments

How's YOUR bank?

Wonder how your bank is doing these days? Here's how to interpret the data.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Dec 31, 2008 - 21 comments

Why Wall Street Always Blows It

Why Wall Street Always Blows It, and why we're always to blame, as told by banished securities analyst Henry Blodget.
posted by SeizeTheDay on Dec 30, 2008 - 37 comments

If Admiral Ackbar had dyslexia, he'd say...

TARP, SSFIP, EESA, CPP, TALF, MMIFF... Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the new acronyms coming out of the US Treasury Department lately? Here's a handy PDF reference guide to untangling the US government efforts to rescue banks, financial corporations, and other companies.
posted by Asparagirl on Dec 29, 2008 - 10 comments

Blow-by-blow of Wachovia's Demise

A blow-by-blow analysis of Wachovia's demise, as told by the bank's local paper, The Charlotte Observer.
posted by SeizeTheDay on Dec 21, 2008 - 16 comments

Banking in Trust

Hawala or the Bank that Never Was.
Here's how it works.
However this honorable system has been hijacked by drug smugglers, terrorists, even Pirates; although there are problems.
Regulation has its drawbacks hurting some of the worlds poorer economies.
MI6 believes that terror organisations have used the global banking system to its advantage by investing Hawala money in stocks around the world.
posted by adamvasco on Dec 17, 2008 - 24 comments

Synthetic CDO's: tsunami event when major bankruptcies reaches 9 (currently 6)

Synthetic CDO's are complex little known financial instruments (insurance contracts) that are on the brink of triggering "the most colossal rights issue in the history of the world, all at once .. mandatory." If, out of a list of several hundred major companies, any nine go bankrupt, the CDO's are in default, which would mean a mass transfer of cash (real money) from unsuspecting investors around the world goes into the banking system. How much? Nobody knows, but it’s many trillions. Banks will be flush with cash, perhaps ending the credit crisis, while many investors (individuals, charities, municipalities) will be wiped out. Alternatively, the triggering of default on the trillions of synthetic CDOs could be a disaster that tips the world from recession into depression. Nobody knows, but it won’t be a small event. Thus far the count is six: three Icelandic banks, Countrywide, Lehman and Bear Stearns.
posted by stbalbach on Dec 1, 2008 - 49 comments

Tanta Vive!

The Compleat ÜberNerd: a fascinating series of blog entries detailing the nitty-gritty behind the mortgage industry by Calculated Risk's "Tanta." If you're curious about automated underwriting systems or the ins and outs of mortgage servicing or if you just enjoy some Mortgage Pig Excel art, Tanta was the blogger for you. Tanta, otherwise known as Doris Dungey, passed away on Sunday morning (NYT obit, CR obit).
posted by mullacc on Dec 1, 2008 - 15 comments

AAA?

Anatomy of a Meltdown - Ben Bernanke and the financial crisis (in one page)
posted by Gyan on Nov 24, 2008 - 61 comments

"... first by inflation and then by deflation, ..."

Tangible evidence of deflation? The prices of commodities, houses and a wide range of consumer goods have collapsed, with observers predicting continued declines. While many point back to The Great Depression as an example of damaging deflation, the recession of 1920-1921, a frequently overlooked period in economic history, is perhaps the best example we've got of a deflationary wave similar to what might now taking place. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Nov 20, 2008 - 92 comments

Letter From Iceland

Letter from Iceland. There you see the Iceland of today – the victim of an economic 9/11 and one of the very few places in the world where the words “financial meltdown” can be used without fear of exaggeration. [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 15, 2008 - 33 comments

Money for nothing: a new era of zero interest rates?

The Fed cut 100 bps. BOE cut 150 bps. ECB cut 50 bps. India, Vietnam, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark, South Korea and other nations have all cut interest rates in recent weeks, with many Central Banks cutting more than once. The G20 is now discussing the possibility of further, coordinated interest rate cuts. As interest rates globally plummet, we are observing what some analysts are calling "The Race to Zero". [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Nov 12, 2008 - 86 comments

Liar's Poker was not intended as a how-to manual.

The End of the Wall Street Era. “We always asked the same question,” says Eisman. “Where are the rating agencies in all of this? And I’d always get the same reaction. It was a smirk.” He called Standard & Poor’s and asked what would happen to default rates if real estate prices fell. The man at S&P couldn’t say; its model for home prices had no ability to accept a negative number.

The author of Liar's Poker on the collapse of the subprime industry.
posted by bitmage on Nov 11, 2008 - 57 comments

Soros on the Banking Crisis

Soros on the banking crisis:
"A deep recession is now inevitable and the possibility of a depression cannot be ruled out. When I predicted earlier this year that we were facing the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, I did not anticipate that conditions would deteriorate so badly." - Soros lays out some ideas about what can be done to fix the markets ... Planet money had another nicely done piece on the debacle last Friday.
posted by specialk420 on Nov 10, 2008 - 79 comments

Planet Finance

Wall Street Lays Another Egg. "Not so long ago, the dollar stood for a sum of gold, and bankers knew the people they lent to. The author charts the emergence of an abstract, even absurd world—call it Planet Finance—where mathematical models ignored both history and human nature, and value had no meaning."
posted by homunculus on Nov 7, 2008 - 63 comments

sovereign risk and the current economy

Another economic post. With the debt and equity markets in a comparative calm, a lot of people are asking what next? One area little examined is the idea of sovereign risk. Basically, those with the armies make to rules, and you don't want to be invested there when they change the rules,. The USA has been the power behind globalisation for over half a century, enforcing the rules of the marketplace we have grown to accept. Some are questioning whether it can maintain this position. [more inside]
posted by bystander on Nov 3, 2008 - 15 comments

Building a real financial system

The origins of central banking or, perhaps, central planning[1,2] and a defense of fiat currency[3] in the information age. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 2, 2008 - 39 comments

The most obscure but perhaps the most important economic indicator we've got

How best to take the pulse of the global economy? While market driven rates such as LIBOR or US Government T-Bills reveal the state of fixed income and Credit Default Swaps tell the observer much about possible default rates, many analysts prefer a more basal view. The Baltic Dry Index is one such indicator. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 31, 2008 - 27 comments

In praise of small banks

The nine biggest US banks aren't using $125 billion in federal bailout money to make loans. They're going to use taxpayer dollars to buy other banks. [more inside]
posted by up in the old hotel on Oct 30, 2008 - 80 comments

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