collateralized debt obligation

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pages: 459 words: 118,959

Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff by Christine S. Richard

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, forensic accounting, glass ceiling, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, short selling, statistical model, white flight, zero-sum game

Butler, Jack “Buying the Farm” (Gotham Partners / Ackman) Cadbury PLC, Cahn, Jordan Caldwell and Raymond Caliendo, Charles Callen, Michael Calyon Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Cantor, Richard Capital Asset Research Management business described “Caulis Negris” (“Black Hole”) deal Lehman Brothers and Moody’s and NYS attorney general’s office and NYS Insurance Department and Pershing Square / Ackman and SEC and videotape of board meeting Wall Street Journal and Capital Markets Management LLC, Capuano, Michael Carina CDO Limited Carpenter, Ben Cartwright, Brian Casey, Kathleen Cassano, Joseph Catholic University of America “Caulis Negris” (“Black Hole”) deal financial details Pershing Square / Ackman and properties described CDOs. See collateralized-debt obligations CDS Delivery Option (Boberski) CDSs. See credit-default swaps certificates of participation (COPS) Chadbourne & Parke Channel Reinsurance Chanos, Jim Chaplin, Chuck MBIA’s mark-to-market explained by “Charlie Munger on the Psychology of Human Misjudgment” (Munger) Cholnoky, Thomas CIFG Moody’s and mortgage crisis and rescue proposals for bond insurers and triple-A rating Citigroup Ambac, proposed investment in ARS and CDOs and CDSs and MBIA downgraded by mortgage crisis and Pershing Square / Ackman and rescue proposals for bond insurers and Class V Funding IV, CNBC Mad Money Squawk Box CNN collateralized-debt obligations (CDOs) ACA Capital and AIG and Ambac and Assured Guaranty and “BISTRO,” Broderick Buffett comments on Carina CDO Limited catastrophe bonds, similiarity to CDO-squareds Citigroup and Class V Funding IV, collateral not required commutations, defined Congress and defined 888 Tactical Fund Limited FGIC and Fitch Ratings and FSA and IKB and JPMorgan Chase and Lehman Brothers and MBIA and Merrill Lynch and mezzanine Moody’s and Morgan Stanley and mortgage crisis and Octonion CDO Limited Open Source Model (Credit Suisse) and Pinnacle Peak CDO Limited rating fees Ridgeway Court Funding II Ltd.

In other words, if MBIA was required to make payments on just 0.2 percent of the nearly half a trillion dollars of bonds it had insured, it risked losing its triple-A rating. By the time Ackman met with Mark Gold, who oversaw MBIA’s structured finance business, it was nearly 7 p.m. The fund manager from Neuberger Berman was long gone, and the building was nearly deserted on that summer evening. Ackman talked with Gold about the company’s business of guaranteeing collateralized-debt obligations (CDOs), a business that Budnick described as “booming.” CDOs were Wall Street’s favorite new asset class. The securities are built out of pools of securities rather than pools of loans. Otherwise, CDOs work on the same waterfall principle as simpler asset-backed bonds. MBIA was backing lots of CDOs at what it called “super-senior levels,” the most senior or highest levels of a CDO securitization.

Although the company never disclosed what assets it funded through the SPVs, Gotham had been able to identify about half of the $8 billion in loans. Companies selling assets to the SPVs included Onyx Acceptance Corporation, which made loans to credit-impaired borrowers to purchase used cars, and American Business Financial Services, a company that originated home-equity loans in the subprime market. Gotham also pointed out that MBIA was now entering into credit-default-swap (CDS) contracts as a way to guarantee collateralized-debt obligations (CDOs), despite a New York state prohibition on bond insurers backing derivatives. “LaCrosse transforms obligations that MBIA cannot guarantee directly into ones it believes it can guarantee indirectly,” the report said. A statement in MBIA’s most recent filing with the New York State Insurance Department, saying the company has not entered into any transactions classified as derivative instruments, “obscures the company’s true credit derivative exposure,” the report said.


pages: 257 words: 64,763

The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer

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banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, fixed income, housing crisis, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, mega-rich, mortgage debt, new economy, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, too big to fail, trickle-down economics

Until it all fell apart in such grand fashion, turning some of the most prestigious companies in the history of capitalism into bankrupt beggars, all the key players in the derivatives markets were happy as pigs in excrement. At the bottom, a plethora of aggressive lenders was only too happy to sign up folks for mortgages and other loans they could not afford because those loans could be bundled and sold in the market as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). The investment banks were thrilled to have those new CDOs to sell, their clients liked the absurdly high returns being paid—even if they really had no clear idea what they were buying—and the “swap” sellers figured they were taking no risk at all, since the economy seemed to have entered a phase in which it had only one direction: up. Of course, this was ridiculous on the face of it.

However, some years before Glass-Steagall was dismantled, Phil’s wife played a key role, as a member of both the Reagan and the Bush I administrations, in shaping the rapid changes in the financial markets brought about by internationalization, computer-driven trading, and the introduction of a whole new discipline of “risk management,” whereby Wall Street wizards deployed complex mathematical models to create a vast array of new financial products, such as the now infamous credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations. As was seen throughout the Reagan and later the Bush I and Bush II administrations, the Republicans had realized they could impose de facto deregulation of Big Business by appointing to influential federal commissions and agencies “watchdogs” who were sympathetic to the corporations they were supposed to be monitoring. Of course, this end run around congressional authority was probably not as satisfying or foolproof as wiping out the regulation altogether, yet it proved quite effective in pleasing CEOs, who had spent the 1970s complaining about red tape and overzealous government investigators.

Odd then, that when the deregulation of the Clinton years lessened the pressure on the banks to lend to poor people, Republicans after the banking meltdown of 2008 would attempt to blame the subprime mortgage mess on Democratic do-gooders forcing lenders to help out the underclass. In reality, the number of subprime mortgages previously had been steady and grew dramatically only after deregulation. The surge was not a consequence of increased pressure on the banks to make such loans; on the contrary, it was the desire to sell collateralized debt obligations, given “legal certainty” by deregulation that made shaky mortgages newly attractive to the banks. Why? Because whereas commercial banks previously had held mortgage-based debt obligations, now they were off-loading the long-term responsibility to others to either collect or foreclose on them. While some poor people certainly were eager to accept loans they would have trouble paying back, it was not their happiness the bank was worried about, but what would turn out to be a gushing profit well: the packaging of debt obligations as securities.


pages: 422 words: 113,830

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips

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algorithmic trading, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency peg, diversification, Doha Development Round, energy security, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, large denomination, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, mobile money, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old-boy network, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Chicago School, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route

With regulation all but suspended, competition to innovate, experiment, and return to the collusions of the 1920s became intense. And before the wax attaching their wings melted Icarus-like in 2007-2008, most of the top fifteen to twenty institutions had bet their fortunes on a host of new financial vehicles and instruments—structured investment vehicles (SIVs), special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), mortgage securitization, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), credit default swaps (CDSs), and the like. Although bountiful in their own right, fees for mergers and acquisitions soon paled alongside the larger benefits of bull markets, assets bubbles, and the uber-profitability of exotic financial instruments. Back in the late 1980s, Goldman Sachs estimated that a major portion of that decade’s stock market upsurge had come from anticipation of takeover bids or buyouts, and other analysts would make the same point about the later M&A floodtides in 2000 and 2006 (see p. 77).

Then, to assess real-world vulnerability, the BIS set what they called net risk at $14.5 trillion, and put a plausible gross credit exposure at $3.256 trillion.14 Abstract as these trillion-dollar references may seem to laypeople, global fears of a second wave of exotic financial implosions took shape during 2008. In 2007, mortgage-backed securities and mortgage-linked packages of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), contaminated by subprime mortgage ingredients, had been the top sources of heartburn. By autumn 2008, financial institutions had already written off some $700 billion of these products. In the meantime, credit default swaps (CDSs), as well as the so-called Synthetic CDOS in which credit swaps also figured, had become the new front burner of crisis management. Commentators were identifying them as the next set of financial dominoes positioned for a costly tumble.

This contract extraordinaire permitted borrowers to themselves decide how much to pay, the length of the loan, and when they chose to convert from a fixed rate to a variable rate or back again.18 Who, you might wonder, could offer such a mortgage? In fact, there was a powerful new reason why banks and other lenders were offering such wide-ranging come-ons to get people to sign up for loans they probably couldn’t afford. That was the heavy demand from securitization shops and bank departments for new carloads of mortgage loans to repackage into mortgage-backed securities or collateralized debt obligations. With the help of misleading or even rigged ratings, these would then be sold for a fat fee to a pension fund in Baton Rouge or a savings bank in Bavaria. The fees were paid up front. It didn’t matter too much what quality of meat was being stuffed into the securitized sausages. In fact, it was often subprime. Financial writer Michael Lewis noted that “In 2000, there had been $130 billion in subprime mortgage lending, with $55 billion being repackaged as mortgage bonds.


pages: 322 words: 77,341

I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black-Scholes formula, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, greed is good, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, intangible asset, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Martin Wolf, money market fund, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, negative equity, new economy, Nick Leeson, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, Own Your Own Home, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Great Moderation, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, value at risk

That means that their debt gives a wonderfully high yield; and at a time when the yields of everything else are disappointingly low, that makes them the answer to capital’s whispered prayer. Somebody had long since worked out a way of making collateralized debt obligations out of mortgages, the same way that they had out of corporate debt and bonds and suchlike. Remember, a collateralized debt obligation is a pool of debt being paid back by a group of borrowers, which is added together and then sold on a set of bonds paying a range of different interest rates. Collateralized debt obligations, which had begun with corporate forms of debt, now moved into the area of mortgage holders paying off their mortgages. As always, there would be two streams of revenue, one from the fees to set up the deal and another from the repayments themselves.

Morgan had found a way to shift risk off its books, while simultaneously generating income from that risk and freeing up capital to lend elsewhere. It was magic. The only thing wrong with it was the name, BISTRO—standing for Broad Index Secured Trust Offering but making the new rocket-science financial instrument sound like a place you went to for a plate of steak frites. The market came to prefer a different term: “synthetic collateralized debt obligations.” Just to keep track of where we have got to with these new financial instruments, let’s translate it back into personal finance terms. Remember your arrangement to lend money to the Smiths for their loft—the one you got your other neighbors, the Joneses, to insure. That was a straightforward swap of risk. The deal went fine, and you fell to thinking about how it might be improved if another neighbor were to approach you.

This is a gigantic insurance company, worth $200 billion at its peak and definitely “too big to fail.” It was AIG which was, in effect, the Joneses. It was the company which underwrote all the insurance: it was the single biggest player in the CDS market. Entertainingly for fans of financial acronyms, AIG was done in by CDSs on CDOs. That’s to say, it took part in credit default swaps on collateralized debt obligations, the pools of subprime mortgages whose dramatic collapse in value in 2008 was the proximate cause of the financial crisis. When the investment bank Lehman Brothers imploded in September 2008, done in by its exposure to bad assets, there was a generalized panicked scramble to see who else was carrying similar risk. When it turned out that AIG was—and worse, that it was valuing those assets at much higher prices than Lehman Brothers had—investors freaked out and the company’s credit rating collapsed.


pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber

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AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, intangible asset, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra, your tax dollars at work

This is informative on how responsible use of market technology might have avoided the crisis and can help avoid an even more dreadful sequel in the future. Technology errors of omission and commission have contributed to our present woes. Stock markets are almost perfectly transparent, with full information available to all, and the best electronic clearing and settlement in history. These technologies were omitted in building the skyscraper of cards (“house of cards” seems too mild) out of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), credit default swaps (CDSs), synthetic collateralized debt obligations (SCDOs), and the rest. The Hall of Shame for those guilty of incompetent engineering features collapsing bridges, flaming dirigibles, exploding spacecraft, and melting reactors. We can add a new wing for overly complex derivatives, modeled in exquisite detail by myopic nerds with Ph.D.’s who got lost in the ever more complex simulations but ignored the basic principles, and their lavishly paid bosses who ignored the warnings from the best of them so they could be even more lavishly paid.

The legal and financial engineering hoops that are must be jumped through to do this are illustrated in Figure 12.5. 294 Nerds on Wall Str eet Synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligation (SCDO) Originator Underwriters Default Payment Asset 1 Asset 2 ... Asset M Loan 1 Loan 2 ... Loan N Investors Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) CDS Premium Senior Tranche Principal & Interest Secondary Tranche Trustees Mezzanine ... Junior Excess Spread High-Quality Assets 64 62 U 58 4 3 58 B 32 54 38 34 50 56 48 44 40 24 46 22 28 41 3 42 12 43 4 Figure 12.5 The upper panel is a simplified schematic of a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (SCDO) drawn based on various sources who for some reason seem reluctant to have their original work further exposed. The lower panel, taken from an actual U.S. patent for a “User Operated Amusement Apparatus for Kicking the User’s Buttocks” is a nonsimplified schematic of the effects of SCDOs on the world’s financial system.

See also data mining capital asset pricing model, 98–99 “Barr’s better beta”, 98–101 Bill Sharpe, 38 CAPM. See capital asset pricing model CDO. See collateralized debt obligation CDS. See credit default swaps Center for Innovative Financial Technology, 311 CERN, 37, 104 CFTC. See Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chicago Mercantile Exchange, 6–9, 72, 286 Chriss, Neil, 76–77 chromosome, 155, 184–186, 192–193 CI. See collective intelligence CIFT. See Center for Innovative Financial Technology CME. See Chicago Mercantile Exchange Codexa, xxxiv, 221, 235–249 GUI, 246–249 message counting, 237–241 whisper numbers, 241–246 collateralized debt obligation, 61, 318, 279, 283, 289 Fannie Mae, 295–298 lack of transparency, 284 collective intelligence, xl, 227–251 collective investing, 229–234 See also counting messages, whisper numbers collective investing, 229–234 iExchange, 230–231 Marketocracy, 232 Index Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 283–284 common factor analysis, 127 Computer Assisted Execution System, 66 computerized investing active management, 115–124 finding alpha, 124–128 indexing, 110–115 market neutral portfolios, 120–124 trading costs, 128–130 computers on Wall Street, early, 22–26 counting messages, 237–241, 261 Cox, Christopher, 60, 106, 218 credit default swaps, 61, 279 NABI on, 322–323 PWG on, 285–286 crossover in chromosomes, 184, 186, 192 D.E.


pages: 311 words: 99,699

Fool's Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe by Gillian Tett

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, break the buck, Bretton Woods, business climate, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, fixed income, housing crisis, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satyajit Das, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, value at risk, yield curve

Morgan’s proprietary name for the idea of creating CDOs out of credit derivatives. It was first launched in 1997 and was the forerunner of the synthetic CDO structure that later became widespread. Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs): A form of asset-backed security. They are typically created by bundling together a portfolio of fixed-income debt (such as bonds) and using those assets to back the issuance of notes. Such notes usually carry varying levels of risk. Cash CDOs are created from tangible bonds, bonds, or other debt; synthetic CDOs sare created from credit derivatives. Collateralized Debt Obligations of Asset Backed Securities (CDO of ABS): CDOs built out of asset-backed securities, which are usually (but not always) types of mortgage-backed bonds. Collateralized Loan Obligations: CDOs built out of loans, which are usually “leveraged loans” (those extended to companies whose debt is rated noninvestment grade).

Did they fail to see the flaws, or did they fail to care? This book explores the answer to the central question of how the catastrophe happened by beginning with the tale of a small group of bankers formerly linked to J.P. Morgan, the iconic, century-old pillar of banking. In the 1990s, they developed an innovative set of products with names such as “credit default swaps” and “synthetic collateralized debt obligations” (of which more later) that fall under the rubric of credit derivatives. The Morgan team’s concepts were diffused and mutated all around the global economy and collided with separate innovations in mortgage finance. These then played a critical role in both the great credit bubble and its subsequent terrible bursting. The J.P. Morgan team were not the true inventors of credit derivatives.

However, one more obstacle still stood in the way of the team unleashing its revolution, and it was a daunting one. They still had to find a way to process a high volume of deals rapidly; to industrialize the CDS trade, transforming it from a cottage industry into a mass-production business. The crucial, last piece of the puzzle that fell into place went by the strange name “BISTRO” (although bankers would later give the idea an even stranger tag, “synthetic collateralized debt obligations”). This brainchild emerged from months of heated debate and experimentation. By the mid-1990s, Hancock’s group had two views of how to make credit derivatives work large-scale. In London, Bill Winters was inclined to try to create what bankers call a “liquid market” in credit derivatives. That would entail finding a way to make credit derivatives as easy for clients and investors to buy and sell as stocks, and might even require setting up an exchange.


pages: 353 words: 88,376

The Investopedia Guide to Wall Speak: The Terms You Need to Know to Talk Like Cramer, Think Like Soros, and Buy Like Buffett by Jack (edited By) Guinan

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Brownian motion, business process, capital asset pricing model, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, computerized markets, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, fixed income, implied volatility, index fund, intangible asset, interest rate swap, inventory management, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, market fundamentalism, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, passive investing, performance metric, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical model, time value of money, transaction costs, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

For example, if a person gets a mortgage, the collateral would be the house. In margin stock trading, the securities in the account act as collateral against the margin loan. 44 The Investopedia Guide to Wall Speak Related Terms: • Asset • Margin • Regulation T • Asset-Backed Security • Margin Call Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) What Does Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) Mean? An investment-grade security that is backed by a pool of bonds, loans, and other assets. CDOs represent various debt obligations but are often nonmortgage loans or bonds. Investopedia explains Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) Similar in structure to a collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) or a collateralized bond obligation (CBO), CDOs are unique in that they represent different types of debt and credit risk. In the case of CDOs, these different types of debt often are referred to as tranches or slices.

See Current ratio Cash conversion cycle (CCC), 39 Cash flow, 39-40, 109-111, 182-183, 198-199, 208 Cash flow statement, 40-41, 208 Cash ratio. See Current ratio C-CPI-U. See Chained urban consumers, CPI (C-CPI-U) CDO. See Collateralized debt obligation (CDO) CDS. See Credit default swap (CDS) Certificate of deposit (CD), 41 Chained dollar GDP. See Nominal GDP Chained urban consumers, CPI (C-CPI-U), 48-49 Chapter 11, Bankruptcy Code, 19, 42 Characteristic line. See Security market line (SML) Chicago Board Options Exchange, 316 Churning, 307 CINS number, 63 Closed-end fund, 42-43, 195-196 CML. See Capital market line (CML) Coefficient of variation (CV), 43 COGS. See Cost of goods sold (COGS) Collateral, 43-44, 127 Collateralized debt obligation (CDO), 44, 290 Collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO), 44-45, 303 Commercial paper, 45 Commissions. See Load fund Commodity, 45-46, 107-108.

This country (if not the world) is guilty of some major financial mistakes. This isn’t just Main Street we’re talking about; Wall Street has made plenty of mistakes too. Therefore, we believe that the need for financial education among young people applies not only to those who might fall prey to adjustable-rate mortgages or credit card debt xii The Investopedia Guide to Wall Speak but also to the Wall Street set who staked their futures on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), and other creations of financial engineering that have emerged over the last few decades. Similarly, there has been no shortage of talk about the world’s “credit binge,” but this discussion rarely addresses what we view as the root cause: lack of education. Just look at the credit crisis: A general lack of knowledge extended all the way down the line, from the homeowner who didn’t read the details of his or her mortgage document, to the investment bank that sold it, to the institutional investor who bought it, to the credit rating agency that rated it, and to the politician who failed to regulate it.


pages: 430 words: 109,064

13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson, James Kwak

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Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Satyajit Das, sovereign wealth fund, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve

Warren Buffett, “Chairman’s Letter,” Berkshire Hathaway 2002 Annual Report, available at http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2002pdf.pdf. 52. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life (New York: Texere, 2001). 53. Janet Tavakoli, Structured Finance and Collateralized Debt Obligations: New Developments in Cash & Synthetic Securitization, second edition (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2008); originally published as Collateralized Debt Obligations and Structured Finance in 2003. 54. See John Cassidy, How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), 212. 55. Brian Naylor, “Greenspan Admits Free Market Ideology Flawed,” NPR, October 24, 2008, available at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96070766. 56.

When John Gutfreund became CEO of Salomon in 1978, all commercial banks together held $1.2 trillion of assets, equivalent to 53 percent of U.S. GDP. By the end of 2007, the commercial banking sector had grown to $11.8 trillion in assets, or 84 percent of U.S. GDP. But that was only a small part of the story. Securities broker-dealers (investment banks), including Salomon, grew from $33 billion in assets, or 1.4 percent of GDP, to $3.1 trillion in assets, or 22 percent of GDP. Asset-backed securities such as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which hardly existed in 1978, accounted for another $4.5 trillion in assets in 2007, or 32 percent of GDP.* All told, the debt held by the financial sector grew from $2.9 trillion, or 125 percent of GDP, in 1978 to over $36 trillion, or 259 percent of GDP, in 2007.13 Some of this growth was due to an increase in borrowing by the nonfinancial sector—the “real economy.” However, the expansion of the financial sector vastly outpaced growth in households and nonfinancial companies.

Reverse convertibles, for example, are structured notes where the investor gets either a fixed interest rate or a share of stock, depending not only on the final stock price but on the path it takes getting there; because of their complexity, few investors are able to value them accurately, making them prey to unscrupulous brokers and banks.49 (“I was told there was no risk with these,” said one retiree who lost over $90,000 on reverse convertibles.)50 The ideology of innovation had its skeptics. Warren Buffett famously labeled derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction” in the Berkshire Hathaway 2002 annual report.51 In his 2001 book Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Taleb argued that modern financial technology underestimated the likelihood of extreme events, with potentially catastrophic implications.52 Janet Tavakoli’s 2003 book, Collateralized Debt Obligations and Structured Finance, discussed the potential problems involved in securitization, including the risk of fraud.53 And decades before, Hyman Minsky had pointed out the role of innovation in enabling financiers to increase their profits at the risk of destabilizing the economy.54 They could all be ignored as long as market conditions remained benign. But the Merton-Greenspan “risk unbundling” story was proven horribly wrong by the financial crisis that began in 2007—caused in part by innovative products that made it possible for financial institutions and investors to take on massive amounts of risk hidden inside AAA-rated securities that later plummeted in value.


pages: 543 words: 157,991

All the Devils Are Here by Bethany McLean

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, Black-Scholes formula, break the buck, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, interest rate swap, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Own Your Own Home, Ponzi scheme, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, telemarketer, too big to fail, value at risk, zero-sum game

Very short-term loans, allowing firms to conduct their daily business, backed by mortgages or other assets. Part of the “plumbing” of Wall Street. ABS: Asset-backed securities. Bonds comprising thousands of loans—which could include credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, and mortgages—bundled together into a security. AIG: American International Group. ARM: Adjustable-rate mortgage. CDOs: Collateralized debt obligations. Securities that comprise the debt of different companies or tranches of asset-backed securities. CDOs Squared: Collateralized debt obligations squared. Securities backed by tranches of other CDOs. CFTC: Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Government agency that regulates the futures industry. CSE: Consolidated supervised entities. An effort by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004 to create a voluntary supervisory regime to regulate the big investment bank holding companies.

For years, Wall Street had been churning out these securities. Many of them had triple-A ratings, meaning they were considered almost as safe as Treasury bonds. No firm had done more of these deals than Merrill Lynch. Calling in a favor from a friend in the finance department, Breit got ahold of a spreadsheet that listed the underlying collateral for one security on Merrill’s books, something called a synthetic collateralized debt obligation squared, or sythentic CDO squared. As soon as he looked at it, Breit realized that the collateral—bits and pieces of mortgage loans that had been made by subprime companies—was awful. Many of the mortgages either had already defaulted or would soon default, which meant the security itself was going to tumble in value. The triple-A rating was in jeopardy. Merrill was likely to lose tens of millions of dollars on just this one synthetic CDO squared.

Years later, by which time he was running FP—and not long before the first glimmers of the financial crisis could be seen on the horizon—Cassano spoke at an investment conference in which he boasted about being involved in that original BISTRO deal. “It was a watershed event in 1998 when J.P. Morgan came to us, who were somebody we worked with a great deal, and asked us to participate,” he said. “These trades were the precursors to what’s become the CDO market today.” CDO stood for collateralized debt obligation, which is what that BISTRO-type structure was eventually called. By 2007, when Cassano made those remarks, Wall Street churned them out as if they were coming off an assembly line. There was, however, one giant difference between the early BISTRO deals and the CDOs of 2007. At the heart of the early BISTRO deals was corporate debt. But at the heart of the CDO market of 2007 was something far more dangerous: mortgages. 6 The Wizard of Fed Inevitably, the nation’s first subprime boom ended badly.


pages: 280 words: 79,029

Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our WorldÑFor the Better by Andrew Palmer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, break the buck, Bretton Woods, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, information asymmetry, Innovator's Dilemma, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Network effects, Northern Rock, obamacare, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, transaction costs, Tunguska event, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Vanguard fund, web application

It is not the dash for risk that lands the world’s financial system in trouble; it is the hunt for safe returns. These new instruments are attended by risks that are different from those of the old ones they are substituting for, however. Putting money into AAA-rated Treasuries is a transparent bet on the full faith and credit of the US government. Putting money into highly rated “collateralized-debt obligations” (CDOs), which bundle up the lower tranches of existing securitizations, was an opaque bet that America would not suffer a national housing-market meltdown. Similarly, putting your money into a bank account is a decision that is informed by an explicit system of deposit insurance: you will get your money back because the government guarantees it. For many, investing in a money-market fund is also a bet on a promise, but this time by a private actor not to “break the buck”—in other words, to give a dollar back for each dollar invested.

Raising a multibillion-dollar fund is going to take a long time, but Lo is hopeful that a smaller proof-of-­concept fund, devoted to drugs for “orphan” diseases that affect fewer than two hundred thousand individuals, will come to fruition more quickly. Some people will be holding their heads in their hands at the thought of using securitization to take on cancer. Isn’t this the same sort of financial wizardry that created those infamous collateralized-­debt obligations that were stuffed with subprime loans during the mortgage boom? In an echo of these instruments, Lo and his colleagues have christened the proposed drug megafund “research-backed obligations.” Why invest hope in a technology that caused so much damage? For that matter, why aim for such a big amount? Couldn’t Lo make life easier for himself and aim for a smaller, simpler fund? The answer to that question tells you something about why financial engineering exists at all.

In fact, as a judgment about the likelihood that these instruments would default, the AAA standard performed better than you might think. One surprising statistic to come out of the subprime crisis is from a little-reported analysis by Sun Young Park, now an assistant professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. She analyzed the actual performance of subprime tranches of mortgage-backed securities—not collateralized-debt obligations, but the preceding step in the securitization chain—­issued in the United States between 2004 and 2007 and looked at how many losses had actually been sustained. A total of $1.1 trillion in AAA-rated subprime MBS tranches were issued in that period, and Park identified a loss amount on these securities of $2.6 billion by August 2013. That amounts to a loss percentage of only 0.24 percent.


pages: 566 words: 155,428

After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead by Alan S. Blinder

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, break the buck, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, friendly fire, full employment, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, McMansion, money market fund, moral hazard, naked short selling, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, the payments system, time value of money, too big to fail, working-age population, yield curve, Yogi Berra

Never Again: Legacies of the Crisis Notes Sources Index LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS ABCP: asset-backed commercial paper ABS: asset-backed securities AIG: American International Group AIG FP: AIG Financial Products AMLF: Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility ANPR: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ARM: adjustable-rate mortgage ARRA: American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (2009) BofA: Bank of America CBO: Congressional Budget Office CDO: collateralized debt obligation CDS: credit default swaps CEA: Council of Economic Advisers CEO: Chief Executive Officer CFMA: Commodity Futures Modernization Act (2000) CFPA: Consumer Financial Protection Agency CFPB: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFTC: Commodity Futures Trading Commission CME: Chicago Mercantile Exchange CP: commercial paper CPFF: Commercial Paper Funding Facility CPI: Consumer Price Index CPP: Capital Purchase Program DTI: debt (service)-to-income ratio ECB: European Central Bank EMH: efficient markets hypothesis ESF: Exchange Stabilization Fund FCIC: Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission FDIC: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation FHA: Federal Housing Administration FHFA: Federal Housing Finance Agency FICO: Fair Isaac Company FOMC: Federal Open Market Committee FSA: Financial Services Authority (UK) FSLIC: Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation FSOC: Financial Stability Oversight Council G7: Group of Seven (nations) GAAP: generally accepted accounting principles GAO: Government Accountability Office GDP: gross domestic product GLB: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (1999) GSE: government-sponsored enterprise H4H: Hope for Homeowners HAFA: Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program HAMP: Home Affordable Modification Program HARP: Home Affordable Refinancing Program HAUP: Home Affordable Unemployment Program HHF: Hardest Hit Fund HOLC: Home Owners’ Loan Corporation HUD: Department of Housing and Urban Development IMF: International Monetary Fund ISDA: International Swaps and Derivatives Association LIBOR: London Interbank Offer Rate LTCM: Long-Term Capital Management LTRO: Longer-Term Refinancing Operations LTV: loan-to-value (ratio) MBS: mortgage-backed securities MOM: my own money NBER: National Bureau of Economic Research NEC: National Economic Council NINJA (loans): no income, no jobs, and no assets NJTC: new jobs tax credit OCC: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency OFHEO: Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight OMB: Office of Management and Budget OMT: Outright Monetary Transactions OPM: other people’s money OTC: over the counter OTS: Office of Thrift Supervision PDCF: Primary Dealer Credit Facility PIIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain QE: quantitative easing Repo: repurchase agreement S&L: savings and loan association S&P: Standard and Poor’s SEC: Securities and Exchange Commission Section 13(3): of Federal Reserve Act SIFI: systemically important financial institution SIV: structured investment vehicle SPV: special purpose vehicle TAF: Term Auction Facility TALF: Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility TARP: Troubled Assets Relief Program TBTF: too big to fail TED (spread): spread between LIBOR and Treasuries TIPS: Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities TLGP: Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program TSLF: Term Securities Lending Facility UMP: unconventional monetary policy WaMu: Washington Mutual PREFACE When the music stops . . . things will be complicated.

There is no agreed-upon definition of the shadow banking system, but the institutions involved on the eve of the crisis included nonbank loan originators; the two government-sponsored housing agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; other so-called private-label securitizers; the giant investment banks (who were often securitizers, too); the aforementioned SIVs; a variety of finance companies (some of which specialized in housing finance); hedge funds, private equity funds, and other asset managers; and thousands of mutual, pension, and other sorts of investment funds. The markets involved included those for mortgage-backed securities (MBS), other asset-backed securities (ABS), commercial paper (CP), repurchase agreements (“repos”), and a bewildering variety of derivatives, including the notorious collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and the ill-fated credit default swaps (CDS). (Sorry about the alphabet soup—explanations to come.) By most estimates, the shadow banking system was far larger than the conventional banking system. Imagine leaving all that financial activity almost totally unregulated—like a bunch of wild animals running around without zookeepers. Well, actually, you don’t have to imagine it.

The most junior tranche, which came to be called the “toxic waste,” would absorb, say, the first 8 percent of losses in the pool ($32 million)—no matter which mortgages defaulted. The middle, or “mezzanine,” tranche might absorb the next 2 percent ($8 million), leaving owners of the top-rated, or “senior,” tranche vulnerable only to losses above 10 percent ($40 million)—an event that seemed so unlikely as to be nearly impossible. Call the resulting three-tranche bundle of securities a CDO (collateralized debt obligation). This example is unrealistically simple, by the way. Typical CDOs had seven or eight tranches; some had more. Now, think about what happens to the various tranches of the CDO as losses on mortgages rise from negligible to monumental. As long as loan losses remain below 8 percent, only the owners of the toxic waste take any hit. Owners of the two higher tranches continue to receive full payment.


pages: 246 words: 74,341

Financial Fiasco: How America's Infatuation With Homeownership and Easy Money Created the Economic Crisis by Johan Norberg

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Brooks, diversification, financial deregulation, financial innovation, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, millennium bug, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, Northern Rock, Own Your Own Home, price stability, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail

W.) administration, 19-21 on bailout, 116-17, 128 expanded homeownership, 23-24, 37-38, 41-42 "G.S.E.s-We Told You So," 36 "Hoover myth" of deregulation, 133 business cycle, government manipulation, 153-55 "Buttonwood" prediction, 14-15 buyer education program participation, 31 Calomiris, Charles, 65 "capitalism of adventures," 119 Cassel, Gustav, 103 Cayne, James, 56-57, 72, 80 CDOs. See collateralized-debt obligations (CDOs) central banks, 49-51, 152 role of, 10-15, 142 Chanos, James, 111 China, 16-17 Chrysler, 125 Cisneros, Henry, 23-25, 29-36 Citigroup, 57-58, 74, 76, 85 Klios, 57 citizens' and consumer groups, monitoring of loans, 34, 35 Clarkson, Brian, 60 Clinton, Bill, 20-21, 79, 85, 86 bureaucracy and, 132 expanded homeownership, 23-24, 26 real estate capital gains tax and, 6 Cole, Harold, 106 collateralized-debt obligations (CDOs), 48, 71 CDO-squared and CDO-cubed packages, 48-49 notching, 64 community lending cash-back opportunities to borrowers, 127-28 Community Reinvestment Act and, 26-28 creditworthiness requirements, 29-30 flexible underwriting of loans, 31-32, 43 housing bubble and, 70-75 housing policy and, 25-28 See also specific lenders Community Reinvestment Act, 26-28 constant-proportion debt obligation, 59-60 consumer spending, 9 increase in consumption, 11-12 Coolidge, Calvin, 102 Cooper, George, 14 Countrywide, 29, 41, 71-72, 83, 148 Cisneros scandal and corruption and, 32 special privileges for, 30 Cox, Christopher, 112 Cramer, Jim, 72, 113-14, 148 credit counseling program participation, 31 credit-default swaps, 86-91 credit ratings and credit-rating agencies, 46-49, 58-68, 141 faith in, 73 junk designation, 59 legislation, 65 mislabeling, 73 notching, 64 rating committees, 63-64 regulatory responsibilities, 133 Subprime XYZ package, 65-68 supervision, 141-42 creditworthiness requirements, 29-30 flexible underwriting of loans and, 31-32, 40, 43 low- and moderate-income earners, 70-71 crisis, current.

It goes without saying that this attracted players to the market like flies to a lamp. Increasingly sophisticated varieties of securitization also began to evolve. When large bunches of mortgages have been resold as securities, other investors can buy a few hundred such securities of different origins, for example medium-risk ones, and repackage them once more into a new kind of security, a "collateralized-debt obligation," or CDO. That will also be split into tranches depending on the level of risk that buyers are willing to take. The original idea of CDOs was to spread risk by including a wide variety of assets, but in 2003, Wall Street firms started to create CDOs backed exclusively by mortgages. Similar to an ordinary mortgage-backed security, the buyer who picks the riskiest tranches gets paid the most but also has to suffer the first loss if the CDO investments fail.

It is better for the bank to have someone living in the house, who may be able to pay back the loan in the longer term, than to be forced to take over the house and try to sell it just when prices are lowest. But the securitization of mortgages had led to an unexpected consequence: The original lender no longer owned the loan, because it had been repackaged and sold and then chopped up and sold as part of a collateralized-debt obligation. Households in default no longer had an individual lender to negotiate with, which made more and more of them just abandon their homes and either buy something cheaper or start renting. On July 24, 2007, the mortgage giant Countrywide held one of its regular conference calls with investors and analysts from Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and the rest of the Wall Street elite.


pages: 394 words: 85,734

The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis, Paul Mason

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active measures, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, endogenous growth, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, first-past-the-post, full employment, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, new economy, Northern Rock, paper trading, Paul Samuelson, planetary scale, post-oil, price stability, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, structural adjustment programs, systematic trading, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Yom Kippur War

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data available ISBN 978 1 78032 646 7 Contents ABBREVIATIONS PREFACE TO THE NEW EDITION ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 1 Introduction 2 Laboratories of the future 3 The Global Plan 4 The Global Minotaur 5 The beast’s handmaidens 6 Crash 7 The handmaidens strike back 8 The Minotaur’s global legacy: the dimming sun, the wounded tigers, a flighty Europa and an anxious dragon 9 A world without the Minotaur? POSTCRIPT TO THE NEW EDITION NOTES RECOMMENDED READING SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX Abbreviations AC alternating current ACE aeronautic–computer–electronics complex AIG American Insurance Group ATM automated telling machine CDO collateralized debt obligation CDS credit default swap CEO chief executive officer DC direct current ECB European Central Bank ECSC European Coal and Steel Community EFSF European Financial Stability Facility EIB European Investment Bank EMH Efficient Market Hypothesis ERAB Economic Recovery Advisory Board EU European Union FDIC Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation GDP gross domestic product GM General Motors GSRM global surplus recycling mechanism IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ICU International Currency Union IMF International Monetary Fund LTCM Long-Term Capital Management (hedge fund) MIE military–industrial establishment NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OEEC Organisation for European Economic Co-operation OMT outright monetary operations OPEC Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries RBCT Real Business Cycle Theory RBS Royal Bank of Scotland REH Rational Expectations Hypothesis RMB renminbi – Chinese currency SME small and medium-sized enterprise SPV Special Purpose Vehicle TARP Troubled Asset Relief Program For Danae Stratou, my global partner Preface to the new edition This book originally aimed at pressing a useful metaphor into the service of elucidating a troubled world; a world that could no longer be understood properly by means of the paradigms that dominated our thinking before the Crash of 2008.

Buyers cannot taste the ‘produce’, squeeze it to test for ripeness, or smell its aroma. They rely on external, institutional information and on well-defined rules that are designed and policed by dispassionate, incorruptible authorities. This was the role, supposedly, of the credit rating agencies and of the state’s regulatory bodies. Undoubtedly, both types of institution were found not just wanting but culpable. When, for instance, a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) – a paper asset combining a multitude of slices of many different types of debt4 – carried a triple-A rating and offered a return 1 per cent above that of US Treasury Bills,5 the significance was twofold: the buyer could feel confident that the purchase was not a dud and, if the buyer was a bank, it could treat that piece of paper as indistinguishable from (and not an iota riskier than) the real money with which it had been bought.

Meanwhile, in the two former US protégés, Germany and Japan (the two countries that were financing the Anglo-Celtic deficits through their industrial production, which the Anglo-Celtic countries were, in turn, absorbing), not only did house prices not increase but they actually dropped, at least in the case of Germany. The graphic correlation shown in the figure between the housing bubble and consumption-driven growth was reinforced by a famous instrument: securitized derivatives or collateralized debt obligations (those CDOs again). How did they link housing debt with consumption-driven growth? To answer this question, it is helpful to begin with a self-evident truth: the banks’ main principle has traditionally been never to lend to anyone unless they do not need the money. But this principle clashed with the urge to lend to those poor enough to be willing to pay higher interest rates than those who had other alternatives (i.e. the rich).


pages: 430 words: 140,405

A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers by Lawrence G. Mcdonald, Patrick Robinson

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asset-backed security, bank run, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, diversification, fixed income, high net worth, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, naked short selling, negative equity, new economy, Ronald Reagan, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, value at risk

Back home, where it was impossible to make money in bank accounts with a 2 percent rate, high-yield bonds were plainly the answer, and they became as fashionable as stock in dot-com companies had once been. But Wall Street had outsmarted everyone, and instead of the old-fashioned regular reliable bonds, investors now stampeded for residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), and structured investment vehicles (SIVs), paying around 5 to 8 percent. Securitization. What a stroke of pure genius. Turning those mortgage debts into tangible entities. Hardly anyone noticed the minor flaws that would, in time, bankrupt half the world. The year 2003 turned into 2004, and still the flame of my ambitions burned as strongly as ever.

And as the years went by, Dick Fuld had tightened his circle, shutting out more and more key people from the downstairs floors where the daily action seethed, where the trading battles ebbed and flowed, where more critical information flew around than anywhere else in the city. That was the place from which he had, to all intents and purposes, removed himself. In the process, he had become separated from the most modern technology and the ultramodern trading of credit derivatives—CDO (collateralized debt obligations), RMBS (residential mortgage-backed securities), CLO (collateralized loan obligations), CDS (credit default swaps), and CMBS (commercial mortgage-backed securities). Stories about long-departed commanders were legion. There were mind-blowing tales of the Fuld temper, secondhand accounts of his rages, threats, and vengeance. It was like hearing the life story of some caged lion. Tell the truth, I ended up feeling pretty darn glad I wasn’t meeting him.

In that bright fall of 2004, we were in the presence of gods, the new Masters of the Universe, a breed of financial daredevils who conjured Lehman’s billion-dollar profits out of one of the most complex markets ever to show its head above Wall Street’s ramparts. This was the Age of the Derivative—the Wall Street neutron that provided atomic power to one of the most reckless housing booms in all of history. Derivative number one was the fabled CDO, the collateralized debt obligation. This new “technology” was created and perfected in Wall Street’s investment banks, including Lehman but especially at Merrill Lynch.* Like most sensational ideas, this one was simple, and in a sense solidly based. The process began in the offices of large U.S. mortgage brokers, particularly in California, Florida, and Nevada, where the prospect of a fast buck has never antagonized the natives.


pages: 435 words: 127,403

Panderer to Power by Frederick Sheehan

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, diversification, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, inventory management, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, McMansion, Menlo Park, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, reserve currency, rising living standards, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South Sea Bubble, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, VA Linux, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Among them, the three banks held $2.5 billion of junk bonds by the end of 1984—which was equal to 35 percent of the amount held by all mutual funds.22 (William Seidman later wrote that of the more than 900 convictions initiated by RTC enforcement actions, those of the chairmen of Centrust, Columbia, and Charles Keating were “key.”23) Later in the decade, Seidman’s investigators discovered that Michael Milken had “rigged the market by operating a sort of daisy chain among the S&Ls to trade the bonds back and forth across his famous X-shaped trading desk at his headquarters in Beverly Hills. By manipulating the market, he maintained the facade that the bonds were trading at genuine market prices. . . . When he [Milken] was brought down, and his trading operation with him, so were the S&Ls that depended on the value of his bonds to stay afloat.”24 Of note: the in-house pricing of derivatives, such as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), was essential to the current financial collapse. Between 1983 and 1984, Lincoln’s assets more than doubled, from $1.1 billion to $2.24 billion.25 From the time Keating took control of Lincoln in February 1984 through the end of the year, he “had switched virtually all of its activities to real estate development and speculative investments.”26 21 Ibid., p. 346. Wigmore includes one more “old hand” from “the merger wave of the late 1960s”: Meshulam Riklis and his Rabid American Corporation. 22 Ibid., p. 286. 23 Seidman, Full Faith and Credit, p. 226. 24Ibid., p. 236.

The date of Greenspan’s first broadside is interesting—one day after his ode to adjustable-rate mortgages. (This will be discussed in the next chapter.) An obvious interpretation is a Greenspan attempt to take business from the GSEs and move it to the banks. This might have been true earlier, but by 2004, the largest banks and brokerage houses needed the higher mortgage volume that flowed through the agencies to create more complicated and profitable securities, such as collateralized debt obligations (see “The Washington-New York Symbiosis” which follows).21 Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Alan Greenspan took up the cudgels and warned that “GSEs need to be limited in the issuance of GSE debt and in the purchase of assets, both mortgages and non-mortgages, that they hold.”22 Later the same year, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight cited “numerous examples of accounting irregularities and managerial conflicts that OFHEO examiners contended were used to doctor Fannie’s earnings and inflate executive compensation.”23 Fannie Mae’s chairman, Franklin Raines, who had been Bill Clinton’s budget director, declared his innocence even as he was escorted out the door.

The GrammLeach-Bliley Act (its formal name: The Financial Services Modernization Act) became law on November 12, 1999.57 Rubin had left his treasury post to join Citicorp.58 Larry Summers, treasury secretary when the act passed, claimed: “This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.”59 Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers played a major role ensuring that the wildest derivatives remained unregulated. To thrive, the mortgage machine needed such developments as collateralized debt obligations (CDO) and credit default swaps (CDS). The trio led the offense against regulation of over-the-counter derivatives. Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told Congress that any oversight would cast “a shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market.”60 Without the contributions of Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers, the credit bubble might have been a muted affair. Timothy Geithner, secretary of the treasury in 2009, served under both Robert Rubin and Larry Summers as undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs.


pages: 342 words: 99,390

The greatest trade ever: the behind-the-scenes story of how John Paulson defied Wall Street and made financial history by Gregory Zuckerman

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1960s counterculture, banking crisis, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, financial innovation, fixed income, index fund, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Ponzi scheme, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Wozniak, technology bubble, zero-sum game

Banks like Lehman Brothers were eager to buy as many mortgages as they could get their hands on because the game of hot potato usually didn’'t stop with them. Wall Street used the mortgages as the raw material for a slew of “"securitized”" investments sold to investors. Indeed, one of the things the United States excelled at was slicing up mortgages and other loans into complex investments with esoteric names—--such as mortgage-backed securities, collateralized-debt obligations, asset-backed commercial paper, and auction-rate securities—--and selling them to Japanese pension plans, Swiss banks, British hedge funds, U.S. insurance companies, and others around the globe. Though these instruments usually didn’'t trade on public exchanges, and this booming world was foreign to most investors and home owners, the securitization process was less mysterious than it seemed.

He developed a new method to use “"statistical arbitrage”" to trade stocks, though he couldn’'t make much money with it. A stint at Tricadia Capital, a hedge fund founded by Michaelcheck’'s Mariner Investment Group, Inc., gave Pellegrini an education in the world of securitized debt and credit-default swaps (CDS), which the firm was heavily involved in. But Pellegrini didn’'t make many friends at Tricadia when he suggested that the firm find ways to short collateralized-debt obligations, even as others at the firm were buying and creating versions of these debts. After a derivative-focused company that Pellegrini hoped to set up for Tricadia failed to get off the ground, he began searching for a job once again. It was that development that led him to the interview that Paulson set up for him with two of Paulson’'s executives, Andrew Hoine and Michael Waldorf. The meeting started with Hoine and Waldorf asking Pellegrini for his views on various European industries.

Their actuaries produced sophisticated models that showed the chances of a housing meltdown were minimal. With a feat of financial and legal engineering, the subprime mortgage market had effectively grown by leaps and bounds, a fact that would come back to haunt both Wall Street and global economies. In the months ahead, the bankers created similar insurance contracts for securities backed by loans for commercial buildings and collateralized debt obligations. They’'d even create a CDS insurance contract for an index that tracked a group of subprime mortgages, called the ABX, a sort of a Dow Jones Industrial Average for risky home mortgages. Lippmann and the other bankers had no idea of the impact their change would have on Wall Street, the banks, and the entire global economy. They just wanted another product to sell to their clients.


pages: 358 words: 106,729

Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram Rajan

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, assortative mating, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business climate, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, diversification, Edward Glaeser, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, medical malpractice, microcredit, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, price stability, profit motive, Real Time Gross Settlement, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

An unflattering portrayal of Fuld has him holed up in his office on the 31st floor of Lehman’s headquarters with little knowledge of what was going on in the rest of the building.9 Indeed, in a tongue-in-cheek op-ed piece in the New York Times, Calvin Trillin argued that Wall Street’s problem was that it had undergone a revolutionary change in the quality of personnel over generations.10 In Trillin’s time in college, only those in the bottom third of their university class used to go on to Wall Street careers, which were boring and only moderately remunerative. But even while the dullards ascended to the top positions at the banks, Wall Street became a more exciting and challenging place, paying people beyond their wildest dreams. It started attracting and recruiting the smartest students in class, people who thought they could price CDO squared and CDO cubed (particularly egregious forms of securitization involving collateralized debt obligations) and manage their risks. As Trillin writes: “When the smart guys started this business of securitizing things that didn’t even exist in the first place, who was running the firms they worked for? Our guys! The lower third of the class! Guys who didn’t have the foggiest notion of what a credit default swap was. All our guys knew was that they were getting disgustingly rich, and they had gotten to like that.”11 The suggestion that bosses, recruited in a staid and regulated era, were of lower caliber than the employees they had recruited from the top of the class in a deregulated and high-paying era is not completely without foundation.

The right approach would be to reduce the various distortions to the pricing of risk that stem from actual and potential government intervention, as well as from herd behavior. We should not worry so much about rugged individualism as about undifferentiated groupthink, for that is the primary source of systemic problems. A competitive system is also likely to produce the financial innovation necessary to broaden access and spread risk. Financial innovation nowadays seems to be synonymous with credit-default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, derivative securities that few outside Wall Street now think should have been invented. But innovation also gave us the money-market account, the credit card, interest-rate swaps, indexed funds, and exchange-traded funds, all of which have proved very useful. So, as with many things, financial innovations span the range from the good to the positively dangerous. Some have proposed a total ban on offering a financial product unless it has been vetted, much as the Food and Drug Administration vets new drugs.

See firms business schools Calomiris, Charles W. Camdessus, Michel Canada, health care costs in capital: buffers contingent organizational physical requirements for banks venture See also human capital capitalism: competitive markets in crony, free-enterprise, relationship (managed) self-interest in Carville, James Cassano, Joseph Cayne, James CDOs. See collateralized debt obligations central banks: Chinese of developing countries objectives of purchases of dollar assets regulatory responsibilities of resources for managing crises See also Federal Reserve; interest rates; monetary policy chaebols Chanos, James charitable giving charter schools children: Chinese one-child policy development of health and nutrition of, See also education Chile, economic growth of China: consumption in economic growth of energy consumption in exchange-rate intervention by export-led growth strategy of exports of foreign reserves of interest rates in investment in middle class in one-child policy of reforms in savings in state-owned enterprises in Chrysler Citigroup: board members of CEO of off–balance sheet assets of risk managers of risks taken by salaries in stock price of climate change Clinton, Bill Clinton administration CLOs.


pages: 397 words: 112,034

What's Next?: Unconventional Wisdom on the Future of the World Economy by David Hale, Lyric Hughes Hale

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, diversification, energy security, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global village, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, passive investing, payday loans, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, price stability, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Tobin tax, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system, women in the workforce, yield curve

These include: • Developing Country Debt Crisis (1983) • US Savings and Loan Crisis (1980s) • Resolution Trust Company, which created REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) (late 1980s) • The 1988 Basel Capital Accord (1988) • The beginning of derivatives (early 1990s) • Proliferation of derivatives and Special Purpose Entities (SPEs) (1990s) • Asian Financial Crisis (1997–1998) • Collapse of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) (1998) • The repeal of Glass-Steagall (1999) and the adoption of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act (GLBA) (1998) • The failure of dot-coms (2000) Causes of the Global Financial Crisis after SOX and Prior to September 18, 2008 It is also important to understand the events and economic climate after the July 31, 2002, passage of SOX and prior to September 18, 2008. These events include: • The increasing complexity of derivative products, including CDSs (Credit Default Swaps) and CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations)4 • The ascendancy of rating agencies • Alt-A subprime lending • Basel II (2005–2006) • The subprime housing crisis in the United States, including the rise of “NINJA” (no income, no jobs, no assets) financing • The rise of hedge funds • The oil crisis (2008) • The collapse of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers (2008) Understanding the causes of the global financial crisis will go hand in hand with regulatory reform and increasing targeted global compliance and ethics programs.5 Why SOX Failed SOX was supposed to remedy the financial improprieties and excesses that existed prior to July 31, 2002.

These events include: • The increasing complexity of derivative products, including CDSs (Credit Default Swaps) and CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations)4 • The ascendancy of rating agencies • Alt-A subprime lending • Basel II (2005–2006) • The subprime housing crisis in the United States, including the rise of “NINJA” (no income, no jobs, no assets) financing • The rise of hedge funds • The oil crisis (2008) • The collapse of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers (2008) Understanding the causes of the global financial crisis will go hand in hand with regulatory reform and increasing targeted global compliance and ethics programs.5 Why SOX Failed SOX was supposed to remedy the financial improprieties and excesses that existed prior to July 31, 2002. The debacles of WorldCom, Enron, Adelphia, and Tyco were only the last in a long series of financial abuses. Further, after SOX, despite the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, rating services failed to calculate the risk of credit default swaps (CDSs), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and other financial abuses. Until September 18, 2008, there was no general sense that SOX had not alleviated the possibility of a global financial meltdown, or at least a US financial meltdown. No one seemed to question SOX’s ability to create greater transparency and integrity in the US financial market. However, SOX ultimately failed to deliver the kind of protection its framers anticipated.

If neuroeconomics provides such incontrovertible evidence relating to the making of flawed decisions, why are so many investors still “neuroskeptics”? Why is it that so very few investment companies have neuroeconomists or cognitive psychologists on their board, their trading floor, or their investment committee? Probably because neuroeconomics does not help to make better decisions; it only helps to avoid bad ones, which is much less noticeable. It pays more to sell a collateralized debt obligation to a client than to warn him or her about the hidden risks, many of which would be apparent if one ever paid attention to a bias as obvious as overconfidence. But the fundamental reason for which we still do not pay enough attention to the lessons of neuroeconomics may be simpler yet. On repeated occasions, I have asked renowned neuroeconomists why so very few investors pay for their services.


pages: 297 words: 91,141

Market Sense and Nonsense by Jack D. Schwager

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3Com Palm IPO, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Brownian motion, collateralized debt obligation, commodity trading advisor, computerized trading, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, fixed income, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, negative equity, pattern recognition, performance metric, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, selection bias, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, transaction costs, two-sided market, value at risk, yield curve

Index Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) Allocation bias Allocation decisions, future AMEX Internet Index Arbitrage Arbitrary investment rules ARM subprime mortgages Asness, Clifford Automatic selling Automatic trading Average maximum retracement (AMR) Average pair correlation Average return Back-adjusted return measures gain-to-pain ratio (GPR) MAR and Calmar ratios return retracement ratio (RRR) risk-adjusted return performance measures Sharpe ratio Sortino ratio strategy comparison symmetric downside-risk (SDR) Sharpe ratio tail ratio Backfilling bias Backwardation Bankrupt stocks Bear market of 2008 Bear market returns Bear markets vulnerability Behavioral biases Bernanke, Ben Best strategy risk for standard deviation Beta and correlation quantitative measures Black Monday (October 19, 1987) Black Tuesday (October 29, 1920) Bottoms-up allocation Brady commission Bubbles and crashes emotion-driven housing (mid-2000s) Internet market price tech timing and level Bubbles and crashes Bull market Bull market of 2009 Burn rate Calls Calmar ratio and MAR ratio Capital gains Capital losses Capital structure arbitrage Carve-out portfolio Catastrophe insurance Cause-and-effect relationship Church, George J. Clarity Portfolio Viewer Closet benchmarker Closet index fund CNBC Coincident negative return (CNR) matrix Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) vs. commercial paper Commercial paper, vs. collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commodity prices Commodity trading advisors (CTAs) Comparison pitfalls markets strategy style time period Conservative investment Contango Contrarian indicator Convergence strategies Convertible arbitrage Convertible bond prices Correlation among managers and beta beyond coefficient of determination definition down months focus linear relationships to managers misconceptions about plus beta within portfolios spurious Correlation assumptions Correlation coefficient Correlation matrix Correlations going to one event Costs Countertrend strategies Countrywide Cramer, Jim Credit arbitrage Credit default swaps Credit hedge funds Credit quality Credit rating agencies Credit risk Credit spreads Critical financial applications CTA approaches The Daily Show Data relevance Default risk Deficient market hypothesis.

There was no historical precedent for such low-quality mortgages. It is easy to see how the BBB tranche of a bond formed from these low-quality mortgages would be extremely vulnerable to a complete loss. The story, however, does not end there. Not surprisingly, the BBB tranches were difficult to sell. Wall Street alchemists came up with a solution that magically transformed the BBB tranches into AAA. They created a new securitization called a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) that consisted entirely of the BBB tranches of many mortgage bonds.2 The CDOs also employed a tranche structure. Typically, the upper 80 percent of a CDO, consisting of 100 percent BBB tranches, was rated AAA. Although the CDO tranche structure was similar to that employed by subprime mortgage bonds consisting of individual mortgages, there was an important difference. In a properly diversified pool of mortgages, there was at least some reason to assume there would be limited correlation in default risk among individual mortgages.

If conditions for the strategy are favorable, the risk of such leverage may not be readily evident in the track record other than through high returns. Another problem with leverage relates to the kind of leverage instrument used. A mismatch occurs when funds use short-duration leverage instruments to enhance the returns of a longer-duration asset, such as using short-term commercial paper to fund mortgage-backed collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Here there is risk of not being able to roll over funding. Although excessive or unwarranted use of leverage is one of the main factors responsible for episodes of large losses by hedge funds, including those severe enough to result in the fund’s demise (blowups), it is important to note that leverage can also be used as a tool to reduce risk through hedging, as in the case of the classic Jones model hedge fund detailed in Chapter 10.


pages: 701 words: 199,010

The Crisis of Crowding: Quant Copycats, Ugly Models, and the New Crash Normal by Ludwig B. Chincarini

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affirmative action, asset-backed security, automated trading system, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, buttonwood tree, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, family office, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, full employment, Gini coefficient, high net worth, hindsight bias, housing crisis, implied volatility, income inequality, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, labour mobility, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, market design, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shock, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, systematic trading, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

See also Buffett, Warren Bernanke, Ben Black, Fischer Black-Scholes formula Blankfein, Lloyd Blasnik, Steve Bond arbitrage Born, Brooksley Box trade Brady Plan Brazilian C bonds Brendsel, Leland Broker-dealers Buffett, Warren Buoni del Tesoro Poliennali Buoni Ordinari del Tesoro Bush, George Butler, Angus Butterfly yield curve trades Callan, Erin Capital, contingency Capital adequacy ratio (CAR) Capital markets Capital ratio and leverage Capital-to-asset ratio Carhart, Mark Cash business Cassano, Joseph Caxton macro hedge fund Cayne, James E. (Jimmy) CDOs. See Collateralized debt obligations CDSs (credit default swaps) CDX index Central Bank of Russia Chow, Andrew Cioffi, Ralph Citadel hedge fund Citibank CLA (collateralized lending agreement) Clearinghouses Client services Clinton, Bill CMBS securities CMBX index CMOs (collateralized mortgage obligations) Collateral-backed bonds Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs): AIG and Basel Committee and Bear Stearns and overview of ratings agencies and Collateralized lending agreement (CLA) Collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) Commercial paper, trust in Commercial real estate Commodity Futures Modernization Act Compensation models Conflicts of interest: CDOs and financial crisis of 2008 and ratings agencies and Conforming loans Consolidated tape Convergence trades Copycat funds Copycat investors: definition of effects of Salomon Brothers Corporate debt securities and loans Correlation: copycats, puppies, and counterparties economics between LTCM strategies before and during crisis overview of pre- and during LTCM crisis short-term and long-term Corzine, Jon Counterparties: bankrupt firms and booking of derivative profits by confidence and due diligence of interaction of Lehman Brothers and LTCM and overview of Cox, Cristopher Cramer, Jim Crash of 1987, cause of Credit default swaps (CDSs) Credit risk Crockett, Andrew Crowds/crowding: crisis of desirability of effects of interconnected in 1998 in quant crisis Currency union.

The other fund, the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund, launched in 2006 and, assuming more risk with a leverage ratio of twelve to one, had no investor capital left. The funds were designed for highly complex operations in the mortgage markets. Though the methods were complicated, the underlying profit plan was simple: Borrow a large amount of money to make big bets on the subprime mortgage-backed securities market. Cioffi thought collaterized debt obligations (CDOs) backed by subprime mortgages would start to increase in value over the longer term, following their recent decline.2 Bear Stearns was one of the biggest operators in the mortgage business, and with Cioffi’s reputation, it found fund money easy to come by. Some of the world's biggest finance companies, including Citigroup, Barclays, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and Bank of America, extended as much as $9 billion in credit to these funds.

The firm’s treasurer, Bob Upton, said that this window dressing was important for keeping creditors and rating agencies happy.11 Repo Power The repo system is the primary method that Wall Street firms use for maturity transformation and leverage.12 Among Wall Street firms, Bear Stearns had been one of the most heavily involved in the repo system. The repo mechanism is a way to borrow and invest. A repo is collateralized lending: one bank gives another a security in exchange for cash. The collateral typically takes a haircut, depending on how risky or liquid the security is. A loan might be 99% of a U.S. Treasury bond’s value, but just 95% of a mortgage security’s value. Bear Stearns bought mortgage-backed securities or collateralized debt obligations, then repo’d them immediately, effectively leveraging the investments. Suppose the MBS cost Bear $100,000. When the firm gave another bank the security in a repo, Bear received $95,000. Bear effectively bought the MBS with $5,000 of its own cash and $95,000 in borrowed cash, for a leverage ratio of 20. At the end of the repo transaction, Bear (or another repo party) returns the borrowed cash, plus interest at the repo interest rate,13 and the counterparty returns the security.


pages: 471 words: 124,585

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

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Admiral Zheng, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deglobalization, diversification, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour mobility, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Parag Khanna, pension reform, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War

And all the time new financial life forms are evolving. In 2006, for example, the volume of leveraged buyouts (takeovers of firms financed by borrowing) surged to $753 billion. An explosion of ‘securitization’, whereby individual debts like mortgages are ‘tranched’ then bundled together and repackaged for sale, pushed the total annual issuance of mortgage backed securities, asset-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations above $3 trillion. The volume of derivatives - contracts derived from securities, such as interest rate swaps or credit default swaps (CDS) - has grown even faster, so that by the end of 2007 the notional value of all ‘over-the-counter’ derivatives (excluding those traded on public exchanges) was just under $600 trillion. Before the 1980s, such things were virtually unknown. New institutions, too, have proliferated.

The proximate cause of the economic uncertainty of 2008 was financial: to be precise, a spasm in the credit markets caused by mounting defaults on a species of debt known euphemistically as subprime mortgages. So intricate has our global financial system become, that relatively poor families in states from Alabama to Wisconsin had been able to buy or remortgage their homes with often complex loans that (unbeknown to them) were then bundled together with other, similar loans, repackaged as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and sold by banks in New York and London to (among others) German regional banks and Norwegian municipal authorities, who thereby became the effective mortgage lenders. These CDOs had been so sliced and diced that it was possible to claim that a tier of the interest payments from the original borrowers was as dependable a stream of income as the interest on a ten-year US Treasury bond, and therefore worthy of a coveted triple-A rating.

Instead of putting their own money at risk, they pocketed fat commissions on signature of the original loan contracts and then resold their loans in bulk to Wall Street banks. The banks, in turn, bundled the loans into high-yielding residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and sold them on to investors around the world, all eager for a few hundredths of a percentage point more return on their capital. Repackaged as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), these subprime securities could be transformed from risky loans to flaky borrowers into triple-A rated investment-grade securities. All that was required was certification from one of the two dominant rating agencies, Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s, that at least the top tier of these securities was unlikely to go into default. The lower ‘mezzanine’ and ‘equity’ tiers were admittedly more risky; then again, they paid higher interest rates.


pages: 545 words: 137,789

How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities by John Cassidy

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, diversification, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, incomplete markets, index fund, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Network effects, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, unorthodox policies, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, zero-sum game

Later in the 1990s, many fast-growing Asian countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea, endured serious financial blowups. In 2007–2008, it was our turn again, and this time the crisis involved the big banks at the center of the financial system. For years, Greenspan and other economists argued that the development of complicated, little-understood financial products, such as subprime mortgage–backed securities (MBSs), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and credit default swaps (CDSs), made the system safer and more efficient. The basic idea was that by putting a market price on risk and distributing it to investors willing and able to bear it, these complex securities greatly reduced the chances of a systemic crisis. But the risk-spreading proved to be illusory, and the prices that these products traded at turned out to be based on the premise that movements in financial markets followed regular patterns, that their overall distribution, if not their daily gyrations, could be foreseen—a fallacy I call the illusion of predictability, the third illusion at the heart of utopian economics.

In the past couple decades, he reminded the audience, deregulation and technical progress had subjected banks to increasing competition in their core business of taking in deposits from households and lending them to other individuals and firms. In response, the banks had expanded into new fields, including trading securities and creating new financial products, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Most of these securities the banks sold to investors, but some of them they held on to for investment purposes, which exposed them to potential losses should the markets concerned suffer a big fall. “While the system now exploits the risk-bearing capacity of the economy better by allocating risks more widely, it also takes on more risks than before,” Rajan said. “Moreover, the linkages between markets, and between markets and institutions, are now more pronounced.

THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA AND RATIONAL IRRATIONALITY As the problems of pollution and free riding make clear, many types of market failure come down to the fact of human interdependence. What I do affects your welfare; what you do affects mine. The same applies in business. When General Motors cuts its prices or offers interest-free loans, Ford and Chrysler come under pressure to match GM’s deals, even if their finances are already stretched. If Merrill Lynch sets up a hedge fund to invest in collateralized debt obligations or some other newfangled securities, Morgan Stanley will feel obliged to launch a similar fund so its wealthy clients don’t defect. Now, the chairmen of the Big Three automakers, despite all the criticism they have received recently, are presumably fairly rational, intelligent fellows who would rather coexist peaceably than get into damaging competition. (For now, we will set aside the mental capacities of Wall Street CEOs.)


pages: 1,073 words: 302,361

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohan

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asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, buttonwood tree, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, hive mind, Hyman Minsky, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, Kenneth Arrow, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, South Sea Bubble, time value of money, too big to fail, traveling salesman, value at risk, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Cohen, Harold, 5.1, 5.2 Cohen, Jonathan Cohen, Laurie, 11.1, 15.1 Cohen, Roger Cohn, Gary, prl.1, 15.1, 15.2, 17.1, 19.1, 19.2, 19.3, 20.1, 20.2, 21.1, 21.2, 21.3, 21.4, 22.1, 22.2, 22.3, 22.4, 22.5, 22.6, 22.7, 23.1, 24.1, 24.2 Cole, Christopher Coles, Michael collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), prl.1, prl.2, prl.3, 19.1, 19.2, 19.3, 19.4, 20.1, 20.2, 20.3, 20.4, 21.1, 21.2, 21.3, 21.4, 21.5, 21.6, 21.7, 21.8, 22.1, 22.2, 22.3, 22.4, 22.5, 22.6, 22.7, 22.8, 23.1, 23.2 complexity of, prl.1, prl.2, 19.1 market volatility caused by synthetic, prl.1, prl.2, prl.3, prl.4, prl.5, 20.1, 20.2, 20.3, 20.4, 21.1, 21.2, 22.1, 23.1, 23.2, 24.1 tranches of, 19.1, 23.1 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) squared, prl.1, 21.1, 21.2 collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), 18.1, 18.2 Collins, Timothy Commerce Department, U.S. Commercial Bank commercial banks, prevented from intermingling with investment banks, 2.1, 4.1, 10.1 Commercial Investment Trust commercial paper, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 5.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 7.12, 9.1 see also IOUs Commodities Corporation commodities trading, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 9.1, 9.2, 12.1, 14.1, 16.1 see also specific trades Commodity Futures Trading Commission, prl.1, 17.1 Commodore Hotel “Compliance and Reputational Judgment” training COMSAT Congress, U.S.

I think it takes a toll on the people around me, which in turn takes a further toll on me.” —— THE FIRST ACID TEST for Blankfein came on April 16, 2010, when, after a 3–2 vote along party lines, the SEC sued Goldman Sachs and one of its vice presidents for civil fraud as a result of creating, marketing, and facilitating, in 2007, a complex mortgage security—known as a synthetic CDO, or collateralized debt obligation—that was tied to the fate of the U.S. housing market. The CDO Goldman created was not composed of actual home mortgages but rather of a series of bets on how home mortgages would perform. While the architecture of the deal was highly complex, the idea behind it was a simple one: If the people who took out the mortgages continued to pay them off, the security would keep its value. If, on the other hand, home owners started defaulting on their mortgages, the security would lose value since investors would not get their contracted cash payments on the securities they bought.

Of course, Goldman had no intention of keeping the mortgages itself but rather bought them for the sole purpose of packaging them together and selling them off to investors for a fee determined by the difference between the price it paid for them and the price it sold them for. In other words, pretty standard Wall Street practice. By the spring of 2006, Goldman was considered a respectable underwriter of mortgage-backed securities, ranking twelfth worldwide in 2005 in the underwriting of so-called structured finance deals—those for asset-backed securities, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities, and collateralized debt obligations—worth $102.8 billion. By 2006, Goldman had moved up to tenth in the league tables—underwriting 204 deals globally, worth $130.7 billion—but still was far behind Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Bear Stearns. These other firms were coining money underwriting mortgage-backed securities and became so concerned about having access to a steady flow of mortgages to package up and sell that they all bought mortgage origination firms—Bear bought EMC Mortgage; Merrill bought First Franklin Financial Corp. from National City Bank in December 2006—at the top of the market—for $1.7 billion.


pages: 620 words: 214,639

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William D. Cohan

asset-backed security, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Hyman Minsky, Irwin Jacobs, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, merger arbitrage, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Northern Rock, Renaissance Technologies, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, savings glut, shareholder value, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, traveling salesman, Y2K, yield curve

Unlike Greenberg, who kept his seat on the trading desk and the one as head of the risk committee and to some degree his finger on the pulse of the markets, Cayne had no more than an intuitive feel for the markets or for their growing complexity. For sure, he could decide when to buy or sell a stock, but when it came to understanding the calculus of and risks inherent in, say, a CDO-squared (that is, a collateralized debt obligation backed not by a pool of bonds and loans but by CDO tranches), well, that was a bridge too far. (In this, he was most certainly not alone among top Wall Street executives.) And, not surprisingly for a man who learned by listening and not by reading, he was no writer of notes of exhortation. In the Cayne regime, the quaint Greenberg memos slowly petered out. Instead, like Joe Torre in his Yankees heyday, Cayne preferred to believe he was managing a team of hand-picked superstars, and he expected them to perform.

From 1989 to 1991, Cioffi was the New York head of fixed-income sales and then, for the next three years, served as global product and sales manager for high-grade credit products. “He was involved in the creation of the structured credit effort at Bear Stearns and was a principal force behind Bear Stearns' position as a leading underwriter and secondary trader of structured finance securities, specifically collateralized debt obligations and esoteric asset-backed securities,” according to a description of him on file with the SEC. “We all grew up with Ralph here,” explained Paul Friedman. “Ralph is one of the smartest guys I've ever met and was absolutely the best salesman I've ever met. When I was a trader, he was a salesman, a fabulous salesman. He was incredibly personable, incredibly smart, creative, and could get things done.”

“Every time Marin and the risk guys in BSAM would have a question with Ralph, Ralph would get Warren involved, and they'd all have this big meeting in Warren's office, and Warren would say to the BSAM, ‘You don't know what you're talking about. Leave Ralph alone. He's doing fine,' and eventually they came to largely ignore him. And that's a little harsh, but not entirely wrong, because none of them really understood what he did.” Explained Marin to the New York Times about Cioffi: “He had come up with an approach to trading those assets”—among others, mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations—“that people who are experts in that arena thought was a sound and interesting approach.” BY 2003, HEDGE funds were the rage of global finance, much as private equity funds had been a decade or so earlier. Whereas the best and the brightest bankers on Wall Street left to become private equity dons, the best and the brightest traders on Wall Street left to become hedge fund managers.


Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, Chance favours the prepared mind, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Under normal conditions, if the narrative is flawed and the metaphorical Rapture doesn’t occur on schedule, their counterparties will take their money without a second thought. We may feel moral qualms about the particular case of John Doe, but that’s because the narrative of our example has Finance Behaving Badly • 343 personalized him. He has a name and a motive; he’s been transformed into a “YOU.” Now let’s consider a financial setting. Imagine you’re the head of the collateralized debt obligation desk at a major investment bank. You issue collateralized debt obligations that, based on your proprietary models, are likely to default, but your potential buyers believe otherwise, and they’re eager to invest. As a broker-dealer of these instruments, is it ethical to sell them to these investors? Are you obligated to disclose your proprietary models? Those models were developed through countless research hours by dozens of highly trained financial analysts hired by and paid for by your firm at a cost of millions of dollars.

So let’s start with some basic facts. 298 • Chapter 9 FINANCIAL CRISIS 101 In the 1990s, a number of financial institutions besides traditional commercial banks began to participate in the housing market by underwriting mortgages directly to homeowners. These mortgage brokers then sold the loans they originated to the secondary (resale) market, where they were bought by government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or by investment banks, which used the mortgages as raw material to create the alphabet-soup of new financial products such as ABSs (asset-backed securities) and CDOs (collateralized debt obligations). This ecological change didn’t take place in a political or a cultural vacuum. Politicians across the partisan spectrum encouraged mortgage lending to a variety of different buyers, many of whom had never considered owning a home before. Home ownership became part of the new American dream for more people. Lenders followed suit, and many even loosened their lending standards, encouraged by the so-called “ownership society” that a number of politicians espoused.

Lenders followed suit, and many even loosened their lending standards, encouraged by the so-called “ownership society” that a number of politicians espoused. During this time, there was an enormous amount of financial evolution at the speed of thought. There was an adaptive radiation of new mortgage types: adjustable-rate mortgages, “pick-a-payment” mortgages, and even the infamous NINJA loan (“No Income, No Job, no Assets”), evaluated and approved by automated loan-review programs. At the same time, investment banks issued collateralized debt obligations, which enabled large pools of mortgages to be packaged and chopped up into a variety of new securities, and sold with the blessings of the rating agencies. Ultimately, the credit default swap market emerged, in order to provide insurance on some of those new debt issues, which encouraged even more investors to participate in the markets. This process expanded the mortgage ecosystem’s size and reach.


pages: 317 words: 84,400

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner

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23andMe, Ada Lovelace, airport security, Al Roth, algorithmic trading, backtesting, big-box store, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, dumpster diving, Flash crash, Gödel, Escher, Bach, High speed trading, Howard Rheingold, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, late fees, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, medical residency, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Sergey Aleynikov, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

But the CDS market was, as we now well know, egregiously mispriced by the humans who traded the swaps and set the prices. Nevertheless, Wall Street embraced Li’s formula as stone-solid fact. The copula should have been one arrow in the quiver of analysts and rating agencies who examined and stamped their approval on mortgage-backed securities. Instead, it became the only arrow. The resultant boom in collateralized debt obligations and the housing market bubble came straight from bankers’ misuse of what should have been a harmless algorithm. Gaussian copulas are useful tools and are utilized in a number of fields, but the one thing they do not do is model dependence between extreme events, something humans excel at precipitating.33 PASCAL, BERNOULLI, AND THE DICE GAME THAT CHANGED THE WORLD Much of modern finance, from annuities to insurance to algorithmic trading, has roots in probability theory—as do myriad other businesses from casinos to skyscraper construction to airplane manufacturing.

Wadhwa eventually got away and founded Relativity Technologies, which made software to help companies migrate from older code bases to newer ones such as C++ and Java. He has since become one of the leading voices of tech education from positions not only at Duke but also at Emory and Stanford. As a new faculty member at Duke, Wadhwa watched as many of his brightest students ended up on Wall Street, conjuring up the very instruments that would lead the world to the brink of economic collapse—collateralized debt obligations, the Gaussian copula (a fine formula that was misused by the Street), and trading algorithms that could go wild at any moment. This was in 2007, the all-time height of the stock market. Financial-sector companies were pulling in cash like a vacuum sucks dust. To ensure their spot at the top of the heap, the finance firms needed two things: friends in Washington and the best quantitative brains money could buy.

The rate among experienced engineers, in fact, dropped by more than 60 percent since the early 1980s, when Wall Street started snatching up technical minds as fast as it could.5 The authors, Paul Kedrosky and Dane Stangler, write: The financial services industry used to consider it a point of pride to hire hungry and eager young high school and college graduates, planning to train them on the job in sales, trading, research, and investment banking. While that practice continues, even if in smaller numbers, the difference now is that most of the industry’s profits come from the creation, sales, and trading of complex products, like the collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that played a central role in the recent financial crisis. These new products require significant financial engineering, often entailing the recruitment of master’s- and doctoral-level new graduates of science, engineering, math, and physics programs. Their talents have made them well-suited to the design of these complex instruments, in return for which they often make starting salaries five times or more what their salaries would have been had they stayed in their own fields and pursued employment with more tangible societal benefits.


pages: 348 words: 99,383

The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism Is the World Economy's Only Hope by John A. Allison

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, disintermediation, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, high net worth, housing crisis, invisible hand, life extension, low skilled workers, market bubble, market clearing, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, moral hazard, negative equity, obamacare, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, too big to fail, transaction costs, yield curve, zero-sum game

They were also misled by the artificial economic environment created by the Federal Reserve. In addition, as discussed earlier, they had a significant economic incentive to rate the bonds as highly as possible to increase their revenues. This is where the investment banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers) magnified the misallocation of credit to the housing market. They created a series of financial “innovations” (collateralized debt obligations [CDOs], derivatives, swaps, and others, which I discuss later) that leveraged an already overleveraged product. The explanation typically given for these ultimately very bad decisions by investment bankers is greed. However, there was plenty of greed on Wall Street before the bubble. In fact, in my almost 40-year career in banking, there has always been greed on Wall Street. There was no more or less greed on Wall Street during the bubble.

You have probably flown on bankrupt airlines many times. It is true that financial institution bankruptcies are more complex and need to be planned in advance. Unfortunately, Lehman did not plan for a bankruptcy because it expected to be bailed out. What was the nature of some of the more interesting derivatives—that is, the “innovations” in financial products? These instruments include CDOs (collateralized debt obligations), CDO2s, SIVs (structured investment vehicles), and other such products. Because of the complexity of the subject and the risk of confusion, let’s focus on a conceptually simplified example: CDOs. CDOs have a reasonable history, as they were designed originally to reduce credit risk. A bank purchases a $500 million bond from General Electric. Even though General Electric is perceived to be a low risk, the bank does not want to have its risk this concentrated in one borrower, so it sells pieces of the bond totaling $400 million in the capital markets, which is a legitimate risk-management technique.

., and administration: action in financial panic, 161, 167 banking regulations, 133–136 economic proposals, 15 Patriot Act, 45, 46 regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 63 California, 21, 74, 90 CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System), 93, 116, 121, 131 Canada, 192 Capital: against GSE loans, 137 and leverage, 70–71 and loan loss reserves, 153 misinvestment of, 9–11, 14 wasting of, 159–160 Capital markets, 85–87, 101 Capital standards: for banks, 190 for loans, 51–52 and TARP, 170–171 Capitalism: crony, 6, 102, 129, 179 and freedom, 253–254 at universities, 231–233 Capitalism (Alan Greenspan), 32 Carter, Jimmy, 161, 179 Cash basis accounting, 110 Cash flows, 106–107, 115 Cato Institute, 201 CDOs (collateralized debt obligations), 124–126 CDSs (credit default swaps), 126–128 CEOs (Chief Executive Officers): behavior of, 2–3 decisions of Federal Reserve vs., 34 and rules-based accounting, 109 wage rates of, 210 China: currency standard, 77 demographics, 205 education, 230 GDP of U.S. vs., 183 government debt in, 200 manufacturing in, 10, 25–26, 161 market-based pricing in, 34 military spending in, 198 stimulus fund use, 181–182 trade with, 204–205 U.S. investment by, 29, 159 Chrysler, 130, 179–180 Citigroup: bailout of, 50, 104, 130, 177 CDOs of, 125–126 credit decisions, 238 crony capitalism, 6 funding of shadow banking system, 120 long-term debt of, 71 and panic during financial crisis, 163 pragmatism at, 217–218 reason at, 245 “too-big-to-fail” firms, 173 Clearing, 104 Clinton, Bill: lending reforms, 42–44, 56 subprime lending requirements, 58–60 Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 124–126 Colonial Bank, 47–48 Commercial real estate, 11, 97 Common good, 215–216 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), 42, 55–57, 59 Compensation, 50, 83–84, 197–198 Confidence, 84–87, 184–185 Conservatives, 108 Consumer compliance, 193 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 26–27 Consumption: borrowing for, 57–58 housing as, 9–12, 54–55, 73–74 Contagion risk, 123 Corporate debt, 107 Counterparty risk, 123, 124 Countrywide: crony capitalism at, 6 and fair-value accounting change, 114, 118 and FDIC insurance, 39, 41, 46 necessary failure of, 159 pick-a-payment mortgages of, 91–93 subprime business at, 99 thrift history of, 98 CPI (see Consumer Price Index) CRA (see Community Reinvestment Act) Creativity, 7, 247 Credit default swaps (CDSs), 126–128 Credit rating agencies (see Rating agencies) Crony capitalism, 6, 102, 129, 179 Cross-guarantor insurance fund, 48–52 Cuba, 34, 247, 252 Cuomo, Andrew, 58 Currency, debasing, 22 Debt, 21–22, 107 Declaration of Independence, 220, 252 Defaults, 90–91, 126–128 Defense spending, 198–199, 227 Deflation, 22 Demand, supply and, 104, 185, 209, 210 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 15, 58 Deposits, disintermediation of, 120–121 Derivatives, 3, 120, 122–124 Disclosure requirements, 150–152 Dodd, Christopher, 7, 46, 61, 63, 64 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: deficiencies of, 193 introduction of, 63–64, 183 as misregulation, 147 results of, 130 and TARP, 173, 174 Dollar, U.S., 77, 188, 229 Durbin amendment, 193 Earnings, operating, 103–106 East Germany, 34, 247 Eastern Europe, 34, 252 Economic cycles, 108, 189–193 Economic health, 159–161 Economic recovery, 1, 207–208 Economy, banking industry in, 67–69 Edison, Thomas, 19, 158–159 Education, 230–235, 247 Egypt, ancient, 230 Elitism, 7 Ely, Bert, 48 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 82, 149 Enron, 60, 109, 133, 149 Entitlement programs, reforms for, 199–204 Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 42, 55 ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act), 82, 149 Ethical incentives, lending, 57–58 Euro, 189 European banking crisis, 51–52, 137 Expensing (stock options), 114–117 Experiential learners, 244–245 Fair Housing Act, 55 Fair-value accounting, 103–118 asset valuation in, 106–108 and expensing of stock options, 114–117 and losses on CDSs, 126–127 private accounting systems vs., 177–178 SEC involvement in, 151–152 for selling vs. servicing mortgages, 113–114 Fannie Mae: accounting scandal, 112–113, 149 in current environment, 251 and disintermediation of deposits, 121 failure of, 61–65, 164 and fair-value accounting, 118 in housing policy, 58–61 misallocation of resources by, 14 misleading of rating agencies by, 83 mortgage lending by, 97–101 reforms for, 190–192 selling mortgages to, 113–114 subprime lending by, 58, 99–101 FASB (see Financial Accounting Standards Board) FDIC (see Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) FDIC insurance, 37–52 and bank liquidity, 171 and failing banks, 140 and fractional reserve banking, 68–69 and pick-a-payment mortgages, 91 reform of, 190 and S&L failures, 97 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 37–38 as external auditors, 134 and failing banks, 47–48 misallocation of resources by, 14 and pick-a-payment mortgages, 91 as regulator, 41–48, 143 take over of Washington Mutual, 75–77 Federal Housing Administration (FHA), 15, 190–192, 252 Federal Reserve, 22–23, 102, 189 antitrust policy, 174 bailouts by, 120–121, 190, 192 and banking industry reforms, 187–188 as external auditors, 134 and federal debt, 21–22 and leverage, 72 mathematical modeling by, 136 misallocation of resources by, 14, 208 misleading information from, 46, 83, 101, 125 monetary policy of, 17–20, 31–35, 96 overreaction by, 154 stimulus from, 152, 153, 208 and TARP, 165, 167–168, 171 and unemployment, 213 and Washington Mutual, 75 Federal Reserve Board, 18 Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, 31 Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC), 37–38, 50, 96 FHA (see Federal Housing Administration) Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), 105, 106, 114–117 Financial crisis (2007-2009), 1–3, 251–254 banking industry in, 70–72 derivatives in, 122–124 Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in, 65 free-market response to, 177–186 and Great Depression, 25 lessons from, 251–252 SEC role in, 154–155 Financial reporting requirements, SEC, 150–152 Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), 32, 61–62 First Horizon, 237 Fitch, John Knowles, 150 Fitch Ratings: investor confidence in, 84–87 misratings by, 82–84, 101, 125, 126 and SEC, 81–82, 149–150 Flat tax, 197 Forbes, Steve, 197 Ford, 179 Foreclosure laws, 77–80 Fractional reserve banking, 69–70 Frank, Barney, 7, 61, 63, 64 Fraud, 109–113 Freddie Mac: accounting scandal, 112–113, 149 current environment, 251 and disintermediation of deposits, 121 failure of, 61–65, 164 in housing policy, 58–61 misallocation of resources by, 14 misleading information from, 83 mortgage lending by, 97–101 reforms for, 190–192 selling mortgages to, 113–114 subprime lending by, 58, 99–101 Free markets: experimentation in, 19 justice in, 92, 177 market corrections in, 157–159 and monetary policy, 31–35 risk taking by banks in, 40–41 wage rates in, 210–211 Free trade, 204–205 Friedman, Milton, 20, 189 FSLIC (see Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation) FSR (Financial Services Roundtable), 32, 61–62 GAAP accounting, 116, 117 Gates, Bill, 216 GDP, 183, 197–199 General Electric, 168, 169 General Motors (GM), 169, 178–180 General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, The (Keynes), 181 Germany, 52 GM (General Motors), 169, 178–180 GMAC, 168, 169, 178–180 Gold standard: and deflation, 25–26 and economic future of U.S., 188–189 Greenspan’s view of, 32 Golden West, 39, 91, 92, 98, 159 Goldman Sachs, 71, 173 as AIG counterparty, 128–129 bailout of, 104, 164, 179 CDSs of, 126 counterparty risk at, 124 crony capitalism at, 6 financial “innovations” of, 101 Government policy: as cause of financial crisis, 1, 5–6, 251 and residential real estate bubble, 6 (See also Housing policy; Policy reforms) Government regulation, 5–8, 41–48, 204 Government spending, 180–183, 197–199 Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), 59, 64–65, 98, 137 (See also Fannie Mae; Freddie Mac) Great Depression: and avoidance of stock market, 74 banking industry in, 70–72 economic policies after, 161 and Federal Reserve, 19–20, 24, 188 and gold standard, 188 and government interference, 170 and Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, 205 Great Recession, 1, 251–254 and Federal Reserve, 188 Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in, 65 and interest-rate variation, 33 market corrections and depth of, 160 and monetary policy, 17 and residential real estate, 9–15 Great Society, 6, 55, 96 Greece, 51, 52, 137, 228 Greenspan, Alan, 23–30, 32, 33, 160 Gross domestic product, 183, 197–199 Hamilton, Alexander, 19 Harvard University, 43, 131 Hayek, Friedrich, 31 Health insurance, 201–202 High-net-worth shareholders, 93 Home Builders Association, 60 Home foreclosure laws, 77–80 Homeownership, 53–55 Hoover, Herbert, 24, 161, 205 Housing: as consumption, 9–12, 54–55, 73–74 government support of, 12 Housing policy, 53–65 HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development), 15, 58 Human Action (von Mises), 238 Immigration, 19, 205–206 India, 10, 25, 205 IndyMac, 39, 75, 98 Inflation: CPI as indicator of, 26–27 and fair-value accounting, 103 and Federal Reserve, 21–22 and prices, 24–25 (See also Monetary policy) Initial public offerings, 150 Insurance: bond, 86–87 cross-guarantor, 48–52 FDIC (see FDIC insurance) health, 201–202 private deposit, 48–52 self-insurance at banks, 48–52 unemployment, 212–213 Interest rates, 26–27, 31–35 Inverted yield curves, 27–29 Investment banks: disclosure requirements for, 151 government bailout of, 162 “innovations” of, 101–102 leverage ratios of, 71–72 IPOs, 150 Iran, 198, 199, 227 Iraq, 198 Ireland, 77 Isaac, Bill, 107–108, 161–162 Italy, 51, 52 Japan, 159, 200, 205 Jefferson, Thomas, 19, 220 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 6, 55, 96, 161, 188 JPMorgan Chase, 75 and Bear Stearns, 162 and shadow banking system, 120 as “too-big-to-fail” firm, 173 and Washington Mutual, 163 Keynes, John Maynard, 181 Labor: allocation of, 10–11, 14 minimum-wage laws, 209–212 Lehman Brothers, 71, 76, 101, 104, 129, 164 and Bear Stearns bailout, 162–163 corporate debt at, 107 counterparty risk at, 124 derivatives from, 123 Limited government, 182–183, 195, 231, 253 Liquidity: of banks, 68–69 and FDIC insurance, 171 and financial crises, 70–72 and housing prices, 74–75 and TARP, 171–172 Loan loss reserves accounting, 152–154 Loans: capital standards for, 51–52 qualified, 98 substandard, 140–141 Madoff, Bernie, 149, 225 March of Dimes, 241 Market corrections, 157–165 Federal Reserve’s prevention of, 23, 32 prevention of, 13 residential real estate, 78 and response to financial crisis, 177–180 Market discipline, 21, 38 Market-based monetary policy, 31–35 Market-clearing price, 209 Mathematical modeling: for loan loss reserves, 152–153 by ratings agencies, 82–83 for risk management, 136–138 MBIA, 86 Medicaid, 6, 55, 201 Medicare, 6, 8, 55, 201, 203 Meltdown (Michaels), 35 Merrill Lynch, 101, 124–125 Michaels, Patrick J., 35 Microsoft, 217 Military spending, 198–199, 227 Minimum-wage laws, 209–212 Mises, Ludwig von, 34, 238 Monetary policy, 17–35 of Bernanke, 27–31, 33, 35, 40, 125, 213 and federal debt, 21–22 and Federal Reserve, 17–23 of Greenspan, 23–27 market-based, 31–35 and unemployment, 208–209 Money market mutual funds, bailout of, 120–121, 192 Money supply, 21–22, 24, 189 Moody, John, 83, 150 Moody’s, 81–87 investor confidence in, 84–87 misratings by, 82–84, 101, 125, 126 and SEC, 81–82, 149–150 Morgan Stanley, 71, 101, 124, 173 Mortgage lending, 95–102 by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 97–101 and investment bank innovations, 101–102 prime, 59, 97–99 by private banks, 97–99 savings and loan industry in, 95–97 subprime, 43, 56–57, 99–101 Mortgages: by BB&T Corporation, 97–98 jumbo, 62 pick-a-payment (see Pick-a-payment mortgages) selling vs. servicing, 113–114 Mozilo, Angelo, 46 Multiplier effect, 181 Naked shorting, 127–128, 151 Nationally recognized statistical rating organizations, 82 Negative real interest rates, 26–27 Neo-Keynesian response to financial crisis, 185–186 Neutral taxes, 197 New Deal, 53, 170, 232 Nixon, Richard, 96, 161, 188 North Korea, 34, 198, 227, 247, 252 NRSROs, 82 Obama administration, 142–144: and Dodd-Frank Act, 64 economic policies of, 15, 161 healthcare bill, 183, 201 and Patriot Act, 45 stimulus plan, 181–182 Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), 40, 154 Office of Thrift Supervision, 40, 41, 45–46 Operating earnings, 103–106 OTS, 40, 41, 45–46 Panics, 137–138, 161–165 Patriot Act, 45, 46, 48, 133–136, 147 Paulson, Henry: in 2008 panic, 164, 167 and AIG bailout, 128, 129 credibility of, 164 development of TARP, 76, 168–170, 172 Pick-a-payment mortgages, 89–93 borrowers using, 90–91 and FDIC, 91 and rise of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, 98 Policy reforms, 195–206 for entitlement programs, 199–204 and free trade, 204–205 and government regulations, 204 for government spending, 197–199 for immigration, 205–206 for political system, 206–207 and tax rate, 196–197 Politics: in banking regulation, 42–46 and crony capitalism, 129 and failure of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, 59–62 and Federal Reserve appointments, 18 policy reforms for, 206–207 Poor, Henry Varnum, 150 Portugal, 51 Price fixing, 31, 193 Price setting, 31–32 Prime lending, 59, 97–99 Prince, Charlie, 217 Principles-based accounting, 109 Privacy Act, 133, 135 Private accounting systems, 177–178 Private banks, 97–99, 187–188 Private deposit insurance, 48–52 Public schools, 228, 233–235 Racial discrimination (in lending), 42–45 Raines, Frank, 59 Rand, Ayn, 225, 231 Rating agencies, 81–87 investor confidence in, 84–87 mathematical modeling by, 136 and subprime mortgage bonds, 82–84 and “too-big-to-fail” firms, 173 and SEC, 81–82, 149–150 Real estate: commercial, 11, 97 residential (see Residential real estate market) Recessions, 28, 29, 160 Recovery (see Economic recovery) Reforms: banking industry (see Banking industry reforms) government policy (see Policy reforms) Regions Bank, 237 Regulation: of banking industry (see Banking regulation) by government (see Government regulation) Reporting, financial, 150–152 Reserve currency, U.S. dollar as, 77, 188, 229 Residential real estate market: economics of, 73–74 misinvestment in, 9–15 Residential real estate market bubble, 73–80 and government policy, 6 international impact of, 77 and job creation, 80 and state home foreclosure laws, 77–80 Risk: contagion, 123 counterparty, 123, 124 with derivatives, 122–124 diversification of, 67–69 and economic cycles, 189–193 and FDIC insurance, 38–41 and government regulation, 50–51 liquidity, 68–70 mathematical modeling for, 136–138 and “originate and sell” model, 100 systemic, 50–51 RMBS (residential mortgage-backed securities), 81 Roman empire, fall of, 230 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 24, 37, 103, 161 Rules-based accounting, 109 Russia, 198 Samuelson, Paul, 238 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 133–134 and fair-value accounting, 106 and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, 99 misregulation by, 48, 147 and SEC, 150 violations of, 136 SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports), 136 Satchwell, Jack, 57 Savings and loan (S&L) industry, 95–97, 110, 191 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 149–155 capital ratio guidelines, 71–72 and complexity of accounting rules, 116–117 and expensing of stock options, 114, 115 loan loss reserves accounting for, 152–154 misallocation of resources by, 14 and rating agencies, 81–82, 149–150 requirements for shorting stock, 127–128, 151 and rules-based accounting, 109, 110 and Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 150 Self-insurance, 48–52 Selgin, George, 189 Senate Banking Committee, 46 Shadow banking system, 119–131 and AIG bailout, 128–130 credit default swaps in, 126–128 and derivatives, 122–124 Federal Reserve’s role in, 30 losses from, 131 S&L industry, 95–97, 110, 191 Small businesses, 144–147, 183–184 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, 205 Social Security, 8, 199–204 South Financial, 237 South Korea, 247 Soviet Union, 34, 195–196, 252, 254 S&P (see Standard & Poor’s) Spain, 51, 52, 77 Spitzer, Eliot, 71, 134–135, 151 Stagflation, 181, 208 Standard & Poor’s (S&P), 81–87 investor confidence, 84–87 misratings by, 82–84, 101, 125, 126 and SEC, 81–82, 149–150 Standard of living, 6–7, 10, 161, 177 Start-up banks, 38–39 State home foreclosure laws, 77–80 Stimulus plan, 181–182 Stock options, expensing of, 114–117 Stocks, shorting, 127–128, 151 Stress tests, banks, 171 Subprime lending: and CRA, 56–57 by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 99–101 and racial discrimination in lending study, 43 Subprime mortgage bonds, 82–87 Substandard loans, 140–141 SunTrust, 152, 237 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), 136 Tails (mathematical models), 137 TARP (see Troubled Asset Relief Program) Tax rate, 196–197 Tea Party Movement, 218, 231 Technology industry, 5 “Too-big-to-fail” firms, 130, 173, 193 Trader principle, 92, 223–224 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), 167–175 and 2008 panic, 165 and FDIC, 37 Underwriters Laboratories, 117, 150 Unemployment, 207–213 in economic recovery, 207–208 and minimum-wage laws, 209–212 and misinvestment in residential real estate, 10–11 and monetary policy, 208–209 Unemployment insurance, 212–213 Unions, 179, 180, 212 United Auto Workers, 179, 180 United States: demographic problem in, 228 economic future of, 8, 227–230, 252–253 educational system of, 230–235 founding concepts of, 219–220 as free trade zone, 204–205 GDP of China vs., 183 mixed economy of, 5–6 public schools of, 233–235 university system of, 230–233 United Way, 224, 241 University system, 230–233 U.S.


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Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and Mergers and Acquisitions by Joshua Rosenbaum, Joshua Pearl, Joseph R. Perella

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asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, discounted cash flows, diversification, fixed income, intangible asset, London Interbank Offered Rate, performance metric, shareholder value, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, time value of money, transaction costs, yield curve

See capital asset pricing model caps cash and stock transaction cash available for debt repayment cash flow generation cash flow statement in LBO analysis cash flow sweep cash interest expense cash on hand funding source cash return CDO. See collateralized debt obligation funds certainty of closing/completion change of control CIM. See confidential information memorandum closest comparables closing, of transaction closing conditions club deal clubbing COGS. See cost of goods sold collar collateral collateral coverage collateralized debt obligation (CDO) funds commitment fee commitment letter commodity common stock comparable companies analysis . See also Contents key pros and cons Competition Bureau competitors compound annual growth rate (CAGR) confidential information memorandum (CIM) sample confidentiality agreement (CA) provisions consensus estimates .

A DCF is also critical when there are limited (or no) “pure play” peer companies or comparable acquisitions. Part Two: Leveraged Buyouts (Chapters 4 & 5) Part Two focuses on leveraged buyouts, which comprised a large part of the capital markets and M&A landscape in the mid-2000s. This was due to the proliferation of private investment vehicles (e.g., private equity firms and hedge funds) and their considerable pools of capital, as well as structured credit vehicles (e.g., collateralized debt obligations). We begin with a discussion in Chapter 4 of the fundamentals of LBOs, including an overview of key participants, characteristics of a strong LBO candidate, economics of an LBO, exit strategies, and key financing sources and terms. Once this framework is established, we apply our step-by-step how-to approach in Chapter 5 to construct a comprehensive LBO model and perform an LBO analysis for ValueCo.

Although there is often overlap between them, traditional bank lenders provide capital for revolvers and amortizing term loans, while institutional lenders provide capital for longer tenored, limited amortization term loans. Bank lenders typically consist of commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, finance companies, and the investment banks serving as arrangers. The institutional lender base is largely comprised of hedge funds, pension funds, prime funds, insurance companies, and structured vehicles such as collateralized debt obligation funds (CDOs).124 Like investment banks, lenders perform due diligence and undergo an internal credit process before participating in an LBO financing. This involves analyzing the target’s business and credit profile (with a focus on projected cash flow generation and credit statistics) to gain comfort that they will receive full future interest payments and principal repayment at maturity.


pages: 309 words: 95,495

Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe by Greg Ip

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, air freight, airport security, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, break the buck, Bretton Woods, capital controls, central bank independence, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double helix, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, global supply chain, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, value at risk, William Langewiesche, zero-sum game

The Fed was hardly alone in taking these preparatory measures. Numerous other central banks, and the International Monetary Fund, had been regularly publishing “financial stability reports” to highlight potential crisis threats. All suffered from the same problem: ignorance of the risks then propagating in the shadows of the financial system. The Fed knew that subprime mortgages and more exotic instruments such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps existed, but as one study later found, rarely did any of these seem important enough to be mentioned in monetary policy makers’ regular meetings. So, by 2007, there was widespread awareness that homes were probably overvalued but little concern that this would produce a systemic crisis. Twenty-five years of experience and reform had moved most of the risks out of the banking system, provided new tools such as secured repo loans to contain risks, and slain inflation, the single biggest threat to financial stability anyone alive had ever known.

As mortgages were repaid, money went first to the owner of the top tranche. If any mortgages defaulted, it was the lowest tranches that took the loss. This meant that it would take a cataclysmic level of defaults before the top tranches sustained any losses. Those tranches were deemed so safe they deserved the highest credit ratings available: AAA or AA. Tranches were often pooled into a new security called a collateralized debt obligation (CDO), which was, itself, then sliced into tranches. AIG made a point of selling protection only on the highest-rated tranches of MBSs and CDOs. By 2006, AIGFP had begun to worry enough about the quality of underwriting that it stopped selling protection on subprime-backed MBSs and CDOs. Cracks appeared in the system as indexes tied to subprime mortgages began to fall. By 2007, those cracks spread and began to show in the market.

By walling off some of that supply, Goldman indirectly forces everyone else to hold less, and to hold riskier paper instead. This strategy, in other words, works if only Goldman follows it, but not if everyone does. Goldman protected itself from the subprime collapse in a similar way. It was a major player in the subprime frenzy, originating $100 billion in mortgage-backed securities and related collateralized debt obligations in 2006 and 2007. But at the end of 2006 it became nervous and decided to cut its exposure, and in early 2007 it switched to a short position, in other words a position that would go up in value if mortgage-backed securities fell. A few years earlier, Goldman and several other banks spotted a problem in the mortgage market. If you held a big position in stocks, you could protect yourself against a drop with an option or a futures contract.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

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Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, land reform, light touch regulation, loss aversion, mega-rich, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working-age population

We also want to acknowledge the enormous patience of our families while we struggle away at the computer, now and always: Sarah, Robin and William (David’s family) and Rachel and Scarlett (Andrew’s family). Without them we couldn’t manage it or be who we are today. David Boyle Andrew Simms List of Acronyms and Abbreviations CDCU CDFI CDO CEO CHP CND Democs DIY DTQ EBCU Escos GDP GM GPI HPI IMF IP ISEW km Lets LM3 m MDGs MDP MDR-TB mph nef NHS RESOLVE SDRs community development credit union community development finance institution collateralized debt obligation chief executive officer combined heat and power Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament deliberative meeting of citizens do-it-yourself domestic tradable quota emissions-backed currency unit energy service companies gross domestic product genetically modified Genuine Progress Indicator Happy Planet Index International Monetary Fund intellectual property Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare kilometre Local exchange and trading systems Local Money 3 metre Millennium Development Goals Measure of Domestic Progress multi-drug resistant tuberculosis miles per hour New Economics Foundation National Health Service Research Group on Lifestyles Values and Environment special drawing rights xii SERs SIV SROI T-bills TEQ TOES TRIPS WEEE THE NEW ECONOMICS special emission rights structured investment vehicle social return on investment Treasury bills tradeable emissions quota The Other Economic Summit Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Directive) 1 The Economic Problem Man talks of a battle with nature, forgetting that if he won the battle, he would find himself on the losing side.

Then they could lend money from the sale to more investors and so on. The disastrous model used by so many lenders meant bundling up their mortgages and selling them on, then using the proceeds to lend more. It meant that banks and other investors would buy the SIVs, getting the full value of the repayments over the years. The SIVs were then taken apart and reassembled into parcels called collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and sold to hedge funds, which sold them on all over the world. Because these CDOs included debts from a range of different markets, they were believed to be insulated against risk: the mortgages might cause problems, but the other loans would offset the risk. That is how the credit ratings agencies Moodys and Standard & Poor saw it, giving them AAA ratings. 6 THE NEW ECONOMICS The trouble was that, once the truth about the sub-prime loans – M.

www.neweconomics.org Index absolute poverty 81, 81–2 advertising 46–7 agriculture 26, 34, 119, 138 aid 34, 113, 136 AIDS 70, 111, 135, 148 altruism 65, 72 Annan, Kofi 110–11 anti-trust action 89–90, 116, 133 Argentina 26, 57, 58, 139 assets 15, 60, 105, 136–7, 153 of African-Americans 141, 142 people as 15, 57–8, 128–9, 130, 131 Audi 101 authenticity 2, 73, 74, 74–5 bancor (currency) 61 Bangladesh 3, 112, 141, 143–4 banking system 6, 7, 58–9, 147 see also banks bankruptcy 147 banks 6, 120, 139, 142, 146, 153 breaking up 57, 90, 146 money creation by 56, 58–9, 84, 90, 138, 147 see also financial crises barriers to development 138–43 barter 58, 59, 60, 154 behaviour 15, 29, 35, 67–8, 71 Belloc, Hilaire 19–20, 21 berkshares 57, 151–2 Beveridge, Sir William 19, 127 Bhutan 43 big currencies 53, 54, 55–6, 58, 59 biocapacity 12, 114, 158 Black Hawk (Colorado) 14, 15, 152 ‘black money’ 81 Blair administration 9, 41 Blake, William 18 blood donation 65, 70 Boesky, Ivan 135, 142 borrowing by governments 49–50, 58, 62, 141 see also debt Bowling Alone (Putnam, 2001) 126–7 Breed, Colin 125 Bretton Woods 148 Buddhist economics 18, 21, 22 Buffett, Warren 7 built-in obsolescence 98, 100, 101 Bush, George W. 28, 96, 154 business 74, 156 Butler, R. A. (Richard Austen, ‘Rab’) 36, 38, 40 Cahn, Edgar 54, 58, 88, 123, 127, 131 Campaign for Real Ale 118 Canada 51–2, 57 capital 89 capitalism 20, 155 carbon emission entitlements 45, 90, 117–18, 148 carbon emissions 114, 117, 148 carbon taxes 117 caring 86–7, 89, 91, 92, 132 182 THE NEW ECONOMICS Carville, James 27 casinos 14–15 cathedrals 79, 81 CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) 5–6 Central America 32–3 charities 13, 58, 129 Charles, Prince of Wales 23, 100 Chesterton, G.K. (Gilbert Keith) 18, 20, 21, 81 Chicago (Illinois) 87, 127, 131 chief executives 19, 141, 142 children 4, 46–7, 82, 86, 87 Chile 51 China 28, 50, 60, 82, 100, 116, 154 CHP (combined heat and power) plants 102, 103 cities 3, 61, 75, 80, 105–6, 110, 116 and energy 102, 103 traffic speeds 65–6 citizen’s incomes 45, 58, 73, 91–2, 148 Clarke, Otto 21 classical economics 28–9, 34–5, 44, 67, 89, 123 assumptions 71, 72, 85 Cleveland (Ohio) 6 climate change 3–4, 40, 96, 112, 115 tackling 45, 90, 155, 157 Clinton, Bill 27, 52, 145 co-generation of energy 102, 103 co-production 88–9, 127–31, 132, 158, 159 Cobb, Clifford 39, 40–1 Cobb, John 22, 40–1 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) 5–6 Colombia 33, 51 Columbus, Christopher 139 combined heat and power see CHP commodities 11, 57, 139 currencies based on 60, 90, 120 commons 79, 82, 113, 148 communications technologies 58, 59, 78, 158 communities 2, 27, 42, 43, 89, 92 assets 57–8, 106 investing in 118 money in 103–5, 107, 124, 151–2 Wal-mart and 124–5 community 32, 33, 54, 89, 158 community banks 26, 145 community land trusts 46, 73, 151 Community Way model 58 community-supported agriculture 26, 119 companies 74–5, 84, 137–8, 142–3 see also corporations comparative advantage 26, 75, 109, 116 competition 90 regulation 85, 113, 125, 126, 133 complementary currencies 26, 57–8, 59, 62, 154 consumerism 20, 44, 132 consumers 44, 67–8 consumption 11, 34, 39–40, 100, 158 ‘defensive’ 37 contributing, need for 128–9 conventional economics 10–12, 82, 97, 127 cooperatives 20, 26, 153 ‘core economy’ 54–5, 88, 89, 127, 158 corporate debt 84, 142–3 corporate power 20, 28, 85 corporate raiders 84, 142 corporate responsibility 26, 153–4 corporations 4, 8, 13, 82, 90, 116, 142, 158 tax gap 52, 137, 157 Costa Rica 99 Country Party 18 crashes 1, 51, 91 2008–9 crash 2, 3, 5, 6–7, 8, 15, 84, 85, 154–5 creativity 38, 46, 75, 79, 91 credit 91, 145–6 see also debt credit cards 84 credit crunch 3, 91, 144, 157 credit unions 26, 144, 145, 146 crime 10, 35, 37, 38, 87, 127, 128 crises, fundamental 3–5 Cuba 95–7, 101, 105 culture 43, 44, 111, 115, 127, 158 INDEX 183 currencies 26, 55, 56–8, 81 barter currencies 58, 59 based on commodities 60, 90, 120 based on emissions rights 90, 148 big 53, 54, 55–6, 58, 59 complementary 26, 57–8, 59, 62, 154 global 56, 61, 120, 147–8 local 26, 27, 56, 57, 58, 60, 151–2, 153 multiple 58, 59–60, 60, 90 regional 58, 59, 60 domestic tradeable quotas (DTQs) 117–18 Douthwaite, Richard 56–7, 148 Downs-Thomson Paradox 66 downshifting 2, 4–5, 11, 35, 69, 73 Drexel Burnham Lambert 142 drugs, generic 113, 116, 117 DTQs (domestic tradeable quotas) 117–18 Dublin (Ireland) 52, 106 DuPont 85 dynamic equilibrium 43, 44 Daly, Herman 22, 23, 40–1, 43, 97 Dawnay, Emma 71 debt 4, 7, 11–12, 81, 83–4 cancellation 137, 148 corporate 84, 142–3 and development 138–43 GM crops and 91, 119, 140 Malawi 135–6 medieval freedom from 79, 80–1 money creation 7, 8, 11, 56, 60, 84, 90, 138 national 49–50, 83, 84, 139, 141 personal 7, 36, 83–4, 91, 140, 141 repayments 90, 137 small-scale 143–4 see also sub-prime loans decentralized energy generation 102–3, 106, 114, 155 decision making 67–8, 71, 158 ‘defensive consumption’ 37 democracy 31, 55, 91, 141, 158 demurrage 57 depression 4, 10, 11, 35, 38, 68, 75, 83 deregulation 8, 12, 22, 28 developing countries 11, 81, 136–8, 143 development 24, 27, 116, 138–43 development projects 82 Dickens, Charles 36 Diggers 18 Disney 141 Distributism 19–21, 29 District of Columbia School of Law 131 diversity 82, 90, 152 Earth, Apollo pictures of 101–2 EBCU (emissions-backed currency unit) 148 ecological debt 113–14 ecological footprints 31, 33, 34, 112 ecological issues 3–4, 12, 25 economic activity 25, 148 economic development 24, 27, 116, 138–43 economic growth see growth economic indicators, alternative 26 economic institutions 29, 82, 153, 154 economic processes 97–8, 99 economic system 2, 11, 21–2, 23, 29, 112, 138 and poverty 13–14, 18, 29, 81–2, 154 economics 10–12, 18, 19, 29, 72–3, 98 assumptions 10, 25, 28, 29, 69, 71, 72, 82, 85, 97, 99, 115 medieval 78–80, 80–1 post-autistic 9–10, 71–2 and psychology 67–8, 71, 72–3 as a science 15, 34–5, 98, 152 and sustainability 24 see also classical economics; conventional economics; new economics economy 12, 26, 84–5, 158 creating poverty 13–14, 18, 29, 81, 154 ecosystems 99, 112, 114 Edison, Thomas 58, 90, 147 education 13, 33, 35, 46, 113 efficiency 4, 13, 99, 100, 123, 126, 131–2 E.F.

When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence by Stephen D. King

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, congestion charging, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, endowment effect, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, loss aversion, market clearing, mass immigration, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, railway mania, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population

Between 2007 and 2012, 30 4099.indd 30 29/03/13 2:23 PM Taking Progress for Granted approaching 500 US banks had failed (including the aptly named Cape Fear Bank in Wilmington, North Carolina). That compared with only 24 failures in the previous six years.17 Capital markets ultimately are responsible for linking savers with investors. Yet the financial crisis revealed that the linkages were often tenuous – person A put her savings in pension fund B, which then purchased a bundle of pieces of paper known as collateralized debt obligations from bank C, which had assembled the bundle via investments in mortgage-­backed securities – some of dubious quality – issued by banks D, E and F, which, in turn, had used the money raised to lend to homebuyers G, H and I, one or more of whom had a dubious credit history and, hence, was ‘subprime’. Person A had no direct connection with the homebuyers – indeed, the saver was likely to be thousands of miles away from the ultimate borrower – but the indirect connection was there, nevertheless.

Based on our collective belief in continuously rising living standards, we have spent the last half-­century watching our financial wealth and our political and economic ‘rights’ accumulate at an incredible pace. We all, directly or indirectly, own pieces of paper or rely on political promises that make claims on future economic prosperity. The pieces of paper range from cash through to government bonds, from equities through to property deeds and from asset-­backed securities through to collateralized debt obligations. 34 4099.indd 34 29/03/13 2:23 PM Taking Progress for Granted The language deployed may vary from the very simple to the incredibly complicated but these pieces of paper all have one thing in common: they represent claims on assumed future economic success. They are all manifestations of the same act of faith: namely that the future will be better than the present and vastly superior to the past.

As property portfolios went belly up, some institutions found access to the interbank market – the market that, on a daily basis, allows banks to deal with liquidity shortfalls and excesses – increasingly difficult. And, as interbank rates rose, so equity investors sold even more 130 4099.indd 130 29/03/13 2:23 PM Loss of Trust, Loss of Growth shares, believing that those operating in the interbank market might have had ‘inside knowledge’ of the state of an individual bank’s solvency. Meanwhile, the underlying investors who now owned huge amounts of collateralized debt obligations and the like began to realize they were sitting on a pile of toxic waste: and without the appetite to buy more of the stuff, banks lost a key source of funding for lending. Credit creation came to a grinding halt and so, too, did Western economies. This was yet another example of an age-­old banking problem. No bank ever has sufficient funds immediately available to be able to return cash to all of its depositors at once.

Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, carried interest, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, David Brooks, desegregation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial innovation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, interest rate swap, laissez-faire capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, medical malpractice, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, obamacare, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Sergey Aleynikov, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

One has to do with the sales pitch of Tea Party rhetoric, which cleverly exploits Main Street frustrations over genuinely intrusive state and local governments that are constantly in the pockets of small businesses for fees and fines and permits. The other reason is obvious: the bubble economy is hard as hell to understand. To even have a chance at grasping how it works, you need to commit large chunks of time to learning about things like securitization, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, etc., stuff that’s fiendishly complicated and that if ingested too quickly can feature a truly toxic boredom factor. So long as this stuff is not widely understood by the public, the Grifter class is going to skate on almost anything it does—because the tendency of most voters, in particular conservative voters, is to assume that Wall Street makes its money engaging in normal capitalist business and that any attempt to restrain that sector of the economy is thinly disguised socialism.

Even as she spends every day publicly flubbing political SAT questions, she’s always dead-on when it comes to her basic message, which is that government is always the problem and there are no issues the country has that can’t be worked out with basic common sense (there’s a reason why many Tea Party groups are called “Common Sense Patriots” and rally behind “common sense campaigns”). Common sense sounds great, but if you’re too lazy to penetrate the mysteries of carbon dioxide—if you haven’t mastered the whole concept of breathing by the time you’re old enough to serve in the U.S. Congress—you’re not going to get the credit default swap, the synthetic collateralized debt obligation, the interest rate swap. And understanding these instruments and how they were used (or misused) is the difference between perceiving how Wall Street made its money in the last decades as normal capitalist business and seeing the truth of what it often was instead, which was simple fraud and crime. It’s not an accident that Bachmann emerged in the summer of 2010 (right as she was forming the House Tea Party Caucus) as one of the fiercest opponents of financial regulatory reform; her primary complaint with the deeply flawed reform bill sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank was that it would “end free checking accounts.”

Despite these legally questionable efforts of Rubin and Greenspan, Born did eventually release her paper on May 7 of that year, but to no avail; Greenspan et al. eventually succeeded not only in unseating Born from the CFTC the next year, but in passing a monstrosity called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which affirmatively deregulated the derivatives market. The new law, which Greenspan pushed aggressively, not only prevented the federal government from regulating instruments like collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, it even prevented the states from regulating them using gaming laws—which otherwise might easily have applied, since so many of these new financial wagers were indistinguishable from racetrack bets. The amazing thing about the CFMA was that it was passed immediately after the Long-Term Capital Management disaster, a potent and obvious example of the destructive potential inherent in an unregulated derivatives market.


pages: 345 words: 86,394

Frequently Asked Questions in Quantitative Finance by Paul Wilmott

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, fudge factor, implied volatility, incomplete markets, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, iterative process, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, martingale, Myron Scholes, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, transaction costs, urban planning, value at risk, volatility arbitrage, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Although B, G and M have their names associated with this idea many others worked on it simultaneously. 2000 Li As already mentioned, the 1990s saw an explosion in the number of credit instruments available, and also in the growth of derivatives with multiple underlyings. It’s not a great step to imagine contracts depending of the default of many underlyings. Examples of these are the ubiquitous Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs). But to price such complicated instruments requires a model for the interaction of many companies during the process of default. A probabilistic approach based on copulas was proposed by David Li (2000). The copula approach allows one to join together (hence the word ‘copula’) default models for individual companies in isolation to make a model for the probabilities of their joint default.

Constant Maturity Swap (CMS) is a fixed-income swap. In the vanilla swap the floating leg is a rate with the same maturity as the period between payments. However, in the CMS the floating leg is of longer maturity. This apparently trivial difference turns the swap from a simple instrument, one that can be valued in terms of bonds without resort to any model, into a model-dependent instrument. Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) is a pool of debt instruments securitized into one financial instrument. The pool may consist of hundreds of individual debt instruments. They are exposed to credit risk, as well as interest risk, of the underlying instruments. CDOs are issued in several tranches which divide up the pool of debt into instruments with varying degrees of exposure to credit risk. One can buy different tranches so as to gain exposure to different levels of loss.

The pricing of these contracts requires a model for the relationship between the defaults in each of the underlying instruments. A common approach is to use copulas. However, because of the potentially large number of parameters needed to represent the relationship between underlyings, the correlations, it is also common to make simplifying assumptions. Such simplifications might be to assume a single common random factor representing default, and a single parameter representing all correlations. Collateralized Debt Obligation Squared (CDO2) is a CDO-like contract in which the underlyings are other CDOs instead of being the simpler risky bonds. Collateralized Mortgage Obligation (CMO) is a pool of mortgages securitized into one financial instrument. As with CDOs there are different tranches allowing investors to participate in different parts of the cashflows. The cashflows in a mortgage are interest and principal, and the CMOs may participate in either or both of these depending on the structure.


pages: 265 words: 93,231

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

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Asperger Syndrome, asset-backed security, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, medical residency, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Robert Bork, short selling, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, too big to fail, value at risk, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

The deals with Goldman had gone down in a matter of months and required the efforts of just a few geeks on a Goldman bond trading desk and a Goldman salesman named Andrew Davilman, who, for his services, soon would be promoted to managing director. The Goldman traders had booked profits of somewhere between $1.5 billion and $3 billion--even by bond market standards, a breathtaking sum. In the process, Goldman Sachs created a security so opaque and complex that it would remain forever misunderstood by investors and rating agencies: the synthetic subprime mortgage bond-backed CDO, or collateralized debt obligation. Like the credit default swap, the CDO had been invented to redistribute the risk of corporate and government bond defaults and was now being rejiggered to disguise the risk of subprime mortgage loans. Its logic was exactly that of the original mortgage bonds. In a mortgage bond, you gathered thousands of loans and, assuming that it was extremely unlikely that they would all go bad together, created a tower of bonds, in which both risk and return diminished as you rose.

He'd draw a picture of several towers of debt. The first tower was the original subprime loans that had been piled together. At the top of this tower was the triple-A tranche, just below it the double-A tranche, and so on down to the riskiest, triple-B tranche--the bonds Eisman had bet against. The Wall Street firms had taken these triple-B tranches--the worst of the worst--to build yet another tower of bonds: a CDO. A collateralized debt obligation. The reason they'd done this is that the rating agencies, presented with the pile of bonds backed by dubious loans, would pronounce 80 percent of the bonds in it triple-A. These bonds could then be sold to investors--pension funds, insurance companies--which were allowed to invest only in highly rated securities. It came as news to Eisman that this ship of doom was piloted by Wing Chau and people like him.

In turn this suggested what Grant already knew, that far too many people were taking far too many financial statements on faith. In early 2007 Grant wrote a series of pieces suggesting that the rating agencies had abandoned their posts--that they were almost surely rating these CDOs without themselves knowing exactly what was inside them. "The readers of Grant's have seen for themselves how a stack of non-investment grade mortgage slices can be rearranged to form a collateral debt obligation," one piece began. "And they have stared in amazement at the improvements that this mysterious process can effect in the credit ratings of the slices..." For his troubles, Grant, along with his trusted assistant, was called into S&P for a dressing-down. "We were actually summoned to the rating agency and told, 'You guys just don't get it,'" says Gertner. "Jim used the term 'alchemy' and they didn't like that term."


pages: 354 words: 92,470

Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History by Stephen D. King

9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, air freight, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bilateral investment treaty, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, paradox of thrift, Peace of Westphalia, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Skype, South China Sea, special drawing rights, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

But Basel I was indifferent about the quality of lending within asset classes (prompting profit-maximizing banks to lend more in any one category to riskier customers, who would pay higher interest rate spreads) and it was overly dependent on the judgements of ratings agencies, which, on too many occasions, had no more understanding of the inherent riskiness of innovative financial assets – collateralized debt obligations, for example – than anybody else. The architects of Basel II, produced in 2004 but still not fully implemented as the global financial crisis got going, were more sceptical about the value that ratings agencies could add. Yet, remarkably, they preferred to rely on banks’ own internal risk models to gauge the riskiness of the activities banks were engaged in. Even without the inevitable conflict of interest this approach was still problematic: whether the models were internally constructed or independently generated, they were typically based on too limited a time period and thus said very little about the robustness of a particular institution in the event of, for example, a housing meltdown.

It stemmed from a combination of factors, each of which challenged what had become conventional thinking over the previous three decades. Markets themselves were failing, thanks in part to asymmetric information: the ultimate investors in US sub-prime mortgages were often blissfully unaware of the risks they were taking, largely because the underlying nature of their risky investments was typically camouflaged through the copious use of collateralized debt obligations and other innovative financial ‘disguises’.15 Incentives were badly skewed: those who made commission from selling risky products were typically able to pass the risk on to others – often thousands of miles away – using ‘pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap’ tactics. Excessive Chinese savings, a reflection of a poorly functioning domestic capital market, found their way into the US Treasury market, reducing the yield on treasuries and thus encouraging others to hunt for higher returns on – inevitably riskier – assets.

Recall from Chapter 4 that the ratio of foreign-held capital as a share of global income rose from little more than 5 per cent at the end of the Second World War to well over 200 per cent by the time of the global financial crisis, with much of the increase coming in the 1980s and beyond. In effect, there are now massive cross-border economic and financial claims made up of a vast number of pieces of paper and entries in electronic ledgers. Because these claims relate to capital markets, they essentially operate through time and space: when, for example, a German Landesbank buys a US collateralized debt obligation (CDO), it is essentially making a – legal – claim on future US economic output. The interest rate paid by the US issuer of the CDO to its proud owner will, in turn, reflect a combination of reward for consumption forgone, the perceived ‘riskiness’ of the underlying borrowers (to be precise, the danger that the borrowers will not be able to repay the principal in full), and the liquidity of the CDO (in other words, the ease with which it can be converted quickly into cash at little cost).


pages: 468 words: 145,998

On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry M. Paulson

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, break the buck, Bretton Woods, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Doha Development Round, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, housing crisis, income inequality, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, money market fund, moral hazard, Northern Rock, price discovery process, price mechanism, regulatory arbitrage, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, too big to fail, trade liberalization, young professional

Pension funds and other investors could buy securitized products tailored for the cash flow and risk characteristics they wanted. The distribution of the securities beyond U.S. banks to investors around the world acted as a buffer by spreading risks wider than the banking system. But there was a dark side. The market became opaque as structured products grew increasingly complex and difficult to understand even for sophisticated investors. Collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, were created to carve up mortgages and other debt instruments into increasingly exotic components, or tranches, with a wide variety of payment and risk characteristics. Before long, financial engineers were creating CDOs out of other CDOs—or CDOs-squared. Lacking the ability of traditional lenders to examine the credit quality of the loans underlying these securities, investors relied on rating agencies—which employed statistical analyses rather than detailed studies of individual borrowers—to rate the structured products.

It was the smallest of the big five investment banks, after Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers. And while Bear hadn’t posted the massive losses of some of its rivals, its huge exposure to bonds and mortgages made it vulnerable. Bear had found itself in increasingly difficult straits since the previous summer, when, in one of the first signs of the impending crisis, it had been forced to shut down two hedge funds heavily invested in collateralized debt obligations. For all that, I also knew Bear as a scrappy firm that liked to do things its own way: alone on Wall Street it had refused to help rescue Long-Term Capital Management in 1998. Bear’s people were survivors. They had always seemed to find a way out of trouble. For months, Steel and I had been pushing Bear, and many other investment banks and commercial banks, to raise capital and to improve their liquidity positions.

Jeff was following up on a phone call from the week before when, just after the takeovers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he’d mentioned that GE was having problems in the commercial paper market. His report had alarmed me then. That market had been in distress since the onset of the credit crisis in August 2007. The worst of that had involved the asset-backed commercial paper market, which supported all those off-balance-sheet special investment vehicles filled with toxic collateralized debt obligations that banks had cooked up. I’d never expected to hear those troubles spreading like this to the corporate world, and certainly not to GE. Commercial paper is essentially an IOU that is priced on the credit rating of the borrower and generally backstopped by a bank line of credit. It’s usually issued for short periods of time—90 days or less. And it’s often bought by money market funds looking for a safe place to get a higher rate of return than they would earn from short-term government bills.


pages: 374 words: 114,600

The Quants by Scott Patterson

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, automated trading system, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, index fund, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, merger arbitrage, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sergey Aleynikov, short selling, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, volatility smile, yield curve, éminence grise

But if a thousand subprime mortgages, each worth about $250,000, were pooled together and turned into a single security with a collective value of $250 million, the security could be divided into some number of shares. The potential loss caused by any one mortgage going into default would be offset by the fact that it represented only a tiny portion of the security’s total value. Parts of the securities, in many cases the lowest on the food chain, were often bundled into even more esoteric monstrosities known as collateralized debt obligations, which took into account the fact that some of the underlying mortgages were more likely than others to default. The more-likely-to-default bundles obviously carried greater risk, though along with that came its corollary, greater potential reward. Between 2004 and 2007, billions in subprime home loans were stuffed into these so-called CDOs. The CDOs were then sliced into tranches. There were high-quality slices, stamped AAA by rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, and there were poor-quality slices, some of which were so low in quality they didn’t even get a rating.

Often these investors never actually held the debt in the first place. Instead, they were gambling on the perception of whether a company would default or not. If all of this weren’t strange enough, things became truly surreal when the world of credit default swaps met the world of securitization. Brown had watched, with some horror, as banks started to bundle securitized loans into a product they called a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO. CDOs were similar to the CMOs (collateralized mortgage obligations) Brown had encountered in the 1980s. But they were more diverse and could be used to package any kind of debt, from mortgages to student loans to credit card debt. Some CDOs were made up of other pieces of CDOs, a Frankenstein-like beast known as CDO-squared. (Eventually there were even CDOs of CDOs of CDOs.)

His testimony provided little insight into the problems behind the meltdown, though it did offer a rare glimpse into Renaissance’s trading methods. “Renaissance is a somewhat atypical investment management firm,” he said. “Our approach is driven by my background as a mathematician. We manage funds whose trading is determined by mathematical formulas. … We operate only in highly liquid publicly traded securities, meaning we don’t trade in credit default swaps or collateralized debt obligations. Our trading models tend to be contrarian, buying stocks recently out of favor and selling those recently in favor.” For his part, Griffin sounded a note of defiance, fixing his unblinking blue eyes on the befuddled array of legislators. Hedge funds weren’t behind the meltdown, he said. Heavily regulated banks were. “We haven’t seen hedge funds as the focal point of the carnage in this financial tsunami,” said Griffin, clad in a dark blue jacket, black tie, and light blue shirt.


pages: 460 words: 122,556

The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, break the buck, Brownian motion, Carmen Reinhart, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, fixed income, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, Northern Rock, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, race to the bottom, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, Y2K

California Callan, Erin capitalism Carroll, David Cassano, Joseph Cayne, James (Jimmy) CDOs. See collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) Cerenzie, Michael Chase Manhattan China China Investment Corporation Chrysler Citigroup acquisitions by n bailouts of capital raised by CDOs and corporate loans of dissent at Timothy Geithner and Glass-Steagall act repeal and history of mortgage bond insurance of international portfolio of job losses at leadership change at leverage of losses mortgage bubble and New York Federal Reserve and nonregulated subsidiaries of Hank Paulson and risk at annual letters to shareholders of stock price of subprime mortgages and Wachovia and Clinton, Bill Clinton, Hillary CNBC Cohen, H. Rodgin Cohn, Gary collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) AIG and amount invested in Bear Stearns and bond ratings for Citigroup and demand for Federal Reserve and insurance for Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch and squared synthetic UBS and yields on commercial banks/banking ascendancy of concentration of financial crisis and mortgage bubble and regulation of risk management by commercial paper commercial properties commissions, real estate Commodity Futures Modernization Act Commodity Futures Trading Commission compensation at AIG Congress and for failed executives Federal Reserve and at Goldman Sachs at Merrill Lynch public opinion on confidence Congress, U.S.

See credit/credit market; finance/financial markets; housing market; stock market Maughan, Deryck Mayo, Michael MBIA MDC Holdings Meltzer, Allan Merkel, Angela Merrill Lynch Bank of America’s negotiations with and acquisition of Bear Stearns and Ben Bernanke and board of capital raised by CDOs and change of leadership at come-to-Jesus moment for compensation at concern over Jamie Dimon and efforts to sell failure to pull back from mortgage-backed securities First Franklin acquired by Goldman Sachs and job losses at JPMorgan Chase and leverage of losses Morgan Stanley and mortgage bubble and Hank Paulson and stock price of Stuyvesant Town sale and Wachovia and Miller, Harvey Minsky, Hyman Mitsubishi UFJ money market crisis Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner and Lehman’s bankruptcy and Hank Paulson and Money Store Montag, Peter Moody, John Moody’s AIG and Lehman Brothers and moral hazard Morgan Stanley AIG and as bank holding company capital sought by credit default swaps and Timothy Geithner and government efforts to arrange a merger for hedge funds and history of insurance (credit default swap) premiums of job losses at JPMorgan Chase and leverage Merrill Lynch and Mitsubishi and panic and Hank Paulson and rumors about short selling against stock price of John Thain and Wachovia and mortgage-backed securities BBB rated Bear Stearns and checks on capital level for collapse of market for collateralized debt obligations. See collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) cooling of market for credit rating agencies and example of fall in prices of foreign-held Goldman Sachs and growth of insurance claims on Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch and mortgage bubble and payment waterfall prime risk taking and subprime mortgages and swimming pool metaphor for total amount floated in mortgage banking, as race to the bottom mortgage bubble banking regulators and banks’ late stage desperation in bursting of Citigroup and credit and developing disaster, evidence of Federal Reserve’s role in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and mass hallucination in Merrill Lynch and mortgage securitization and reasons for ripple effect of Wall Street and Washington Mutual and mortgage lenders.

If an investment bank assembled a package that, in its totality, was too risky, the investors would balk, and the bank would be stuck holding the BBB paper itself. This the bank did not want. Therefore, the presence of discriminating investors served as a check on the entire process. In the early 2000s, this delicate equilibrium was upset by a new, less-discriminating class of investor. These investors were collateralized debt obligations. CDOs were dummy corporations—legal fictions organized for the purpose of buying and selling bonds. Engineered by Wall Street banks and similar operators, the CDO introduced a second level of securitization. Instead of buying mortgages directly, the CDO was a security that invested in other, first-order securities that themselves had acquired mortgages. The CDO thus introduced an additional layer into the process, with the result that the ultimate investor was further removed, and less equipped to scrutinize, the quality of the underlying mortgages.


pages: 261 words: 64,977

Pity the Billionaire: The Unexpected Resurgence of the American Right by Thomas Frank

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, big-box store, bonus culture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, financial innovation, housing crisis, invisible hand, money market fund, Naomi Klein, obamacare, payday loans, profit maximization, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, union organizing, Washington Consensus, white flight, Works Progress Administration

We didn’t manufacture much anymore, but we could sure dream up awesome ways to securitize debt and slice up the risk in every imaginable situation. One testament to the zesty innovativeness of markets was the industry that had sprung up to supply credit to “subprime” borrowers, selling off the loans thus made to the investment banking industry on Wall Street. Then there were the geniuses at the next few steps of the process, who bundled those subprime mortgages into bonds and those bonds into collateralized debt obligations—and then sold credit default swaps to insure against the possibility of their failure.2 The gospel of deregulation, meanwhile, had become such an irresistible ideological juggernaut that no amount of real-world failure could call it into question. Under the guidance of this doctrine, our leaders removed certain derivatives from regulatory oversight; they watered down requirements that banks balance their risk with safe assets; they exempted credit default swaps from regulation as insurance products; they dialed back the Federal Reserve’s regulatory powers; and they struck down a rule that required hedge-fund advisers to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

They wouldn’t encourage it through artificially low interest rates, Fannie and Freddie, tax breaks, or a “Community Reinvestment Act,” but they wouldn’t discourage it either.* Rates would be set by market participants, based on risk, reward, and a clear understanding that making bad loans would result in bankruptcy.† Do you see how awesome that would be, reader? Without regulation, everyone would live in harmony with nature and the intent of the Founders, and nothing like collateralized debt obligations would ever be invented. Bubbles would never happen. Bankers would never build systems that rewarded them for making bad loans—their rational self-interest wouldn’t let them! To get back to Beck: But we’ve done the complete opposite of that. The housing market is manipulated by the government every step of the way. So while some may argue that we need more regulation to prevent those future “excesses,” I would argue that it’s the existing regulations that created those excesses in the first place.

See also free market Atlas Shrugged and crisis of 2008–9 and Depression and Right’s defense of utopian Capitalism (Beck) Capra, Frank Carender, Keli Carnegie, Dale Cato Institute Cheney, Dick Chicago, University of Chicago Board of Trade children’s literature Chile Chomsky, Noam Chrysler Churchill, Winston CIA Citibank Cleaver, Emanuel Clinton, Bill Clinton, Hillary Cloward, Richard CNBC coal miners Code Red rally Codevilla, Angelo collateralized debt obligations colleges and universities Commodity Futures Modernization Act communism Community Reinvestment Act (1977) compromise Conservative Action Project ConservativeHQ (website) Conservative Political Action Conference conservatives. See Right-wing revival construction industry consumer advocates Consumer Product Safety Commission Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (2008) Continetti, Matthew Contract from America (2009–10) Contract with America (1994) Coolidge, Calvin Coughlin, Father Charles Council of Economic Advisers Cowley, Malcolm CPAC credit-card rules credit default swaps Crimes Against Liberty (Limbaugh) Crist, Don cronyism Culture of Corruption (Malkin) culture wars Daily Worker Daley, Bill Daschle, Tom “death panels” debt-ceiling debate debt securitization Declaration of Independence Dedication and Leadership (Hyde) deficit spending DeLay, Tom DeMint, Jim democracy Democratic Party bailouts and banks and Beck vs.


pages: 192 words: 75,440

Getting a Job in Hedge Funds: An Inside Look at How Funds Hire by Adam Zoia, Aaron Finkel

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backtesting, barriers to entry, collateralized debt obligation, commodity trading advisor, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, discounted cash flows, family office, fixed income, high net worth, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Long Term Capital Management, merger arbitrage, offshore financial centre, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, rolodex, short selling, side project, statistical arbitrage, systematic trading, unpaid internship, value at risk, yield curve, yield management

These funds may also utilize derivatives to leverage returns and to hedge out interest rate and/or market risk. Because they invest in special situations, the performance of these funds is typically not dependent on the direction of the public stock market. Note: This is primarily an equity-based style. Fixed Income Strategies There are many different fixed income funds that invest in various types of debt instruments, including mortgage-backed securities (MBS), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), convertible bonds, high-yield bonds, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and different types of global securities. There are diversified funds that may invest in a combination of these securities and also arbitrage funds that seek to profit by exploiting pricing inefficiencies between related fixed income securities while neutralizing exposure to interest rate risk.

c08.indd 100 1/10/08 11:09:05 AM Operations 101 Although pedigree is not as important, funds will pay close attention to undergraduate and graduate school GPAs and SAT scores and want to see excellence in both areas. In addition to academics, hedge funds look for specific product knowledge and will pay up for experience in the more sophisticated products such as derivatives, credit default swaps (CDS), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). As with other hedge fund roles, it’s good to know the different hedge fund investment strategies. Hedge funds can be extremely picky when hiring, so whatever you can do to differentiate yourself and show you have additional skills will be helpful. We strongly suggest being very well versed in industry-specific systems. For example, if you are working in trade support or accounting you should get to know Advent/Axys, and if you are working with equities you will want to be proficient in trade support systems such as Eze Castle.

Just when I began the firm was creating an alternative investment group, and, luckily for me, I was placed into it. Right off the bat I got exposure to hedge funds. In fact, my first onsite audit was with a fund that specialized in mortgage-backed securities. Even though I worked like a dog and didn’t have much of a life, I gained a working knowledge of products, including mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), swaps, repurchase agreements, equities, and bonds. The job also opened my eyes to other opportunities and made me want to work doing investment banking or sales and trading. I wasn’t a big fan of the huge corporate atmosphere of the Big Four firms (they work you to the bone without the bonuses of investment banks), and after a couple of years I began to look at other opportunities.


pages: 206 words: 70,924

The Rise of the Quants: Marschak, Sharpe, Black, Scholes and Merton by Colin Read

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Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of penicillin, discrete time, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, Henri Poincaré, implied volatility, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market clearing, martingale, means of production, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, naked short selling, Paul Samuelson, price stability, principal–agent problem, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, stochastic process, The Chicago School, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Works Progress Administration, yield curve

Finance has not, and cannot, create Conclusions 181 a crystal ball to foresee the future. The world is uncertain because we never know how markets, economies, resources, or institutions will be abused or used in ways that could not have been broadly anticipated. The failure of Long Term Capital Management in 1999 and the credit crisis of 2008 brought about by a freezing-up of the derivatives market in credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations demonstrates that, while risk can be hedged, it can never be reduced to zero. Notes 1 Introduction 1. John Maynard Keynes, “The General Theory of Employment,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 51 (1937), 209–23, at p. 214. 3 The Early Years 1. www.newschool.edu/nssr/het/profiles/neisser.htm, date accessed January 23, 2012. 2. A. Cowles, “Can Stock Market Forecasters Forecast?” Econometrica, 1 (1933), 309–24. 5 The Theory 1.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) – a commodity exchange established in 1848 that permitted the trading of financial and commodity contracts. Chicago School – a philosophy of economic and financial thought based on the premise that unfettered markets are the most efficient. Classical model – a microeconomic-based approach to economic decisionmaking that assumes that all actors are rational and maximize their selfinterest, and is driven by the principle that prices adjust to ensure supply is equal to demand. Collateralized debt obligations – investment-grade securities backed by a package of loans, mortgages, bonds, or other debt obligations. 188 Glossary 189 Consumption CAPM – an extension of the CAPM that includes future consumption preferences. Corporate finance – the study of financial decisions made by corporations to maximize shareholder value. Correlation – the statistical relationship between two variables, typically measured by demonstrating that the movement of one variable is associated with movement of the other.

Index Alpha, 67, 73, 110, 121 American options, 100, 101, 116, 123 Arrow, Kenneth, 23 Arrow-Pratt measure of risk aversion, 29 Beta, 66, 67, 69, 72, 73, 110, 111, 112, 121, 152 Binomial model, 122 Black-Scholes equation, 96, 97, 113, 117, 121, 122, 124, 125, 128, 150, 153, 158, 159, 160, 161, 163, 179, 180 Bond, 5, 33, 59, 96, 106, 121, 126, 140, 142, 154, 159, 160, 168, 169, 170, 185 Brownian motion, 32, 105, 113, 120, 155 Calculus of variations, 143 Call, 98, 99, 100, 101, 104, 106, 107, 108, 112, 114, 115, 116, 122, 123, 136, 151, 153, 160, 165, 166, 167, 185, 186 Capital allocation line, 63, 64, 67 Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), 4, 41, 48, 49, 51–3, 57, 60, 61, 65–81, 87, 88, 89, 93, 94, 96, 106, 109–12, 118, 121, 124, 141, 150, 152, 158, 177, 179, 180 Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), 100, 101, 102, 117, 118, 119, 120, 122, 125, 129, 158, 159 Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), 100, 101, 109, 119, 156 Chicago School, 86, 120, 152, 153 Classical model, 17 Collateralized debt obligation, 181 Consumption, 23 Consumption CAPM, 72 Corporate finance, 32, 76, 81, 106, 127, 143, 144 Correlation, 23, 34, 36, 59, 62, 67, 73, 155 Coupon rate c, 168 Covariance, 23, 32, 34, 58, 59, 60, 62, 65, 66, 74, 93 Cowles Commission, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 36, 55, 61, 69, 105, 141 Credit default swaps, 5, 129, 130, 160, 161, 181, 185 Debreu, Gerard, 23 Delta, 123, 124 Derivative, 5, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 81, 101, 106, 109, 121, 125, 128, 129, 130, 131, 142, 155, 159, 160, 162, 169, 173, 174, 175, 179, 181, 184 Differential equation, 111, 112, 113, 115, 121, 125, 127, 139, 142, 143, 148, 149, 152, 153, 154, 155, 157, 158, 179 Discount rate, 53, 58, 93, 106, 108, 111, 113 Diversification, 23, 32, 59, 66, 67, 76 Dynamic, 5, 14, 67, 68, 71, 114, 124, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 179 Econometric, 14, 19, 36, 39, 61, 78, 79, 141, 144, 150, 173 Efficient market hypothesis, 13, 32, 70, 72, 73, 94, 95, 111, 124 Elliptical distribution of return, 69 Equilibrium, 2, 13, 14, 17, 18, 23, 24, 36, 38, 56, 57, 61, 74, 77, 89, 119, 147, 150, 175, 183, 184 European option, 100, 101, 115, 116, 122 Face value F, 96 First moment, 23, 26, 70, 112, 177 Irving, 1 Friedman, Milton, 1 Full information, 14, 71 Fundamentals analysis, 33, 58, 158 193 194 Index Gamma, 124 Hicks, John, 21, 22 Homogenity, 65 Infinite time horizon, 25 Interest rate, 1, 58, 59, 96, 106, 110, 114, 115, 116, 126, 152, 153, 154, 168, 185 Intertemporal CAPM, 71 Intertemporal choice, 1, 69, 71, 75, 124, 125, 143, 150, 184, 186 Keynes, John Maynard, 1 Kurtosis, 121 Life cycle, 1, 76, 125, 143, 144, 149, 150 Life Cycle Model, 1, 125, 144, 150 Markov process, 116, 120, 126 Markowitz, Harry, 23, 63 Markowitz bullet, 63 Marschak, Jacob, 22, 23, 24 Martingale, 105, 120, 121, 185 Mean, 4, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 41, 43, 48, 58, 59, 60, 63, 66, 69, 70, 72, 104, 118, 121, 126, 154, 155, 177, 179, 184 MIT School, 141, 142 Modern Portfolio Theory, 2, 3, 4, 19, 23, 24, 34, 41, 43, 44, 46, 48, 56, 57, 61, 64, 68, 69, 72, 73, 74, 76, 89, 95, 125, 177 Modigliani, Franco, 1 Monte Carlo simulation, 122 Mortgage-backed securities, 5 Naked short, 129 Normal distribution of return, 116, 161 Options pricing theory, 5, 32, 68, 71, 72, 77, 109, 111, 113, 115, 116, 120, 124, 180 Ordinal theory, 22 Ordinary least squares, 70 Perfect market, 71, 154 Personal finance, 76, 146, 175, 179 Price/earnings ratio, 58 Put, 100, 122, 123 Quadratic utility function, 26, 70 Ramsey, Frank Plumpton, 1, 24 Random walk, 13, 32, 103, 104, 105, 113, 161 Rational, 21, 23, 37, 38, 58, 66, 70, 151, 156 Regression, 67, 70, 75 Representative agent, 65, 73, 74, 111, 142, 143 Return, 2, 4, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66–7, 68, 70, 79, 88, 92, 93, 104, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 118, 121, 122 Rho, 124 Risk aversion, 29, 31, 61, 107, 117 Risk-free asset, 2, 59, 62, 63, 65, 70, 73 Risk-free rate of return, 66, 67, 111, 112, 113, 114, 124, 153 Risk–reward trade-off, 46, 87 Savage, Leonard Jimmie, 23 Second moment, 4, 23, 26, 27, 28, 34, 43, 59, 69, 70, 105, 112, 177 Securities market line, 2, 140, 156 Security, 32–33, 35, 43–4, 57–8, 66–7, 96 St Petersburg Paradox, 20, 102 Static, 1, 5, 13, 68, 71, 143, 149, 152, 153, 179 Steinhaus, Hugo, 102 Stochastic calculus, 105, 120, 143, 157 Stochastic process, 126 Subjective probability, 24 Systematic risk, 2, 67, 70 Taylor’s series, 25, 27, 28 Theta, 124 Transactions cost, 66, 71, 75, 100, 101, 110 Uncertainties, 2, 20, 36, 53, 101 Uncertainty, 1, 2, 4, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 35, 36, Index 195 37, 38, 43, 47, 61, 68, 69, 79, 98, 137, 151, 157 Unsystematic risk, 2, 67 Variance, 4, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 41, 43, 48, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 72, 93, 104, 111, 112, 121, 154, 177, 179, 184 Vega, 99, 124, 184 Volatility, 30, 32, 33, 59, 96, 113, 122, 123, 124, 126, 158, 160 Von Neumann, John, 22, 23 Warrant, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 107, 109, 111, 112, 118, 140, 142, 143, 149, 151, 156, 162, 185, 186 Weiner process, 104, 105, 154


pages: 270 words: 73,485

Hubris: Why Economists Failed to Predict the Crisis and How to Avoid the Next One by Meghnad Desai

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3D printing, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gunnar Myrdal, Home mortgage interest deduction, imperial preference, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, Paul Samuelson, price stability, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, too big to fail, women in the workforce

Alan Greenspan, as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, had presided over the financial revolution, globalization and the long boom. He believed in free markets and had accepted the theories emanating from the Chicago School of economics. Once the boom collapsed, he recanted. In his testimony to a committee of the US House of Representatives, he explained what happened. The exposition is illuminating: It was the failure to properly price such risky assets [mortgage backed securities and collateral debt obligations] that precipitated the crisis. In recent decades, a vast risk management and pricing system has evolved, combining the best insights of mathematicians and finance experts, supported by major advances in computer and communications technology. A Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery of the pricing model that underpins much of the advance in derivative markets. This modern risk management paradigm held sway for decades.

There were more forex, bonds and equity markets now for the investors to put their money into. The market economy was globalized in other ways as well. The WTO was established, capital flows to developing economies accelerated and many governments began to borrow on global financial markets. Activities on the financial front exploded as many new stock markets opened up and many new instruments were innovated: credit default swaps (CDS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDO) being lately the most notorious. Much of this was the consequence of the pioneering work of Black and Scholes on options. Hedge funds and many other institutions of what became known as the shadow banking structure also proliferated. Transactions on the forex markets reached a level of trillions of dollars. (The collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, which invested in foreign bonds, was one example of the collateral damage caused by the implosion in global financial markets.)

(i) Butskellism (i) buying on margin (i) Cambridge University, Marshall’s influence (i) capital attracting (i) free movement (i) valuation (i) capital flows, growth of (i) capital markets, liberalization (i) capital migration (i), (ii) capital movement (i) benefits of (i) lifting of restrictions (i) and profit (i) restricted (i) capital–output ratio (i) capitalism as dynamic disequilibrium (i), (ii) Marx/Engels (i) Marxian view (i) Schumpeter’s model (i) capitalists (i), (ii) Carlyle, Thomas (i) cartels (i) Cassel, Gustav (i) Central Bank of Thailand (i) central banks (i), (ii), (iii) century of inflation (i) Chamberlain, Neville (i), (ii) chance events (i) checks, use of (i) Chicago School, research program (i) China (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) citizens, as rational agents (i) Civil War (i) Clark, J. M. (i) Clayton Act (i) Clinton Administration (i) closed economy (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) Cobb, Charles (i) Cobb-Douglas Production Function (i), (ii) coincidence, vs.causation (i) Cold War (i) collateralized debt obligations (CDO) (i) colonization (i) Combinations (trade unions), as harmful (i) Committee on the Bank of England Charter (i) commodity markets price rises (i) regulation (i) Common Market (i) communications, advances in (i), (ii) companies, collapse of (i) comparative advantage (i) compatibility microeconomics/macroeconomics (i), (ii), (iii) unique static equilibrium/moving data (i) competition and efficiency (i) imperfect (i) theory of (Marshall) (i) computer technology development of (i), (ii); see also technological innovations stock markets (i) confidence, rise and fall (i) conflicting interests (i), (ii) Connally, John (i) consols (i) consumer credit (i) consumption function (i), (ii) contagion (i), (ii) control of money supply (i) convertibility (i) cooperation (i) correlation/coincidence, vs. causation (i) corruption (i) Countrywide Financial (i) Cournot, Antoine Augustin (i) Cowles, Alfred (i) Cowles Foundation (i) creative destruction (i) credit business dependence (i) cheap (i) as driver of investment (i) credit cards (i) credit default swaps (CDS) (i) crises beginnings of (i) developing countries (i) Juglar’s theory (i) Mexican (i) proliferation (i) as recurrent (i), (ii) as regular occurrences (i) ten year pattern (i) unpredictability (i) crisis of 1825 (i) crisis of profitability (i) Crosland, Anthony (i) The Future of Socialism (i) currency, convertibility (i) depreciation (i) pegging (i), (ii) cycles (i) banking system as root (i) combinations of (i) Goodwin (i), (ii) Juglar’s study (i) Keynes on (i) long (i) loss of interest in (i) Marx’s theories (i), (ii) measuring (i) origins (i) random events (i) reproduction by Keynesian models (i) rocking horse analogy (i) short (i) Wicksell’s theory (i) see also Frisch; Kondratieff cycles debit cards (i) Debreu, Gerard (i), (ii) debt crises (i) easy availability (i) levels (i) see also government debt debt-fueled boom (i) debts brokers (i) farmers’ (i) post-World War II (i) purchase of (i) decisions, patterns (i) deficits, endemic (i) deflation (i) deindustrialization (i), (ii) Deism (i) demand, factors in (i) demographics (i) demutualization (i) depreciation (i) advocacy of (i) Ricardo’s theory (i) value of goods (i) deregulation, banking (i) derivatives (i), (ii) Deserted Village, The (Oliver Goldsmith) (i) deutschmark (i) developing countries, Wicksellian boom (i) disequilibrium dynamic (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) stock (i) system, capitalism as (i) tradition (i) displacement effect, technological innovations (i) division of knowledge (i) division of labor (i), (ii) dollar purchasing power (i) as reserve currency (i), (ii) dollar exchange standard (i), (ii) dot.com boom (i) double deficits (i) Douglas, Paul (i), (ii) Dow Jones (i) Duménil, Gerard (i) durable goods (i) Dutch Disease (i) dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models (i), (ii) econometric modeling (i), (ii) Econometric Society (i), (ii) econometrics (i), (ii) economic activity, shift (i) economic analysis, applicability (i) economic cycles (i) Marx/Engels (i) see also Kondratieff cycles economic data, proliferation (i) economic growth, problems of (i) economic policy, activism (i) economic sectors, conflicting interests (i), (ii) economic slump, post-World War I (i) economic stagnation (i) economic theory (i) and individual lives (i) economic trajectories (i) economic vocabulary (i), (ii), (iii) economics background to (i) celebrated (i) changing scope of (i) as dismal science (i) professionalization (i) teaching of (i) “Economics and Knowledge” (Hayek) (i) economies, interconnections (i) economies of scale (i) economists, research methods (i) economy changing nature of (i) equilibrium/disequilibrium (i) visions of (i) efficiency, use of term (i) efficient market hypothesis (EMH) (i), (ii), (iii) Eisenhower, Dwight D.


pages: 726 words: 172,988

The Bankers' New Clothes: What's Wrong With Banking and What to Do About It by Anat Admati, Martin Hellwig

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, break the buck, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centralized clearinghouse, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, George Akerlof, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Rogoff, Larry Wall, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, open economy, peer-to-peer lending, regulatory arbitrage, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, The Market for Lemons, the payments system, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, Yogi Berra

We use the term mortgage-related securities for a broad class of securities containing not only mortgage-backed securities (MBS) but also securities resulting from the securitization of MBS. MBS themselves might serve as collateral for collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) (see, for example, Das 2010, Chapter 9). The idea and the procedure are the same as those for the creation of a mortgage-backed security out of a package of mortgages except that the collateral consists of MBS or more general asset-backed securities (ABS) rather than mortgages. The resulting MBS CDOs or, more generally, ABS CDOs—collateralized debt obligations with MBS or ABS as collateral—might even be securitized further to create ABS CDOs2, CDOs whose collateral consists of ABS CDOs. For the loss estimates, see IMF (2008b). The estimated total losses of financial institutions from the financial crisis in this report are higher than just the losses on subprime-mortgage-related securities ($1.4 trillion), but this larger estimate already includes significant follow-on losses. 3.

At each stage, a package of junior (“mezzanine”) claims, with low credit ratings of BBB or worse, would be formed, and new claims, with different priorities, would be issued against the returns from this package. Under the assumption that credit risks on the different securities in a package of mezzanine mortgage-backed securities (MBS) were independent, the senior MBS collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) would be treated as almost riskless and given ratings of AAA. However, the assumption of independence of credit risks was unwarranted because all of the underlying mortgages depended on the factors driving U.S. real estate markets, such as the overall economy, the interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve, and the real estate bubble itself. McLean and Nocera (2010, 362) sarcastically ask: “Collateralized debt obligation? Synthetic securities? What had been the point of that?” The point was that banks responded to flawed regulations in their own interest; their actions had little to do with efficiency. 72.

See payouts cash reserve (reserve requirements): in balance sheets, 48; capital confused with, 6–7, 97–98, 234n23, 274n61, 275n2; versus capital requirements, costs and benefits of, 98; central banks funded by issuing, 272n41; costs of, to banks, 92; definition of, 6, 92, 97; interest on, 92, 271n41; international differences in, 272n41; liquidity coverage ratio and, 92; minimum requirements for, 272n41 CBO. See Congressional Budget Office CDOs. See collateralized debt obligations CDSs. See credit default swaps Cecchetti, Stephen G., 257n17 Center for Responsive Politics, 229n4, 326n60 central banks: banknotes issued by, 150, 151, 294n15; collateral accepted by, 157, 297n36, 297n39; as funding source for governments, 157–58, 200; implicit subsidies provided by, through bank borrowing, 137–38; and inflation, 157–58; interest rates paid by, 200, 297n37; as “lenders of last resort,” 63, 93, 297n35, 318n2; limitations on activities of, 157–58, 297n39, 318n2; liquidity injections by, 39–40, 63, 179, 256n13; in monetary policy, 298n39; money of, 151, 295n16; and public budget, 157; reserve requirements in funding of, 272n41; response to financial crisis of 2007-2009, 63, 137, 256n13; and sovereign debt, ban on funding, 298n39; and sovereign debt, European, 170, 302n4.


pages: 840 words: 202,245

Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present by Jeff Madrick

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Bretton Woods, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial deregulation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, inventory management, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, technology bubble, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, union organizing, V2 rocket, value at risk, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

B1. 43 FEW ACCEPTED THE CLAIM: Congressional Oversight Committee, December Oversight Report, Taking Stock: What Has TARP Achieved?, December 9, 2009, http://cop.senate.gov/documents/cop-120909-report.pdf, p. 14. 44 THAT YEAR, THE CDOS PRODUCED: “Collateralized Debt Obligations Face Funding Woes,” New York Times, July 24, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/business/ worldbusiness/24iht-mortgage.1.6798554.html. 45 IN A YEAR WHEN: Among other sources, Lowenstein, The End of Wall Street, p. 75. 46 IN 2006, THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED: Louise Story, “On Wall Street, Bonuses, Not Profits, Were Real,” New York Times, December 17, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/business/18pay.html. 47 BY 2006, THROUGH AGGRESSIVE BORROWING: Tett, Fool’s Gold, pp. 133–36; “Collateralized Debt Obligations Face Funding Woes.” 48 AS THE MARKETS WEAKENED: Louise Story, “On Wall Street,” New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/business/18pay.html. 49 WITH WEILL GONE: Gasparino, The Sellout, p. 146. 50 LEVERAGE RATIOS SHOT UP: McDonald and Robinson, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, p. 287. 51 IN NOVEMBER, HE WAS FORCED OUT: Lowenstein, The End of Wall Street, p. 110. 52 EARLY IN 2008: Tett, Fools’ Gold, p. 210. 53 RESIDENTIAL FORECLOSURES WERE DOUBLING: RealtyTrac, Foreclosure Activity Increases 12 Percent in August (September 12, 2008, www.realtytrac.com/contentmanagement/pressrelease.aspx?

But LTCM’s lenders were mostly caught unaware because the hedge funds were not required to make their loan positions known. In 1999, when arguing against the proposal of the head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to regulate financial derivatives, Greenspan claimed that unrestricted derivatives trading would stabilize finance, not disrupt it. He had no idea how dangerous the new mortgage-based collateralized debt obligations were, as we shall see, the principal source of overly risky investment in the 2000s. It never occurred to him that investment banks were now creating loans just like the commercial banks he oversaw, but this shadow banking system was not regulated by the one agency designed to make sure U.S. credit was strong, his own. Writing a letter in support of Keating, apart from the outrageous irresponsibility and suspiciously easy payday, was simply an ideological reflex of his at work.

Greenspan, based on his firm market principles, approved strongly of securitization and most derivative products as a way to spread risk—a view traditional market economists like Summers shared. But even when crisis struck in 2008, it was clear the Federal Reserve economists in Washington and New York did not understand how excessive and risky the borrowing now was. In particular, the relatively new collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), a way of packaging risky mortgages for investors willing to make only low-risk investments, was not understood or even investigated. Greenspan’s ultimately naive and dangerous faith in competitive markets showed itself nowhere as damagingly as in the Fed’s failure to be vigilant about the CDOs. Not only did his interest rate increases fail to dampen the financing, but they encouraged Wall Street to take more risks and mortgage brokers to write more bad loans because their profit margins had narrowed.


pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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Alvin Roth, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Mortgage Securitization The next step in the mortgage lending process, as we have seen, is that the mortgage originators sell their individual mortgages to a mortgage securitizer so that they can be bundled into a form that will allow them to be placed in investor portfolios. At this point there has often been another step in the process. The RMBSs will in turn be placed into a trust to allow a set of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) to be issued based on the mortgage pool. The CDOs are divided up into pieces known as tranches, according to the perceived repayment ability of the holders of the underlying mortgages; in case of default on some of those mortgages, the senior tranche is paid rst, followed by the second tranche, the third tranche, and so on. The various tranches, with their di erent levels of risk and accordingly varying pricing, are designed to appeal to di erent kinds of investors.

See also financial capitalism Caplin, Andrew, 56 careers: as calling, 141–42; in finance, xiv, 11, 141–42, 159, 225; livelihood insurance, 67; personalities associated with, 135, 141; philanthropic motives, 125; skills needed, 10–11 Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, 66 Carnegie, Andrew, 125–26, 164, 199 Carter, Franklin, 105 casinos, 160–61, 168. See also gambling caste systems, 232–33 Castor, Belmiro V. J., 83 Castro, Fidel, 190 Castro, Raúl, 190 catastrophe stories, 180 CDOs. See collateralized debt obligations celebrities, 188 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), 169–70 central banks: economic forecasting errors, 113–14; future of, 118; monetary policy, 112–13, 117–18; roles, 112–13, 114. See also Bank of England; Federal Reserve centrally planned economies, 3, 181–83, 210–11 Central Provident Fund, Singapore, 214 CEOs. See chief executive officers Cha, Laura, 98–99 charitable contributions.

See nonprofit organizations; philanthropy Cheung, Meaghan, 96, 98 Chevalier, Judith, 31 Chicago Board Options Exchange, 79 Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), 62 chief executive officers (CEOs): accountants and, 101; charismatic, 25; founding, 20; reward systems, 20–26; risks taken, 23; roles and responsibilities, 19, 20, 100, 101, 133; succession, 19–20 chief financial officers, 100, 101 Chile, unidad de fomento, 147 China: Communist Party, 5; credit card debt, 154; economic policies, 3; elites, 233; Great Leap Forward, 182; home-ownership, 213; illegal emigration, 174; lawyers, 83; mortgages, 213; savings rates, 153–54; wealthy, 126 China Securities Regulatory Commission, 98–99 CHMC. See Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation Christie’s, 136–37 Chubais, Anatoly, 3 Čihák, Martin, 114 class differences. See inequality; wealth climate exchanges, 70–71 CME. See Chicago Mercantile Exchange CME Group, 61 cognitive dissonance, 159, 162–63, 181, 191 Cohen, Jon, 59 collateral, 239 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 52, 54 commodity forward contracts, 75 commodity futures, 4, 61, 75, 246n6 (Chapter 9) Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 60 communication, complex, 10, 11, 231 communism, 4–5, 9, 25–26, 129, 181–83, 210–11 communities: effects of war, 183; imagined, 198, 228; national, 197–98; philanthropy and, 197–98, 205 community development financial institutions, 51 compensation. See executive compensation; rewards competition law, 217 Conant, Charles A., 168–69, 177 concentration limits, 217, 254n17 conflict management: by animals, 227; finance and, 228–29, 238, 239 Congress.


pages: 372 words: 107,587

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg

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3D printing, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, liberal capitalism, mega-rich, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, naked short selling, Naomi Klein, Negawatt, new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, price stability, private military company, quantitative easing, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, short selling, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade liberalization, tulip mania, working poor, zero-sum game

In the manic days of 2002 to 2006, millions of Americans came to rely on soaring real estate values as a source of income, turning their houses into ATMs (to use once more the phrase heard so often then). As long as prices kept going up, homeowners felt justified in borrowing to remodel a kitchen or bathroom, and banks felt fine making those loans. Meanwhile, the wizards of Wall Street were finding ways of slicing and dicing sub-prime mortgages into tasty collateralized debt obligations that could be sold at a premium to investors — with little or no risk! After all, real estate values were destined to just keep going up. God’s not making any more land, went the truism. Credit and debt expanded in the euphoria of easy money. All this giddy optimism led to a growth of jobs in construction and real estate industries, masking underlying ongoing job losses in manufacturing.

Nearly everyone agrees that it unfolded in essentially the following steps: • In an attempt to limit the consequences of the “dot-com” crash of 2000, the Federal Reserve drastically lowered interest rates, enabling lenders across the country to provide easy credit to households and businesses who hadn’t been able to access it before. • This led to a housing bubble, which was made much worse by sub-prime lending. • Partly because of the prior deregulation of the financial industry, the housing bubble was also magnified by over-leveraging within the financial services industry, which was in turn exacerbated by financial innovation and complexity (including the use of derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, and a dizzying variety of related investment instruments) — all feeding the boom of a shadow banking system, whose potential problems were hidden by incorrect pricing of risk by ratings agencies. • A commodities boom (which drove up gasoline and food prices) and temporarily rising interest rates (especially on adjustable-rate mortgages) ultimately undermined consumer spending and confidence, helping to burst the housing bubble — which, once it started to deflate, set in motion a chain reaction of defaults and bankruptcies.

Decades earlier, bond credit ratings agencies had been paid for their work by investors who wanted impartial information on the credit worthiness of securities issuers and their offerings. Starting in the early 1970s, the “Big Three” ratings agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch) began to be paid instead by securities issuers. This eventually led to ratings agencies actively encouraging the issuance of high-risk collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Also in the 1990s, the Clinton administration adopted “affordable housing” as one of its explicit goals (this didn’t mean lowering house prices; it meant helping Americans get into debt), and over the next decade the percentage of Americans owning their homes increased 7.8 percent. This initiated a persistent upward trend in real estate prices. The Internet as we know it today opened for business in the mid-1990s, and within a few years investors had bid up Internet-related stocks, creating a speculative bubble.


pages: 317 words: 106,130

The New Science of Asset Allocation: Risk Management in a Multi-Asset World by Thomas Schneeweis, Garry B. Crowder, Hossein Kazemi

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asset allocation, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, commodity trading advisor, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, diversified portfolio, fixed income, high net worth, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, market microstructure, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, passive investing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, selection bias, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical model, survivorship bias, systematic trading, technology bubble, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-sum game

In the 1970s, markets expanded to provide a range of risk management tools (currency futures, bond futures, and stock options, to name a few) that permitted managers to move significantly away from long only based portfolio analysis. In the 1980s, stock index futures and index options were developed. New forms of dynamic risk management, such as portfolio insurance, also came into existence. In the 1990s, new asset sectors such as mortgages, new approaches to asset management such as hedge funds, and a wider range of investment vehicles such as Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) were developed. By 2000, financial engineers had come into their own, developing even more complex invest- xiv PREFACE ment instruments and vehicles, each designed to further cauterize and trade market risk. Unfortunately, few investors considered that each of these new investment forms or vehicles fundamentally changed the relationship between assets and how those assets would perform and respond in extreme economic environments.

To go beyond that point is to either enter the world of the absurd or court unintended consequences without preparation. In Chapter 3, we speak to this point as we examine certain theories that provide very real value within their parameters, but have been misused or are not allowed to die a proper death because they serve an unintended and sometimes misguided purpose. We have also seen this phenomenon at work in the current market. The Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDOs) is first and foremost an asset allocation product and was first designed by JP Morgan to assist its clients in securitizing certain obligations. In designing this program, the bank also designed risk control features that assured a workable understanding of the bank’s obligations as well as those of its clients. We have witnessed the awful destruction of wealth tied to this asset allocation product when discretion and proper risk controls are removed from its design.

See CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model) Capital International Stock Indices, 168 Capital Market Line (CML), 5–6 CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model), 4–6, 18, 62–63 acceptance of, 28 and efficient market hypothesis, 6–10 and market risk, 43 Cash flow, 98 Casualty insurance, 98 CISDM CTA indices, 149, 150, 261, 262 CISDM ELS index, 193 CISDM Fund of Fund indices, 267, 268 CISDM Hedge Fund indices, 55, 131, 142, 144, 145, 185 CISDM indices, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263 Clustering, volatility, 95 Collar strategy, 234 Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 228, 229 Commodities, 59, 61, 65, 129, 130, 143–148, 160–165 benchmarks, 179–185, 275 futures, 12 Index return and risk performance, 162–163 volatility, 182, 185 Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), 11 Commodity pool operators (CPOs), 143 Commodity Research Bureau, 265, 266 Commodity risk, 196 Commodity trading advisors. See CTAs (commodity trading advisors) Conditional model, 41 Conditional performance evaluation, 53–54 Constant proportional portfolio insurance (CPPI), 107 Convexity, 49–50 Core allocation, 110–133 Correlation analysis, 34, 116 Correlations, 24, 68–69, 214 between Barclays Capital U.S.


pages: 576 words: 105,655

Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency peg, debt deflation, deindustrialization, disintermediation, diversification, en.wikipedia.org, ending welfare as we know it, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Irish property bubble, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal capitalism, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Philip Mirowski, price stability, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, savings glut, short selling, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, too big to fail, unorthodox policies, value at risk, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

Mortgage-backed securities were already safe investments, but could that safety be maintained while enhancing returns? If you could figure this out, you could make a lot of money. This was achieved by the technique of “tranching the security,” which turned the simple mortgage-backed securities (the bucket of mortgage payments sold onto investors described earlier) into a contract called a “collateralized debt obligation” (CDO).15 The technique combined the mortgage payments of many different bits of real estate, from many different places, in the same security, but it kept them separate by selling different parts of the security to different people via different “tranches” (or tiers). Basically, you take a bit of the east side of Manhattan and blend that with a bit of Arizona suburb and a bit of Baltimore waterfront, and you pay the holders of the different tranches (usually called senior, mezzanine, or equity tranches) different interest rates according to how risky a tranche they bought.

Tales of Two Small European Countries,” (Giavazzi), 169, 170, 171, 176, 209–210 Canada fiscal adjustment in, 173 Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, (Schumpeter), 128, 129 Cassel, Gustav, 191 central banks, independence of, 156–158 certificates of deposit (CDs), 234 Chin, Menzie, 11 China, 55 Chowdhury, Anis, 176 Churchill, Winston, 123 and the gold standard, 189 1929 budget speech, 124 Citigroup, 48 Clinton, Bill, 12 Clinton, Hillary, 218 Cochrane, John, 2, 239 Colander, David, 99 collateralized debt obligations, 28, 234 Congressional Research Group, 242 Considine, John, 208 Coolidge, Calvin, 120 Credit Agricole, 87 credit default swaps, 26, 29, 30 Daimler/Mercedes Benz, 132 Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (Dennett), 159 De Grauwe, Paul, 86 debt inflation, 150 default as a way out of financial crises, 183 mortgage, 41, 42, 44, 50 risk, 24 sovereign, 113, 210, 241 See also credit default swaps (CDSs) deflation, 240, 241 demand-side economics, 127 See also supply-side economics Denmark, 207, 209 as a welfare state, 214 austerity in, 17, 169–170, 170–171, 179 expansion, 205, 206, 209 fiscal adjustment in, 173 Dennett, Daniel Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, 159 derivatives, 27–30 credit default swaps, 27–30 special investment vehicles, 29 See also mortgages; real estate Deutsche Bank, 83 devaluation and hyperinflation, 194 as a way out of financial crises, 75, 173, 208, 213 of currency, 76, 77, 147, 169, 171, 188, 191, 197 Diamond, Peter, 243 disintermediation, 23, 49, 232 Dittman, Wilhelm, 195 Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1, 2–3 Duffy, James, 208 Eatwell, John, 42 Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the European Council of Ministers (ECOFIN), 173, 175, 176 economics Adam Smith, 109 Austrian school of, 31, 144 demand-side, 127 Frieburg school of, 135 Germany’s Historical school of, 143 Keynesian, ix, 39, 54 liberal, 99 London School of, 31, 144 macro, 40 neoclassical, 41 neoliberal, 41, 92 public choice, 166 supply-side, 111 zombie, 10, 234 Economics of the Recovery Program, The, (Schumpeter), 128 Economist, The, 69, 166, 216 efficient markets hypothesis, 42 Eichengreen, Barry, 183, 231 Einaudi, Luigi, 165, 167 Eisenhower, Dwight, 243 Englund, Peter, 211 Estonia austerity in, 18, 103, 179, 216–226, 217 fig. 6.1 Eucken, Walter, 135–136 centrally administered economy, 135–136 transaction economy, 135–136 Euro, 74–75, 77 success or failure of, 78–81, 87–93 European banks austerity and, 87 fall of, 84–87 “too big to bail”, 6, 16 European Bond Market, 1 European Central Bank, 54, 55, 84 and austerity, 60, 122 and bailouts, 71–73 and loans to Ireland, 235 and the success of the REBLL states, 216 emergency liquidity assistance program, 4 limitations of, 87–93 long-term refinancing operation, 4, 86 Monthly Bulletin, June 2010, 176 See also Trichet, Jean Claude European Commission, 122 and austerity, 221 and loans to Ireland, 235 and the success of the REBLL states, 216 European Economic Community, 62–64 European Exchange Rate Mechanism, 77 European Union and austerity, 221 and bailouts, 71–73, 208, 221 influence on Europe, 74–75 Eurozone and current economic conditions, 213 current account imbalances, 78 fig. 3.1 ten-year government bond yields, 80 fig. 3.2 exchange-traded funds (ETFs), 234 Fama, Eugene, 55 Fannie Mae, 121 Farrell, Henry, 55 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 24 Feldstein, Martin, 55, 78 Ferguson, Niall, 72 Figaro, Le, 201 financial repression, 241 Financial Stability Board, 49 Financial Times, 60 Fisher, Irving, 150 Fitch Ratings, 238 Flandin, Pierre-Étienne, 202 fractional reserve banking, 110 France, 4 and Germany’s nonpayment of Versailles treaty debt, 57 and John Law, 114 and the gold standard, 185, 204 assets of large banks in, 6 austerity in, 17, 126, 178–180 and the global economy in the 1920s and 1930s, 184–189 bond rates in, 6 depression in, 201–202 Eurozone Current Account Imbalances, 78 fig. 3.1 Eurozone Ten-Year Government Bond Yields, 80 fig. 3.2 war debts to the United States, 185 See also Blum, Leon; Flandin, Pierre-Étienne; Laval, Pierre; Poincaré, Raymond Freddie Mac, 121 free option, 29 Freiberg school of economics, 135, 136, 138–139 Frieden, Jeffry, 11 Friedman, Milton, 103, 155, 156, 165, 173 G20 2010 meeting in Toronto, 59–62 Gates, Bill, 7, 8, 13 Gaussian distribution, 33, 34 General Theory (Keynes), 126, 127, 145 Gerber, David, 136 Germany, 2, 16 and repayment war damage in France, 200–201 and the gold standard, 185 and the Treaty of Versailles, 185 as an economic leader, 75–78 austerity in, 17, 25, 57, 59, 101–103, 132–134 and the global economy in the 1920s and 1930s, 178–180, 184–189, 186, 193–197 Bismarkian patriarchal welfare state, 137 Bundesbank, 54, 156, 172, 173 capital drain after World War I, 186 Center Party, 194 Christian Democrats, 137, 139 competition, 137–138 economic ideology of, 56–58, 59–60 entrance into world economy, 134–135 Eurozone Current Account Imbalances, 78 fig. 3.1 Eurozone Ten-Year Government Bond Yields, 80 fig. 3.2 fiscal prudence of, 2, 17, 54 founder’s crisis, 134 German Council of Economic Advisors Report, 169 gold standard and, 196 Historical school of economics, 143 hyperinflation in the 1920s, 56–57, 185, 194, 200, 204 industry in, 132–134 See also BASF, Daimler/Mercedes Benz, Krups, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp ordoliberalism in, 101, 131, 133 origins of, 135–137 order-based policy, 136 National Socialists, 194–195 Nazi period in, 136, 196 Social Democratic Party, 140, 194, 195, 204 social market economy, 139 Stability and Growth Pact, 92, 141 stimulus in, 55–56 See also Freiburg school of economics stop in capital flow from United States in 1929, 190, 194 unemployment in, 196 WTB plan, 195, 196 Giavazzi, Francesco, 179, 205, 206 “Can Severe Fiscal Contractions be Expansionary?

See risk-management techniques Portugal, 3, 4 bailout in, 71–73 Eurozone Current Account Imbalances, 78 fig. 3.1 Eurozone Ten-Year Government Bond Yields, 80 fig. 3.2 government debt 2006–2012, 47 fig. 2.3 slow growth crisis, 68–71 “Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt in a Democracy, A” (Alesini), 167 Posner, Richard, 55 Prescott, Edward, 55, 157 President’s Conference on Unemployment, 120 Prices and Production (Hayek), 144 Principles of Political Economy (Mill), 116 Quiggin, John, 55 and Australian expectations-augmented austerity, 209 “zombie economics”, 10, 234 Rand, Ayn Atlas Shrugged, 130 rational expectations hypothesis, 42 Real Business Cycle school, 157 real estate “collateralized debt obligation”, 28 “tranching the security”, 28, 30–31 equity, 28 mezzanine, 28 senior, 28 “uncorrelated within their class”, 27–28 REBLL alliance, 103, 178–180, 179–180, 205, 216–226, 217 fig. 6.1 GDP and consumption growth in 2009, 221 table 6.1 See also names of countries recapitalization, 45, 52 Reinhardt, Carmen, 11, 73, 241 Ricardian equivalence, 41, 49 Ricardo, David, 115–117, 117–119, 171 in Germany, 195 risk-management techniques, 49 hedging, 32 long position, 32 options, 32 portfolio diversification, 31 short sell, 32 Ritschl, Albrecht, 193 Road to Serfdom, The (Hayek), 144 Robins, Lionel, 144 Robinson, Joan, 122, 126 Rodrik, Dani, 162, 163 Rogoff, Kenneth, 11, 73 Romania austerity in, 18, 103, 190, 216–226, 217 fig. 6.1, 221 Romney, Mitt, 243 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 126 administration policies, 128 balancing the budget, 188 Röpke, Wilhelm, 138 Rothbard, Murray, 148 Sachs, Jeffrey, 60 Saez, Emanuel, 243 Say’s law, 137 Sbrancia, M.


pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

Perhaps the most colorful articulation of this accusation came from Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi in his July 2009 takedown of Goldman Sachs that famously labeled the Wall Street firm “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”54 Economists who have studied financialization have found a strong correlation between the growth of the financial sector and inequality as well as the decline in labor’s share of national income.55 Since the financial sector is, in effect, imposing a kind of tax on the rest of the economy and then reallocating the proceeds to the top of the income distribution, it’s reasonable to conclude that it has played a role in a number of the trends we’ve looked at. Still, it seems hard to make a strong case for financialization as the primary cause of, say, polarization and the elimination of routine jobs. It’s also important to realize that growth in the financial sector has been highly dependent on advancing information technology. Virtually all of the financial innovations that have arisen in recent decades—including, for example, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and exotic financial derivatives—would not have been possible without access to powerful computers. Likewise, automated trading algorithms are now responsible for nearly two-thirds of stock market trades, and Wall Street firms have built huge computing centers in close physical proximity to exchanges in order to gain trading advantages measured in tiny fractions of a second. Between 2005 and 2012, the average time to execute a trade dropped from about 10 seconds to just 0.0008 seconds,56 and robotic, high-speed trading was heavily implicated in the May 2010 “flash crash” in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly a thousand points and then recovered for a net gain, all within the space of just a few minutes.

(Kaku), 247n capital individual endowments of, 273–275 taxes on, 277–278 Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty), 275 capitalism, drive to automate and, 255–256 Car and Driver (magazine), 185 carbon-based materials, 70, 70n carbon nanotubes, 70n, 245 carbon tax, 272 Carr, Nicholas, 72, 254, 256, 257 cars, autonomous, xiii, 94, 176, 181–191 cause, big data and correlation vs., 102 CBE. See competency-based education (CBE) CBS News, 249 CDOs. See collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) Center for Economic and Policy Research, 171n Central Intelligence Agency, 46, 85 cervical cancer screening, 152–153 chargemaster prices, 160–161, 164 cheating, MOOCs and, 136–137 Cheney, Dick, 240 chess, 97–98, 122, 123 Chicago, data portal of city of, 87–88 China American consumer spending and, 54 college graduates overqualified for occupations in, 251 consumer demand in, 223–227 globalization and, 53 industrial automation in, 3, 10–11, 225–226 labor’s share of national income in, 41 offshoring and, 120 reshoring and, 9 saving rate in, 224–225 super-intelligence and, 236n China rebalancing, 224–225 Chomsky, Noam, 129, 236 Christensen, Clayton, 142 Chronicle of Higher Education (journal), 139 Chrysler, 76 Circuit City, 16 Cisco, 234 Citigroup, 103, 198 citizen’s dividend, 266–267 Cleveland Clinic, 102 Clifford, Stephanie, 8 climate change, xvii, 211–212, 282–283 Clinton, Bill, 242 cloud computing, 52, 104–107, 109 cloud robotics, 20–23 cobalt poisoning, 145–146 cognitive capability, global competition for jobs and, 120 cognitive computer chip, 72 cognitive computing, 96–104 collaboration software, 64 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail (Diamond), x collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 56 college-educated workers, 120–121, 126–128 college graduates, declining income and underemployment for recent, 48–49 College Unbound (Selingo), 140 college wage premium, 48n Colton, Simon, 112 “The Coming Technological Singularity” (Vinge), 233 community colleges, 276–277 comparative advantage, 73–75 compensation.

See collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) Center for Economic and Policy Research, 171n Central Intelligence Agency, 46, 85 cervical cancer screening, 152–153 chargemaster prices, 160–161, 164 cheating, MOOCs and, 136–137 Cheney, Dick, 240 chess, 97–98, 122, 123 Chicago, data portal of city of, 87–88 China American consumer spending and, 54 college graduates overqualified for occupations in, 251 consumer demand in, 223–227 globalization and, 53 industrial automation in, 3, 10–11, 225–226 labor’s share of national income in, 41 offshoring and, 120 reshoring and, 9 saving rate in, 224–225 super-intelligence and, 236n China rebalancing, 224–225 Chomsky, Noam, 129, 236 Christensen, Clayton, 142 Chronicle of Higher Education (journal), 139 Chrysler, 76 Circuit City, 16 Cisco, 234 Citigroup, 103, 198 citizen’s dividend, 266–267 Cleveland Clinic, 102 Clifford, Stephanie, 8 climate change, xvii, 211–212, 282–283 Clinton, Bill, 242 cloud computing, 52, 104–107, 109 cloud robotics, 20–23 cobalt poisoning, 145–146 cognitive capability, global competition for jobs and, 120 cognitive computer chip, 72 cognitive computing, 96–104 collaboration software, 64 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail (Diamond), x collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 56 college-educated workers, 120–121, 126–128 college graduates, declining income and underemployment for recent, 48–49 College Unbound (Selingo), 140 college wage premium, 48n Colton, Simon, 112 “The Coming Technological Singularity” (Vinge), 233 community colleges, 276–277 comparative advantage, 73–75 compensation. See wages competency-based education (CBE), 138 computers acceleration of power, xii–xiii, 68 (see also Moore’s Law) acquisition of skills by, xv–xvi increase in memory capacity, 63–64 innovation and improvements in, 69–73 predictions of impact of, 31–32, 33–34 S-curve of, 69, 70–71 construction industry, 3D printing and, 180–181 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 38n consumer robots, 197n consumers Chinese, 223–227 demand and, 196–197 permanent income hypothesis, 210–211 workers as, 193–194, 196–198, 221–222 consumer spending, 54 consumer spending/consumption, 200, 202n demand and, 196 guaranteed income and, 269–270 income inequality and, xvi–xvii, 198–202 Cornell University, Creative Machines Lab, 108 corporate profits financial sector, 55 recovery from Great Recession and, 39–40, 202, 203 as share of GDP, 40, 202, 203 correlation vs. cause, big data and, 88–89, 102 costs health care, 160–174 higher education, 140 Coursera, 133, 136 Cowen, Tyler, 65, 123, 126n CPI.


pages: 447 words: 104,258

Mathematics of the Financial Markets: Financial Instruments and Derivatives Modelling, Valuation and Risk Issues by Alain Ruttiens

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algorithmic trading, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, banking crisis, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, discounted cash flows, discrete time, diversification, fixed income, implied volatility, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, margin call, market microstructure, martingale, p-value, passive investing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk/return, Satyajit Das, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical model, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, time value of money, transaction costs, value at risk, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Index 4-moments CAPM actual (ACT) number of days AI see Alternative Investments “algorithmic” trading Alternative Investments (AI) American options bond options CRR pricing model option pricing rho amortizing swaps analytic method, VaR annual interest compounding annualized volatility autocorrelation corrective factor historical volatility risk measures APT see Arbitrage Pricing Theory AR see autoregressive process Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT) ARCH see autoregressive conditional heteroskedastic process ARIMA see autoregressive integrated moving average process ARMA see autoregression moving average process ask price asset allocation attribution asset swaps ATM see at the money ATMF see at the money forward options at the money (ATM) convertible bonds options at the money forward (ATMF) options attribution asset allocation performance autoregression moving average (ARMA) process autoregressive (AR) process autoregressive conditional heteroskedastic (ARCH) process autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) process backtesting backwardation basket CDSs basket credit derivatives basket options BDT see Black, Derman, Toy process benchmarks Bermudan options Bernardo Ledoit gain-loss ratio BGM model see LIBOR market model BHB model (Brinson’s) bid price binomial distribution binomial models binomial processes, credit derivatives binomial trees Black, Derman, Toy (BDT) process Black and Karasinski model Black–Scholes formula basket options beyond Black–Scholes call-put parity cap pricing currency options “exact” pricing exchange options exotic options floor pricing forward prices futures/forwards options gamma processes hypotheses underlying jump processes moneyness sensitivities example valuation troubles variations “The Black Swan” (Taleb) bond convexity bond duration between two coupon dates calculation assumptions calculation example callable bonds in continuous time duration D effective duration forwards FRNs futures mathematical approach modified duration options physical approach portfolio duration practical approach swaps uses of duration bond futures CFs CTD hedging theoretical price bond options callable bonds convertible bonds putable bonds bond pricing clean vs dirty price duration aspects floating rate bonds inflation-linked bonds risky bonds bonds binomial model CDSs convexity credit derivatives credit risk exotic options forwards futures government bonds options performance attribution portfolios pricing risky/risk-free spot instruments zero-coupon bonds see also bond duration book value method bootstrap method Brinson’s BHB model Brownian motion see also standard Wiener process bullet bonds Bund (German T-bond) 10-year benchmark futures callable bonds call options call-put parity jump processes see also options Calmar ratio Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) 4-moments CAPM AI APT vs CAPM Sharpe capitalization-weighted indexes capital market line (CML) capital markets caplets CAPM see Capital Asset Pricing Model caps carry cash and carry operations cash flows cash settlement, CDSs CBs see convertible bonds CDOs see collateralized debt obligations CDSs see credit default swaps CFDs see contracts for difference CFs see conversion factors charm sensitivity cheapest to deliver (CTD) clean prices clearing houses “close” prices CML see capital market line CMSs see constant maturity swaps Coleman, T. collars collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) color sensitivity commodities commodity futures backwardation contango market price non-financial producers/users trading calculations conditional swaps Conditional VaR (C-VaR) confidence levels constant maturity swaps (CMSs) contango continuous interest compounding continuous interest rates continuous time continuous variables contracts contracts for difference (CFD) contribution, performance convenience yield conversion factors (CFs) convertible bonds (CBs) bond floor CB premium conversion ratio Hard Call protection outcome of operation pricing graph risk premium stock price parity convexity adjustments see also bond convexity copper prices copulas correlation basket options credit derivatives implied Portfolio Theory Spearman’s coefficient VaR calculations volatility counterparty risk futures see also credit risk counter-value currency (c/v) Courtadon model covered period, FRAs Cox, Ingersoll and Ross model Cox–Ross–Rubenstein (CRR) model credit default swaps (CDSs) on basket cash settlement with defined recovery rate market operations variants credit derivatives CDSs credit risk main features valuation application example basket derivatives binomial model CDO pricing correlation measures credit risk models useful measures Merton model “credit events” credit exposure credit risk behind the underlying components data use dangers default rates Merton model models in practice quantification recovery rates credit VaR crossing CRR see Cox–Ross–Rubenstein model CRSs see currency rate swaps crude oil market CTD see cheapest to deliver cubic splines method currencies futures options performance attribution spot instruments currency rate swaps (CRSs) c/v see counter-value currency C-VaR see Conditional VaR D see discount factors DCF see discounted cash flows method decision-making deep ITM (DITM) deep OTM (DOTM) default rates default risk see credit risk delta delta-gamma neutral management delta-normal method, VaR derivatives credit valuation problems volatility Derman see Black, Derman, Toy process deterministic phenomena diff swaps diffusion processes Dirac functions dirty prices discounted cash flows (DCF) method discount factors (D) duration D forward rates IRSs risk-free yield curve spot rates yield curve interpolations discrete interest compounding discrete time discrete variables DITM see deep ITM DOTM see deep OTM drift duration of bonds see bond duration duration D dVega/dTime dynamic replication see delta-Gamma neutral management dZ Black–Scholes formula fractional Brownian motion geometric Wiener process martingales properties of dZ(t) standard Wiener process economic capital ED see exposure at default effective duration, bonds efficient frontier efficient markets EGARCH see exponential GARCH process EONIA see Euro Over-Night Index Average swaps equities forwards futures Portfolio Theory stock indexes stocks valuation EUR see Euros EURIBOR rates CMSs EONIA/OIS swaps FRAs futures in-arrear swaps IRSs quanto/diff swaps short-term rates Euro Over-Night Index Average (EONIA) swaps European options basket options bond options caplets CRR pricing model exchange options exotic options floorlets Monte Carlo simulations option pricing rho Euros (EUR) CRSs forward foreign exchange futures spot market swap rate markets volatility Euro Stoxx EWMA see exponentially weighted moving average process Excel functions MA process Monte Carlo simulations excess return exchange options exotic options basket options Bermudan options binomial pricing model Black–Scholes formula currency options exchange options interest rates Monte Carlo simulations options on bonds options on non-financial underlyings PFCs pricing methods see also second generation options exotic swaps see also second generation swaps expected credit loss expected return exponential GARCH (EGARCH) process exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) process exposure at default (ED) fair price/value “fat tails” problem financial models ARCH process ARIMA process ARMA process AR process GARCH process MA process MIDAS process finite difference pricing methods fixed leg of swap fixed rate, swaps floating rate notes/bonds (FRNs) floating rates floorlets floors forecasting ARIMA ARMA process AR process MA process foreign exchange (FX) see currencies; forex swaps; forward foreign exchange forex (FX) swaps forward foreign exchange 1 year calculations forex swaps forward forex swaps forward-forward transactions forward spreads NDF market operations forward rate agreements (FRAs) forwards Black–Scholes formula bonds CFDs CRSs equities foreign exchange FRAs futures vs forwards prices options PFCs rates swaps volatility forward zero-coupon rate 4-moments CAPM fractional Brownian motion FRAs see forward rate agreements FRNs see floating rate notes/bonds futures bonds commodities currencies equities forwards vs futures prices IRR margining system market price option pricing pricing settlement at maturity short-term interest rates stock indexes theoretical price future value (FV) bond duration short-term rates spot rates zero-coupon swaps FX see foreign exchange; forex swaps gain-loss ratio (Bernardo Ledoit) gamma gamma processes GARCH see generalized ARCH process Garman–Klass volatility Gaussian copulas Gaussian distribution Gaussian hypothesis generalized ARCH (GARCH) process EWMA process I/E/MGARCH processes non-linear models regime-switching models variants volatility general Wiener process application fractional Brownian motion gamma processes geometric Wiener process Itô Lemma Itô process jump processes volatility modeling see also standard Wiener process geometric average geometric Wiener process German Bund see Bund (German T-Bond) global VaR Gordon–Shapiro method government bonds Greece Greeks see sensitivities Hard Call protection Heath, Jarrow and Morton (HJM) model Heaviside function hedging bond futures delta-gamma neutral management futures 129–30 immunization vs hedging money market rate futures stock index futures heteroskedasticity hidden layers, NNs high frequency trading “high” prices historical method, VaR historical volatility HJM see Heath, Jarrow and Morton model Ho and Lee model Hull and White model Hurst coefficient IGARCH see integrated GARCH process immunization implied correlation implied repo rate (IRR) implied volatility definition historical volatility surface volatility curves volatility smiles in-arrear swaps indexes basket options capitalization-weighted price/value-weighted see also stock indexes inflation-linked bonds inflation swaps Information Ratio (IR) initial margin in the money (ITM) caps convertible bonds deep ITM options innovation term, AR instantaneous returns integrated GARCH (IGARCH) process interbank rates see EURIBOR rates; LIBOR rates interest rate options BDT process Black and Karasinski model caps collars floors forward rates HJM model LMM model single rate processes swaptions yield curve modeling interest rates day counting discount factors futures FV/PV interest compounding IRSs options short-term spot rates term structure see also yield interest rate swaps (IRSs) bond duration and CRSs fixed/floating rates pricing methods prior to swap pricing method revaluation vanilla swaps yield curve see also constant maturity swaps intermediate period, FRAs International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) intraday margining settlements intraday volatility investor decision-making IR see Information Ratio IRR see implied repo rate IRSs see interest rate swaps ISDA see International Swaps and Derivatives Association ITM see in the money Itô process Itô’s Lemma Japanese yen (JPY) Jarrow, Robert A.

Coming back to modeling credit risk, if the credit derivative is about a basket of several underlyings, the degree of co-dependence, that is, a broader measure than the traditional correlation coefficient based on a linear regression, will significantly affect the credit risk premium. Indeed, the aim is to price a multivariate product (the default probability of each of the basket constituents) in a consistent way with the prices (over time) of several univariate products. Application to the Pricing of a CDO7 Basket CDSs (cf. Section 12.1.5) are also embedded into “synthetic securitizations”, often called collaterized debt obligations (CDO), for example the C*Star 1, 1999–2001 of Citibank (data 1999), shown in Figure 13.6. Figure 13.6 Example of a CDO In this example, the CDO involves the lower CDS in the figure, in bold (the upper one is a regular CDS with a bank). This second CDS transfers the credit risk to an entity (C*Star) called a special purpose vehicle (SPV), whose function is to pool the debts into several notes, called tranches, offered to investors.


pages: 293 words: 88,490

The End of Theory: Financial Crises, the Failure of Economics, and the Sweep of Human Interaction by Richard Bookstaber

asset allocation, bank run, bitcoin, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, dark matter, disintermediation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, epigenetics, feminist movement, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Henri Poincaré, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market clearing, market microstructure, money market fund, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, sovereign wealth fund, the map is not the territory, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, yield curve

Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, assuring a House Appropriations subcommittee that “from the standpoint of the overall economy, my bottom line is we’re watching it closely but it appears to be contained.” Less than three months later, this containment ruptured when two Bear Stearns hedge funds that had held a portfolio of more than twenty billion dollars, most of it in securities backed by subprime mortgages, failed, marking a course that blew through one financial market after another over the following six months—the broader mortgage markets, including collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps; money markets, including the short-term financing of the repo (repurchase agreement) and interbank markets; and markets that seemed to be clever little wrinkles but turned out to have serious vulnerabilities, such as asset-backed commercial paper and auction-rate securities. In early 2008, as the market turmoil raged, Bernanke gave his semiannual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.

In war, the key to victory is creating both complexity through the confusion sown by quick changes and the tight coupling that prevents successful adjustments to those changes. The objective is to move to unanticipated new environments, thereby creating endogenous uncertainty. In finance, we have seen this through the arms race of leapfrogging others in trading speed in high-frequency trading, and in adding the fog of complexity to the environment through derivatives. In the 2008 meltdown, that complexity could arrive in the form of things like synthetic collateralized debt obligations—derivatives based on derivatives. If we are going to use the analogy of war in economics and finance, the battlefield where Boyd’s dictum most applies is the realm of information. One tactic in this battlefield is to create informational asymmetries. If the market is becoming efficient, if information is immediately accessible to everyone at the same time, then either create new private information or else speed up your access to the public information.

To see this, look at the structured financial products coming out of a trading desk in the way petroleum products come out of the distillation tower in a refinery. There, crude oil comes in, and is separated or “cracked” into various grades of products, from heavy heating oil to light naphtha. The raw material for the structured products at the heart of the 2008 crisis was mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), and the distilled products are various grades or tranches of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), where the grade is determined by the risk of default. Just as any product coming out of the distillation process depends on the crude oil that feeds the process, any CDO coming out of the securitization process will have the markings of the MBS that comprises the feedstock. If the feedstock is tainted or diluted, the structured products will be as well. If the feedstock includes subprime mortgages that rise in defaults, any security that comes out of the process, or that uses those products as its own raw material, will be affected.

Global Financial Crisis by Noah Berlatsky

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, centre right, circulation of elites, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, energy security, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, George Akerlof, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, moral hazard, new economy, Northern Rock, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South China Sea, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transfer pricing, working poor

Nevertheless, many commentators argue that significant risks remain for property prices in Australia. The US Banking Crisis Hurt Australia When it came to the second phase of the crisis, Australia was not so lucky. Many investors held securities with direct exposure to the ailing US subprime mortgage-backed market. Two prominent casualties were high-yield funds managed by Basis Capital and Absolute Capital. Mortgage-backed securities that had been repackaged in the form of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) had also been widely distributed to so-called middle market investors: local councils, universities, schools and hospitals. Non-bank mortgage lender RAMS also found itself in trouble. RAMS was heavily reliant on short-term funding, much of which it sourced from US investors who 88 Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on Wealthier Nations Australia’s Foreign Debt, 1998–2007 net foreign debt (% GDP) 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% -0 7 Ju n -0 6 Ju n -0 5 Ju n -0 4 Ju n -0 3 Ju n -0 2 Ju n -0 1 Ju n -0 0 Ju n -9 9 Ju n Ju n -9 8 0% TAKEN FROM: Sean Carmody, “Australia and the Global Financial Crisis,” A Stubborn Mule’s Perspective, October 25, 2008. www.stubbornmule.net.

See Liquidity crises Cato Institute, 202–203 “Celtic Tiger” phenomenon, 94 Charitable agencies, 76–77, 123– 124, 137 Chauzy, Jean-Philippe, 133–134 Chávez, Hugo, 184 Index Chile, 161–162 China, 22–26, 65–71, 108–120, 135–142, 143–149 blames U.S. policies for crisis, 22–26 could use crisis to become responsible world power, 143–149 crisis may worsen poverty, 135–142 economic growth and success, 136–137, 144, 145 G-20 role, 145, 146 investment, U.S., 18, 24, 144, 147 migrant workers, 110, 116, 130 must join with U.S. to control crisis, 65–71 stimulus packages, 19, 135, 140, 141–142, 144–145 trade with Africa, 195 trade with U.S., 65, 66, 70–71, 144, 147 unrest, 19, 25, 108–120, 139– 140 Clearinghouse regulations, 49–50 Climate change policy, 26, 163 Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 50, 88 Colombia, 161–162, 180, 182, 183, 184 Common Cause, 205–206 Communist Party, China, 110, 114–116, 139–140 Comparative advantage, 192–193 Competitiveness, financial, 48–49 Congress business subsidies, 202, 203, 204, 205–206 hearings, 175 predatory lending, 206 protectionism and trade agreements, 181, 182, 184 Construction industry, 34, 130, 131, 133 Consumer confidence, 63, 91, 100, 208, 213, 216 Corporate welfare, 201, 202–206 See also Bailouts Cox, Pamela, 158–159 Credit default swaps (CDSs), 17, 28, 29, 50, 175–176, 215 Credit derivatives.


pages: 351 words: 102,379

Too big to fail: the inside story of how Wall Street and Washington fought to save the financial system from crisis--and themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, fixed income, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, moral hazard, NetJets, Northern Rock, oil shock, paper trading, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, too big to fail, value at risk, éminence grise

The stock would end the day up $14.74, or 46.4 percent to $46.49, for the biggest one-day gain in the stock since it went public in 1994. William Tanona, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, raised his rating on Lehman to “buy” from “neutral.” When the session ended, the excitement at Lehman was palpable. Gregory rushed over to give Callan a big hug. Later, as she went down to the bond-trading floor, she passed by the desk of Peter Hornick, the firm’s head of collateralized debt obligation sales and trading. He held out his palm, and she slapped him a high-five. For a brief, shining moment, all seemed well at Lehman Brothers. 019 Outside Lehman, however, skeptics were already voicing their concerns. “I still don’t believe any of these numbers because I still don’t think there is proper accounting for the liabilities they have on their books,” Peter Schiff, president and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, told the Washington Post.

But that analysis did not take into account a number of other critical factors, such as the fact that the link between the housing market and the financial system was further complicated by the growing use of exotic derivatives. Securities whose income and value came from a pool of residential mortgages were being amalgamated, sliced up, and reconfigured again, and soon became the underpinnings of new investment products marketed as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). The way that firms like a JP Morgan or a Lehman Brothers now operated bore little resemblance to the way banks had traditionally done business. No longer would a bank simply make a loan and keep it on its books. Now lending was about origination—establishing the first link in a chain of securitization that spread risk of the loan among dozens if not hundreds and thousands of parties.

She used the word ‘incredibly’ eight times,” he noted. “I would use ‘incredible’ in a different way to describe the report.” After that rhetorical flourish, he recounted how he had decided to call her. With a projection screen displaying the relevant figures behind him, he told how he had questioned Callan about the fact that Lehman had taken only a $200 million write-down on $6.5 billion worth of the especially toxic asset known as collateralized debt obligations in the first quarter—even though the pool of CDOs included $1.6 billion of instruments that were below investment grade. “Ms. Callan said she understood my point and would have to get back to me,” Einhorn relayed. “In a follow-up e-mail, Ms. Callan declined to provide an explanation for the modest write-down and instead stated that, based on current price action, Lehman ‘would expect to recognize further losses’ in the second quarter.


pages: 584 words: 187,436

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

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Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, automated trading system, bank run, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, High speed trading, index fund, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pre–internet, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, the new new thing, too big to fail, transaction costs

As to the division of junior from senior debt, Paulson had never seen anything quite like the feast that the mortgage industry served up. Lenders like Daniel Sadek generated mortgages that were sold to Wall Street banks; the banks turned these into mortgage bonds; then other banks bought the bonds, rebundled them, and sliced the resulting “collateralized debt obligation” into layers, the most senior ones rated a rock-solid AAA, the next ones rated AA, and so on down the line to BBB and lower—there might be eighteen tranches in the pyramid. If the mortgages in the collateralized debt obligation paid back 95 percent or more of what they owed, the BBB bonds would be fine, since the first 5 percent of the losses would be absorbed by even more junior tranches. But once non-payments surpassed the 5 percent hurdle, the BBB securities would start suffering losses; and since the BBB tranche was only 1 percent thick, a nonpayment rate of 6 percent would take the whole lot of them to zero.

This contrast points to a third reason why the banks fared poorly in the credit bubble: Those multiple profit centers distracted executives. The banks’ proprietary trading desks coexisted alongside departments that advised on mergers, underwrote securities, and managed clients’ funds; sometimes the scramble for fees from these advisory businesses blurred the banks’ investment choices. Again, the subprime story illustrated this problem. Merrill Lynch is said to have sold $70 billion worth of subprime collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, earning a fee of 1.25 percent each time, or $875 million. Merrill’s bosses obsessed about their standing in the mortgage league tables: The chief executive, Stan O’Neal, was prepared to finance home lenders at no profit in order to be first in line to buy their mortgages.14 To feed their CDO production lines, Merrill and its rivals kept plenty of mortgage bonds on hand; so when demand for CDOs collapsed in early 2007, the banks were stuck with billions of unsold inventory that they had to take onto their balance sheets.

But in the summer of 2007, Griffin found his vacation impossible to enjoy. Every day began with phone calls back to Chicago and ended the same way, and by Friday morning, Griffin had had enough. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” he told his wife. “You can come or you can stay. I’m going.”19 That Friday, July 27, was the day when the subprime troubles morphed into a larger credit crisis. Loans from guys who catapulted Porsches, byzantine collateralized debt obligations with eighteen layers, the whole pyramid of side bets on the ABX index—until just recently, all could be dismissed as a mania confined to one corner of the markets. But that Friday a Boston-based hedge fund named Sowood Capital Management began to catch fire. Its $3 billion portfolio was down sharply, and it was starting to receive margin calls from brokers.20 The remarkable thing about this development was that Sowood had avoided subprime securities.


pages: 700 words: 201,953

The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial exclusion, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, informal economy, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kula ring, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mental accounting, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, predatory finance, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, remote working, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, Scientific racism, seigniorage, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Veblen good, Wave and Pay, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Marieke de Goede, for example, characterizes money as “a system of writing that is firmly rooted in cultural history” (Goede 2005: xxv). 39 The prospect of a “comparison between the images of saints in different religions and the bank notes of different states” intrigued him, for example. 40 Agamben refers to the mark on a coin as a signature which “transforms a piece of metal into a coin, producing it as money” (Agamben 2009: 40). 41 Material monies—digital monies present a distinctive set of problems, as the recent history of Bitcoin testifies—need to be “read” quickly, validated by a glance. But the technology needed to make such a reading infallible (raised print, watermarks, holograms) is increasingly costly and complex, and difficult to read by sight alone. Finance is read differently, with its history of charts and graphs (Preda 2009), although it may have caught up with money in some respects. Credit ratings, too, are instantly legible, although those attached to collateralized debt obligations turned out to be tainted and their very legibility became a source of contagion (Carruthers 2010). Even here, a narrative is attached to the rating, which is unraveled whenever the rating shifts, or when various ratings agencies offer different grades for a particular financial product. 42 Bretton Woods refers to the international monetary system that was established in 1944, wherein countries agreed to adopt monetary policies aimed to ensure that their currencies maintained fixed rates of exchange against the U.S. dollar, which was in turn “pegged” to gold.

For Harvey, capital’s centralization through the credit system is integral to this idea because a credit crisis (the devaluation of capital) invariably leads to the destruction of money (inflation) (Harvey 2006: 328). In these terms, the policy whereby governments (via central banks) seek to stimulate effective demand by keeping interest rates low (or, recently, through quantitative easing) amounts to replacing privately created fictitious capital (such as collateralized debt obligations) with state-backed capital (or money). This additional money can be reinvested in production (leading to wage increases), channeled into speculative finance (leading to the creation of even more fictitious capital), or pumped into consumption (creating further upward pressure on wages). Either way, a crisis may be eased but cannot be averted; indeed, its symptoms are likely to be worse.

Token money was developed as a solution to this problem, bridging the time gap in the circulation of commodities and making up the shortfall whenever money as a medium of circulation is in short supply. Credit money, as we have seen, “springs” from this. But for Marx, credit money is not money; or rather, it answers only one requirement of money. Hence the proliferation of monies in modern capitalism—commodities, paper, coins, and various forms of credit, derivatives, collateralized debt obligations, and so on—has been driven by the attempt to reconcile the desire for a quality store of value with the requirement for a frictionless medium of exchange. Periodically, fixity inevitably comes into conflict with flow. There are two important points to be taken out of this discussion of Marx’s theory of money and credit. The first point concerns the connection between money and the real economy.


pages: 1,088 words: 228,743

Expected Returns: An Investor's Guide to Harvesting Market Rewards by Antti Ilmanen

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Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, backtesting, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, deglobalization, delta neutral, demand response, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, framing effect, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, Google Earth, high net worth, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, incomplete markets, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market friction, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, merger arbitrage, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, negative equity, New Journalism, oil shock, p-value, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, savings glut, selection bias, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic volatility, survivorship bias, systematic trading, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, volatility arbitrage, volatility smile, working-age population, Y2K, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Index AAA/AA/A-rated bonds absolute valuation academic investors active investing active risk puzzle (Litterman) active strategies adaptive markets hypothesis (Lo) advisors, CTAs agriculture alpha—beta barbell alpha—beta separation alphas CAPM currency carry hedge funds long horizon investors portable alpha alternative assets assets list commodities hedge funds liquidity momentum strategies PE funds premia real estate risk factors alternative betas AM see arithmetic mean ambiguity aversion Amihud, Yakov announcement days arbitrage behavioral finance CRP front-end trading equity value strategies term structure models Argentina arithmetic mean (AM) art investing asset classes 1990—2009 alternative assets “bad times” performance currency carry derivatives foreign exchange forward-looking indicators growth sensitivities historical returns inflation long history momentum strategies performance 1990—2009 profitable strategies risk factors style diversification traditional trend following understanding returns value strategies volatility selling world wealth assets 1968—2007 asset richening AUM Berk—Green management model cyclical variation empirical “horse races” ERPC feedback loops forward-looking measures growth illiquidity liquidity long-horizon investors market relations multiple asset classes prices/pricing privately held real assets risky assets seasonal regularities survey-based returns tactical forecasting tail risks time-varying illiquidity premia volatility see also asset classes assets under management (AUM) asymmetric information asymmetric returns asymmetric risk at-the-money (ATM) options seasonal regularities tail risks volatility selling attention bias AUM see assets under management BAB see betting against beta backfill bias backwardation “bad times” carry strategies catastrophes crashes crises inflation rare disasters bank credibility Bank of England Barcap Index BBB-rated bonds behavioral finance applications arbitrage biases cross-sectional trading heuristics historical aspects macro-inefficiencies micro-inefficiencies momentum over/underreaction preferences prospect theory psychology rational learning reversal effects speculative bubbles value stocks BEI see break-even inflation benchmarks, view-based expected returns Berk—Green asset management model Bernstein, Peter betas alpha—beta barbell BAB currency carry equity hedge funds long-horizon investors risk time-varying betting against beta (BAB) biases attention behavioral finance confirmation conservatism currency carry downgrading extrapolation forward rate hedge funds heuristic simplifications high equity premium hindsight historical returns learning limits memory momentum overconfidence overfitting overoptimism reporting representativeness reversal tendencies self-attribution self-deception survey data terminology volatility selling binary timing model Black—Litterman optimizers Black—Scholes (BS) option-pricing formula Black—Scholes—Merton (BSM) world blind men and elephant poem (Saxe) bond risk premium (BRP) approximate identities bond yield business cycles covariance risk cyclical factors decomposed-year Treasury yield drivers ex ante measures historical returns inflation interpreting BRP IRP macro-finance models nominal bonds realized/excess return safe haven premium supply—demand survey-based returns tactical forecasting targets terminology theories YC bonds AAA/AA/A-rated balanced portfolios BBB-rated credit spreads ERPB government historical records HY bonds IG bonds inflation-linked long-term nominal non-government relative valuation stock—bond correlation top-rated yields see also bond risk premium; corporate bonds booms break-even inflation (BEI) Bretton Woods system BRIC countries BRP see bond risk premium BSM see Black—Scholes—Merton bubbles absolute valuation memory bias money illusion real estate Shiller’s four elements speculative Buffet, Warren building block approach business cycles asset returns economic regime analysis ex ante indicators realized returns buybacks B-S see Black—Scholes option-pricing formula C-P BRP see Cochrane—Piazzesi BRP forward rate curve calls seasonal regularities tail risks volatility selling Campbell, John Campbell—Cochrane habit formation model Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) alphas carry strategies Consumption CAPM covariance with “bad times” disagreement models ERP Intertemporal CAPM liquidity-adjusted market frictions market price equation multiple risk factors risk factors risk-adjusted returns risk-based models skewness stock—bond correlation supply—demand volatility Capital Ideas (Bernstein) capitalism capitalization (cap) rate CAPM see Capital Asset Pricing Model carry strategies 1990—2009 active investing asset classes business cycles credit carry currency ERP financing rates foreign exchange forward-looking indicators forward-looking measures generic proxy role historical returns long-horizon investors non-zero yield spreads real asset investing roll Sharpe ratios 2008 slide tactical forecasting cash, ERPC cash flow catastrophes see also “bad times” CAY see consumption/wealth ratio CCW see covered call writing CDOs see collateralized debt obligations CDSs see credit default swaps central banks Chen three-factor stock returns model China Citi (Il—)Liquidity indices Cochrane—Piazzesi BRP (C-P BRP) forward rate curve see also Campbell—Cochrane collateral return collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) comfortable approaches commodities characteristics equity value strategies excess returns expected returns expected risk premia futures historical returns inflation momentum return decomposition returns 1984—2009 supply—demand seasonals term structure trading advisors value indicators commodity momentum performance rational stories simple strategies trend following tweaks when it works well why it works see also momentum strategies commodity trading advisors (CTAs) composite ranking cross-asset selection models compound returns conditioners confirmation bias conservatism constant expected returns constant relative risk aversion (CRRA) Consumption CAPM consumption/wealth ratio (CAY) contemporaneous correlation contrarian strategies blunders feedback loops forward indication approach see also reversal convenience yield corporate bonds credit spreads CRP forward-looking indicators front-end trading IG bonds liquidity sample-specific valuation tactical forecasting correlation asset returns correlation premium correlation risk default correlations equities implied risk factors tail risks costs control currency carry enhancing returns taxes trading costs country-specific vulnerability indices covariance with “bad times” covariance risk risk factors covered call writing (CCW) crashes markets see also “bad times” credit default swaps (CDSs) credit-pricing models credit risk credit risk premium (CRP) analytical models attractive opportunities business cycles credit default swaps credit spreads decomposing credit spread default correlations emerging markets debt front-end trading historical excess returns IG bonds low ex post premia mortgage-backed securities non-government debt portfolio risk reduced-form credit-pricing models reward—risk single-name risk swap—Treasury spreads tactical forecasting terminology theory credit spreads AAA/AA/A-rated bonds BBB-rated bonds business cycles CRP cyclical effects decomposition empirical “horse races” forward-looking indicators high-yield bonds rolling yield top-rated bonds volatility yield-level dependence credit and tactical forecasting creditworthiness crises 2007—2008 crisis currency carry liquidity money markets see also “bad times” cross-asset selection forecasting models cross-sectional market relations cross-sectional trading CRP see credit risk premium CRRA see constant relative risk aversion CTAs see commodity trading advisors currency base of returns carry empirical “horse races” equity value strategies inflation see also foreign exchange currency carry baseline variants combining carry conditioners costs diversification emerging markets ex ante opportunity financial crashes foreign exchange historical returns hyperinflation indicators interpreting evidence maturities pairwise carry trading portfolio construction ranking models regime indicators seasonals selection biases strategy improvements “timing” the strategy trading horizons unwind episodes why strategies work cyclical effects credit spreads growth seasonal regularities see also business cycles D/P see dividend yield data mining see also overfitting; selection bias data sources of time series data series construction day-of-the-week effect DDM see dividend discount model debt supercycle default correlations, CDOs default rates, HY bonds deflation delta hedging demand see supply—demand demographics derivatives Dimson, Elroy direct hedge funds disagreement models discount rates discounted cash flows discretionary managers disinflation disposition effect distress diversification currency carry drawdown control long-horizon investors return risk factors style diversification return (DR) dividend discount model (DDM) equities ERP forward-looking indicators growth rate debates dividend growth dividend yield (D/P) DJCS HF index dollars base of returns cost averaging currency carry foreign exchange downgrading bias downside beta DR see diversification return drawdown control duration risk duration timing dynamic strategies equity value strategies portfolio construction risk factors E/P see earnings/price ratio earnings E/P ratio EPS equity returns forecasts growth rates yield see also earnings/price ratio earnings-per-share (EPS) earnings/price (E/P) ratio absolute valuation drivers forward-looking indicators measures choices relative valuation value measures economic growth see also growth efficiency behavioral finance macro-inefficiencies market inefficiency micro-inefficiencies efficient markets hypothesis (EMH) elephant and blind men poem (Saxe) EMBI indices emerging markets carry strategies currency carry debt equity returns future trends growth EMH see efficient markets hypothesis empirical multi-factor finance models endogenous return and risk feedback loops market timing research endowments energy sector commodity momentum trend following volatility selling enhancing returns costs horizon investors risk management skill EPS see earnings per share equilibrium accounting equilibrium model equities 1990—2009 business cycles carry strategies correlation premium empirical “horse races” forward-looking indicators inflation long history momentum sample-specific valuation tactical forecasting ten-year rolling averages value strategies see also stock . . .

Antti Ilmanen Bad Homburg, November 2010 Abbreviations and acronyms AM Arithmetic Mean ATM At The Money (option) AUM Assets Under Management BEI Break-Even Inflation BF Behavioral Finance B/P Book/Price, book-to-market ratio BRP Bond Risk Premium, term premium B-S Black–Scholes C-P BRP Cochrane–Piazzesi Bond Risk Premium CAPM Capital Asset Pricing Model CAY Consumption wealth ratio CB Central Bank CCW Covered Call Writing CDO Collateralized Debt Obligation CDS Credit Default Swap CF Cash Flow CFNAI Chicago Fed National Activity Index CFO Chief Financial Officer CMD Commodity (futures) CPIyoy Consumer Price Inflation year on year CRB Commodity Research Bureau CRP Credit Risk Premium (over Treasury bond) CRRA Constant Relative Risk Aversion CTA Commodity Trading Advisor DDM Dividend Discount Model DJ CS Dow Jones Credit Suisse DMS Dimson–Marsh–Staunton D/P Dividend/Price (ratio), dividend yield DR Diversification Return E( ) Expected (conditional expectation) EMH Efficient Markets Hypothesis E/P Earnings/Price ratio, earnings yield EPS Earnings Per Share ERP Equity Risk Premium ERPB Equity Risk Premium over Bond (Treasury) ERPC Equity Risk Premium over Cash (Treasury bill) F Forward price or futures price FF Fama–French FI Fixed Income FoF Fund of Funds FX Foreign eXchange G Growth rate GARCH Generalized AutoRegressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity GC General Collateral repo rate (money market interest rate) GDP Gross Domestic Product GM Geometric Mean, also compound annual return GP General Partner GSCI Goldman Sachs Commodity Index H Holding-period return HF Hedge Fund HFR Hedge Fund Research HML High Minus Low, a value measure, also VMG HNWI High Net Worth Individual HPA House Price Appreciation (rate) HY High Yield, speculative-rated debt IG Investment Grade (rated debt) ILLIQ Measure of a stock’s illiquidity: average absolute daily return over a month divided by dollar volume IPO Initial Public Offering IR Information Ratio IRP Inflation Risk Premium ISM Business confidence index ITM In The Money (option) JGB Japanese Government Bond K-W BRP Kim–Wright Bond Risk Premium LIBOR London InterBank Offered Rate, a popular bank deposit rate LP Limited Partner LSV Lakonishok–Shleifer–Vishny LtA Limits to Arbitrage LTCM Long-Term Capital Management MA Moving Average MBS (fixed rate, residential) Mortgage-Backed Securities MIT-CRE MIT Center for Real Estate MOM Equity MOMentum proxy MSCI Morgan Stanley Capital International MU Marginal Utility NBER National Bureau of Economic Research NCREIF National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries OAS Option-Adjusted (credit) Spread OTM Out of The Money (option) P Price P/B Price/Book (valuation ratio) P/E Price/Earnings (valuation ratio) PE Private Equity PEH Pure Expectations Hypothesis PT Prospect Theory r Excess return R Real (rate) RE Real Estate REITs Real Estate Investment Trusts RWH Random Walk Hypothesis S Spot price, spot rate SBRP Survey-based Bond Risk Premium SDF Stochastic Discount Factor SMB Small Minus Big, size premium proxy SR Sharpe Ratio SWF Sovereign Wealth Fund TED Treasury–Eurodollar (deposit) rate spread in money markets TIPS Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, real bonds UIP Uncovered Interest Parity (hypothesis) VaR Value at Risk VC Venture Capital VIX A popular measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 index options VMG Value Minus Growth, equity value premium proxy WDRA Wealth-Dependent Risk Aversion X Cash flow Y Yield YC Yield Curve (steepness), term spread YTM Yield To Maturity YTW Yield To Worst Disclaimer Antti Ilmanen is a Senior Portfolio Manager at Brevan Howard, one of Europe’s largest hedge fund managers.

Other studies show that correlation risk is priced in the cross-section of equity returns (stocks with higher sensitivity to rising correlation need to offer higher long-run returns) and in time series (the aggregate market has higher returns following higher average correlations). There is a large literature that goes beyond equities and focuses on implied default correlations based on collateralized debt obligation (CDO) tranche prices in liquid credit default swap (CDS) indices. The manufacturing of CDOs involves two steps: first, many securities are pooled into a diversified portfolio (special purpose vehicle or SPV), then the resulting cash flows are redistributed to tranches of varying seniority within the CDO. Tranches are typically assigned credit ratings from AAA to BBB, except for the unrated, most junior (equity) tranche, which takes the first default losses; higher yield spreads compensate lower seniorities.


pages: 77 words: 18,414

How to Kick Ass on Wall Street by Andy Kessler

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Andy Kessler, Bernie Madoff, buttonwood tree, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, family office, fixed income, hiring and firing, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, London Whale, margin call, NetJets, Nick Leeson, pets.com, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, time value of money, too big to fail, value at risk

Pretty cool, think of all the industries from Silicon Valley to biotech to mutual funds that grew like weeds once money flowed out of rocks into rolls. Entrepreneurs flourished. Dow 1000 to Dow 14000 meant amazing wealth creation - Gates, Buffet, Dell but also rippling though 401K plans and home values. So how bizarre is it that the end of the bull run came not from inflation returning, or so it seems, but from an overextension of asset backed financial instruments. The ‘70’s dressed up as a Collateralized Debt Obligation. I half expect bell bottoms to make a comeback. Wealth needs to be rebuilt. But the Federal Reserve can’t just print it. That will inevitably increase prices and inflation and a return to the ugly ‘70’s. It has to be earned. Profits. Human profits. Company profits. Fortunately, we have structure the economy for just such a task. The stock market hasn’t gone away, it still works as a way to efficiently allocate capital.


pages: 300 words: 78,475

Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream by Arianna Huffington

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carried interest, citizen journalism, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, David Brooks, extreme commuting, Exxon Valdez, full employment, greed is good, housing crisis, immigration reform, invisible hand, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, new economy, New Journalism, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, smart grid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Works Progress Administration

As Mauldin says of the old—and still dominant—order on Wall Street: “Let’s be very clear.71 This was purely gambling. No money was invested in mortgages or any productive enterprise. This was one group betting against another, and a lot of these deals were done all over New York and London.” Mauldin goes on to question why large institutional investors were even gambling on such things as synthetic collateralized debt obligations in the first place: “This is an investment that had no productive capital at work and no remotely socially redeeming value.72 It did not go to fund mortgages or buy capital equipment or build malls or office buildings.” Commenting on our looming debt crisis, Princeton economist Alan Blinder noted that “in 1980 [policymakers] knew about the year 2010 but that was really far away.”73 Well, it’s not anymore, and given that much of our deficit problem is about huge numbers of workers born decades ago now hitting retirement age, Blinder quipped, “The long run is now the short run and they’re combining.”

We’ve just seen the way middle-class incomes had fallen behind expenses over the past three decades. How is it that more and more Americans were able to buy more and more houses—even as incomes stagnated? By taking on more debt, of course, provided by an underregulated army of lenders pitching seductive new mortgage vehicles. By 2005, subprime mortgages had skyrocketed to 20 percent of the market.63 Fueling the boom was the development of securitized mortgages—including collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)—in which mortgages of varying degrees of risk were bundled together in “tranches” and sold to investors.64 Since lenders were selling off the risk to someone else, they felt much freer to make loans to borrowers who never would have been able to qualify for a prime mortgage. The Fed did its part, too, contributing extremely low interest rates and lax oversight to the increasingly toxic housing mix.


pages: 225 words: 11,355

Financial Market Meltdown: Everything You Need to Know to Understand and Survive the Global Credit Crisis by Kevin Mellyn

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, global reserve currency, Home mortgage interest deduction, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, long peace, margin call, market clearing, mass immigration, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, pattern recognition, pension reform, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, pushing on a string, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Great Moderation, the new new thing, the payments system, too big to fail, value at risk, very high income, War on Poverty, Y2K, yield curve

For example, when you hear the words ‘‘toxic assets’’ or ‘‘troubled assets’’ on the evening news, most of what you are hearing about are structured finance instruments based on pools of mortgages, Financial Innovation Made Easy ‘‘collateralized mortgage obligations’’ or CMOs. These proved such a success in getting mortgages off the books of lenders that the same structuring process was used to get business loans off the books. These collateralized loan obligations, or CLOs, were joined by collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, that pooled corporate debt. Obviously, such instruments lose value very quickly when the value of the underlying mortgages, loans, and bonds becomes questionable. Basically, they become ‘‘unsaleable.’’ Buying and selling makes prices, so without such transactions, there is no way to put a value on these instruments. DERIVATIVES PILED ON DERIVATIVES All this would be bad enough, but it gets worse.

See also Basle Committee black swans, 69 balance sheet lending, 36, 90 ‘‘bonds,’’ xi, xiv, 7, 17, 20, 25, 42–43, 49, 51–55, 64–67, 73, 78, 82, 87–88, 93, 106–107, 142, 151; coupons, 43–45; pricing, 44–46; trading, 45; vs. stocks, 48 bonus culture, 21 booms and bubbles, xx, 3, 17–18, 27, 46, 63, 67, 98, 109, 114, 126, 131, 137, 145, 149, 153, 157, 165, 175 borrowing, xix, 2, 4–5, 41, 56, 62, 66, 71, 79, 112–114, 146, 149, 151, 154, 161, 165, 169, 175 branch banking, 89 Bretton Woods, 115, 154–155 broker, 19–28, 46, 82, 87, 89–91, 96, 107, 110, 120, 130, 142, 159, 176 Building and Loan. See S&L Buffett, Warren, 48, 52, 175 Busts, xv, xx, 16, 18, 27, 67, 80, 98, 104, 121–131, 139–140, 158, 170 buy side, 22–27, 46, 67, 68, 146 ‘‘capital,’’ 4–5, 16, 26–28, 41, 46, 54, 60, 64, 66, 68, 70–74, 93, 99, 103–104, 117, 127, 142–143, 148, 156–160, 165, 184, 189 capital market, 27, 60, 117, 156, 160, 189 CD (Certificate of Deposit), 39, 49, 71, 130, 145–146 CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligation), 73–74 CDS (Credit Default Swap), 73 central bank, 12–13, 69, 74, 83, 102–113, 122–123, 136, 150, 160, 162–165, 173, 185. See also Bank of England, Fed, Federal Reserve System, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve Bank of New York checks, xv, 2, 10–14, 36–37, 84–90, 100, 105, 120, 122–123, 144 clearing, 13–14, 84–85, 91, 100, 105, 168 Index clearing houses, 11, 14, 84–85, 91, 105, 121, 144, 150 CLO (Collateralized Loan Obligation), 73 CMO (Collateralized Mortgage Obligation), 73 coinage, xvi, 105 Cold War effect on international finance, 147 commanding heights (of the economy), 126, 166, 174, 182, 187, 189 commercial paper, 41–42, 65–66, 130, 152 commodity money, xiii Compensating Balances, 144 Comptroller of the Currency, 38, 128, 141 confidence, xix, 12, 22, 28, 44, 80, 103, 112, 121, 129, 135–136, 140–141, 161, 164–165, 168 contracts, 25, 29–32, 36–37, 40–41, 47, 53–57, 73, 80, 98, 119–120, 138, 156, 175, 186 contracts in a box, 29–30, 34–35, 41–47, 54, 78 consumer lending, 61, 63, 65, 70 corporate equities.


pages: 305 words: 69,216

A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent Into Depression by Richard A. Posner

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Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, diversified portfolio, equity premium, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, oil shock, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, race to the bottom, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, statistical model, too big to fail, transaction costs, very high income

Leverage increases risk, but it also increases expected return, and it is not irrational to accept that tradeoff within limits that in the latest bubbles were not thought to have been exceeded, because of the new financial instruments that were believed to minimize risk. Indeed they, along with the magical combination of low interest rates with low inflation, were the key innovations that made the era seem new, along with one I haven't mentioned yet—the special investment vehicle. A bank that created a risky asset, say some form of collateralized debt obligation (a more complicated version of a mortgage-backed security), might place it in a separate entity, created to hold the asset, rather than keeping it on its books, so that if the asset crashed the bank's capital would not be impaired. As long as the bank disclosed in advance that it was not guaranteeing any losses sustained by the entity, investors could not complain; they would be taking a risk with their eves wide open.

But I have acknowledged that there are political problems with pricking asset-price bubbles, and the Federal Reserve cannot maintain its political independence if it ruffles too many political feathers. Not enough economists noticed (or at least remarked) the relation between executive compensation practices and risky lending, or appreciated the riskiness of mortgage-backed securities, other collateralized-debt obligations, and credit-default swaps, or connected the decline in personal savings to the danger that such lending posed to the economy. Not enough seem to have realized that the crisis of the banking industry, when it hit, was a crisis not of (or at least not mainly of) illiquidiry but of insolvency. Not only were warning signs ignored until too late, but when the economics profession finally woke up we learned that neither government economists like Bernanke nor private economists had prepared any contingency plans for dealing with a depression.


pages: 261 words: 81,802

The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig

battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, employer provided health coverage, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, laissez-faire capitalism, land tenure, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, very high income, wealth creators, women in the workforce

A few bettors had already been badly burned, spending too much on premiums and eventually pulling out of the game, frustrated and bitter that the housing market hadn’t yet imploded. Paulson too had been betting on a housing collapse, but he’d assembled a big enough war chest from his wealthy hedge fund clients to keep playing, despite the continued buoyancy of the housing market. After the meeting with Shilling, he was convinced that now was the time to go really big. One frustration for Paulson was that there just weren’t enough of these stocks, known as collateral debt obligations (CDO), to bet against. So he decided to become proactive. He approached a number of investment banks with the request that they create more CDOs to sell to clients, so that he could then take out ‘insurance’ betting that these would fail. The arrangement Paulson had in mind was rife with potential conflicts of interest. He clearly wanted to help pick the mortgages that would make up the new CDOs.

In the age of winner-take-all compensation, a similar propensity for cheating seems to have infected the upper levels of the business and financial worlds. It’s worth considering whether the mindset that led Wall Street types to abandon all sanity and morality – mixing together toxic brews of junk mortgages, car loans and credit card debts and then selling pieces of these sickly concoctions to unknowing ‘investors’ – is partly the result of the overstimulation of their greed impulses. When the broader public first became aware of collateral debt obligations and credit default swaps during the financial meltdown in the autumn of 2008, the most common reaction was bewilderment. The hypercharged Wall Street world was so removed from the regular world most people inhabit – where pay bears some relationship to hours worked, effort and results – that it seemed baffling and indecipherable. How did grown men and women make decisions that were not just over-the-top greedy but were so evidently irresponsible and threatening to the well-being of so many others, including themselves?


pages: 349 words: 134,041

Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Brownian motion, business process, buy low sell high, call centre, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, financial innovation, fixed income, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, John Meriwether, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass affluent, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Journalism, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, technology bubble, the medium is the message, the new new thing, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

In 1997, the Asian century was still- DAS_C02.QXP 8/7/06 4:22 PM Page 45 1 N Financial WMDs – derivatives demagoguery 45 born. In 1998, Russia defaulted. In 2001, Argentina completed its transition from first world to third world economy under the weight of debts that the country would never be able to service, let alone repay. Credit derivative products emerged. Credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) allowed investors to take on credit risk. On schedule, in 2001, the CDO market collapsed, leaving the investors to nurse sizeable losses. In between, there were dalliances with gold, weather and catastrophe bonds that kept the markets busy. Forbidden fruit Back at the training programme, I generally finished my class for trainees by taking them through a structured product – an inverse floater, which I used to illustrate structured products.

Regulations required insurance companies holding junk bonds to provide a lot of reserves against the investment. To get around the rules, insurance companies repackaged the high yield assets into CBOs and transferred the riskier parts to their holding companies (which did not have to hold reserves). Now, CBOs in a more modern form were used to repackage credit risk for investors. It was even given a new name – CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligations). Imitation and flattery In the 1970s, mortgage securitization developed in the US. Banks originally had written mortgage loans, then they had waited 30 years for the homeowners to pay it back. Now, banks wrote the loan and once they had a bunch they sold them to a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The SPV paid the bank for the mortgages it bought. It issued bonds in the market to raise the cash.

However, the text is different. 6 ‘What Worries Warren’ (3 March 2003) Fortune. 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 325 Index accounting rules 139, 221, 228, 257 Accounting Standards Board 33 accrual accounting 139 active fund management 111 actuaries 107–10, 205, 289 Advance Corporation Tax 242 agency business 123–4, 129 agency theory 117 airline profits 140–1 Alaska 319 Allen, Woody 20 Allied Irish Bank 143 Allied Lyons 98 alternative investment strategies 112, 308 American Express 291 analysts, role of 62–4 anchor effect 136 Anderson, Rolf 92–4 annuities 204–5 ANZ Bank 277 Aquinas, Thomas 137 arbitrage 33, 38–40, 99, 114, 137–8, 171–2, 245–8, 253–5, 290, 293–6 arbitration 307 Argentina 45 arithmophobia 177 ‘armpit theory’ 303 Armstrong World Industries 274 arrears assets 225 Ashanti Goldfields 97–8, 114 Asian financial crisis (1997) 4, 9, 44–5, 115, 144, 166, 172, 207, 235, 245, 252, 310, 319 asset consultants 115–17, 281 ‘asset growth’ strategy 255 asset swaps 230–2 assets under management (AUM) 113–4, 117 assignment of loans 267–8 AT&T 275 attribution of earnings 148 auditors 144 Australia 222–4, 254–5, 261–2 back office functions 65–6 back-to-back loans 35, 40 backwardation 96 Banca Popolare di Intra 298 Bank of America 298, 303 Bank of International Settlements 50–1, 281 Bank of Japan 220 Bankers’ Trust (BT) 59, 72, 101–2, 149, 217–18, 232, 268–71, 298, 301, 319 banking regulations 155, 159, 162, 164, 281, 286, 288 banking services 34; see also commercial banks; investment banks bankruptcy 276–7 Banque Paribas 37–8, 232 Barclays Bank 121–2, 297–8 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 326 4:44 pm Page 326 Index Baring, Peter 151 Baring Brothers 51, 143, 151–2, 155 ‘Basel 2’ proposal 159 basis risk 28, 42, 274 Bear Stearns 173 bearer eurodollar collateralized securities (BECS) 231–3 ‘behavioural finance’ 136 Berkshire Hathaway 19 Bermudan options 205, 227 Bernstein, Peter 167 binomial option pricing model 196 Bismarck, Otto von 108 Black, Fischer 22, 42, 160, 185, 189–90, 193, 195, 197, 209, 215 Black–Scholes formula for option pricing 22, 185, 194–5 Black–Scholes–Merton model 160, 189–93, 196–7 ‘black swan’ hypothesis 130 Blair, Tony 223 Bogle, John 116 Bohr, Niels 122 Bond, Sir John 148 ‘bond floor’ concept 251–4 bonding 75–6, 168, 181 bonuses 146–51, 244, 262, 284–5 Brady Commission 203 brand awareness and brand equity 124, 236 Brazil 302 Bretton Woods system 33 bribery 80, 303 British Sky Broadcasting (BSB) 247–8 Brittain, Alfred 72 broad index secured trust offerings (BISTROs) 284–5 brokers 69, 309 Brown, Robert 161 bubbles 210, 310, 319 Buconero 299 Buffet, Warren 12, 19–20, 50, 110–11, 136, 173, 246, 316 business process reorganization 72 business risk 159 Business Week 130 buy-backs 249 ‘call’ options 25, 90, 99, 101, 131, 190, 196 callable bonds 227–9, 256 capital asset pricing model (CAPM) 111 capital flow 30 capital guarantees 257–8 capital structure arbitrage 296 Capote, Truman 87 carbon trading 320 ‘carry cost’ model 188 ‘carry’ trades 131–3, 171 cash accounting 139 catastrophe bonds 212, 320 caveat emptor principle 27, 272 Cayman Islands 233–4 Cazenove (company) 152 CDO2 292 Cemex 249–50 chaos theory 209, 312 Chase Manhattan Bank 143, 299 Chicago Board Options Exchange 195 Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) 25–6, 34 chief risk officers 177 China 23–5, 276, 302–4 China Club, Hong Kong 318 Chinese walls 249, 261, 280 chrematophobia 177 Citibank and Citigroup 37–8, 43, 71, 79, 94, 134–5, 149, 174, 238–9 Citron, Robert 124–5, 212–17 client relationships 58–9 Clinton, Bill 223 Coats, Craig 168–9 collateral requirements 215–16 collateralized bond obligations (CBOs) 282 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) 45, 282–99 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 327 Index collateralized fund obligations (CFOs) 292 collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) 283–5, 288 commercial banks 265–7 commoditization 236 commodity collateralized obligations (CCOs) 292 commodity prices 304 Commonwealth Bank of Australia 255 compliance officers 65 computer systems 54, 155, 197–8 concentration risk 271, 287 conferences with clients 59 confidence levels 164 confidentiality 226 Conseco 279–80 contagion crises 291 contango 96 contingent conversion convertibles (co-cos) 257 contingent payment convertibles (co-pays) 257 Continental Illinois 34 ‘convergence’ trading 170 convertible bonds 250–60 correlations 163–6, 294–5; see also default correlations corruption 303 CORVUS 297 Cox, John 196–7 credit cycle 291 credit default swaps (CDSs) 271–84, 293, 299 credit derivatives 129, 150, 265–72, 282, 295, 299–300 Credit Derivatives Market Practices Committee 273, 275, 280–1 credit models 294, 296 credit ratings 256–7, 270, 287–8, 297–8, 304 credit reserves 140 credit risk 158, 265–74, 281–95, 299 327 credit spreads 114, 172–5, 296 Credit Suisse 70, 106, 167 credit trading 293–5 CRH Capital 309 critical events 164–6 Croesus 137 cross-ruffing 142 cubic splines 189 currency options 98, 218, 319 custom repackaged asset vehicles (CRAVEs) 233 daily earning at risk (DEAR) concept 160 Daiwa Bank 142 Daiwa Europe 277 Danish Oil and Natural Gas 296 data scrubbing 142 dealers, work of 87–8, 124–8, 133, 167, 206, 229–37, 262, 295–6; see also traders ‘death swap’ strategy 110 decentralization 72 decision-making, scientific 182 default correlations 270–1 defaults 277–9, 287, 291, 293, 296, 299 DEFCON scale 156–7 ‘Delta 1’ options 243 delta hedging 42, 200 Deming, W.E. 98, 101 Denmark 38 deregulation, financial 34 derivatives trading 5–6, 12–14, 18–72, 79, 88–9, 99–115, 123–31, 139–41, 150, 153, 155, 175, 184–9, 206–8, 211–14, 217–19, 230, 233, 257, 262–3, 307, 316, 319–20; see also equity derivatives Derman, Emmanuel 185, 198–9 Deutsche Bank 70, 104, 150, 247–8, 274, 277 devaluations 80–1, 89, 203–4, 319 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 328 328 Index dilution of share capital 241 DINKs 313 Disney Corporation 91–8 diversification 72, 110–11, 166, 299 dividend yield 243 ‘Dr Evil’ trade 135 dollar premium 35 downsizing 73 Drexel Burnham Lambert (DBL) 282 dual currency bonds 220–3; see also reverse dual currency bonds earthquakes, bonds linked to 212 efficient markets hypothesis 22, 31, 111, 203 electronic trading 126–30, 134 ‘embeddos’ 218 emerging markets 3–4, 44, 115, 132–3, 142, 212, 226, 297 Enron 54, 142, 250, 298 enterprise risk management (ERM) 176 equity capital management 249 equity collateralized obligations (ECOs) 292 equity derivatives 241–2, 246–9, 257–62 equity index 137–8 equity investment, retail market in 258–9 equity investors’ risk 286–8 equity options 253–4 equity swaps 247–8 euro currency 171, 206, 237 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 297 European currency units 93 European Union 247–8 Exchange Rate Mechanism, European 204 exchangeable bonds 260 expatriate postings 81–2 expert witnesses 310–12 extrapolation 189, 205 extreme value theory 166 fads of management science 72–4 ‘fairway bonds’ 225 Fama, Eugene 22, 111, 194 ‘fat tail’ events 163–4 Federal Accounting Standards Board 266 Federal Home Loans Bank 213 Federal National Mortgage Association 213 Federal Reserve Bank 20, 173 Federal Reserve Board 132 ‘Ferraris’ 232 financial engineering 228, 230, 233, 249–50, 262, 269 Financial Services Authority (FSA), Japan 106, 238 Financial Services Authority (FSA), UK 15, 135 firewalls 235–6 firing of staff 84–5 First Interstate Ltd 34–5 ‘flat’ organizations 72 ‘flat’ positions 159 floaters 231–2; see also inverse floaters ‘flow’ trading 60–1, 129 Ford Motors 282, 296 forecasting 135–6, 190 forward contracts 24–33, 90, 97, 124, 131, 188 fugu fish 239 fund management 109–17, 286, 300 futures see forward contracts Galbraith, John Kenneth 121 gamma risk 200–2, 294 Gauss, Carl Friedrich 160–2 General Motors 279, 296 General Reinsurance 20 geometric Brownian motion (GBM) 161 Ghana 98 Gibson Greeting Cards 44 Glass-Steagall Act 34 gold borrowings 132 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 329 Index gold sales 97, 137 Goldman Sachs 34, 71, 93, 150, 173, 185 ‘golfing holiday bonds’ 224 Greenspan, Alan 6, 9, 19–21, 29, 43, 47, 50, 53, 62, 132, 159, 170, 215, 223, 308 Greenwich NatWest 298 Gross, Bill 19 Guangdong International Trust and Investment Corporation (GITIC) 276–7 guaranteed annuity option (GAO) contracts 204–5 Gutenfreund, John 168–9 gyosei shido 106 Haghani, Victor 168 Hamanaka, Yasuo 142 Hamburgische Landesbank 297 Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of 66–7 ‘hara-kiri’ swaps 39 Hartley, L.P. 163 Hawkins, Greg 168 ‘heaven and hell’ bonds 218 hedge funds 44, 88–9, 113–14, 167, 170–5, 200–2, 206, 253–4, 262–3, 282, 292, 296, 300, 308–9 hedge ratio 264 hedging 24–8, 31, 38–42, 60, 87–100, 184, 195–200, 205–7, 214, 221, 229, 252, 269, 281, 293–4, 310 Heisenberg, Werner 122 ‘hell bonds’ 218 Herman, Clement (‘Crem’) 45–9, 77, 84, 309 Herodotus 137, 178 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) 237–8, 286 Hilibrand, Lawrence 168 Hill Samuel 231–2 329 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 189 Homer, Sidney 184 Hong Kong 9, 303–4 ‘hot tubbing’ 311–12 HSBC Bank 148 HSH Nordbank 297–8 Hudson, Kevin 102 Hufschmid, Hans 77–8 IBM 36, 218, 260 ICI 34 Iguchi, Toshihude 142 incubators 309 independent valuation 142 indexed currency option notes (ICONs) 218 India 302 Indonesia 5, 9, 19, 26, 55, 80–2, 105, 146, 219–20, 252, 305 initial public offerings 33, 64, 261 inside information and insider trading 133, 241, 248–9 insurance companies 107–10, 117, 119, 150, 192–3, 204–5, 221, 223, 282, 286, 300; see also reinsurance companies insurance law 272 Intel 260 intellectual property in financial products 226 Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) 285–6 International Accounting Standards 33 International Securities Market Association 106 International Swap Dealers Association (ISDA) 273, 275, 279, 281 Internet stock and the Internet boom 64, 112, 259, 261, 310, 319 interpolation of interest rates 141–2, 189 inverse floaters 46–51, 213–16, 225, 232–3 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 330 330 Index investment banks 34–8, 62, 64, 67, 71, 127–8, 172, 198, 206, 216–17, 234, 265–7, 298, 309 investment managers 43–4 investment styles 111–14 irrational decisions 136 Italy 106–7 Ito’s Lemma 194 Japan 39, 43, 82–3, 92, 94, 98–9, 101, 106, 132, 142, 145–6, 157, 212, 217–25, 228, 269–70 Jensen, Michael 117 Jett, Joseph 143 JP Morgan (company) 72, 150, 152, 160, 162, 249–50, 268–9, 284–5, 299; see also Morgan Guaranty junk bonds 231, 279, 282, 291, 296–7 JWM Associates 175 Kahneman, Daniel 136 Kaplanis, Costas 174 Kassouf, Sheen 253 Kaufman, Henry 62 Kerkorian, Kirk 296 Keynes, J.M. 167, 175, 198 Keynesianism 5 Kidder Peabody 143 Kleinwort Benson 40 Korea 9, 226, 278 Kozeny, Viktor 121 Krasker, William 168 Kreiger, Andy 319 Kyoto Protocol 320 Lavin, Jack 102 law of large numbers 192 Leeson, Nick 51, 131, 143, 151 legal opinions 47, 219–20, 235, 273–4 Leibowitz, Martin 184 Leland, Hayne 42, 202 Lend Lease Corporation 261–2 leptokurtic conditions 163 leverage 31–2, 48–50, 54, 99, 102–3, 114, 131–2, 171–5, 213–14, 247, 270–3, 291, 295, 305, 308 Lewis, Kenneth 303 Lewis, Michael 77–8 life insurance 204–5 Lintner, John 111 liquidity options 175 liquidity risk 158, 173 litigation 297–8 Ljunggren, Bernt 38–40 London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) 6, 37 ‘long first coupon’ strategy 39 Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) 44, 51, 62, 77–8, 84, 114, 166–75, 187, 206, 210, 215–18, 263–4, 309–10 Long Term Credit Bank of Japan 94 LOR (company) 202 Louisiana Purchase 319 low exercise price options (LEPOs) 261 Maastricht Treaty and criteria 106–7 McLuhan, Marshall 134 McNamara, Robert 182 macro-economic indicators, derivatives linked to 319 Mahathir Mohammed 31 Malaysia 9 management consultants 72–3 Manchester United 152 mandatory convertibles 255 Marakanond, Rerngchai 302 margin calls 97–8, 175 ‘market neutral’ investment strategy 114 market risk 158, 173, 265 marketable eurodollar collateralized securities (MECS) 232 Markowitz, Harry 110 mark-to-market accounting 10, 100, 139–41, 145, 150, 174, 215–16, 228, 244, 266, 292, 295, 298 Marx, Groucho 24, 57, 67, 117, 308 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 331 Index mathematics applied to financial instruments 209–10; see also ‘quants’ matrix structures 72 Meckling, Herbert 117 Melamed, Leo 34, 211 merchant banks 38 Meriwether, John 167–9, 172–5 Merrill Lynch 124, 150, 217, 232 Merton, Robert 22, 42, 168–70, 175, 185, 189–90, 193–7, 210 Messier, Marie 247 Metallgesellschaft 95–7 Mexico 44 mezzanine finance 285–8, 291–7 MG Refining and Marketing 95–8, 114 Microsoft 53 Mill, Stuart 130 Miller, Merton 22, 101, 194 Milliken, Michael 282 Ministry of Finance, Japan 222 misogyny 75–7 mis-selling 238, 297–8 Mitchell, Edison 70 Mitchell & Butler 275–6 models financial 42–3, 141–2, 163–4, 173–5, 181–4, 189, 198–9, 205–10 of business processes 73–5 see also credit models Modest, David 168 momentum investment 111 monetization 260–1 monopolies in financial trading 124 moral hazard 151, 280, 291 Morgan Guaranty 37–8, 221, 232 Morgan Stanley 76, 150 mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) 282–3 Moscow, City of 277 moves of staff between firms 150, 244 Mozer, Paul 169 Mullins, David 168–70 multi-skilling 73 331 Mumbai 3 Murdoch, Rupert 247 Nabisco 220 Napoleon 113 NASDAQ index 64, 112 Nash, Ogden 306 National Australia Bank 144, 178 National Rifle Association 29 NatWest Bank 144–5, 198 Niederhoffer, Victor 130 ‘Nero’ 7, 31, 45–9, 60, 77, 82–3, 88–9, 110, 118–19, 125, 128, 292 NERVA 297 New Zealand 319 Newman, Frank 104 news, financial 133–4 News Corporation 247 Newton, Isaac 162, 210 Nippon Credit Bank 106, 271 Nixon, Richard 33 Nomura Securities 218 normal distribution 160–3, 193, 199 Northern Electric 248 O’Brien, John 202 Occam, William 188 off-balance sheet transactions 32–3, 99, 234, 273, 282 ‘offsites’ 74–5 oil prices 30, 33, 89–90, 95–7 ‘omitted variable’ bias 209–10 operational risk 158, 176 opinion shopping 47 options 9, 21–2, 25–6, 32, 42, 90, 98, 124, 197, 229 pricing 185, 189–98, 202 Orange County 16, 44, 50, 124–57, 212–17, 232–3 orphan subsidiaries 234 over-the-counter (OTC) market 26, 34, 53, 95, 124, 126 overvaluation 64 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 332 332 Index ‘overwhelming force’ strategy 134–5 Owen, Martin 145 ownership, ‘legal’ and ‘economic’ 247 parallel loans 35 pari-mutuel auction system 319 Parkinson’s Law 136 Parmalat 250, 298–9 Partnoy, Frank 87 pension funds 43, 108–10, 115, 204–5, 255 People’s Bank of China (PBOC) 276–7 Peters’ Principle 71 petrodollars 71 Pétrus (restaurant) 121 Philippines, the 9 phobophobia 177 Piga, Gustavo 106 PIMCO 19 Plaza Accord 38, 94, 99, 220 plutophobia 177 pollution quotas 320 ‘portable alpha’ strategy 115 portfolio insurance 112, 202–3, 294 power reverse dual currency (PRDC) bonds 226–30 PowerPoint 75 preferred exchangeable resettable listed shares (PERLS) 255 presentations of business models 75 to clients 57, 185 prime brokerage 309 Prince, Charles 238 privatization 205 privity of contract 273 Proctor & Gamble (P&G) 44, 101–4, 155, 298, 301 product disclosure statements (PDSs) 48–9 profit smoothing 140 ‘programme’ issuers 234–5 proprietary (‘prop’) trading 60, 62, 64, 130, 174, 254 publicly available information (PAI) 277 ‘puff’ effect 148 purchasing power parity theory 92 ‘put’ options 90, 131, 256 ‘quants’ 183–9, 198, 208, 294 Raabe, Matthew 217 Ramsay, Gordon 121 range notes 225 real estate 91, 219 regulatory arbitrage 33 reinsurance companies 288–9 ‘relative value’ trading 131, 170–1, 310 Reliance Insurance 91–2 repackaging (‘repack’) business 230–6, 282, 290 replication in option pricing 195–9, 202 dynamic 200 research provided to clients 58, 62–4, 184 reserves, use of 140 reset preference shares 254–7 restructuring of loans 279–81 retail equity products 258–9 reverse convertibles 258–9 reverse dual currency bonds 223–30 ‘revolver’ loans 284–5 risk, financial, types of 158 risk adjusted return on capital (RAROC) 268, 290 risk conservation principle 229–30 risk management 65, 153–79, 184, 187, 201, 267 risk models 163–4, 173–5 riskless portfolios 196–7 RJ Reynolds (company) 220–1 rogue traders 176, 313–16 Rosenfield, Eric 168 Ross, Stephen 196–7, 202 Roth, Don 38 Rothschild, Mayer Amshel 267 Royal Bank of Scotland 298 Rubinstein, Mark 42, 196–7 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 333 Index Rumsfeld, Donald 12, 134, 306 Rusnak, John 143 Russia 45, 80, 166, 172–3, 274, 302 sales staff 55–60, 64–5, 125, 129, 217 Salomon Brothers 20, 36, 54, 62, 167–9, 174, 184 Sandor, Richard 34 Sanford, Charles 72, 269 Sanford, Eugene 269 Schieffelin, Allison 76 Scholes, Myron 22, 42, 168–71, 175, 185, 189–90, 193–7, 263–4 Seagram Group 247 Securities and Exchange Commission, US 64, 304 Securities and Futures Authority, UK 249 securitization 282–90 ‘security design’ 254–7 self-regulation 155 sex discrimination 76 share options 250–1 Sharpe, William 111 short selling 30–1, 114 Singapore 9 single-tranche CDOs 293–4, 299 ‘Sisters of Perpetual Ecstasy’ 234 SITCOMs 313 Six Continents (6C) 275–6 ‘smile’ effect 145 ‘snake’ currency system 203 ‘softing’ arrangements 117 Solon 137 Soros, George 44, 130, 253, 318–19 South Sea Bubble 210 special purpose asset repackaging companies (SPARCs) 233 special purpose vehicles (SPVs) 231–4, 282–6, 290, 293 speculation 29–31, 42, 67, 87, 108, 130 ‘spinning’ 64 333 Spitzer, Eliot 64 spread 41, 103; see also credit spreads stack hedges 96 Stamenson, Michael 124–5 standard deviation 161, 193, 195, 199 Steinberg, Sol 91 stock market booms 258, 260 stock market crashes 42–3, 168, 203, 257, 259, 319 straddles or strangles 131 strategy in banking 70 stress testing 164–6 stripping of convertible bonds 253–4 structured investment products 44, 112, 115, 118, 128, 211–39, 298 structured note asset packages (SNAPs) 233 Stuart SC 18, 307, 316–18 Styblo Bleder, Tanya 153 Suharto, Thojib 81–2 Sumitomo Corporation 100, 142 Sun Tzu 61 Svensk Exportkredit (SEK) 38–9 swaps 5–10, 26, 35–40, 107, 188, 211; see also equity swaps ‘swaptions’ 205–6 Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) 248–9 Swiss banks 108, 305 ‘Swiss cheese theory’ 176 synthetic securitization 284–5, 288–90 systemic risk 151 Takeover Panel 248–9 Taleb, Nassim 130, 136, 167 target redemption notes 225–6 tax and tax credits 171, 242–7, 260–3 Taylor, Frederick 98, 101 team-building exercises 76 team moves 149 technical analysis 60–1, 135 television programmes about money 53, 62–3 Thailand 9, 80, 302–5 13_INDEX.QXD 17/2/06 4:44 pm Page 334 334 Index Thatcher, Margaret 205 Thorp, Edward 253 tobashi trades 105–7 Tokyo Disneyland 92, 212 top managers 72–3 total return swaps 246–8, 269 tracking error 138 traders in financial products 59–65, 129–31, 135–6, 140, 148, 151, 168, 185–6, 198; see also dealers trading limits 42, 157, 201 trading rooms 53–4, 64, 68, 75–7, 184–7, 208 Trafalgar House 248 tranching 286–9, 292, 296 transparency 26, 117, 126, 129–30, 310 Treynor, Jack 111 trust investment enhanced return securities (TIERS) 216, 233 trust obligation participating securities (TOPS) 232 TXU Europe 279 UBS Global Asset Management 110, 150, 263–4, 274 uncertainty principle 122–3 unique selling propositions 118 unit trusts 109 university education 187 unspecified fund obligations (UFOs) 292 ‘upfronting’ of income 139, 151 Valéry, Paul 163 valuation 64, 142–6 value at risk (VAR) concept 160–7, 173 value investing 111 Vanguard 116 vanity bonds 230 variance 161 Vietnam War 182, 195 Virgin Islands 233–4 Vivendi 247–8 volatility of bond prices 197 of interest rates 144–5 of share prices 161–8, 172–5, 192–3, 199 Volcker, Paul 20, 33 ‘warehouses’ 40–2, 139 warrants arbitrage 99–101 weather, bonds linked to 212, 320 Weatherstone, Dennis 72, 268 Weil, Gotscal & Manges 298 Weill, Sandy 174 Westdeutsche Genosenschafts Zentralbank 143 Westminster Group 34–5 Westpac 261–2 Wheat, Allen 70, 72, 106, 167 Wojniflower, Albert 62 World Bank 4, 36, 38 World Food Programme 320 Worldcom 250, 298 Wriston, Walter 71 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) contracts 28–30 yield curves 103, 188–9, 213, 215 yield enhancement 112, 213, 269 ‘yield hogs’ 43 zaiteku 98–101, 104–5 zero coupon bonds 221–2, 257–8


pages: 524 words: 143,993

The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned--And Have Still to Learn--From the Financial Crisis by Martin Wolf

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air freight, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, bonus culture, break the buck, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, light touch regulation, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandatory minimum, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market fragmentation, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, very high income, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

The most important innovation was, arguably, in the allegedly mathematically rigorous pricing of derivatives – financial assets that ‘derive’ their value from the prices of underlying assets, such as stocks or bonds, indices, or interest rates.30 But, it should be noted, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, famous for the ‘Black Swan’ (an unforecastable event), views the theories underlying the pricing of derivatives as intellectually fraudulent.31 But, aided by rising computing power, this almost universally accepted intellectual innovation led to an explosion in the invention and trading of ever more sophisticated products, including the infamous collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), synthetic collateralized debt obligations and CDOs squared, which triggered the global financial crisis of 2007–08. (These instruments are explained further below.) According to the Bank for International Settlements, between June 1998 and June 2008 the notional value of outstanding over-the-counter derivatives exploded from $72tn to $673tn (whereupon it stagnated), the latter being just under eleven times global gross product.

This was true in the US and the UK, but also in Iceland, Ireland, Spain, and parts of Central and Eastern Europe. It was true of households and companies, particularly investors in property, property developers and those engaged in leveraged buy-outs. With more debt relative to equity, and overvalued asset prices, the outcome was extreme vulnerability to crisis. In addition, the market-based financial system embedded an enormous amount of leverage inside financial instruments. Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) are an excellent example, with leverage inherent in the process of tranching cash inflows. Synthetic CDOs, which are created by pooling and tranching credit-default swaps on asset-backed securities and other bonds, involve much the same process. Think of the simplest possible CDO, one in which the underlying interest payments and mortgage repayments are divided into just two securities: the lower risk of these two securities would be entitled to receive the first 50 per cent of all the payments and repayments; the higher risk of these securities would get the rest.


pages: 632 words: 159,454

War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt by Kwasi Kwarteng

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, California gold rush, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Etonian, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, market bubble, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, quantitative easing, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, War on Poverty, Yom Kippur War

Other bankers were also eager to satisfy the demand of their clients for higher-yielding assets in a world where US Treasuries were paying only 2 per cent for ten-year bonds. In the 2008 edition of his book The Return of Depression Economics, Paul Krugman noted the ‘complete abandonment of traditional principles’ of lending.7 It is true that some individual families were motivated by dreams of owning their own spacious home, but the explosion of credit was as much driven by the suppliers of credit who created such novel instruments as Collateralized Debt Obligations, or CDOs for short, to satisfy the need for higher yields. This so-called ‘securitization’ of assets has been described as the act of ‘turning an expected future cash flow into tradable bond-like securities’.8 A famous example of securitization occurred when Bowie Bonds were created in 1997. The original bond sold that year raised $55 million for the rock musician David Bowie. Future album sales of his music generated the revenue stream for the securities.

From June 2006 to September 2007, the rate was held at 5.25 per cent, having risen from a low of 1 per cent in June 2003.15 This increase, between 2003 and 2006, would eventually put pressure on mortgage holders. Yet by late August 2007 it was already too late to supply relief. At that time, funds and banks around the world had already ‘taken hits’ because they had purchased bonds backed by US home loans, ‘often bundled into financial instruments called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs’. An Australia-based professor of finance observed that it was ‘amazing how much ignorance and fear are out there’.16 In the spring of 2008, the former ‘maestro’, Alan Greenspan himself, writing in a blog on the Financial Times’s website, referred in his jargon-filled academic prose-style to the ‘dramatic fall in real long-term interest rates’ which ‘statistically explains, and is the most likely major cause of, real estate capitalization rates that declined and converged across the globe’.

., 296–7, 305–14, 321, 330–2, 348 Business China, 292 Byrnes, James, 182 Cajamarca, 16 Callaghan, James, 241 Calonne, Charles-Alexandre, 43–5 Cambridge Apostles, 111, 149 Campbell, John, 245 Canada, 39, 352 Cantor, Eric, 349 capital, free movement of, 243–4 capitalization rates, 326–7 Cardin, Benjamin, 297 Carnegie, Andrew, 75, 77, 80 Carter, Jimmy, 235–6, 238–9, 249, 308, 310 Case, Walter, 128 Cassel, Sir Ernest, 88–9 Cassel, Gustav, 114–15 Cato Institute, 309 central banks Burns’s paradox, 239–40 and currency stability, 207, 239–40 and global gold stocks, 358–9 invention of, 22 and issue of paper money, 59–60, 64–5 as lenders of last resort, 50 US establishment of, 66–8, 78–80, 108 Chamberlain, Neville, 138 Chandos, Duke of, 37 Charles II, King, 24, 357 Charles V, Emperor, 11–12, 19–20 Chase, Salmon, 71–2 Chase Manhattan Bank, 230–1, 238 Cheney, Dick, 132 Chiang Kai-shek, 193 China communist victory in, 193 and currency value, 285–8, 291–2, 296–9, 319, 351 dollar reserves, 299–301, 318–19 economic expansion, 78, 83, 282–300 and financial crisis, 351–2 financial reforms, 293–4 foreign exchange reserves, 287, 358 and global financial system, 358 gold reserves, 358 infrastructure spending, 294–6 Japanese war in, 191 and Korean War, 163 and mercantilism, 284–5 national debt, 295 state enterprises, 293–4 symbiosis with US, 318–19, 321 welfare provision, 296 Chinese Communist Party, 282, 288, 294 Chongqing, 293 Church assets, taxation of, 44–6 Churchill, Winston, 4, 100, 107, 118, 138, 142, 147, 181, 246, 331 Cieza de Léon, Pedro, 13 Citicorp, 230 Citizens Against Government Waste, 310 City of London, 24–5, 27 ad hoc financial arrangements, 86 Bagehot’s account of, 63–4 and Barings crisis, 85–6 Big Bang deregulation, 258 decline as financial centre, 97, 106, 108 dependence on government, 38 in Edwardian period, 82–3, 86–90 and outbreak of First World War, 91–3 post-war, 171–2 social structure, 86–9 working week, 88 see also Lombard Street Clarke, Richard (‘Otto’), 173 Clay, Henry, 70–1 Clay, Lucius D., 181–5 Cleveland, Grover, 74 Clinton, Bill, 307–8, 310, 348 Cobbett, William, 52 Cobbold, Cameron, 178–9 Cobden, Richard, 160, 246 Coggan, Philip, 5, 320, 325, 329, 355 Cold War, 157, 159, 186, 198, 234, 237, 261 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 324–7 Colombian Mining Association, 56 Columbus, Christopher, 12 Compagnie d’Occident, 30–1, 34 Companies Act, 87 company indebtedness, high levels of, 233 Company of the Indies, 31–3 ‘compensatory finance’, 203 ‘competitive devaluation’, 132 Connally, John, 216–19 conquistadors, 12–16, 23 Conrad, Kent, 305 ‘consumption function’, 136 ‘contagion’, 290 Continental Congress, 41–2 ‘continental’ currency, 5, 41–3, 46, 71 Cooke, Jay, 71 Coolidge, Calvin, 119 Cornwell, Rupert, 277 Cortés, Hernan, 12–15 Council of the Indies, 19 Countrywide mortgage lenders, 322–3 Covarrubias, Diego de, 20 Craggs, James, 32, 37 Crawford, Thomas, 35 credit bubbles, ending of, 123 Crimean War, 61 Cripps, Sir Stafford, 175, 179–80 Crosland, Anthony, 172 ‘Currency School’, 64 Curtice, Harlow, 154 Curtis, Timothy Abraham, 57 Czechoslovakia, 157 Daily Mail, 180 Dalton, Hugh, 171–2, 174–5 Darling, Alistair, 332–3, 343 de Gaulle, Charles, 209–11, 214 de Zoete, Walter, 88 debt-for-equity swaps, 31 Delors, Jacques, 262, 264, 267–8, 276 Delors Committee, 272, 276 democracy, and public spending, 2–3, 93, 279 Deng Xiaoping, 282–4 Der Spiegel, 275–6, 279 deregulation, of financial services, 257–8 derivatives, 320 Detroit Bank, 193, 207 Deutschmark devaluation, 188 dollar exchange rate, 254–5 and ERM, 264, 266–72 and German reunification, 266, 268 introduction of, 183–7 and single currency, 274–5, 278 and the snake, 263 Dillon, Douglas, 210 Disraeli, Benjamin, 56–7 Dodd, David, 161 Dodd–Frank Act, 351 Dodge, Joseph, 184, 193–6, 201 dollar break with gold, 5, 214, 218–20, 223, 225, 255, 262 Bretton Woods and link to gold, 140, 143–4, 149–50, 167–70, 208–12, 250–1 defined value of, 42–3 devaluation, 131–2 establishment of, 42–3, 279 importance of exchange rate, 254–6 stabilization of, 237–9 suspension of link to gold, 71–2, 74, 76, 219 Dollar Drain Committee, 175, 179 ‘dollar financing problem’, 154–5 ‘dollar shortage’, 158, 181 dot-com bubble, 314, 316 Dow Jones average, 218, 226, 237, 259–60, 331 Drew, Daniel, 75 ducats, 11 duelling, 27–8 Duncan, Richard, 315–16, 355 East Germany, 186, 266, 268 East India Company, 32 Eckstein, Otto, 228 Economic Club of Detroit, 165, 207–8 Economic Journal, 97, 107, 111 Economist, 82, 91, 99, 104, 113, 142, 226, 292, 299, 338 articles on Japan, 198–9 Friedman obituary, 234 and launch of euro, 279–80 and shift in economic power, 228–9 Eden, Anthony, 246 Edward VII, King, 89, 147 Eichengreen, Barry, 131–2 Einzig, Paul, 135–6 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 168–70, 193, 202, 204, 207, 252, 259, 306, 308, 311, 339 Ekali swimming pools, 335–6 El Dorado, 13 Elizabeth II, Queen, 270 Ellerman, John, 87–8 ‘emerging markets’, 289 Emminger, Otmar, 187, 254–6 English, Phil, 297 Erhard, Ludwig, 182 ERM (exchange rate mechanism), 263–72, 276, 280 euro conditions for joining, 272–3, 277, 336 Greece joins, 280–1, 335–7 introduction of, 272–81, 334–5 and moral hazard, 274 risk of collapse, 346–7 European Central Bank, 272, 346 European Commission, 346 European Economic Community (EEC), 211, 226, 262, 276 European Financial Stabilization Facility (EFSF), 338 European Union, 267, 276, 337, 352 Evening Standard, 118 excess profits duty, 104–5 Export-Import Bank of Japan, 195 Export-Import Bank of Washington, 154, 164 Fairchild, Fred, 103 Faisal, King, 229–30 Federal Reserve Accord of 1951, 164–5, 169 under Bernanke, 327, 343 under Burns, 215, 233 establishment of, 108 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), 163–4 and Great Depression, 126–8 under Greenspan, 258–60, 301–4, 310, 313–14, 325 and market stabilization, 259–60 under Martin, 205–6, 215 Meltzer’s history of, 212–13 relationship with Treasury, 163–7, 169 Strong and New York branch, 123 under Volcker, 223, 237–8, 249–50 Feis, Herbert, 83 Ferguson, Niall, 6, 90, 318–19, 351 fiat money, 5, 61, 320 Field, Marshall, 75 ‘Financial Revolution’, 24 Financial Times, 227, 265, 271–2, 326, 347 Finland, 278 First Bank of the United States, 67 First World War, outbreak of, 90–3 fiscal policy, primacy of, 2–3 ‘fiscal repression’, 357–8 Fish, Hamilton, 157 Fisher, Irving, 121–2 Fisk, James, Jr (‘Big Jim’), 76 Fleming, Ian, 4 floating currencies, 226, 231, 234–5, 262, 299 florins, 11 Forbes, Steven, 299 Ford Motor Company, 121 Ford, Gerald, 232, 235, 308 foreign exchange controls, abolition of, 242–3 Forster, E.


pages: 413 words: 117,782

What Happened to Goldman Sachs: An Insider's Story of Organizational Drift and Its Unintended Consequences by Steven G. Mandis

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, algorithmic trading, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, BRICs, business process, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, disintermediation, diversification, Emanuel Derman, financial innovation, fixed income, friendly fire, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, housing crisis, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, new economy, passive investing, performance metric, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Nature of the Firm, too big to fail, value at risk

Earlier theories, Dekker argues, have been tripped up by their tendency to explain instances of failure in complex environments by blaming flawed components rather than the workings of the organizational system as a whole.2 Dekker concludes, by contrast, that failure emerges opportunistically, nonrandomly, from the very webs of relationships that breed success and that are supposed to protect organizations from disaster. Dekker also observes that systems tend to drift in the direction of failure, gradually reducing the safety margin and taking on more risk, because of pressures to optimize the system in order to be more efficient and competitive. We are able to build complex things—deep-sea oil rigs, spaceships, collateralized debt obligations—all of whose properties we can understand in isolation. But with complex systems in competitive, regulated societies—like most organizations—failure is often primarily due to unanticipated interactions and interdependencies of components and factors or forces outside the system, rather than failure of the components themselves. The interactions are unanticipated, and the signals are missed.

Goldman experiments with e-mail (C). 1997: Paulson says Goldman’s policy of not advising on hostile takeovers is no longer in the firm’s interest, but Corzine resists any change that might damage Goldman’s image. They compromise on an experiment with a test case outside the United States, and Goldman advises Krupp in a successful hostile take-over of Thyssen (O, C). J.P. Morgan develops a proprietary product that helps banks clean up their balance sheets using credit default swaps—the first synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) (T, C). Morgan Stanley merges with Dean Witter Reynolds, the financial services business of Sears that serves retail clients (C). The acquisition extends Morgan Stanley’s ability to sell stock offerings and makes Morgan Stanley larger. Travelers Group, run by Sandy Weill, purchases Salomon Brothers, a major bond dealer and investment bank, for $9 billion (C). Bankers Trust purchases Alex Brown for $2.1 billion (C).

FINRA says Goldman did not have the proper procedures in place to make sure that this disclosure was made (R). 2011: In March, former Goldman board member Rajat Gupta is charged by the SEC with insider trading for passing information to the hedge fund Galleon Group that he learned in his capacity as a board member. Six months later he is arrested on criminal charges, soon after the SEC charges another Goldman employee with insider trading. In April, Senator Carl Levin (D.-Mich.) releases the 650-page report of the Senate investigation into the credit crisis (R). It concludes that Goldman misled clients and Congress about the collateralized debt obligations that helped cause the financial crisis. The report urges regulators to identify any violations of law in the activities of Goldman leading up to the financial crisis. The report asserts that conflicts of interest led Goldman to place its financial interests before those of its clients. The report is the result of a two-year probe by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In May, the report is referred to the Department of Justice and the SEC.


pages: 479 words: 113,510

Fed Up: An Insider's Take on Why the Federal Reserve Is Bad for America by Danielle Dimartino Booth

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Sanders, break the buck, Bretton Woods, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, liquidity trap, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, regulatory arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, yield curve

I imagined my fellow Wall Streeters going to the cathedral in my neighborhood and lighting candles. Thanks be to God and Greenspan. In August 2000, my firm, DLJ, was purchased by Credit Suisse for $11.5 billion. By January 2001, when we were all called in for that companywide meeting, the Swiss company’s stodgier, more regimented culture had already collided with DLJ’s entrepreneurial spirit. The bankers began describing their new product: a $340 million collateralized debt obligation (CDO), essentially a bond composed of home mortgages sliced into various tranches that produced income streams. Each tranche had been rated by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings, the three most important ratings agencies. The AAA rating stood at the top, then AA, and so on down the ratings ladder until the bottom, the “equity” tranche. The highest-rated tranches paid out first, as much as 10 percent, significantly higher than the average yield on a corporate bond with the same rating; the last to pay out was equity.

., 86, 109, 142 Callan, Erin, 130–31 Carney, Mark, 260 “Cash for Clunkers” plan, 176 Cashin, Arthur, 200–201, 220, 251 Cassano, Joseph J., 137–38 Cayne, James E., 105–7, 112, 115 central banking, 260–61 Chase Manhattan, 14 China, 208, 261 Chomsky, Noam, 9 Chrysler Financial, 169 Citigroup, 53, 110, 121, 128, 166, 168 Cleveland Fed, 36 Clinton, Bill, 16, 86 Clinton, Hillary, 260 “Closing the Gap” (Boston Fed), 21–22 CNBC, 25–26, 107 collateral agents, 127 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 15–18, 27–28, 57, 124 Collins, Nancy, 68 Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF), 167, 169 commercial paper market, 141–42 commodity bubble, 216 “From Complacency to Crisis” (Duca, Rosenblum, & DiMartino Booth), 74–75 core PCE inflation rate, 77–78, 83, 247 Corrigan, Gerry, 53 Corzine, Jon, 109 counterparty risk, 108 Countrywide, 100 Courage to Act, The (Bernanke), 251–52 Cox, Michael, 62, 63 creative destruction, 63 credit default swaps (CDSs), 94–95, 98, 105, 124 Credit Suisse, 15 crude oil, 247 Dallas Fed, 36–38, 62–65, 70–73, 82 Dallas Morning News, 18, 21, 31 Dealey, George Bannerman, 44 debt, 9–10, 24–25, 251 Decherd, Robert, 18 “Deflation: Making Sure ‘It’ Doesn’t Happen Here” (Bernanke), 150–51 derivatives, 14, 15–18, 51, 52, 126–29 AIGFP insurance policies for, 137–38 Born’s attempt to regulate, 16–17 CDOs, 15–18, 27–28, 57, 124 Deutsche Bank, 168 Diamond, Peter, 194–95 Dimon, Jamie, 29, 110–12, 114, 134, 135, 226 discount window, 118 District Banks, 36–38, 43–45, 67, 70–72.

., 109 Stiglitz, Joseph, 199, 260 stock buybacks, 7 Stockman, David, 196 stock market Bernanke’s “additional stimulus” speech in August 2010 and, 193 Black Monday, 64–65 end of QE2 and, 217–18 flash crash, 189–90 low conviction rallies, 2010, 185, 188 9/11 terrorist attacks impact on, 223–24 percentage of U.S. adults invested in, 8–9 rally of, in April–May 2009, 174 reaction to bad news, late 2009, 181, 184 record lows, in March 2009, 171 TARP bailout bill and, 143 VIX and, 187, 188 Stockton, David, 194 Stress Test (Geithner), 52 stress tests, 170–71 Strong, Benjamin, 53 structured investment vehicles (SIVs), 123–24 subprime mortgages, 21, 22, 27, 28 Summers, Larry, 15–17, 53, 95, 234–35 Supervisory Capital Assessment Program (SCAP), 171 synthetic collateralized debt obligations, 124 systemic risk, 26, 28, 252 System Open Market Account (SOMA), 29, 52 taper tantrum, 233 Tarullo, Daniel, 43, 211, 258–59 Taylor, John, 82, 198 Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), 167, 168 Term at the Fed, A (Meyer), 153 Term Auction Facility (TAF), 168 Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF), 154 Tett, Gillian, 192 Thain, John, 135, 136, 146 Tice, David, 21 Time, 15, 182 Tishman Speyer, 133 Tobin, James, 85–86 Toyota, 241 tri-party repo agreements, 127 troubled asset relief program (TARP), 142–43 Trump, Donald, 9 Tyco, 107 UBS, 120, 168 unemployment, 171, 192, 195, 210 Vasiliauskas, Vitas, 261 Verizon, 169 Vitner, Mark, 40 VIX, 187, 188 Volcker, Paul, 48, 53, 60, 62, 93, 187–88, 219–20, 238 Volcker Rule, 226 Von Mises, Ludwig, 88 Wachovia, 121 Waldman, Maryanne, 222 Wall Street Journal, 106, 119, 167, 175, 177, 217 Warren, Elizabeth, 246, 258 Warsh, Kevin, 113, 181, 193, 197–98, 211, 234 Washington Mutual, 121, 143 wealth effect, 6–7 Wealth of Nations, The (Smith), 125–26 Weill, Sanford, 29, 110 Weintraub, Robert E., 60 Wells Fargo, 178 “When Does Narcissistic Leadership Become Problematic?”


pages: 419 words: 130,627

Last Man Standing: The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase by Duff McDonald

bank run, Bonfire of the Vanities, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, fixed income, housing crisis, interest rate swap, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, negative equity, Northern Rock, profit motive, Renaissance Technologies, risk/return, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Saturday Night Live, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

To turbocharge the market for credit derivatives, the J.P. Morgan team eventually created a product called a broad index secured trust offering (BISTRO). Complex in its details and accounting, the product was nevertheless simple in essence—it aggregated the odds of default on a whole package of loans, not just on a single credit. Collateralized debt packages had long been around, but BISTRO represented a whole new segment—synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Wall Street has an endless ability to slice and dice, though; and as soon as it was created, BISTRO was separated into various “tranches” that carried different levels of risk and return. Investors in the junior tranche would eat the first losses due to any defaults, and therefore earn the highest return. The mezzanine tranche came next, and after that was the senior tranche.

Her response: “So why is everyone so surprised?” (Dimon is fond of Mark Twain’s wry comment that history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.) One answer to Laura Dimon’s question is that this time around it wasn’t just one entity (such as Long-Term Capital Management) or one investment product (such as Internet stocks) that melted down. Almost every credit product out there collapsed—subprime mortgages, mortgage-related collateralized debt obligations, asset-backed commercial paper, auction-rate securities, SIVs, Alt-A mortgages, financial insurers, home equity. Among the large commercial and investment banks, only Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase seem to have been in any way prepared for the possibility of disaster. In March 2007, Dimon had written in the company’s 2006 annual report, “Credit losses, both consumer and wholesale, have been extremely low, perhaps among the best we’ll see in our lifetimes.

., 202–3 Chase Home Finance, 235, 291 Chase Manhattan, 89, 135, 162, 171–73, 194, 199–204 Chase National Bank, 202–3 Chemical Bank, 36, 41, 57, 59, 89, 145, 171, 203 Chenault, Ken, 244 Cherasia, Peter, 270 Chernow, Ron, 52, 87, 202, 203, 260 Chicago Sun-Times, 153 Chief Executive, 163 Cioffi, Ralph, 223–26, 231 Citadel Investment Group, 217–18, 268, 285–86 CITIC, 228 Citicorp, 54–55, 98–101 Citigroup, 83, 98–150, 155, 160–68, 177, 178, 183–84, 185, 195, 196, 200–209, 214, 219, 220, 221, 228–30, 232, 238, 240, 251, 269, 276, 280, 289, 295–303, 310, 316, 321, 323, 324, 325 City National Bank, 143 Clinton, Bill, 87, 103, 140, 221 Clinton, Hillary, 241, 316 CNBC, 84, 227, 245, 249, 302 CNN, 196 Cogan, Marshall, 19 Cohan, William, 224, 244, 258, 262 Cohen, H. Rodgin, 245, 264, 293 Cohen, Peter, 19, 21, 22, 46, 60, 77, 97, 101 Cole, Robert, 51 Coleman, Lewis, 147 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 210–14, 230, 235–37, 276, 309 Collins, Paul, 100, 102, 104, 105 Comcast, 9, 149 Commercial Credit, 30–50, 53, 59, 62, 85, 143, 150, 156, 159, 171, 192, 195, 203 Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, 87–88 Comptroller of the Currency, 87 “conduit” arrangement, 248–49, 267–68, 270 Continental Airlines, 168 Continental Illinois, 295 Control Data, 31–33 Cook, Charles, 323 Corrigan, E.


pages: 741 words: 179,454

Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, Philip Mirowski, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Satyajit Das, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Mirroring Anthony Trollope’s 1867 novel Last Chronicle of Barset, whose characters invest in mortgages, investors purchased MBSs as low risk and secure investments paying regular income. The higher return available on securitized bonds relative to ordinary securities of similar quality was attractive. Synthetic Stuff In the 1990s, securitization underwent a makeover, being rebranded CDOs (collateralized debt obligations), a term subsuming various types of underlying loans and securitization formats. In 1997 JP Morgan introduced synthetic securitization, overcoming the unwieldy need to transfer the underlying loans to the SPV and also lowering the cost of transferring the risk. Instead of selling the loans, the lender now purchased credit insurance against the risk of loss using a credit default swap (CDS).

In practice, risk was spreading like a virulent virus through the financial system, ending up in unknown places in the hands of investors, who did not understand the complex risks that they assumed. As Iceland imploded during the financial crisis, traders speculated that the Icelandic banks’ fatal dalliance with structured finance was simply confusion between the word c-o-d (an area of Icelandic expertise) and the non-piscine c-d-o (collateralized debt obligations). Get Copula-ed Assorted statisticians, mathematicians, scientists, and MBAs with little knowledge of banking now shaped packages of loans into complicated objets d’art. They built simplified models to predict patterns of cash flows from the underlying loans. In the ultra-rational world of efficient markets, prepayments were assumed to be linked to interest rates adjusted for behavioral nuances.

., 44, 341, 346 2001 tax cuts, 298 business schools, 308-313 bonuses, 317-318 compensation, 313-320 BusinessWeek, 170 buy and flick, 139 Byrd, Richard Evelyn, 256 Byrne, David, 46 Byrne, Rhonda, 45 C Caesar, 295 calculators, 122 call options, 209 Volkswagen (VW), 257 Callan, Erin, 288, 329 Calomiris, Charles, 273 Canadian dollars, 21 Canary Wharf, 79 Cantor, Eddie, 338 capital definition of, 280 flows, 205 gains, 160 injections into banks, 348-350 introductions, 247 leveraged, 244 Modigliani-Miller propositions, 119 structure arbitrage, 242 velocity of, 69 capital asset pricing model (CAPM), 117 capitalism, 102 Capitalism: A Love Story, 165 Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 297 CAPM (capital asset pricing model), 173 Capra, Frank, 65 carceral continuum, 312 careers certifications, 309-310 finance, 308-313 bonuses, 317-318 compensation, 313-320 Carlyle Group, The, 154, 163, 318 Carlyle, Thomas, 102 Carnegie Mellon University, 119 Carr, Fred, 145 Carroll, Lewis, 31 CARS (certificate for automobile receivables), 173 Carter, Jimmy, 74, 364 Caruso-Cabrera, Michelle, 95 Casablanca, 77, 311 Case, Steve, 58 cash flow, 138 forecasting, 160 General Electric (GE), 61 cash for clunkers, 348 Cassano, Joseph, 232 Cat’s Cradle, 339 catastrophe risk, 232 Catillo, Bernal Díaz del, 131 Cavendish Laboratory (Cambridge, England), 101 Cayman Islands, 220 Cayne, James, 318 CBOs (collateralized bond obligations), 173 CDOs (collateralized debt obligations), 173, 176 defaults of, 284 celebrity central bankers, age of, 297-300 celebrity financiers, 324-326 Celtic tiger, 83. See also Ireland Centaurus Energy, 319 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), 131 Centlivre, Susannah, 75 central banks, 309 age of celebrity central bankers, 297-300 dissenters, 300-302 regulations, 279-281 risk transfers, 281-282 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 310 CEOs (chief executive officers) earnings, 323-324 knowledge of business operations, 292-293 Cerberus, 162 certifications, finance, 309-310 CFA (certified financial analyst), 309 Chains or Chain Link, 269 chains, mortgage, 183 Chancellor, Edward, 161 Chanos, Jim, 161 chaos theory, 274 Chase Manhattan Bank, 79 Chassagne-Montrachet, 304 Cheney, Dick, 265 Chesterton, G.K., 226 Chettle, Geoff, 228 Chicago, 104-105 Chicago Board of Option Exchange (CBOE), 122 Chicago Interpretation, the, 104, 130 Chicxulub crater, 339 Chiemgauer, 35 China, 82 Chinese Communist Party, 350 Chinese paper, 144 Chinese renminbi, 21 Chinese walls, 66 debt, purchase of American dollars, 87 as a financial center, 84-85 global credit process, 88 growth of, 86 relationship with America, 87 slowdown in economic activity, 350-351 China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation, 56 Chinalco, 59 chits, 22 A Chorus Line, 164 Christianity, 65 Christie’s, 323 Chrysler, 162 Building, 79 purchase by Fiat, 344 Cioffi, Ralph, 191, 365 circulation of money, 32 Citadel Funds, 196, 241, 256 Citibank, 71 Citicorp Venture Capital, 154 Citicorp, merger of with Travelers, 75 Cities Services, 137 CitiGroup, 41, 75-77, 165, 290, 315 Center, 79 Todd Thompson, 93 City, the (London), 79 CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa), 91 civilization, 38 Clarke, David, 159 Clarkson, Brian, 284 clickety-clicks, 39.


pages: 272 words: 19,172

Hedge Fund Market Wizards by Jack D. Schwager

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

asset-backed security, backtesting, banking crisis, barriers to entry, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commodity trading advisor, computerized trading, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, family office, financial independence, fixed income, Flash crash, hindsight bias, implied volatility, index fund, intangible asset, James Dyson, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, money market fund, oil shock, pattern recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, riskless arbitrage, Rubik’s Cube, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, systematic trading, technology bubble, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve

There was no historical precedent for such low-quality mortgages. It is easy to see how the BBB tranche of a bond formed from these low-quality mortgages would be extremely vulnerable to a complete loss. The story, however, does not end there. The BBB tranches were difficult to sell. Wall Street alchemists came up with a solution that magically transformed the BBB tranches into AAA. They created a new securitization called a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) that consisted entirely of the BBB tranches of many mortgage bonds.7 CDOs also employed a tranche structure. Typically 75 percent to 80 percent of a CDO was rated AAA, even though it consisted of 100 percent BBB tranches. Although the CDO tranche structure was similar to that employed by subprime mortgage bonds consisting of individual mortgages, there was an important difference.

How did you get involved in trading the subprime mortgage market? I first became aware of the opportunity in October 2006 when a friend sent us a write-up of a presentation made by Paul Singer of Elliot Associates. Singer walked through the sleight-of-hand that banks used to amalgamate the riskiest tranches of subprime mortgage-backed securitizations (MBS)—the BBB tranches that investors were starting to shy away from—into a new collateralized debt obligation (CDO), the majority of which was rated AA or higher. 9 Singer demonstrated that housing prices didn’t have to fall for the AA tranches of these CDOs to fail; they simply had to stop rising. The assertion that institutional investors were willing to accept the paltry returns associated with AA or higher rated securities for that kind of risk didn’t even seem plausible. If it hadn’t been someone with Singer’s reputation making these assertions, I would never have believed him.

Planet Money is a highly creative, entertaining, and insightful financial program. I have listened to every podcast since the program’s inception, and I highly recommend it. 4If this comment is unintelligible to you, don’t worry. A primer on mortgage-backed securities and their role in the financial crises is provided later in this chapter before our conversation related to Cornwall’s short trade in collaterized debt obligations (CDOs). 5Mai explained that the typical quoting convention for implied volatility in interest rate markets, known as “normalized volatility,” is the number of absolute basis points reflecting a one-standard-deviation event, as opposed to the standard convention of quoting implied volatility in other asset classes in terms of percentage changes in the underlying security. Normalized volatility of 100 basis points equals a much smaller volatility, as measured in “traditional” percentage terms, when rates are high than when they are low—a characteristic that may have been an additional factor amplifying the anomaly. 6The expected value is the sum of the probability of each outcome multiplied by its value.


pages: 269 words: 104,430

Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives by Catherine Lutz, Anne Lutz Fernandez

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barriers to entry, car-free, carbon footprint, collateralized debt obligation, failed state, feminist movement, fudge factor, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, inventory management, market design, market fundamentalism, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, New Urbanism, oil shock, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor, Zipcar

Eerily echoing the reviled Gordon Gekko of Oliver Stone’s morality tale Wall Street, Ray Diallo, founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, noted, “The money that’s made from manufacturing stuff is a pittance in comparison to the amount of money made from shuffling money around.” 2007 was the year many first learned 124 Carjacked the terms “predatory lending” and “hedge fund,” both of which have come to hit American car owners, not just home owners, with a vengeance. The housing crisis grabbed the headlines beginning in 2007, but auto loans played a meaningful role in the CDO market that helped precipitate the crisis. CDOs are collateralized debt obligations, also known as credit derivatives, a financial instrument dating back to the early 1990s that is essentially the securitization of risk. When an investor, such as a bank or hedge fund, purchases a credit derivative, he is buying not a bundle of home or auto loans but a portion or all of the risk of that bundle. As the housing market exploded and Americans bought more and bigger vehicles in the early years of the new century, the CDO market blossomed, and some people got quite rich essentially taking Vegas-style bets on whether ordinary people would get to keep or lose their homes or cars.

., 9 carlessness, xii, 15, 32, 101–2, 104–5, 114, 125 carpooling, 4–5, 72, 90, 107, 135, 140, 145–7, 157, 210–1, 219, 223 car-sharing, 212 Cars (film), 7, 51 Cash for Clunkers, 93 cell phone use, 147, 152, 154–5, 181, 194 Cheney, Dick, 9, 122 Chevrolet, xii, 16–7, 29, 35–7, 50, 88, 177–81, 216 Chevron, 122 Christine (film), 7 Chrysler, 1, 57, 73, 93, 123, 207 Claritas, 44–5 Clean Air Act, 167, 174–5 Cohen, Steven A., 124–5 Cold War, 17 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 124 Collins, Jane, 103 Commuter Choice, 220 commuters, 93, 132, 134, 138, 145–6, 156, 171, 211, 215 Connelly, Sheryl, 42 Conoco, 122 Consumer Reports, 46, 65, 213, 215 convenience as reason for car use, 4, 14, 38, 56, 135, 142, 154, 163, 239–40n26 Cortázar, Julio, 34 Crash (film), 101, 105 crossover vehicles, 57, 73, 157, 178, 180–1 cruise control, 75, 221 customizing, 27–9, 51, 53 Danziger, Pamela, 74 Davis, David E., Jr., 29 Day After Tomorrow, The (film), 34 De Cauter, Lieven, 146 dealerships, xi, xiv, 5, 16, 62–9, 74, 80, 85–6, 103, 207 DeHaven, Hugh, 195 Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), ix, 19, 31, 219 depreciation, 60, 65, 70, 80–3, 87–8, 102, 212–5 Detroit, Michigan, xi, xiii, 8–9, 18, 43, 126, 195, 206, 224 Diallo, Ray, 123 Diamond, Jared, 99 diesel exhaust, 161, 170, 241n1 disabled, 31, 182–189, 200 Dodge, 35, 157 Downey, Robert, Jr., 13 Downs, Anthony, 133–4 downsizing, 98, 210–2, 217 driver’s licenses, 2–3, 18–22, 31, 106, 113, 139, 193, 219 driving: enjoyment of, 6, 14, 130, 140–144 under the influence (DUI), ix, 23, 95, 113, 152, 193–6, 202, 221, 237n16 “while black,” 112–4 Eastern States Nationals, 29 Edmunds.com, 85, 214, 236, 238, 246–7 electric cars, 36, 90, 215–6, 225–6 electronic stability control (ESC), 216 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 15, 27 emissions standards, 120, 174–5 Exelbert, Gary, 47, 52, 76 Exxon Mobil, 120, 122 INDEX Fairness Doctrine, 149 Fast and the Furious, The (film), 7, 51 fast food industry, 52, 63, 163–4 fatalities, 35–6, 152, 172, 177, 180–2, 188–193 Federal-Aid Highway Act, 9 Financing, See under car ownership Firestone, 10, 195–6 Ford, Henry, 25, 27, 103, 205–6 Ford Motor Company: 1, 3, 15–7, 27, 49, 42, 51, 54, 56, 61, 73, 120, 124, 195–6, 199, 205–6 foreign policy, xii, 17, 21, 96–98, 224 Formula One, 51 fraud, 69–71 freedom: car as symbol and myth of, 15–21, 37–38, 133, 141–144, 154, 198 freedomCAR, 36 price of, 91 French Connection, The (film), 7 fuel economy standards, 9, 199, 226.


pages: 381 words: 101,559

Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Gobal Crisis by James Rickards

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Asian financial crisis, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, game design, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, high net worth, income inequality, interest rate derivative, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Myron Scholes, Network effects, New Journalism, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, one-China policy, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, time value of money, too big to fail, value at risk, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

By turning a blind eye to the recklessness, Brussels had constructed a no-lose situation. If the euro succeeded they won praise and if the euro came under stress they won power. The stress came soon enough. The European banks gorged not only on euro sovereign debt but also on debt issued by Fannie Mae and the full alphabet soup of fraudulent Wall Street structured products such as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs. These debts were originated by inexperienced local bankers around the United States and repackaged in the billions of dollars by the likes of Lehman Brothers before they went bust. The European banks were the true weak links in the global financial system, weaker even than Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the other bailed-out icons of American finance. By 2010, European sovereign finance was a complex web composed of cross-holdings of debt.

-Chinese currency war U.S. quantitative easing programs in and U.S. Treasury debt U.S. Treasury holdings See also yuan, Chinese China National Offshore Oil Corporation China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue of 2006 Christ, Carl F. Churchill, Winston Citibank Citigroup civilizational collapse, causes of Clinton, Bill CNBC Cogan, John F. Cold War era Collapse of Complex Societies, The (Tainter) collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) commodities Commodity Futures Modernization Act Communist Party of China competitive devaluations complexity theory Connally, John connectedness, in complex systems convening power theory copper correlation, in global financial warfare Cosmic Evolution (Chaisson) Coughlin, Charles counterfeiting Credit-Anstalt Bank of Vienna critical state systems critical thresholds currency collapse capital flight response to dollar collapse in complexity theory 1920s currency convergence currency devaluations competitive dollar devaluation against gold, 1930s and 1970s 1930s and 1970s sterling devaluations Tripartite Agreement of 1936 and currency markets currency peg currency wars Atlantic theater benefits of chaos as outcome of Currency War I (1921–1936) Currency War II (1967–1987) Currency War III (2010–) Eurasian theater Pacific theater Czechoslovakia Davison, Henry P.


pages: 302 words: 86,614

The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World's Top Hedge Funds by Maneet Ahuja, Myron Scholes, Mohamed El-Erian

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, family office, fixed income, high net worth, interest rate derivative, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, NetJets, oil shock, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, rolodex, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Jobs, systematic trading, zero-sum game

About a month later, on February 27, Citigroup announced the U.S. government would be taking a 36 percent equity stake in the company by converting $25 billion in emergency aid into common shares. Citigroup shares dropped 40 percent on the news. In aggregate the aid provided to the bank totaled $45 billion. Because banks are highly leveraged, it is crucial to thoroughly analyze their assets, as a small percentage loss can quickly wipe out the equity. During the financial boom, Citigroup made many speculative investments, particularly in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), mortgages, derivatives and other types of structured products. When the value of these assets deteriorated, they took enormous write downs, which in turn required them to raise more equity. Investors lined up to purchase equity in Citigroup starting in October 2007 as they thought the decline in the stock price represented a good buying opportunity. However, as the losses mounted and the write-downs increased, the stock price collapsed.

Michael Neumann, a salesman on the Lehman Brothers credit desk, who had sold him CDS contracts on Farmer Mac, suggested that Ackman look at the bond insurers. Ackman zeroed in on MBIA. It was the largest of the bond insurers, the largest guarantor of municipal bonds in the United States. While MBIA had its origins insuring low-risk municipal bonds, in more recent years it had begun to move into the more lucrative business of insuring exotic and highly risky collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other structured products. Ackman believed that the company was underreserved relative to the risk it was underwriting, was overleveraged, and was engaging in various accounting devices to shield losses and accelerate gains. He believed that it was poised for a dramatic fall. Ultimately, Ackman concluded that the business, despite its triple-A rating, was likely insolvent.


pages: 350 words: 103,270

The Devil's Derivatives: The Untold Story of the Slick Traders and Hapless Regulators Who Almost Blew Up Wall Street . . . And Are Ready to Do It Again by Nicholas Dunbar

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, break the buck, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, diversification, Edmond Halley, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, statistical model, The Chicago School, Thomas Bayes, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

Long-term actuarial approach versus the market approach to credit. Goldman Sachs sees opportunity in default swaps. The market approach vindicated by Enron’s bankruptcy. TWO Going to the Mattresses The advent of VAR and OTC derivatives. The collapse of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM). A fatal flaw is exposed. The wrong lesson is learned. THREE A Free Lunch . . . with Processed Food A new market for collaterized debt obligations (CDOs). Risky investments, diversification, and the role of the ratings agencies. Barclays finds investors for its CDOs, only to fall out with them. FOUR The Broken Heart Syndrome J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank dominate the European CDO market. Innovation outpaces the ratings agencies. Traders make millions with the help of correlation models. Reasons for concern. FIVE Regulatory Capture The Fed lessens the restraints on big banks.

With these incentives in place, dry brushwood was in place that only needed two more things to catch fire: credit derivatives and securitization. CHAPTER THREE A Free Lunch . . . with Processed Food A pioneering pack of very clever and ambitious traders—aided by some mathematical wizardry—figured out how to bundle risky investments into packages that carried triple-A ratings. This incredibly lucrative new market in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which was propped up by the ratings agencies, swept across Europe, as cautious banks sought new ways to diversify without taking on too much risk. The Too-Perfect Investment Like the grain of sand lodged in an oyster’s shell, an irritant sometimes drives what is—and should always be—an introspective, conservative company to outsize ambitions. This is what happened to Landesbank (LB) Kiel, along with its regional sibling, Hamburgische Landesbank, in which it had a 49 percent equity stake.


pages: 364 words: 99,613

Servant Economy: Where America's Elite Is Sending the Middle Class by Jeff Faux

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back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, medical malpractice, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, new economy, oil shock, old-boy network, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working poor, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

With money on all sides of every trade, it was hard for many players to tell at the end of the day whether they’d lost or won. At the end of 2007, the market for these swaps was estimated at $45.5 trillion—roughly twice as large as all U.S. stock markets combined. The country’s financial markets had gone from being decontrolled to being uncontrollable. But as long as the market expanded, the profits seemed enormous and apparently insured against loss. The operating margins at the giant insurer AIG on collateralized debt obligation (CDO) insurance rose steadily; by 2002 the margin was 44 percent of revenue, and by 2005, 83 percent. The profits of the unit that sold CDOs rose from $737 million in 1999 to $3.26 billion in 2005. Fat bonuses, lavish parties, and padded expense accounts for exotic travel followed. The credit boom built on subprime mortgages also provided real, if temporary, benefits to a large number of Americans who never bought a derivative.

on civil liberties on education financial meltdown of 2008 and fiscal policy Hurricane Katrina leadership style of Obama’s election and 2000 election of unemployment and See also Greenspan, Alan; Rubin, Robert; Summers, Larry Bush, Jeb California, economy of campaign finance reform Canada, Geoffrey Cantor, Eric Career Education Corporation Carnegie, Dale Carter, Jimmy Carville, James Cassidy, John Caterpillar Corporation Cayne, Jimmy Cerulo, Karen charter schools Chevalier, Michel China currency of economic growth of government spending by infrastructure of offshored jobs optimistic views of trade policy (See also trade deficit) twentieth century history of Chu, Steven Cisco Systems Citicorp Citigroup Citigroup Global Citizens United (organization) Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, civil liberties, erosion of civil rights Civil War class. See social mobility Clay, Henry Clinton, Bill on education financial meltdown of 2008 and fiscal policy 1992 election of Reagan’s influence on Clinton, Hillary Coehlo, Tony Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation Colbert, Steve collateralized debt obligations (CDO) college education for-profit free trade policy and Obama on servant economy and See also education Colombia, U.S. military spending and Commission on Wartime Contracting Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) communism China and Marx Soviet Union and in the United States Complex, The (True) Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Congress of Industrial Organizaitons (CIO) consumer debt.


pages: 411 words: 108,119

The Irrational Economist: Making Decisions in a Dangerous World by Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Paul Slovic

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Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, bank run, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kenneth Arrow, Loma Prieta earthquake, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, source of truth, statistical model, stochastic process, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto

The goal is to make the municipal bond insurer bankruptcy remote from losses that might occur on other insurance lines covered by the same holding company (i.e., with no possible contagion). In addition, the chartering laws have imposed relatively high capital requirements on the firms. Quite irrationally, in recent years, insurance regulators have also allowed municipal bond insurers to provide coverage against default risks on subprime mortgage securitizations and related collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps (CDSs). It is unclear why the insurance regulators allowed the insurers to mix the relatively limited credit risks on municipal bonds with the high risks on subprime mortgages and their derivatives, since this clearly violated the monoline principle on which the insurers were chartered. Worse yet, losses on the subprime mortgage derivatives now threaten the solvency of the municipal bond insurers.9 The failure of these firms would have significant negative externalities in two regards.

constructed function intertemporal making mistaken models of outcomes of parameter political process, improving pros/cons of sensitive strategic wise See also Rational choice Cleveland, Grover Climate change challenge of characteristics of coal industry and as compound lottery evaluation/management of hazard risk and impact of legitimate policies of mitigation of outcomes of path for policy premiums and Climate negotiations Climate risks Club of Rome Coates, John “Coconut” uncertainty Cognitive activity emotional activity and Cohen, Jonathan Collaboration Collateral debt obligations (CDOs) Commitment prediction and uncertainty and Communication development of theory Compassion collapse of(fig.) Conference of Rio on Environment and Development Consequences actions and decision making and Conservatism, environmental issues and Consumption social welfare and Contracts insurance Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) Coolidge, Calvin Copenhagen Agreed Outcome Copenhagen Consensus (2004) Cost-of-search hypothesis Costs diffuse Credit default swaps (CDS) Credit instruments Crises Crisis management Dacy, Douglas Damasio, Antonio Darfur genocide Debreu, Gérard Decision analysis (DA) adaptation by challenges for disappointments with principles of training in Decision analytical model(fig.)


pages: 262 words: 83,548

The End of Growth by Jeff Rubin

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Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, decarbonisation, deglobalization, energy security, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, flex fuel, full employment, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Hans Island, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, labour mobility, McMansion, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

But I didn’t write the book so that it wouldn’t get read. I’d been preaching its themes to whoever would listen at CIBC for years. It was time to take the message to a broader audience. By the time I stepped away from the job, CIBC had much bigger things to worry about than my literary ambitions. At the time, the bank, like many financial institutions, was knee-deep in fancy financial market derivatives called collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Prior to the housing market crash, CDOs, which are backed by assets such as homeowner subprime mortgages, were making investors a ton of money. They also seemed to be relatively safe investments, at least according to rating agencies that granted many of these debt instruments gold-plated Triple-A status. But when mortgage holders who took on too much debt stopped making payments, the market imploded in a hurry.

And since it often comes at the cost of endangering our own survival, there are other standards we should take into account. The surprising thing is that if we look at it through a different lens, the end of growth will leave us all richer than we ever may have thought. [ SOURCE NOTES ] INTRODUCTION this page: A copious amount of ink has been spilled dissecting the US housing crisis and subsequent stock market crash in 2008. For a particularly lively account of the bubble that developed for collateralized debt obligations and the emergence of the credit default swap market, see The Big Short (2010) by Michael Lewis. CHAPTER 1: CHANGING THE ECONOMIC SPEED LIMIT this page: For a broader take on how Reaganomics fostered the culture of deregulation that still persists in the United States, see The Price of Civilization: Economics and Ethics After the Fall (2011) by Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Colombia University.


pages: 561 words: 87,892

Losing Control: The Emerging Threats to Western Prosperity by Stephen D. King

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Admiral Zheng, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Naomi Klein, new economy, old age dependency ratio, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, statistical model, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

They link the real economy with the financial economy. Capital market participants – bankers, fund managers, private- equity investors and other ‘go-betweens’ – package their products in all sorts of ways, ranging from simple bank deposits and loans through to the ever-more complex instruments that make up the lexicon of international finance: syndicated loans, equities, corporate bonds, commercial paper, asset-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and structured products. Ultimately, each of these products offers a claim on future economic wealth (or, put another way, a reward for abstinence today). Banks provide loans in exchange for an interest payment. Shareholders hold equities because they expect a dividend or a capital gain. Issuers of asset-backed securities provide a return in exchange for the apparent protection associated with the underlying asset.

The belief in the pot of gold refused to go away. Since equities couldn’t deliver the necessary returns, and government bond yields were ludicrously low, investors went in search of other assets that might do the trick. As with any other market, an increase in demand for high-returning non-equity assets was met with an increase in supply. Asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and so on became the investments du jour. Banks packaged up vast quantities of loans into these securities and either tucked them away under the mattress as off-balance-sheet items in the form of conduits and special investment vehicles (SIVs) or, instead, sold them off to other investors – insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds and, in some cases, local councils – who, collectively, became known as the ‘shadow banking system’.


pages: 376 words: 109,092

Paper Promises by Philip Coggan

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, negative equity, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, paradox of thrift, peak oil, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, trade route, tulip mania, value at risk, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The mortgage payments on the loans were used to pay the interest on the bonds. As defaults rose, the sub-prime lenders found it more difficult to get finance. Their business model was built on getting rid of the mortgages as quickly as they created them; in the absence of the cashflow from sales, they were unable to meet their debts. The problem then rippled through the chain. The mortgage-backed securities had been bundled into other securities called ‘collateralized debt obligations’ (CDOs). These were designed to give investors a diversified pool of high-yield assets. Such assets were attractive as an ironic consequence of the great moderation; yields on cash and government bonds were low so investors were happy to chase higher returns. These CDOs had been organized in tranches, like a kind of trifle. Each layer had different rights and expected returns. The so-called equity layer was the riskiest; it paid the highest yield but suffered the first losses when the bonds in the portfolio defaulted.

Business Week Butler, Eamonn Calder, Lendol California Callaghan, Jim Calvin, John Canada Canadian Tar Sands capital controls capital economics capital flows capital ratios carried interest carry trade Carville, James Cassano, Joseph Cato Institute Cayne, Jimmy CDU Party ‘Celtic tiger’ central bank reserves Cesarino, Filippo ‘Chapter’ Charlemagne Charles I, King of England cheques/checks chief executive pay Chile China Churchill, Winston civil war (English) civil war (US) Citigroup clearing union Clientilism Clinton, Bill CNBC collateralized debt obligations commerical banks commercial property commodity prices Compagnie D’Occident comparative advantage conduits confederacy Congdon, Tim Congress, US Connally, John Conservative Party Consols Constantine, Emperor of Rome consumer price inflation continental bonds convergence trade convertibility of gold suspended Coolidge, Calvin copper Cottarelli, Carlo Council of Nicea Cowen, Brian cowrie shells Credit Anstalt credit cards credit crisis of 2007 – 8 credit crunch credit default swaps ‘cross of gold’ speech Cunliffe committee Currency Board currency wars Dante Alighieri David Copperfield Davies, Glyn debasing the currency debit cards debt ceiling debt clock debt deflation spiral debt trap debtors vs creditors, battle defaults defined contribution pension deflation Defoe, Daniel Delors, Jacques Democratic convention of 1896 Democratic Party Democratic Republic of Congo demographics denarii Denmark deposit insurance depreciation of currencies derivatives Deutsche Bank Deutschmark devaluation Dickens, Charles Dionysius of Syracuse Dodd – Frank bill dollar, US Dow Jones Industrial Average drachma Duke, Elizabeth Dumas, Charles Duncan, Richard Durst, Seymour Dutch Republic East Germany East Indies companies Economist Edward III, King of England Edwards, Albert efficient-market theory Egypt Eichengreen, Barry electronic money embedded energy energy efficiency estate agents Estates General Ethelred the Unready euro eurobonds eurodollar market European Central Bank European Commission European Financial Stability Facility European Monetary System European Union eurozone Exchange Rate Mechanism, European exorbitant privilege farmers Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Federalist party fertility rate ‘fiat money’ Fiji final salary pension Financial Services Authority Financial Times Finland First Bank of the United States First World War fiscal policy fiscal union Fisher, Irving fixed exchange rates floating currencies florin Florio, Jim Ford, Gerald Ford, Henry Ford Motor Company Foreign & Colonial Trust foreign direct investment foreign exchange reserves Forni, Lorenzo Forsyte Saga France Francis I, King of France Franco-Prussian War Franklin, Benjamin French Revolution Friedman, Milton Fuld, Dick futures markets Galbraith, John Kenneth Galsworthy, John GATT Gaulle, Charles de Geithner, Tim General Electric General Motors general strike of 1926 Genghis Khan Genoa conference George V, King of England Germany gilts Gladstone, William Glass – Steagall Act Gleneagles summit Glorious Revolution GMO Gokhale, Jagadeesh gold gold exchange standard gold pool gold standard Goldman Sachs goldsmiths Goodhart, Charles Goodhart’s Law Goschen, George Gottschalk, Jan government bonds government debt Graham, Frank Granada Grantham, Jeremy Great Compression Great Depression Great Moderation Great Society Greece Greenspan, Alan Gresham, Sir Thomas Gresham’s Law Gross, Bill G7 nations G20 meeting Guinea Habsburgs Haiti Haldane, Andrew Hamilton, Alexander Hammurabi of Babylon Havenstein, Rudolf von Hayek, Friedrich Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative hedge funds Henderson, Arthur Henry VIII, King of England Hien Tsung, Chinese emperor Hitler, Adolf Hoar, George Frisbie Hohenzollern monarchy Holy Roman Empire Homer, Sydney Hoover, Herbert House of Representatives houses Hume, David Hussein, Saddam Hutchinson, Thomas Hyde, H.


pages: 391 words: 97,018

Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline . . . And the Rise of a New Economy by Daniel Gross

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset-backed security, Bakken shale, banking crisis, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demand response, Donald Trump, Frederick Winslow Taylor, high net worth, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, illegal immigration, index fund, intangible asset, intermodal, inventory management, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, LNG terminal, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, money market fund, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, risk tolerance, risk/return, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, the High Line, transit-oriented development, Wall-E, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game, Zipcar

By the end of 2011 Treasury had received $15.45 billion of the $67.84 billion it put into AIG, and still owned 1.455 billion common shares of the company.6 Separately, in November 2008, the Fed created two investment vehicles to remove toxic assets from AIG’s balance sheets. The first, dubbed Maiden Lane II, borrowed $19.5 billion from the Fed and bought $20.8 billion in mortgage-backed securities at half of their original price. The second, Maiden Lane III, borrowed $24.3 billion from the Fed and bought a portfolio of collateralized debt obligations from former AIG customers, also at about half their face value. As the credit markets recovered, the investment vehicles—essentially hedge funds with concentrated positions—generated enough income to pay off the loans, and the Fed sold off chunks of the assets held by the Maiden Lane entities. The upshot? By the first quarter of 2012 Maiden Lane II had paid off the entire $19.5 billion loan, and Maiden Lane III was down to $8.9 billion in debt to the Fed, supported by assets worth $17.7 billion.

., 8, 67, 90, 193, 212 China, 6–9, 14, 18–21, 25–26, 82, 164–78, 187, 217 comparisons between U.S. and, 7–8, 25, 166–67, 202, 208 economy of, 2, 7–8, 18–20, 25, 141, 148, 165, 178, 222 efficiency economy and, 62, 67–69, 71, 227 employment and, 164–68, 170 FDI and, 85–87, 92–94, 97, 164 incomes in, 20, 164–67 inports and, 134–36, 138–44, 146, 164, 227 and reshoring and insourcing, 169–78, 222 trade and, 94, 98, 100–104, 106–9, 112–14, 116, 118–20, 122–28, 164 China Eastern, 124 China UnionPay, 124 Christie, Chris, 211 Chrysler: bailout of, 40–42 bankruptcy of, 40–41, 46, 51, 136 Fiat’s acquisition of, 40, 78, 87 and reshoring and insourcing, 173–74 Chung, Winston, 97 CIT Group, 47–49 Citi, Citibank, Citigroup, 37, 53, 84–85, 172 Citic Press, 128 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), 206–7 Civil War, 18, 82 Civil Works Administration, 206 Cleveland Clinic, 126, 145 Clinton, Bill, 26, 31, 70, 217–18, 228 Clooney, George, 129, 227 CNBC, 4, 108 CNG Now, 105 CNOOC, 86 coal, 102–5, 162, 165, 202 Coca-Cola, 83–84, 143, 202, 227 inports and, 133, 137–38, 146 coffee, 139–40, 181 Coleman, 171 collateralized debt obligations, 36 Collinses, 111–14, 116 Colombia, 26, 131, 148 FDI and, 85, 88–91 Commerce Department, U.S., 1, 54, 99–100, 104, 120, 122, 125, 219 Commercial Paper Funding Facility, 34 Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, 96 competition, 3, 19, 21, 23, 80, 83, 106–7, 167, 194, 204, 228 efficiency economy and, 62, 68, 77 efficient consumers and, 193, 196 inports and, 131–32, 137, 141 North Dakota and, 148, 161 and reshoring and insourcing, 169, 179 Congress, U.S., 14, 19, 23–24, 125, 146 deficits and, 221–22 economic decline and, 3, 10 health care reform and, 5–6 U.S. credit rating and, 1–2 Congressional Budget Office, 31 Connecticut, 50, 86, 105, 140, 146, 151, 161–62, 212 efficient consumers and, 187–88 Conservation and Recreation Department, Mass., 66 construction, 174 efficient consumers and, 190–91 housing crisis and, 219–20 infrastructure and, 205–6, 209, 211, 213 North Dakota and, 152–53, 155–56 Consumer Price Index, 187 consumers, consumerism, consumption, 2, 25, 28, 81, 101, 111, 216, 219 coal and, 102–3 economic pessimism and, 22–23 efficiency economy and, 64–65, 68, 73–75, 78, 223–24 exports and, 98–99, 104–5, 107, 110, 119, 128, 130–31, 147, 154, 164 FDI and, 83, 89–90, 92–93 indebtedness and, 9–10, 53–57 inports and, 131–32, 136–37, 141, 143, 147, 227 North Dakota and, 151, 153–54 and reshoring and insourcing, 169, 172, 175, 177 restructuring and, 44–45, 53–59 supersizing and, 202, 204, 209 see also efficient consumers Cooper, Bill, 105 Cooper, Stephen, 44 CoreLogic, 190 corporations, 1, 9–10, 60, 139–43, 163–67, 169–85, 192–206, 225 comparisons between consumers and, 181, 185, 189, 195 and costs of labor, 164–67 economic optimism and, 23–24 economic pessimism and, 22–23 efficiency economy and, 63–68, 71, 75–76, 80–81, 158, 172, 223 efficient consumers and, 181–85, 192–96 exports and, 98, 103, 108–10, 112–14, 116–17, 131, 177 FDI and, 82–96 global, 22, 24, 71, 95 inports and, 132, 135–37, 139–42, 144, 146–47, 202–3, 227 job growth and, 218–19 North Dakota and, 152–53, 155, 157–60 recoveries and, 17–18, 21, 215 and reshoring and insourcing, 167, 169–79 restructuring and, 44–45, 47–49, 52–53, 57–58, 81, 166 supersizing and, 199–206, 209–10 taxes on, 146–47, 163 timely policy decisions and, 28, 30, 34 U.S. economic importance and, 227–28 Costner, Kevin, 129–30 Coty, 71 Coulomb Technologies, 211 Council of Economic Advisers, 31 Cowan, Lynn, 203 Creation Technologies, 67 credit, 32–36, 94, 194 booms in, 21, 29, 56, 62 crisis in, 2, 4, 23, 26, 48, 53 exports and, 112–13 restructuring and, 49, 51, 53–56, 58 timely policy decisions and, 29, 32–33, 35–36, 42–43 credit cards, 34, 183–85 restructuring and, 54–56 credit ratings, 1–2, 11, 52 Credit Suisse, 137, 223 Davis, Fred, 90–91 debt, 1, 19–20, 23–24, 60, 185 CIT Group and, 48–49 consumers and, 9–10, 53–57 crises and, 6, 29, 216 efficiency economy and, 62–63, 72, 78 efficient consumers and, 181, 189, 193, 196 Erie Canal and, 205–6 FDI and, 82, 94 national, 2, 5, 11, 217 North Dakota and, 155–56 restructuring and, 45–59, 78 strengthening recovery and, 215–16 timely policy decisions and, 32–34, 36, 39, 42 see also loans, lending, lenders debt ceiling extensions, 2, 217 Dedrick, Jason, 140 Defense Department, U.S., 109 deficits: budget, 2, 6, 10, 64–65, 217, 221–22 efficiency economy and, 64–65 trade, 102, 107, 168, 221–22 Delphi, 46 demand, 18, 31, 45, 57, 101, 132, 178, 221 efficiency economy and, 60, 62, 72–74, 223 exports and, 99, 104, 107–10, 116, 119 North Dakota and, 153–54, 159 supersizing and, 206, 208 Deming, W.


pages: 383 words: 108,266

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

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air freight, Al Roth, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, endowment effect, financial innovation, fudge factor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, invisible hand, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, market bubble, Murray Gell-Mann, payday loans, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Thaler, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Skype, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair

But in the wake of a number of financial crises, from the dot-com implosion of 2000 to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 and the financial meltdown that followed, we were rudely awakened to the reality that psychology and irrational behavior play a much larger role in the economy’s functioning than rational economists (and the rest of us) had been willing to admit. It all started from questionable mortgage practices, augmented by collateralized debt obligations (CDOs are securities based mostly on mortgage payments). In turn, the CDO crisis accelerated the deflation of the housing market bubble, creating a reinforcing cycle of decreasing valuations. It also brought to light some questionable practices of various players in the financial services industry. In March 2008, JP Morgan Chase acquired Bear Stearns at two dollars per share, the low valuation resulting from the fact that Bear Stearns was under investigation for CDO-related fraud.

items and, 51–54, 64–65 rational cost-benefit analysis and, 64–65 Citigroup, 280 Clark, John Maurice, 281 Clark, Margaret, 68 closets, consumerism and size of, 110 clothing, worn and returned to store for full refund, 196, 223 Cobb, Leonard, 173–74 coffee: questioning outlays for, 44 at Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts, 37–39, 47 upscale ambience and, 39, 159–60 cognitive limitations, taking account of, 327 Coke, taste tests of Pepsi and, 166–68 cold remedies, price and efficacy of, 184 colds, antibiotics as placebo for, 189 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 279–80 comparisons, see relativity compensation: cash vs. gift rewards and, 82–83, 253–54 for bankers, calculating correct amount of, 319–24 of CEOs, 16–17, 18, 310 poetry reading experiment and, 40–42 erosion of public trust and, 306, 310, 311 Obama’s call for “commonsense” guidelines for, 323–24 recent cuts in benefits and, 82 social exchange in workplace and, 80–83 and transformation of activity into work, 39–43 see also bonuses; salaries compensation consulting firms, 17 conditioning, placebo effect and, 179 condoms: importance of widespread availability of, 100–102 and willingness to engage in unprotected sex when aroused, 89, 95, 96–97, 99, 107 conflicts: expectations and perception of, 156–57, 171–72 neutral third party and, 172 conflicts of interest, 291–96 in banking and financial industries, 291, 294–96, 311 cheating and, 292–93, 294 elimination of, 295–96, 311 in health care, 293, 295 theory of rational crime and, 291–92 conformity, ordering food and drink and, 238 Congress, U.S., 151, 152, 228 ethics reforms in, 204–6 consumerism, 109–10 context effects, 240 control, perception of: learned helplessness and, 312–16 mistaken, 243 corporate scandals, xiv, 196, 204, 214, 219, 222–23 cost-benefit analysis: dishonesty and, 202–3, 204, 292–93 relative value and, 64–65 theory of rational crime and, 291–92 credit cards, 110, 204, 304 FREE!


pages: 124 words: 39,011

Beyond Outrage: Expanded Edition: What Has Gone Wrong With Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix It by Robert B. Reich

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, banking crisis, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, job automation, Mahatma Gandhi, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

S&P’s intrusion into American politics is also ironic because much of our current debt is directly or indirectly due to S&P’s failure (along with the failures of the two other major credit-rating agencies, Fitch and Moody’s) to do its job before the financial meltdown. Until the eve of the collapse, S&P gave triple-A ratings to some of the Street’s riskiest packages of mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. Had S&P fulfilled its responsibility and warned investors of how much risk Wall Street was taking on, the housing and debt bubbles wouldn’t have become so large, and their bursts wouldn’t have brought down much of the economy. You and I and other taxpayers wouldn’t have had to bail out Wall Street; millions of Americans would have spent the subsequent years working instead of collecting unemployment insurance; the government wouldn’t have had to inject the economy with a massive stimulus to save millions of other jobs; and far more tax revenue would have been pouring into the Treasury from individuals and businesses.


pages: 160 words: 6,876

Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants by Bethany McLean

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, collateralized debt obligation, housing crisis, mortgage debt, negative equity, obamacare, race to the bottom

David Fiderer, a former banker turned journalist, calculates that from 2005 to 2007, roughly $2.9 trillion of private-label first-lien single-family mortgage securities were issued, only about 15 percent of which were purchased by Fannie and Freddie, and they bought the safest possible part. That supposedly safer part of the securities— the triple-A–rated ones—became increasingly easy to sell because so many buyers around the world were looking for “safe” investments. As for the riskier pieces, it was a Wall Street invention—the collateralized debt obligation—that became the buyer. Without them, the last frenzied years of the bubble wouldn’t have been possible. The narrative that blames Fannie and Freddie and the a≠ordable-housing goals ignores some other inconvenient facts. Among them: • The first wave of subprime lenders in the 1990s grew up outside the GSEs. The survivors from these companies became the dominant subprime lenders in the second wave, a◊er 2000.


pages: 593 words: 189,857

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises by Timothy F. Geithner

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, break the buck, Buckminster Fuller, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Doomsday Book, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, Flash crash, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, implied volatility, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, negative equity, Northern Rock, obamacare, paradox of thrift, pets.com, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, selection bias, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tobin tax, too big to fail, working poor

Banks under siege used to stack money in their windows to reassure depositors there was no need to run; when governments put enough “money in the window,” they can reduce the danger they’ll have to use it. The classic example is deposit insurance, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s response to Depression-era bank runs. Since 1934, the government has guaranteed deposits at banks, so insured depositors who get worried that their bank has problems no longer have an incentive to yank out their money and make the problems worse. Of course, the banking system that FDR inherited didn’t have “collateralized debt obligations,” “asset-backed commercial paper,” or other complexities of twenty-first-century finance. In the panic of 2008, insured bank deposits didn’t run on any significant scale, but all kinds of other frightened money did—and in the digital age, a run doesn’t require any physical running, just a phone call or a click of a mouse. By early 2009, the government had put a lot of money in the window through TARP and other emergency measures.

A WEEK later, the investment bank Merrill Lynch announced $7.9 billion in mortgage-related losses, the largest write-down in Wall Street history. That was almost twice as large a write-down as Merrill had predicted three weeks earlier, leaving the impression that losses were exploding and more unpleasant surprises lay ahead. Merrill CEO Stan O’Neal was forced out, although he did receive a $161.5 million severance to ease the blow. The bulk of Merrill’s losses came from “collateralized debt obligations,” piles of mortgage-backed securities where the income streams had been sliced up and repackaged into smaller streams known as “tranches.” Merrill was a leading manufacturer of CDOs, and it had made billions selling them to investors around the world. But the investors, reaching for yield, had shown little interest in the safest tranches, the “super-senior” CDOs that would pay out in full unless mortgage losses were so severe that investors in every tranche below them were wiped out.

The measure is based on the implied volatility of options on the S&P 500 index of stocks. The VIX captures investor expectations of near-term stock market volatility—how uncertain investors are about whether and how far the S&P will rise or fall. 4 two complex new Maiden Lane vehicles: Among AIG’s major liquidity needs were their securities lending operations and the credit default swaps written by AIG Financial Products on collateralized debt obligations. Maiden Lane II and III addressed these issues, respectively, by purchasing the underlying collateral from AIG and its counterparties and canceling the CDS contracts that AIG owed against them. This eliminated the risk that these contracts would continue to result in additional margin calls that would further drain AIG’s cash. Seven: Into the Fire 1 hardworking homeowners who were underwater: A home is “underwater” or has “negative equity” when the mortgage debt on the home exceeds its value.


pages: 559 words: 169,094

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, big-box store, citizen journalism, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Journalism, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, smart grid, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, urban planning, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, white picket fence, zero-sum game

The period when Rubin stood at the top of Wall Street and Washington was the age of inequality—hereditary inequality beyond anything the country had seen since the nineteenth century. In his capacity as resident wise man, he urged Citigroup, as he had once urged Goldman Sachs, to take more trading risks with its huge balance sheet. He also advised that the risks needed to be carefully managed. After that, he didn’t pay much attention while, between 2003 and 2005, Citigroup tripled its issuing of collateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities stuffed full of bad loans from places like Tampa, where people whose incomes had been flat for years had all their wealth in their houses and used them as cash machines. By late 2007, the bank had forty-three billion dollars in CDOs on its books. Most of it turned out to be worthless, and in 2008, when the financial crisis hit, Citigroup practically became a ward of the state.

First, it represented a breakdown of the legal system. How else, other than unchecked fraud, could those banks have been “technically insolvent,” with only a handful of insiders knowing the truth? But there were deeper causes—the dismantling of the rules that had kept banking stable for half a century. Connaughton saw Kaufman—seventy years old, with a musty MBA from Wharton—as Rip Van Winkle, waking up in the age of “synthetic collateralized debt obligations” and “naked credit default swaps.” What the hell happened to Glass-Steagall, which maintained a wall between commercial and investment banking? (Passed by Congress in 1933, repealed by Congress in 1999, bipartisan vote, Clinton’s signature.) What about the “uptick rule,” which required investors to wait until a stock rose in price before selling it short? (Instated by the SEC in 1938, abolished by the SEC in 2007.)

The airlines were fucked, but not necessarily that much worse than after four terrible plane crashes. The Fed kept cutting rates. Before long, a financial boom was on. In 2004, Kevin left his safe and boring job to join the proprietary trading desk at a big European bank, with zero job security and huge potential—one of the ballsier and more correct decisions of his life. The European bank was about to get into collateralized debt obligations. The stock market determined the size of your apartment and whether you had a Viking stove—who was rich and who wasn’t. The bond market determined if shit worked or everyone was eating sand, who was alive and who wasn’t. Ever since the eighties, credit had been the biggest driver. All the things that would later go wrong, structured credit, default swaps, were good inventions; they mitigated risk or offered financial solutions to companies and investors.


pages: 526 words: 158,913

Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America by Greg Farrell

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Airbus A320, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, banking crisis, bonus culture, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, financial innovation, fixed income, glass ceiling, high net worth, Long Term Capital Management, mass affluent, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, six sigma, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, too big to fail, US Airways Flight 1549, yield curve

What he did not know was that Merrill Lynch, which had more than doubled its balance sheet to $1 trillion in assets over the previous two years, had been mortally wounded by the wipeout of the subprime mortgage market. O’Neal only tuned in to the problem in late July, after the implosion of two hedge funds run by a competing firm, Bear Stearns. The funds had been gigantic, multi-billion-dollar bets on collateralized debt obligations—CDOs, for short—which were securities constructed from subprime mortgages. Following the collapse of the Bear Stearns funds, other Wall Street firms, including Merrill Lynch, scoured their own balance sheets for any signs of exposure to the subprime market. Then on August 9, 2007, a French bank, BNP Paribas, announced it would suspend the valuation of three subprime mortgage–based investment funds because liquidity in the market had disappeared.

On December 31, when the final numbers came in from the firm’s fixed-income trading division, the trading marks resulted in a nasty surprise: Merrill’s losses would be almost twice what his team had predicted just a month earlier. There were two forces driving the increased losses. Like other large Wall Street investment banks, Merrill Lynch held hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of assets on its balance sheet. But the problem with Merrill Lynch’s balance sheet was that it contained more than $30 billion of collateralized debt obligations and billions more in other arcane investments, the underlying value of which was difficult to determine. The CDOs may have been worth an aggregate $30 billion at the time they were securitized, but there was no way they were still worth that amount. As 2007 came to a close, the U.S. real estate market was in free fall. The epicenter was the subprime mortgage market, where unqualified buyers were walking away from mortgages underwritten by profligate lenders, particularly in such overheated markets as California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

p. 254 ‘when the credit card took off’. Nocera, J. 1994. A Piece of the Action. Simon and Schuster. (That said, there is little doubt that finance is one area of human activity in which too much innovation can be a bad thing. As Adair Turner has put it, whereas the loss of the knowledge of how to make a vaccine would harm human welfare, ‘if the instructions for creating a CDO squared [a collateral debt obligation of collateral debt obligations] had somehow been mislaid, we will I think get along quite well without it.’) See Turner, A. 2009. ‘The Financial Crisis and the Future of Financial Regulation’. Inaugural Economist City Lecture, 21 January 2009. Financial Services Authority. p. 254 ‘Lewis Mandell discovered’. Quoted in Nocera, J. 1994. A Piece of the Action. Simon and Schuster. p. 254 ‘Michael Crichton once told me’.


pages: 448 words: 142,946

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein

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Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, lump of labour, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail

The current problem is therefore much deeper than today’s conventional wisdom holds. Consider this typical example from a financial journal: [Paul] Volcker is right. The collateralized debt obligations, collateralized mortgage-backed securities, and other computer-spawned complexities and playthings were not the solutions to basic needs in the economy, but to unslaked greed on Wall Street. Without them, banks would have had no choice but to continue to devote their capital and talents to meeting real needs from businesses and consumers, and there would have been no crisis, no crash, and no recession.”1 This describes only the most superficial level of a deeper problem of which the collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and so forth are mere symptoms. The deeper problem was that there were insufficient “real needs” to which banks could devote their capital, because only those needs that will generate profits beyond the interest rate constitute valid lending opportunities.


pages: 493 words: 132,290

Vultures' Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores by Greg Palast

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anti-communist, back-to-the-land, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, centre right, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, energy security, Exxon Valdez, invisible hand, means of production, Myron Scholes, offshore financial centre, random walk, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, transfer pricing, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Yogi Berra

If an unelected junta of bankers drafts America’s trade position, well, here’s the number to call. And so the law of international finance became Lawlessness. ATHENS In May 2010, the end-game ended for Greece. The new financial products were packaged, polished to a shine, and sold to government pension funds all over the planet. The bankers sold blind sacks of sub-prime mortgages, sliced and mixed up, as Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and other fetid concoctions. The Financial Services Agreement was rockin’! But when opened, buyers found the bags were filled with financial feces. Government pensions and sovereign funds, from Finland to Qatar, lost trillions. The bags were toxic to bank balance sheets and several failed. However, in most cases, bankers could get a refill of capital juice from governments fearful of full-bore financial collapse.

The new President, Lula, resisted, despite the gun of bankruptcy threats in his face and the deals Brazil signed before he was sworn in. But Lula told the IMF to jam it and body-blocked privatizations, especially of the state-owned banks. Instead of begging international financiers for scraps, he opened the vaults of the state bank and lent out over half a trillion dollars for factories, farms, infrastructure—but not for one real for derivatives, hostile takeovers or collateralized debt obligations. During his two terms in office, Lula’s state banks gave their citizen-owners more credit than the IMF gave to over hun-dered nations. And Brazil’s economy went from the swamp to the stars. Then Brazil struck oil, lots of it, in deep Atlantic waters. In the old days, that is, a decade ago, Chevron, Shell, and BP would have been onto those reservoirs like ticks, sucking up Brazil’s oil.

How I Became a Quant: Insights From 25 of Wall Street's Elite by Richard R. Lindsey, Barry Schachter

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized markets, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, Donald Knuth, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John von Neumann, linear programming, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, performance metric, prediction markets, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, sorting algorithm, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, stochastic process, systematic trading, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, value at risk, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, young professional

Good risk management works with businesses to create the infrastructure needed to support new products. Arguments about pricing, hedging, and risking should take place before trading begins, not after. JWPR007-Lindsey 234 May 7, 2007 17:9 h ow i b e cam e a quant Adventures in CDO Land Another incident shows the power and limitations of quantitative risk management. A charismatic ex-derivatives trader started a CDO (collateralized debt obligation) business, which he ran as a derivatives business. The accounting was mark-to-market, and he acted as both the structurer and the active manager of the portfolios of the underlying portfolios of credits. A general problem for CDO structurers is that they have to find buyers for all the tranches of a new structure at once in order to launch the deal. My CDO trader neatly solved this problem; he simply referenced unsold tranches of new deals into his previously created CDOs!

., 151 Bohren, Øyvind, 155 Bonds mathematics, analogy, 23–26 valuation, option theory (application), 40 Booth, Laurence, 139 Bop Play, 191 Borel subgroup, 109–110 Bossaerts, Peter, 77 Boyle, Phelim, 161, 162 Brain-imaging technologies, improvement, 27–28 Brennan, Michael, 140 Bretton Woods system, 297–298 Bridge brokerage, 220 Brinson, Hood, and Beebower (BHB) methodology, 260 British Telecommunications Pension Scheme, 143 Broadie, Mark, 171 Broker-sponsored WRAP accounts, growth, 79 Brown, Jerry, 213 Brown, Stephen, 253 Bubble Logic, 204 Buglierello, George, 335 Call markets, conditional orders (allowance), 77 Campbell, Myron, 117 Cantor, Bernie, 21 Cantor Fitzgerald, 21 Cantwell, Gary, 320 Capital allocation, standalone risk (basis), 103–104 Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), 34 development, 147 result, appearance, 43 validation, 77 P1: OTE/PGN JWPR007-Lindsey P2: OTE January 1, 1904 6:33 382 Capital Ideas and Market Realities: Option Replication, Investor Behavior, and Stock Market Crashes (Jacobs), 278, 280, 281 Capital Market Risk Advisors, 83 control/maintenance, continuation, 90–91 Capital Markets Risk Advisors, 90–91 Capital structure, 212 irrelevance, Modigliani-Miller explanation (usage), 139 Capped stock index options, analysis, 160–161 Carnegie-Mellon, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, 264 Carr, Peter, 137–141, 242 Carret, Philip, 321 Carry play, 193 CFA Institute, 213, 280, 283 Chalone Group, 217 Chaos control, 165 Charlotte Group, 217 Chase Manhattan Bank, 245–248 Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), 331 options, exchange trading, 89 Chriss, Neil, 107–135 Churchill, Winston, 37 risk management, problems, 232 Clark, Kent, 200 Clayman, Michelle, 253–254 Clifford, Scott, 45 Clinton Group, 302 Clowes, Michael, 279 Cohen, Kalman, 71–72 Coleman, Lew, 221 Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 234 equity tranche, 234 Collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), instrument creation, 184 Columbus, Christopher, 112 Commercial International Brokerage Company (CIBC), 231–232 Commercial loan-pooling venture, 215 Commerzbank Securities, 173–175 Communication, quality, 105 Complete Guide to Financial Innovation, The (Marshall/Bansal), 329 Composite models, usage, 80 Compound returns, 72 Compustat, 219, 313 Computers, usage, 113–117 Conditional orders, 76–77 Conditional value-at-risk (CVAR), 195 Contingent claims, publicly traded markets (growth), 249 Continuous markets, 76 Continuous value at risk, 256 Conventional value trading, combined value trading (contrast), 78t Convexity, examination, 38–39 INDEX Cooper, Richard, 321, 322 Cooper, Tom, 314 Copulas.


pages: 549 words: 147,112

The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History by Kirsten Grind

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, big-box store, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, fixed income, housing crisis, Maui Hawaii, money market fund, mortgage debt, naked short selling, NetJets, shareholder value, short selling, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, too big to fail, Y2K

More than 85 percent of the bonds received the highest grade from the rating agencies. Three years later over half of the mortgages would be delinquent and a quarter would be in foreclosure.24 None of this turmoil seemed to faze WaMu’s Capital Markets Group, which had ballooned to 200 employees, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. The division presented plans to package and sell Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs), a type of security whose popularity had grown over the previous five years and which was even more complicated than a regular mortgage-backed security. CDOs were packaged with any kind of debt, causing the authors of a later book about the financial crisis to describe them as “asset-backed securities on steroids.”25 WaMu wanted to package its CDOs with home equity loans, credit card debt, and slices of mortgage-backed securities.

See JPMorgan Chase Chase Home Finance, 104 Chicago, Illinois Jenne’s delinquent homeowner tour and, 171–72 WaMu branches in, 86, 108, 109 chief operating officer (COO), WaMu Pepper’s advice to Killinger about, 103–4 Rotella hired as first, 104–5, 106 Chrysler Financial, 235 Citigroup Dimon at, 230 as largest U.S. bank, 104 naked short selling protection for, 247 near failure of, 314, 314n OTS defense of oversight and, 317, 318 as potential buyer of WaMu, 3, 271, 282, 283, 289, 290, 298 TARP and, 315 Clark, Susie, 224 Clinton, Bill, 64, 113, 155 CNBC, 212, 267 CNN, 267 Coburn, Tom, 135 Cohen, H. Rodgin, 232, 233 Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs), 158, 295, 295n commercial real estate loans, 26–27 community banks: closure of, 319–20 Community Fulfillment Centers, WaMu, 142–43, 144–45, 144n, 159, 166 Community Reinvestment Act, 59 compensation Countrywide-WaMu competition and, 160 five emissaries–Killinger discussion about, 204–5 for fixed-rate loans/mortgages, 128, 129, 197 for Goldman Sachs board members, 164 for loan consultants, 117, 128–29, 188, 196, 197 at Long Beach Mortgage, 69–70, 78, 166–67 for Option ARMs sales, 117, 197 Pepper’s advice to Killinger about, 103–4 for real estate agents, 143 for salespeople, 140, 166–67 shareholders concerns about WaMu, 187–88 for subprime loans, 197 for WaMu board members, 164 for WaMu senior executives, 131, 187–88 See also specific person Congress, U.S.


pages: 461 words: 128,421

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of the americas, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, endowment effect, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, impulse control, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, libertarian paternalism, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market design, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Nikolai Kondratiev, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pushing on a string, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile, Yogi Berra

Wall Street firms eagerly filled the void. They bought the mortgages from brokers and other mortgage lenders and packaged them into mortgage-backed securities. Perversely, Fannie and Freddie were allowed to buy these, and acquired tens of billions of dollars in subprime-mortgage-backed securities to meet affordable housing goals set by Congress. The Wall Street firms also repackaged mortgage securities into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that allowed them to transmute even the dodgiest subprime mortgages into triple-A debt. The new derivatives called credit default swaps, which allowed CDO packagers and buyers to offload some of their risks, allowed for even more credit creation. Backing up all this packaging and repackaging and derivatization were options-theory-based risk models that were, of course, only as good as the information fed into them.

., 248–49 Chaos (Gleick), 70, 234 chaos theory, 67, 134, 301–2, 304 Chase Financial Policy, 163–64 Chicago Board of Options Exchange, 145 Chicago Board of Trade, 40 Chicago Mercantile Exchange, 145, 194, 219,227–28, 230 Chicago Tribune, 35–36 Cisco Systems, 261–62, 262–63, 278, 284 Citrin, Robert, 362n. 17 Clinton, Bill, 244 CNA Financial, 125 Coca-Cola, 270–71 coin-flip g