Posts Tagged ‘American International Group’

SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, “Cruel” Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence

SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, "Cruel" Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence

Neil BarofskyCourtesy of Tyler Durden

SigTarp Neil Barofsky has just released the most scathing critique of all the idiots in the administration, with a particular soft spot for Tim Geithner.

On the failure of TARP to increase lending:

As these quarterly reports to congress have well chronicled and as Treasury itself recently conceded in its acknowledgement that "banks continue to report falling loan balances," TARP has failed to "increase lending" with small businesses in particular unable to secured badly needed credit. Indeed, even now, overall lending continues to contract, despite the hundreds of billions of TARP dollars provided to banks with the express purpose to increase lending.

On TARP’s sole success of boosting Wall Street bonuses:

While large bonuses are returning to Wall Street, the nation’s poverty rate increased from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2009, and for far too many, the recession has ended in name only.

On TARP’s failure in general:

Finally, the most specific of TARP’s Main Street goals, "preserving homeownership" has so far fallen woefully short, with TARP’s portion of the Administration’s mortgage modification program yielding only approximately 207,000 ongoing permanent modifications since TARP’s inception, a number that stands in stark contrast to the 5.5 million homes receiving foreclosure filings and more than 1.7 million homes that have been lost to foreclosure since January 2009.

On the Treasury’s scam in minimizing publicized AIG losses, and on Geithner as a Wall Street puppet whose actions are increasingly destroying public faith in the government:

While SIGTARP offers no opinion on the appropriateness or accuracy of the valuation contained in the Retrospective, we believe that the Retrospective fails to meet basic transparency standards by failing to disclose: (1) that the new lower estimate followed a change in the methodology that Treasury previously used to calculate expected losses on its AIG investment; and (2) that Treasury would be required by its auditors to use the older, and presumably less favorable, methodology in the official audited financials statements. To avoid potential confusion, Treasury should have disclosed that it had changed its valuation methodology and should have published a side-by-side comparison of its new numbers with what the projected losses would be under the auditor-approved methodology that Treasury had used previously and will


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The Silver Curtain

The Silver Curtain

Courtesy of Marla Singer, Zero Hedge 

On the 5th of March in 1946, in Fulton Missouri, at Westminster College, Winston Churchill delivered an address (since christened the "Sinews of Peace") lamenting the burgeoning power and influence being slowly but surely gathered up by the Soviet Union.  Perhaps the address will be familiar to some of you owing to its most famous passage:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone — Greece with its immortal glories — is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation.

Ironic, as I will address, that he should mention Greece.

Much less well known perhaps is this later passage:

Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere waiting to see what happens; nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement. What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed, the more difficult it will be and the greater our dangers will become.1

The "Iron Curtain" came, of course, to signify the cavernous ideological, and eventually concretely physical, divide between East and West.  It took some 43 years before it was lifted once more, first and haltingly, in the form of the removal of Hungary’s border fence in mid-1989 and then, of course, finally via the fall of the Berlin Wall in November that same year.

Not to be compared with a production of Italian Opera, the Iron Curtain did not describe a sudden, smooth, abrupt descent over the stages of Eastern Europe.  Quite the contrary, its drop was in stutters of discrete, fractional lowerings, such that it was a full fifteen years after Churchill used the term before its ultimate expression, the Berlin Wall, was finally…
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Truth Peeks Out From Under The Blanket

Karl speaks out again and suggests some sort of taxpayer strike. If you ask people in real estate and lending industries, many will admit knowing that lies and deception were ubiquitous. For example, see my interview with J.S. Kim:

Ilene: What did you learn while working in the banking industry?

J.S.: I was seeing an unsettling picture of industry excesses. I saw problems developing, for example, with mortgages – no document loans or liar loans. If the loan application didn’t support a mortgage, the loan might be denied at first, but then it was sent through a special process to convert it to a no document loan. Every bank did it. This was not specific to Wells Fargo. All the major U.S. banks had this “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, so they could say they didn’t know. They either should have known from the start that the mortgages couldn’t be paid back, or they didn’t care because they were making huge commissions up front. So they would make the loans and then slice and dice them up and quickly sell them off.

Ilene: The banks knew what they were doing and knew they’d be bailed out as well?

J.S.: Yes, this happened before in the 1920s and I believe they knew it would happen again. The process of taking the clients’ money and making loans that are gambles (heads I win, tails the taxpayer pays) has a history that goes back to the Great Depression. They have the best of both worlds. The reward for risks stays with the banks top executives, but losses are shifted to the taxpayers.  [more here>>]

Truth Peeks Out From Under The Blanket

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Record Earnings Lead To Big Bonuses On Wall Street

Gee, you think?

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein testified today that he was never asked to accept a discount on investment contracts his firm had with American International Group Inc….

The New York Fed said it had to make the payments after banks refused to accept so-called haircuts, according to a November audit from Neil Barofsky, the special inspector of the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Had to eh?  And they had to…. why?

Banks…
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Obama Administration Wants to Annuitize 401k’s and IRA’s – Mandatory “R Bonds”

Jesse asks: "Does it seems as though I have barely given this annuitization effort a chance, a fair hearing, the benefit of the doubt, improperly assumed it might not have the best intentions of the American public at heart?" I’d say no.  This looks like another wealth transfer device dressed up like the flying lipsticked pig. – Ilene

Obama Administration Wants to Annuitize 401k’s and IRA’s – Mandatory "R Bonds"

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

As a rule of thumb, the worst possible time to convert lump sum savings into a fixed income annuity would be when interest rates are historically low.

Although products may vary, this is roughly equivalent to buying long term bonds at a time when interest rates are likely to increase, substantially reducing your principal in real terms, and eroding your fixed returns through inflation.

For some reason the Obama Administration is promoting the idea now that there should be some encouragement for Americans to start converting their 401K’s and IRA’s into annuities, to provide themselves with lifetime income.

The effort is being spear-headed by Mark Iwry of the Treasury and Phyllis Borzi of the Department of Labor. Here is a paper written on the subject by Mark Iwry when he was at the Brookings Institution.

The essence of this paper is that distributions from IRA’s and 401K’s would automatically be rolled into an annuity providing a monthly income by default.

This concept is known on the Street as the handling fees for meager returns pork barrel pigfest. The Fed likes it because they will undoubtedly get a two year rolling chunk of the people’s retirement cash to play with.

Perhaps just rolling those 401K’s and IRA’s into Social Security or the Long Bond would be what they have in mind. Somehow the panacea of TIPS with inflation defined by the government sounds probable. The drawback perhaps is that this would not generate the highest recurring fees for Wall Street and the FIRE sector, which have to be eyeing that ‘cash on the sidelines’ hungrily.

How about Patriot Bonds that are fully invested in Mortgage Debt formerly owned by the Fed, with some tranches of Commercial Real Estate to add some zest to the recipe? The Treasury can give this option a small tax break, which can be largely consumed by Wall Street fees and mispricing…
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Lawmakers call on Geithner to testify about concerns over AIG bailout

Should be interesting, Geithner explaining the AIG bailout, gifting of taxpayer money to AIG’s counterparties, and surrounding secrecy. – Ilene

Lawmakers call on Geithner to testify about concerns over AIG bailout

By Silla Brush, The Hill 

Geithner Testifies Before Congressional Oversight Panel On TARP

The Treasury secretary would be asked about whether government officials improperly pressured AIG during the bailout.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers on Friday called on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to testify about whether government officials improperly pressured American International Group during the bailout.

Geithner has come under renewed criticism this week following concerns that the Federal Reserve instructed AIG not to disclose how billions of taxpayer dollars would be used during the bailout…

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Friday called for a full investigation into the issue and for testimony from Geithner.

“In all cases, the money provided by the [Federal Reserve Bank of New York] to AIG came from U.S. taxpayers and taxpayers had the right to know at the time the money was being provided how it was to be used," Cummings wrote.

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) urged House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to schedule a hearing into Geithner’s role. Meanwhile, Issa and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) urged Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to request testimony from Geithner through subpoena if necessary…

Full article here.>>

 


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Geithner Singled Out In TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky’s Scathing Report On AIG Bailout

The Huffington Post has a couple articles on the highly critical SIGTARP report discussed previously by The Epicurean Dealmaker. - Ilene

Geithner Singled Out In TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky’s Scathing Report On AIG Bailout

scathingA brutal report issued Monday by a government watchdog holds Timothy Geithner — then the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and now the nation’s Treasury Secretary — responsible for overpayments that put billions of extra tax dollars in the coffers of major Wall Street firms, most notably Goldman Sachs.

The authoritative new narrative describes how, while bailing out insurance giant AIG last fall, a team led by Geithner failed nearly every step of the way.

Instead of bargaining with AIG’s numerous counterparties to resolve its billions of dollars in souring derivatives contracts, Geithner’s team ended up paying top dollar for toxic assets — "an amount far above their market value at the time," the report notes.

"There is no question that the effect of FRBNY’s decisions — indeed, the very design of the federal assistance to AIG — was that tens of billions of dollars of Government money was funneled inexorably and directly to AIG’s counterparties," the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said.

Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia got full value for their derivatives contracts with AIG, and taxpayers got the bill. In total, $27.1 billion of public money was transferred to companies that did business with AIG…

Read more here.

Goldman Sachs Would Have Been Damaged By AIG Failure: SIGTARP Report

As Goldman Sachs put it in a press release last March, the bank had "no material direct economic exposure" to AIG.

Well, it depends on what you mean by "material direct economic exposure."

In a report issued earlier this week, TARP special inspector general Neil Barofsky took a shot at Goldman’s claim that it was insulated against AIG’s demise. While, the report’s language is arcane, the message is simple: if AIG had gone under, Goldman Sachs would have had significant difficulty trying to collect on the the derivatives bets it placed with other banks in order to offset potential AIG losses.

Full article here.

 


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Did The Markit Group, A Black-Box Company Partially Owned By Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, Devastate Markets?

The Markit Group: A Black-Box Company that Devastated Markets

markitCourtesy of Mark Mitchell at Deep Capture

Although much attention has been directed at the contribution made by credit default swaps  to the financial crisis, most discussion has focused on the companies, such as American International Group (AIG), that posted big losses because they sold these instruments without sufficient due diligence.

Another line of inquiry has not been pursued, however, though it is of equal, and perhaps greater, significance. That line of inquiry concerns the way in which the prices of credit default swaps effect the perceived value of all forms of debt — corporate bonds, commercial mortgages, home mortgages, and collateralized debt obligations — and as a result, the ability of hedge funds manipulators to use credit default swaps in bear raids on public companies.

If short sellers can manipulate the price of credit default swaps, they can disrupt those companies whose debt is insured by the credit default swaps whose prices are manipulated.  The game plan runs as follows: find a company that relies on a layer of debt that is both permanent, and which rolls over frequently (most financial firms fit this description). Short sell that company’s stock. Then manipulate the price of the CDS upwards, preferably into a spike, as you spread the news of the skyrocketing CDS price (perhaps with the cooperation of compliant journalists at, say, CNBC).

Frightened Woman

Because the CDS is, in essence, an insurance policy on the debt of the company, the spiking CDS pricing will cause the company’s lenders to panic and cut off access to credit. As this happens, the company’s stock will nosedive, thereby cutting off access to equity capital. Thus suddenly deprived of credit and equity, the firm collapses, and the hedge fund collects on its short bets.

Moreover, credit default swap prices are the primary inputs for important indices (such as the CMBX and the ABX) measuring the movement of the overall market for commercial and home mortgages.  In the months leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, short sellers pointed to these indices in order to argue  that investment banks – most notably Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers – had overvalued the mortgage debt and property on their books. Meanwhile, several hedge funds made billions in profits betting that those indexes would drop.

It should therefore be a…
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ValueWalk

Turkmenistan: With Money In Short Supply, Cash-Free Seen As Answer

By EurasiaNet. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Turkmenistan has a plan to fix its ever-troubled domestic currency, the manat – and that plan is to dispense with cash as much as possible.

The desire to go cash-free is being spun as a nod to economic modernization, although all available evidence points to the move being motivated by a stubborn liquidity crisis that shows no sign of abating.

Etereuti / PixabayTurkmenistan

At a regular end-of-week government meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on March 24 listened to one of his deputy prime ministers provide an update on planned improvements to the banking system.

Byashimmyrat Hojamammedov, the Cabinet’s point-man...



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Zero Hedge

Artist's Impression Of GOP Obamacare Repeal Negotiations

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Mis-stakes were made...

Source: MichaelPRamirez.com

...

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Phil's Favorites

Investors Underperforming Their Own Investments

 

Investors Underperforming Their Own Investments

Courtesy of 

If a financial advisor could just accomplish one thing for clients – help them capture more of the returns that their own investments offer, then he or she has done something extremely worthy and valuable. This requires difficult work though: It’s easier to promise a client that they’ll be able to avoid drawdowns than it is to convince a client why they must learn to tolerate them. Every advisor’s client yearns to be able to say “My guy got me out” at the country club.

Steve Russolillo looks at the well-known phenomenon in which investors systematically underperform ...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

These Charts Show Alarm Bells Ringing on the Trump Trade (Bloomberg)

Investors on Monday further unwound trades initiated in November resting on the idea that the election of Donald Trump and a Republican Congress meant smooth passage of an agenda that featured business-friendly tax cuts and regulatory changes.

U.S. equity futures at six-week low after Trump healthcare setback (Reuters)

U.S. equity index futures fell to a six-week low on Sunday in a sign Wall Street would start the week defensively after Republicans pulled legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system in a...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of March 27th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stocks and Bonds; Critical change of direction in play?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Since the summer of 2016, stocks have done very well and bonds have been thumped, as rates have risen sharply. Is it time for these trends to take a break? Below compares the performance of the S&P 500, with the popular bond ETF TLT over the past 9-months.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The performance spread between stocks and bonds over the past 9-months is a big one! Rare to see the spread between the two...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Mar 26, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Tuesday’s long overdue >1% selloff in the S&P 500 broke a very long and rare streak in the S&P 500.   The S&P 500?s streak without a 1% down day was the longest since May 18, 1995!  A marginal close lower Monday was followed by a 1.2% drop Tuesday (the NASDAQ fell 1.8% that day).

“I think that investors are kind of starting to discount the likelihood of the immediacy of [President Donald Trump’s] policies and the enthusiasm has come off the boil as a lot of his policies got mired in the legislative process,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. “Investors are not throwing in the towel but they are resetting their expectations.”

According to Bespoke, there have been only 11 instances since 1928 where the S&P 500...



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Members' Corner

More Natterings

Courtesy of The Nattering Naybob

[Click on the titles for the full articles.]

A Quick $20 Trick?

Summary

Discussion, critique and analysis of the potential impacts on equity, bond, commodity, capital and asset markets regarding the following:

  • Last time out, Sinbad The Sailor, QuickLogic.
  • GlobalFoundries, Jha, Smartron and cricket.
  • Quick money, fungible, demographics, QUIK focus.

Last Time Out

Monetary policy is just one form of policy that effects capital,...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Tumbles Below Gold As China Tightens Regulations

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Having rebounded rapidly from the ETF-decision disappointment, Bitcoin suffered another major setback overnight as Chinese regulators are circulating new guidelines that, if enacted, would require exchanges to verify the identity of clients and adhere to banking regulations.

A New York startup called Chainalysis estimated that roughly $2 billion of bitcoin moved out of China in 2016.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the move to regulate bitcoin exchanges brings assurance that Chinese authorities will tolerate some level of trading, after months of uncertainty. A draft of the guidelines also indicates th...



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Mapping The Market

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

Courtesy of Jean Luc

I am trying to remember who on this board said that people wanted to Trump because they want their freedom back. Well….

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

By Daniel Cooper, Endgadget

ISPs will soon be able to sell your most private data without your consent.

As expected, Republicans in Congress have begun the process of rolling back the FCC's broadband privacy rules which prevent excessive surveillance. Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced a resolution to scrub the rules, using Congress' powers to invalidate recently-approved federal regulations. Reuters reports that the move has broad support, with 34 other names throwing their weight behind the res...



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Promotions

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

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Biotech

The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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