Posts Tagged ‘Securities and Exchange Commission’

Mortgage Mess: Shredding the Dream; Major Fight over Enormous Losses Yet to Come

Mortgage Mess: Shredding the Dream; Major Fight over Enormous Losses Yet to Come

Courtesy of Mish

The foreclosure crisis isn’t just about lost documents. It’s about trust—and a clash over who gets stuck with $1.1 trillion in losses say BusinessWeek writers Peter Coy, Paul M. Barrett and Chad Terhune in a comprehensive 7 page article called Mortgage Mess: Shredding the Dream.

The article kicks off with a high-profile case of Joseph Lents who has been in default for 8 years and is still living in his home because no one can come up with the note. Such cases are extremely rare, yet highly publicized as if they widely occur.

The article continues with a discussion about MERS including this interesting comment:

"The Florida Bankers Assn. told the state Supreme Court last year that in many cases the physical document was deliberately eliminated to avoid confusion immediately upon its conversion to an electronic file."

Then there is the issue of LPS, America’s biggest mortgage-and-foreclosure outsourcing firm.

"LPS supplies much of the digital plumbing for the convoluted home-finance system. At the start of 2010 it said its computer programs were handling 28 million loans with a total principal balance of more than $4.7 trillion—or more than half the nation’s outstanding mortgage balances."

Because of robo-signings and other questionable practices the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa and the state of Florida are investigating whether LPS and affiliated companies have fabricated documents and faked signatures.

LPS employees "seem to be creating and manufacturing ‘bogus assignments’ of mortgage in order that foreclosures may go through more quickly and efficiently," the Florida Attorney General’s Office says in an online description of its civil investigation.

To keep the paperwork moving, LPS uses a variety of incentives. Top-performing workers receive monthLY "Drive for Pride" awards that sometimes include $500 in company stock and a spot in an underground parking garage. LPS also devised a coding system to grade outside foreclosure attorneys based on their speed in completing tasks. Fast-acting attorneys receive green ratings; slower lawyers are labeled yellow or red and may receive fewer assignments. "Bill will move quickly and expect you to be there to pull your weight," says Jerry Mallot, executive vice-president of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce. "I wouldn’t call the environment at his company kind and genteel."

In yet another case involving HSBC …

Judge Sigmund, who has since


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SEC Charges Goldman Sachs With Fraud On Subprime Mortgages, Paulson & Co. Implicated

SEC Charges Goldman Sachs With Fraud On Subprime Mortgages, Paulson & Co. Implicated

Courtesy of Zero Hedge  

Washington, D.C., April 16, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Goldman, Sachs & Co. and one of its vice presidents for defrauding investors by misstating and omitting key facts about a financial product tied to subprime mortgages as the U.S. housing market was beginning to falter.

The SEC alleges that Goldman Sachs structured and marketed a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO) that hinged on the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). Goldman Sachs failed to disclose to investors vital information about the CDO, in particular the role that a major hedge fund played in the portfolio selection process and the fact that the hedge fund had taken a short position against the CDO.

"The product was new and complex but the deception and conflicts are old and simple," said Robert Khuzami, Director of the Division of Enforcement. "Goldman wrongly permitted a client that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective third party." 

Kenneth Lench, Chief of the SEC’s Structured and New Products Unit, added, "The SEC continues to investigate the practices of investment banks and others involved in the securitization of complex financial products tied to the U.S. housing market as it was beginning to show signs of distress."

The SEC alleges that one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Paulson & Co., paid Goldman Sachs to structure a transaction in which Paulson & Co. could take short positions against mortgage securities chosen by Paulson & Co. based on a belief that the securities would experience credit events.

According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the marketing materials for the CDO known as ABACUS 2007-AC1 (ABACUS) all represented that the RMBS portfolio underlying the CDO was selected by ACA Management LLC (ACA), a third party with expertise in analyzing credit risk in RMBS. The SEC alleges that undisclosed in the marketing materials and unbeknownst to investors, the Paulson & Co. hedge fund, which was poised to benefit if the RMBS defaulted, played a significant role in selecting which RMBS should make up the portfolio.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that after participating in the…
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Wall Street’s ‘Code of Silence’

Wall Street’s ‘Code of Silence’

Courtesy of Larry Doyle at Sense on Cents

ShareThis

Shut up!!!

Imagine being in a situation in which you knew you had to be quiet in order to advance your own personal career, rather than speaking up and blowing the whistle on irregularities and improprieties within your firm. This message is consistently relayed by many a whistleblower who has suffered from having tried to do the right thing. What is the result? Firms tout their virtuous values of integrity, respect, and excellence while effectively muzzling those who would blow the whistle on crimes and illegal practices.

I believe this reality is all too present in many, if not most, industries in our society today. There is absolutely no doubt it is present on Wall Street. Why do I write this? A recently released report from the SEC’s Office of Inspector General David Kotz highlights the fact that the ‘whistles on Wall Street’ have been largely silent for a long time.

The Project on Government Oversight highlights this report in a recent commentary, Not Much Bounty for SEC Whistleblower Program:

For more than 20 years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has had a program in place to reward whistleblowers who provide the agency with information about insider trading. But a new audit by the SEC Office of Inspector General (OIG) reveals that the program has almost never been used, is barely recognized inside or outside the SEC, and has fundamental design flaws.

It turns out the SEC has received very few applications in the past two decades for bounties under the program — and only five people have actually received payments since the program first began:

Sec

Design Flaws in the Bounty Program
The OIG also found that the program suffers from the following deficiencies: it’s poorly recognized by the public and even within the SEC; the criteria for judging bounty applications is overly vague; the SEC does not have good internal policies to guide staff in reviewing bounty applications; the SEC rarely provides whistleblowers with status reports on their applications (a problem we’ve also heard about at other IG offices); once the applications are passed on, there are no systems in place to ensure that they


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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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Phil's Favorites

Tell Me a Story

 

Tell Me a Story

Courtesy of Scott Galloway, No Mercy/No Malice,@profgalloway

“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

                                                    — Robert Browning

Entrepreneur is a synonym for salesperson, and salesperson is the pedestrian term for storyteller. Pro tip: No startup makes sense. We (entrepreneurs) are all impostors who must deploy a fiction (i.e. story) that captures imaginations and capital to pull the future forward and turn rhyme into reason. No business I have started, at the m...



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Zero Hedge

US To Close Borders To Unvaccinated Canadian, Mexican Truckers On Saturday

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

By Nate Tabak of FreightWaves,

The U.S. will close its borders to unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Canadian and Mexican truck drivers on Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday.

“These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Long COVID: For the 1 in 10 patients who become long-haulers, COVID-19 has lasting effects

 

Long COVID: For the 1 in 10 patients who become long-haulers, COVID-19 has lasting effects

Long COVID appears to affect about one in 10 people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Manali Mukherjee, McMaster University and Zain Chagla, McMaster University

Even as the unpredictable rise and fall of COVID-19 infections continues at home and around the world, a new and ugly pandemic-related problem is emerging.

We know it generically as “...



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Chart School

Bitcoin Swings Down to Support

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Come on! Seriously do you think a 400% rally for Bitcoin was going to be given to the public easily. Without any pain! Come on muppets!

The uniformed (public) buy when price is rising or breaking new highs, the informed buy when price is falling or breaking lows.

The informed have to do it this way as they are large volume players and the only way they can buy large volume is to create chaos. The chaos brings to the market the weak holders and a forced sell. Price is moved to where the volume can be accumulated, in a bull trend that is down to critical support.

Of course if price is in a true bull market the 'chaos' created should not break critical long term trend signals, the short and intermediate term signals are fair game. The next fe...

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ValueWalk

Elm Ridge 4Q21 Commentary: The Punch You Don't See

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elm Ridge commentary for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2021, titled, “The Punch You Don’t See.”

Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

“Graham and Dodd investors are people who place a very high value on having the last laugh. In exchange for the privilege they have missed out on a lot of laughs in between.” – Michael Lewis

“It’s the punch you don’t see coming that knocks ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Nasdaq Weakness Has Bears Circling Tech Stocks!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

One theme over the past several months has been tech stock’s under-performance. And 2022 seems to be amplifying this theme as we kick off the new year.

Today’s chart focus is on the ratio of the Nasdaq Composite to the S&P 500 Index. We have shared this ratio a few times recently as the price pattern has become a concern.

As you can see in the chart, there’s a potential that the ratio double topped last year at the 2000 highs. And weakness this month has it attempting to break dual support at...



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Politics

What Supreme Court's block of vaccine mandate for large businesses will mean for public health: 4 questions answered

 

What Supreme Court’s block of vaccine mandate for large businesses will mean for public health: 4 questions answered

New York City’s vaccine mandates are unaffected by the court ruling. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Courtesy of Debbie Kaminer, Baruch College, CUNY

The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13, 2022, blocke...



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Digital Currencies

The metaverse is money and crypto is king - why you'll be on a blockchain when you're hopping

 

The metaverse is money and crypto is king – why you’ll be on a blockchain when you’re virtual-world hopping

In the metaverse, your avatar, the clothes it wears and the things it carries belong to you thanks to blockchain. Duncan Rawlinson - Duncan.co/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Courtesy of Rabindra Ratan, Michigan State University and Dar Meshi, Michigan State University ...



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Promotions

Phil's Interview on Options Trading with TD Bank

TD Bank's host Bryan Rogers interviewed Phil on June 10 as part of TD's Options Education Month. If you missed the program, be sure to watch the video below. It should be required viewing for anyone trading or thinking about trading using options. 

Watch here:

TD's webinar with Phil (link) or right here at PSW

Screenshots of TD's slides illustrating Phil's examples:

 

 

&n...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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About Phil:

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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