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

The Year 2020 - The Pandemic and Speculation

 

The Year 2020 – The Pandemic and Speculation

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

It’s December and I can’t really tell if this year moved really fast or really slow.

Time seemed to stand still in March as we all locked down.

But here we are in December and the stock market is acting like we are secretly running around and spending like never before.

The year 2020 will forever be remembered for the pandemic, but I will also forever remember it for speculation.

There are all kinds of reasons for the historic speculation.

We were locked in our homes…we had Robinhood and fractional share ownership and apps that let us chat 24/7 about stock...



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Biotech/COVID-19

New DIY contact tracing app expands the fight against COVID-19, using the science of memory

 

New DIY contact tracing app expands the fight against COVID-19, using the science of memory

This app is different. Designed by psychologists, the free and anonymous web-based app can help you remember who you came in contact with. Ani Ka via Getty Images

Courtesy of Jacqueline R. Evans, Florida International University; Christian Meissner, Iowa State University; ...



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ValueWalk

Stephanie Kelton: Stop Worrying About National Deficits

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Tomorrow evening, Bernie Sanders’ economic advisor Stephanie Kelton, a leading voice behind the push to spend more on progressive priorities, is appearing in the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on the motion “Stop Worrying About National Deficits.”

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Economic Advisor Stephanie Kelton Debates About The About National Deficits

She's arguing for the motion alongside James Galbraith, who was Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee in Congress. Arguing against them are Todd Buchhol...



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Zero Hedge

Restaurants Slashed Jobs Last Month

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

By Jonathan Maze of Restaurant Business

The restaurant industry lost 17,400 jobs in November, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor released on Friday.

It was the first monthly decline in the number of restaurant workers since April, suggesting that a renewed virus and state shutdowns of dine-in service are taking their toll.

The data is likely to increase pressure on Congress and the president to approve a new stimulus package, one that includes specific aid to independent restaurants that have been devastated by the pandemic.

The industry had been adding jobs at a rapid clip since May, as restaurants reopened dining rooms and expanded while consumers grew more comfortable with dining out. But it remains far below its pre-pande...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is The US Dollar About To Reach A Melting Point?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

It’s been 20 years since the last major peak in the US Dollar. Could the greenback’s latest turn lower confirm another peak?

Today’s chart takes a macro view of the US Dollar Index and highlights the long-term down-trend at each point (1). As you can see, the buck is on a topsy turvy ride, bouncing up and down within this down-trend.

The latest bottom formed after the financial crisis and has seen the US Dollar trade within a 9 year up-trend channel marked by each (2). This gave bulls some confidence that the US Dollar may have formed a long-term bottomȂ...



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Politics

Ignoring Warnings His Election Lies Could Get People Killed, Trump Posts 46-Minute Rant Full of 'Unhinged' Falsehoods

 

Ignoring Warnings His Election Lies Could Get People Killed, Trump Posts 46-Minute Rant Full of 'Unhinged' Falsehoods

"Georgia elections director yesterday: Trump's rhetoric is going to get people killed. Trump today: here's 46 minutes of unhinged conspiracy theories."

Courtesy of Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Activists march through the city of Detroit on November 7, 2020 to denounce President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud. (Photo: Adam J. Dewey/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Just days...



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Chart School

Gold Chart Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Gold swing trade is due, lets review some charts to see if it is a viable move.

The seasonal period of gold is now upon us, gold should advance for the next 3 months.

Gold Gann Angle Chart ...



Gold Channel Chart .. close up!



 

Gold Channel Chart
 


Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch and ride the change we believe a combination of Gann Ang...



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Digital Currencies

Five Reasons Why Bitcoin is Going Up

 

Five Reasons Why Bitcoin is Going Up

Courtesy of 

Call it the “Respectability Rally”…

A few reasons for Bitcoin’s return to the record highs. It’s about $18,500 as of this writing, matching the previous highs from 2017’s original explosion.

Reason one: It’s going up because it’s going up. Don’t scoff, this is the reason most things in the markets happen and then the explanations are called for afterwards. I’m in financial television, I have literally watched this process occur in real-time. The more something moves in a given direction, the more peop...



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Mapping The Market

COVID-19 Forces More Than Half of Asset Management Firms to Accelerate Adoption of Digital Marketing Technology

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

There is no doubt that the use of technology to support client engagement initiatives brings both opportunities and threats but this has been brought into sharp focus this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has brought to the fore the need for firms to enable flexibility in client engagement – the expectation that providers will communicate to clients on their terms, at their speed and frequency and on their preferred channels, is now a given. This is even more critical when clients are experiencing unparalleled anxiety from both market conditions and their own personal circumstances.

...

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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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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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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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