Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Friedman’

Former NY Fed Chair and Goldman Sachs Director Friedman in the Hot Seat Again

Former NY Fed Chair and Goldman Sachs Director Friedman in the Hot Seat Again

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

Remember former NY Fed Chairman Stephen Friedman? He may have stepped down after getting busted for buying Goldman Sachs shares when he both sat on their board and their audit committee, not to mention the fact that he was serving as chairman of the NY Fed at the time, but he isn’t out of the frying pan just yet. See the deal was supposed to be kosher because of the waiver filed in September of 2008 that somehow made everything OK but that’d be like letting Tim Geither sign a waiver to cash in our gold reserves for dollars through Cash4Gold. You can’t make illegal activities legal, no matter how many papers you push in an attempt to do so.

Bloomberg:

Greg Palm, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. general counsel, took a call in his 37th-floor office at One New York Plaza on Dec. 16, 2008. It was his old boss, Stephen Friedman, a former Goldman chairman who was then head of the audit committee of its board of directors. Goldman’s stock was down 65 percent from its 52-week high during an accelerating global financial breakdown.

Friedman, who had become chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that year, told Palm he wanted to buy, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August issue.

Palm says he couldn’t think of a reason why Friedman shouldn’t: Goldman had made the necessary disclosures in that day’s filings, Palm says.

“We’d just reported earnings,” says Palm, whose job includes approving trades by directors. “There was no material information that wasn’t public from Goldman’s standpoint.”

Friedman, 72, who is still a Goldman director, bought 37,300 shares at an average of $80.78 each on Dec. 17. Five weeks later, he picked up 15,300 more at an average of $66.61. By yesterday, the stock had doubled to $133.76, giving Friedman a paper profit of $3 million.

Now, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating Friedman’s stock purchases. It wants to know why he was permitted to buy stock in a bank he was regulating as chairman of the New York Fed.

One might wonder why Friedman felt compelled to gobble up GS shares when it was deeply immersed in its darkest days but any curiosity could be easily…
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Did the NY Fed Leave a Funny Taste in YOUR Mouth Too?

Did the NY Fed Leave a Funny Taste in YOUR Mouth Too?

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

A "travesty" LOL.

Reuters:

Federal Reserve Bank directors say a Senate plan to kick bankers off the boards of regional Fed banks is an overreaction to one headline-grabbing incident and could harm the U.S. central bank.

Federal Reserve insiders worry that planned changes to the century-old U.S. central banking system — comprising 12 regional banks and a 7-member Washington-based Board of Governors — would make it more centralized, less independent, and less effective.

A provision in a wide-ranging regulatory reform bill near completion in Washington would ban bankers from serving on the boards of their regulators.

Alarm about possible conflict of interest at the Fed broke out after Goldman Sachs converted to a Fed-regulated bank to withstand the financial crisis.

This put then-New York Fed chairman Stephen Friedman — a Goldman director and former chairman — in violation of the Fed’s rules. Friedman requested a waiver for owning Goldman shares in 2008 and as he waited for the waiver, he bought more shares.

While his actions were not illegal, Friedman stepped down following public furor.

"This legislation, the way it’s proposed, is an overreaction to a particular unique situation, and to have bankers removed from these boards is a travesty," said Mark Hewitt, chief executive of Clear Lake Bank and Trust Co in Iowa and a director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The situation "maybe left a funny taste in someone’s mouth, but that’s not what’s happening in Chicago," he said.

So it isn’t a conflict of interest for Jamie Dimon to sit on the board of his bank’s regulator? Oh please, you’re totally overreacting, who else has their finger on the pulse of banking? Surely not the Fed themselves (as if that’s their job). 

 


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I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs

I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs (pdf)

apologyCourtesy of Janet Tavakoli at TSF
(see also Apology)

According to SIGTARP1, both the Federal Reserve and Treasury agreed that an AIG failure posed unacceptable risk to the global financial system and the U.S. economy.  On March 24, 2009, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee [P.9]:

[C]onceivably, its failure could have resulted in a 1930’s-style global financial and economic meltdown, with catastrophic implication[s].

From July 2007, AIG’s financial situation deteriorated while so-called “AAA” collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) dropped in value. AIG sold credit default swaps (CDSs) on these CDOs and had to post more collateral, as the prices plummeted. 

Goldman Sachs was AIGFP’s (UK-based AIG Financial Products) largest CDS counterparty with around $22.1 billion, or about one-third of the problematic trades.  Goldman underwrote some of the CDOs underlying its own CDSs, and also underwrote a large portion of the CDOs against which French banks SocGen, Calyon, Bank of Montreal, and Wachovia bought CDS protection.  Goldman provided pricing on these CDOs to SocGen and Calyon. Goldman was a key contributor to AIG’s liquidity strain and the resulting systemic risk.  (See “Goldman’s Undisclosed Role in AIG’s Distress”)

Apocalypse AIG

By mid September 2008, AIG’s long-term credit rating was downgraded, its stock price plummeted, and AIG couldn’t meet its borrowing needs in the short-term credit markets.  According to SIGTARP, “without outside intervention, the company faced bankruptcy, as it simply did not have the cash that was required to provide to AIGFP’s counterparties as collateral.” [P.9] The Federal Reserve Board with Treasury’s encouragement authorized a bailout. 2

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended an $85 billion revolving credit facility, so AIG could make its collateral payments to Goldman and some of its CDO buyers.  AIG also met other obligations, such as payments under its securities lending programs owed to Goldman and some of its CDO buyers.  (See also: “AIG Discloses Counterparties to CDS, GIA, and Securities Lending Transactions.”) 

Goldman “Would Have Realized a Loss”

Fed Chairman Bernanke said AIG’s crisis put the world at risk for a global financial meltdown.  Goldman purchased little credit default protection3 against an AIG collapse.  Even if Goldman escaped a collateral clawback of the billions it held from AIG4, the


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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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