Felix Salmon

Capco: WTF?

By Felix Salmon
July 31, 2009

Zachery Kouwe has a great article today about Capco, a highly-secretive Vermont-based insurer which looks as though it’s massively insolvent:

Solving the HFT problem: Abolish continuous trading

By Felix Salmon
July 31, 2009

Michael Wellman has an intriguing idea for solving all the issues surrounding high-frequency trading at a stroke: switch from a market with continuous clearing to a market which clears once per second.

Thursday links go back to where they started

By Felix Salmon
July 31, 2009

I don’t think that “laughably simple” means what you think it means, Mr Hume

Bringing my bike into my building

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2009

The good news is that the bikes-in-buildings law passed yesterday, by 46 votes to 1, and will come into effect in 120 days’ time: Ben Fried calls this “the biggest legislative victory ever achieved by bicycle advocates in New York City”.

Annie Leibovitz, subprime borrower

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2009

Gawker’s John Cook has the 17-page complaint which Art Capital Group has lodged against Annie Leibovitz, and it makes for compelling reading, even though the really juicy stuff — the commissions that ACG has decided to pay itself on the sale of Leibovitz’s photographs and real estate — have been redacted.

Newspaper self-cannibalization datapoint of the day

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2009

Walter Hussman, the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, adds an interesting datapoint to the question of self-cannibalization in the newspaper industry:

Conditional probabilities and evil insurers

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2009

Mike Konczal picks up on a great Taunter post about conditional probabilities, which comes with a nasty sting in the tail. When you buy health insurance, the main thing you’re concerned about is tail risk: you want to be sure that in the unfortunate event you have stratospheric medical bills, the insurance company will be there to pay them.

Mortage servicers’ perverse incentives

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2009

Last month, I wondered whether banks’ seeming inability to effectively modify mortgages was a function of “greed on the part of the banks — that while they pay lip service to the idea of modifying mortgages, they actually make more money by being recalcitrant and obstructive and unhelpful.”

How big is high-frequency trading?

By Felix Salmon
July 30, 2009

I have a bit more clarity on the $20 billion figure for total profits from high-frequency trading: it comes from the TABB Group. In a recent publication, TABB’s Robert Iati writes: