Felix Salmon

Unrepentant bankers

November 11, 2009

Andrew Ross Sorkin confirms what most of us have long suspected:

One of the frustrating parts of researching my book came when I finally got to ask the question of Wall Street chief executives and board members that you just raised: Do you have any remorse? Are you sorry? The answer, almost unequivocally, was no. (Or they just didn’t answer.) They see themselves as just one part of a larger problem, with many constituencies to blame.


November 11, 2009

If Forbes writes something on rent-to-buy schemes in March and then the WSJ puts up a blog entry in November along similar lines, even the stretchiest blogger might have difficulty discerning a trend. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea. In fact, it would be great if we saw much more of it in this country.

Robert Benmosche, frustrated civil servant

November 11, 2009

I’m not at all convinced that any CEO is ever worth a $10 million pay package, but if it wasn’t clear when that deal was signed, it became obvious very quickly that Robert Benmosche was something of a prima donna. That’s far from unusual in people earning 8-figure salaries: indeed, being the recipient of such a massive emolument tends to exacerbate such tendencies in anybody.


November 11, 2009

Mineral sequestration: where you use common rocks to eat CO2 and convert it into minerals. Neat! — Miller-McCune

The end of safe havens

November 11, 2009

I’m surprised to see this coming from Ryan Avent:

If everyone is certain that crises are going to be bigger and more frequent, and if everyone is certain that governments won’t be able to afford to bail everyone out the next time around, then shouldn’t everyone be busy limiting their exposure to risk? And shouldn’t that then reduce the likelihood, frequency, and cost of future crises?

Executive perk of the day, Vonage edition

November 10, 2009

Michelle Leder finds one of the weirdest executive perks yet in the employment contract for Vonage CEO Mark Lefar:

The Dodd bill: Generally very good

November 10, 2009

I like a very great deal of Chris Dodd’s proposed regulatory reforms, and overall the Dodd bill is I think a significant improvement on Treasury’s proposals. A good place to start is the discussion draft, but there’s a great deal going on here (the full bill is 1,136 pages), so expect lots more details to emerge in the coming days and weeks. In general I’m a fan of it, although I have reservations about the new Agency for Financial Stability, and the reduced powers at the Fed.

Is unemployment only 9.5%?

November 10, 2009

You remember Friday’s gruesome employment report, right? Floyd Norris has taken a second look at it, and found something quite surprising:

How to fix the US financial system

November 10, 2009

I had a very interesting conversation with Bob Pozen yesterday evening; his new book is out now, and I highly recommend it. It’s the first crisis book to make a detailed series of specific recommendations about what needs to be done going forwards — or, in the words of the book’s subtitle, “how to fix the US financial system”.