Felix Salmon

The arguments for stronger derivatives reform

March 5, 2010

The NYT comes out swinging today, devoting a long editorial to the subject of derivatives reform, under the headline “A.I.G., Greece, and Who’s Next?”. The headline alone made me ill-disposed towards the editorial, even before I got to this:

Why is Treasury denying its TBTF guarantee?

March 5, 2010

Simon Johnson is right to be dismayed about this:

There is no U.S. government guarantee to protect the largest financial firms, a Treasury Department official said, as a congressional watchdog criticized the $45 billion in government aid provided to Citigroup Inc.

The lies of bankers

March 5, 2010

It’s journalism-awards season right now, and I’ve been having a lot of discussions of late about whether and how to give out awards for blogs. And one of the points I make repeatedly is that if you’re going to do that (and I’m not convinced that it’s a good or workable thing to do), then the quality of the comments has to be a key consideration in the judging.


March 5, 2010

Me, on To The Point: Whatever Happened to Finance Reform? — KCRW

The day trader with 40 computer monitors — Lifehacker

A fantastic fisking of wild-eyed Marketwatch link-whore Paul Farrell — Josh

“If you have a permanent and complete loss of the use of two limbs, you may take a $50 tax credit” — Weathersealed

Even more incentive for the banks to kill the CFPA

March 4, 2010

Stacy Kaper has a good story today explaining how the CFPA compromise that we seem to be moving towards — putting a toothless agency inside the Fed — is bad not only for consumers but also for banks:

AIG was even sleazier than you thought

March 4, 2010

I knew that AIG was technically a thrift, but I thought that was just a piece of nimble-footed regulatory arbitrage in an attempt to get itself regulated by the pointless Office of Thrift Supervision. It turns out, however, that AIG was actually a pretty substantial mortgage lender, through its AIG Federal Savings Bank and Wilmington Finance subsidiaries. And a racist one, too. From the complaint:

The SEC: still toothless

March 4, 2010

Does Mary Schapiro’s SEC have teeth? There was hope that it might, when she was confirmed — but the tale of her treatment of Salvatore Sodano, the former CEO of the American Stock Exchange, indicates otherwise.

Greece reaps the benefit of its CDS market

March 4, 2010

Great news from Greece: its brand-new €5 billion, 10-year bond issue was three times oversubscribed and is already rising in the secondary market, after pricing at a spread of 300bp over the mid-swap rate. Greece is paying a 6.4% yield on the issue, which is pretty affordable in the grand scheme of things, given how much trouble it’s in right now. And now that this bond has gone so well, there will surely be appetite in the market for more where that came from.