Felix Salmon

Do employees want investment advice or not?

This Charles Schwab survey is fascinating. People want investment advice when it comes to their 401(k) plans, especially if they can get it for free. And when they take investment advice, they change their savings habits significantly. But it turns out that even when companies do provide free investment advice for their employees, the employees don’t take it.

Why Japan’s FX intervention might actually work

Has a central bank ever intervened successfully in the foreign exchange market when the momentum trade was against it? The yen has been rising alarmingly of late, and now the Bank of Japan is trying to push it down.

The biggest weakness of Basel III

I’m unapologetically happy and optimistic about the outcome of the Basel III process, and I haven’t been impressed by most of its critics — until now. In two posts, the first at the Economist and the second at The American Scene, Noah Millman does an excellent job of explaining the biggest weakness with Basel III. Which also happens to be the biggest weakness with Basel II.

Unconvincing central banker of the day, Qadir Fitrat edition

Some people are like Winston Wolfe. They’re professional, they’re reassuring, they solve problems, they always know exactly what to do. These are the people you want staffing a bank regulator when there’s a banking crisis.

More good news, for debt collectors

When the financial crisis caused a sudden stop in the availability of home equity lines of credit, credit-card default rates naturally spiked. No longer could consumers spend as much as they like, and then, when their credit-card debt got out of control, pay it all off with a cash-out refinance.

The other bits of Basel III

All the headlines about Basel III have concentrated on the new core Tier 1 capital requirements — the amount of pure equity and retained earnings that banks are going to have to have going forward. It was banks’ core equity which proved woefully insufficient during the crisis — hardly a surprise, when the Basel II requirement for it was just 2% — and it’s core equity which has seen the biggest beefing up under Basel III, all the way to 7%.

Sob story of the day, Glen Esnard edition

Somebody should tell the senior executives of Grubb & Ellis that their president of capital markets, Glendon Esnard, is mad as hell, he’s not gonna take it any more, and that in fact he is seriously considering leaving the country altogether:

Trillium wasn’t quote-stuffing

Chris Nicholson is right, where Courtney Comstock and Marcy Gordon are wrong: the $2.26 million fine slapped on Trillium is not for quote-stuffing. Instead, it’s for layering.


Exterminators made $258 million from bedbugs in 2009, up 263 percent from three years before — Slate