Felix Salmon

The cost of the insider-trading investigation

It’s not just small shops like John Kinnucan’s Broadband Research which have been put out of business merely because they’re being investigated by the FBI. Multi-billion-dollar hedge funds are faltering too: the latest to suffer devastating redemptions is FrontPoint partners. Max Abelson says it’s “on death’s door”, while Henny Sender reports:

The continuing fight against overdraft fees

Even before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets up and running, other branches of the government are fighting the good fight against excessive overdraft fees. First came the Fed, of course, which forced banks to get their customers to opt in to the fees, at least when it comes to ATM and POS transactions: no longer can they charge them automatically.

Don Chu is small fry

If you read the complaint in the Don Chu case, a couple of things jump out at you. One is how modestly Chu was paid, for someone conspiring with hedge funds to reap a fortune from inside information:

Is Ireland’s problem a Basel problem?

Does the Ireland crisis bespeak a major weakness in the Basel capital-adequacy regime? Simon Nixon thinks so: the fact that investors won’t lend to Bank of Ireland, he says, “highlights a major weakness of the Basel capital rules that European banks operate under.”


SEC Allows Asset-Backed Issuers to Omit Ratings Required by Dodd-Frank Act — Bloomberg

Banco Popular changes its ways

It seems I got results! In the wake of my post about Banco Popular’s ATM fees on Sunday, Banco Popular has been in touch to say that they’re fixing things.

Treasury’s plan to fix the mortgage mess

Michael Barr’s departure is a serious loss for Treasury. I spoke to him on Friday; he was in Ann Arbor, where he’s returning to law school, and he wanted to take serious exception to my three monkeys post, where I accused Treasury of willfully ignoring the banks’ culpability in the mortgage crisis.

Trying to read credit-card agreements

How long will it take to get readable credit-card contracts? My guess is somewhere in 2012, if we’re lucky. Right now, although we’re moving in the right direction, we’re also moving far too slowly:

Expertise mission creep datapoint of the day

Last week, Chris Whalen appeared on Tech Ticker with Henry Blodget; he said, in the accurate if sensationalist words of the Business Insider headline, that CALIFORNIA WILL DEFAULT ON ITS DEBT.