Felix Salmon

How correlations change

By Felix Salmon
April 20, 2012

Paul Murphy has a good overview of RORO today: the risk-on, risk-off phenomenon whereby all assets are increasingly correlated. HSBC has even come up with a RORO Index, which, you won’t be surprised to hear, is going up and to the right:

Counterparties: Spanish bond yields relief

By Ben Walsh
April 19, 2012

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com

The stay-liquid-and-wait strategy

By Felix Salmon
April 19, 2012

I spent yesterday at the National Strategic Investment Dialogue, a fascinating conference attended mainly by big institutional investors. This year featured a lot of scenario planning, especially around the questions of what the best-case and worst-case plausible scenarios might be. At the end of the conference there was a discussion about what it all meant for investment strategies.

Why internet/GDP ratios make no sense

By Felix Salmon
April 19, 2012

On Monday, the Economist reprinted a chart from a BCG report, which purported to show the contribution of “the internet” to the total GDP of various different countries. Britain comes out on top, with an internet-to-GDP ratio of 8.3%; it’s followed by Korea, China, Japan, USA, India, and Australia. After the UK, the highest-ranking European country is Germany, on just 3.3%, while Canada lags far behind the US.

Goldman board muppet of the day, James Johnson edition

By Felix Salmon
April 19, 2012

There’s one corporate-governance metric which isn’t looked at nearly enough, and that’s director pay. Reading the compelling broadside that Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb, who manage the Sequoia Fund, has launched against James Johnson, who’s running for re-election to Goldman’s board, I was glad to be reminded of the governance fiasco he oversaw at Fannie Mae, and I was shocked to learn of his involvement in an options-backdating scandal at United Healthcare. But absent from the letter, and present only in Shahien Nasiripour’s report about it, is the fact that Goldman paid Johnson $523,000 last year.

Occupy defined-benefit pension funds!

By Felix Salmon
April 19, 2012

I’m working my way through The Occupy Handbook, your excellent one-stop shop for analysis of the financial crisis and everything about it. A lot of really big names have pieces here: among the authors you’ll find Michael Lewis, Paul Krugman, Gillian Tett, John Cassidy, Raghuram Rajan, Bethany McLean, Daron Acemoglu, Carmen Reinhart, David Graeber, Nouriel Roubini, Pankaj Mishra, Ariel Dorfman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Peter Diamond, Brad DeLong, Martin Wolf, Scott Turow, Robert Reich, David Cay Johnston, Eliot Spitzer, Lawrence Weschler, Tyler Cowen, Jeff Madrick, Dan Gross, Jeff Sachs, and even Paul Volcker. (Full disclosure: I’m in there too.)

Summers and Rubin, remorseless deregulators

By Felix Salmon
April 19, 2012

Flicking through the new book by David Rothkopf this afternoon, I found this:

summers.tiff

It’s not entirely clear when exactly this interview took place, although it seems it was before the Obama administration set the ball rolling on what eventually became Dodd-Frank in June 2009.

Counterparties: Citi shareholders speak on pay

By Ben Walsh
April 18, 2012

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com

What the Loebs can learn from the Pulitzers

By Felix Salmon
April 18, 2012

I’m not a huge fan of journalism awards. The Pulitzers, in particular, are a peculiar fish: they tend to award long and worthy work which almost nobody had the time to wade through when it first came out. That’s a type of journalism, to be sure — but is it the very best journalism that the profession produces? And while this year’s journalism winners were very good, the editorial cartoons which got Politico its first Pulitzer were so bad as to make one wonder whether the quality of the jury’s awards was more a matter of luck than judgment.