Felix Salmon

How Pimco works

There’s an anonymous troll on the internet who doesn’t like my latest Pimco post. And frankly it’s really hard to take any post seriously when it’s tagged “born last night, clown questions, gmafb, horseshit, STFU”. This kind of macho bullying posturing is everything I hate about Wall Street — a place which is still home to far too many overconfident frat boys with overstuffed paychecks.

How SecondMarket works

I spent most of this morning at SecondMarket, having a long conversation with Adam Oliveri, the person in charge of their private company market. That’s the part of the company which gets the most attention: it’s where stock in companies like Twitter and Facebook change hands, for instance. I learned a huge amount while I was there, and have now changed my mind on whether Facebook is going to go public: I finally understand exactly why companies need to do an IPO once they have more than 500 shareholders.

When insiders trade

On Thursday, Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian told an audience at Thomson Reuters how he was buying “shadow equity” in Pimco on SecondMarket. On Friday, John Carney put up an intriguing post alleging that deals done on SecondMarket are subject to insider-trading laws. If he’s right, it seems to me that almost anybody buying or selling shares of a private company on SecondMarket would be breaking the law, at least if that company puts out little or no public information about itself. And then today, on Sunday, Zero Hedge picked up on a passing comment in David Sokol’s CNBC interview, where Sokol said that Charlie Munger owned 3% of Chinese auto and battery maker BYD before recommending the stock to Berkshire Hathaway.

Why are private markets booming now?

I’m spending Friday at the Kauffman Foundation’s Economics Bloggers Forum in Kansas City. A dozen bloggers are giving short presentations, and I’m flattered to be one of them, along with the likes of Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Ryan Avent, Dean Baker, Steve Waldman, and Virginia Postrel. We’ve all been encouraged to write a post about our talk.