It is beginning to look like financial markets cannot handle more than three risks. First we have, as MacroScope reported earlier, Barclays Wealth worrying about U.S. consumers, euro zone debt and Asian overheating.
The Great Debate
John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own
Goldman Sachs cut the amount of risk it staked on commodity trading during Q2 2010 by almost 35 percent, part of a broad-based reduction in risk across the bank’s trading book. Value-at-risk (VaR) linked to commodity prices fell to an average of just $32 million per day between April and June, down from $49 million in the prior quarter and $40 million in the same period a year earlier, according to the firm’s earnings release. Cuts in VaR allocated to commodities were in line with reductions elsewhere, including interest rate risk (down just over 20 percent) and equities (down just over 30 percent). Only currency trading saw a slight increase in risk taking (up 3 percent). Commodity VaR was reduced to its lowest level since the three months ended September 2009, and before that November 2007.
— Charles K. Whitehead is an Associate Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. He practiced in the United States, Europe, and Asia as outside counsel and general counsel of several multinational financial institutions, including as an associate in a law firm representing Goldman, Sachs & Co. The opinions expressed are his own —
— Ed Mierzwinski is the longtime consumer program director of U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. U.S. PIRG is a founding member of Americans for Financial Reform, an unprecedented coalition of over 250 labor, senior, civil rights, community and consumer organizations. —
If you want less of something, tax it.
That truism is often used as an argument against a tax on profits, or health benefits, or employment, but in the case of the rents extracted from the economy by the financial services industry here’s hoping it proves more of a promise than a threat.
So remind me, why will clients continue to do business with Goldman Sachs?
I know, it is a stupid question; investors and corporations will continue to do business with Goldman even after the bank has been charged with an alleged fraud for the same reasons they always have: because they hope, like every gambler, to beat stacked odds and because they flatter themselves that they are not the sucker at the table.
from The Great Debate UK:
- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -
— John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —
It is now virtually certain financial reform legislation will go sailing through the Senate, following the complaint filed against Goldman Sachs and an employee in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Securities and Exchange Commission this afternoon.
Goldman Sachs has a lot to be thankful for – huge bonuses, massive taxpayer subsidies, unrivalled political influence – but in Greece they have finally found nirvana: a highly profitable business partner who can also credibly serve as the villain in the piece.