Who is the “muppet” now?

By Cate Long
October 22, 2012

The media is filled with reports and reviews of a book by former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith, which disparages his former employer. Smith alleges that traders on his London equity derivatives desk treated their clients harshly and would glibly refer to them as “muppets.” They secretly despised their clients as they ripped them off, according to Smith, especially the “muppet” clients that were mainly pension funds and non-profits. The Guardian reports (emphasis mine):

Pay to play beyond Goldman Sachs

By Cate Long
September 28, 2012

The SEC caught a big fish in muniland that was clearly breaking the “pay-to-play” rules. Pay-to-play is when municipal bond underwriters give contributions to politicians to win underwriting business. Reuters has the story:

What Goldman’s muniland charm offensive doesn’t tell you

By Cate Long
July 10, 2012

When I did a Google search earlier yesterday for “Louisville Arena Authority bonds,” which were recently downgraded to junk by Moody’s, I saw this paid ad from Goldman Sachs alongside the results:

Let Europe kill municipal CDS

By Cate Long
October 31, 2011

The solution to Greece’s debt crisis that Europe’s leaders announced on Thursday has market participants and commentators howling. It includes a provision that changes long-established rules for credit-default swaps mid-game. Mike Dolan, Reuters’ Investment Strategy Editor in Europe, said this:

Untimely data will cost muniland potential investors

By Cate Long
October 8, 2011

If municipal bonds lose their tax-exempt status, as some in the corridors of power in Washington are suggesting, municipalities will increasingly be competing with corporations for investors. As this competition intensifies, municipalities with poor accounting and disclosure practices could find it difficult attracting capital.

The global spiderweb of debt

By Cate Long
June 27, 2011

If you are not familiar with the municipal bond market, you may think that muniland is nothing more than states, municipalities and school districts offering plain bonds that mature on a set date and offer a fixed interest rate. That is the textbook description.