Unstructured Finance

That’s Mr. Geithner to you, Jamie…

USA/CEO-SURVEY“Dear Timmy, we are happy to be able to pay back the $25 billion you lent us. We hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did.”

That’s JPMorgan ChUSA-CHINA/GEITHNERase CEO Jamie Dimon’s biting sense of humor on display yesterday as he read a  mock letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before the Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York. Dimon’s sarcastic tone shocked some participants and cheered others, according to sources who attended the meeting.

“I congratulate him not only for his candor but for his wit,” said Mark Grant, managing director of structured finance at Southwest Securities in Dallas. “The fact that Jamie Dimon had the self composure, the sense of humor and the fortitude to make such a statement in public not only made me smile but it reminded me of days seemingly long past when men stood up on their own two feet and played the Great Game with style.”

The Wall Street Examiner, a blog of financial analysis and commentary, characterized Dimon’s remarks in a different light, calling it “the new and taunting face of state capitalism in America. ”

Dimon, a combative executive who took up boxing lessons before he joined JPMorgan, has in the past referred to TARP funds as a  “scarlet letter” and also called the $25 billion that the Treasury forced JPMorgan to take as a “TARP baby.”

Post Traumatic Stress Test Order

A week ago, when the Fed and Treasury mesmerized the financial world with the results of “stress tests” and capital-raising targets for banks, nobody spent much time asking “what if they can’t raise the money?” There was a sense that authorities had washed away enough uncertainty in the sector to satisfy investors. In short order, healthier institutions started raising capital. Those that didn’t need any stepped up efforts to rid themselves of onerous state support.

Bank of America shares are on a tear after the bank raised nearly $13.5 billion through a stock sale. Along with money it raised by selling part of its stake in China Construction Bank, this put Bank of America about half way to filling its stress-test gap.

But when Regions Financial, a large U.S. Southeast regional bank that was stress-tested, announced plans this morning to raise $1.25 billion through stock offerings — also about half of what federal regulators told it to raise — investors balked, sending its stock down more than 8 percent.

Has the moment for greater UK hedge fund regulation passed?

Tuesday’s grilling of UK hedge fund executives is likely to create plenty of noise but produce little in the way of new rules.

While media-shy TCI founder Chris Hohn and others will face tough questions from the Treasury Select Committee on financial stability, short-selling and other issues, it nevertheless seems that the pro-legislation lobby’s position may be weaker than it has been in recent years.

For one thing, many hedge funds simply do not have the financial clout — and therefore carry the associated risks seen by some politicians — that they once did.

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