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Tag >> financial crisis
Aug 25
2010

Banks' asset values should be marked down by 20 percent: report

Posted by Ron F in financial crisisfinanacial reportingFASBfair valuecompliancebalance sheetsamortizationAccounting

Ron F

Jack Ciesielski has a new report out that puts banks' arguments against fair value squarely in their place. And the analysis alone should make short shrift of the industry's complaints, though it no doubt will do nothing of the sort.

The accounting expert and investment adviser who runs The Analyst's Accounting Observer finds that banks account for 96 percent of all the asset markdowns to the balance sheets of the S&P 500 that he estimates would result from enactment of the Financial Accounting Standard Board's latest proposal.

Aug 19
2010

A better way to boost demand

Posted by Ron F in Riskrecoveryrecessionfinancial market reformfinancial crisisFederal ReserveFedeconomycareer advancementbubblesBanksbank lending

Ron F

Bear with me here. This is going to be one of those "out there" posts. But Steve Randy Waldman takes an interesting stab at a problem I've been wrestling with, at least in the furthest reaches of the financial corner of my brain, since the financial crisis began.

And that is how to stimulate the economy without creating another asset bubble. It sounds easy enough to the Keynesians, but as Waldman has pointed out before, rebooting aggregate demand through traditional government action may simply create another bubble. And ultimately, the distinction between monetary and fiscal policy may be moot.

Aug 18
2010

Why regulators shouldn't listen to economists

Posted by Ron F in RiskRegulationNew York Fedfinancial crisisFederal ReserveFedcomplianceBanksbanking reformBankingbank failures

Ron F

This brouhaha over the Boston Fed's rationalization for missing the housing bubble reminds me of a conversation I overheard a few weeks ago between a former Federal Reserve bank supervisor and his counterpart at the New York Fed.

I can't give you their names since they were conversing privately a few feet away from me before the start of a conference on financial regulation (nor can I give you the name of the confab since that would give their identities away), and I just managed to overhear the exchange.

Aug 17
2010

Punish shareholders for managers' sins? By all means

Posted by Ron F in Securities and Exchange CommissionSarbanes-OxleyRegulationfraudfinancial reportingfinancial crisisEnroncomplianceCitigroupAccounting

Ron F

Barry Ritholtz today usefully repeats a point he made earlier this month in connection with an Andrew Ross Sorkin column about the SEC's proposed settlement with Citigroup and the court's refusal to go along with it.

And that is that shareholders of companies run by corrupt management are supposed to be punished.

Aug 13
2010

Time to keep subsidizing home prices

Posted by Ron F in RegulationrecoveryrecessionFreddie Macfinancial crisisFederal ReserveFASBFannie MaeemploymentCareers/Managementbankruptcybanking industrybailoutsAccounting

Ron F

I have to disagree with my colleague Steve Taub on this, not because my heart bleeds for jobless, underwater homeowners, but to keep foreclosures from driving home prices ever downward.

Here's the thing: What is the "natural" price that Steve wants the market to find?

Aug 05
2010

Why Tim Geithner should ignore the banks

Posted by Ron F in Timothy GeithnerGoldman Sachsfinancial reformfinancial crisisDodd-Frank billcomplianceBanksbanking reformbanking industryBanking

Ron F

Banks' arguments against stricter capital reserve requirements seem to be getting a hearing from regulators such as Tim Geithner and the Basel Committee, but a recent paper suggests they should not.

This was alluded to in a blog today by Simon Johnson over at the Baseline Scenario, but the relevant passages are worth reading.

Aug 04
2010

When confidence is merely a con

Posted by Ron F in Timothy GeithnerRegulationObama Administrationfinancial crisisEUcomplianceBanksbanking reformbanking industryBankingbailouts

Ron F

A column published on Tuesday by Project Syndicate sums up the world's flailing (if not downright cynical) response to the financial crisis in particularly apt terms, I'd say.

The governments' efforts to restore confidence in the banking sector without really addressing the causes of its loss of confidence is akin to trying to tickle oneself, observed Paul Seabright of the University of Toulouse in the piece, entitled "Financial History's False Lessons."

Aug 03
2010

Securities class-action suits way down

Posted by Stephen Taub in Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearisecurities fraudRiskMadofffinancial crisisCountrywideCornerstone Researchcompliance

Stephen Taub

Victims and others outraged by the recent financial crisis might derive a bit of glee on news that Countrywide Financial agreed to pay $600 million to settle shareholder lawsuits stemming from the sub-prime crisis and collapse of the mortgage market.

The settlement with the one-time mortgage giant marks the largest stemming from the recent financial crisis, according to reports.

Jul 27
2010

Time to reread Keynes

Posted by Ron F in recoveryrecessionObama Administrationjobsjoblessnessinvestmentfinancial crisisenvironmental policyenergyemploymenteconomydemandCongressCareers/Management

Ron F

I've avoided rehearsing the on-going debate over the bleak macroeconomic picture, because it quickly descends into endless political back and forth along with the usual name-calling, as my colleague Steve Taub and I have been discussing internally today.  But it's time to make an exception:

Is the private sector not hiring because it fears more aggressive action from the public sector, and so the public sector (read Obama administration) should leave the economy to itself, as those on the right claim? Or is the lack of private sector hiring a reflection of a lack of private sector hiring, and thus a vicious circle and market failure that requires the public sector (read Obama administration) to step in with a serious jobs program involving infrastructure, alternative energy and schools, as those on the left insist?

Not to speak for Steve, but my sense is he tends to agree with the first perspective, at least for the most part, and I can safely report that I agree with the second, and would recommend James Surowiecki's recent column to help make my case if I could find it. Since I can't, suffice it to say Surowiecki made the useful observation that the two sectors where hiring is picking up, banking and health care, are those where the government has taken the most aggressive regulatory action.

Jul 07
2010

The financial crisis is only "on pause"

Posted by Ron F in Volcker RuleRiskRegulationObama Administrationfinancial market reformfinancial crisisCongresscomplianceBanksbanking reformBankingbailouts

Ron F

There's some additional recent work out there that's worth citing in connection with Karen's post on Tuesday.

In particular, I would point readers to the piece posted Monday on voxeu.org by Enrico Perotti, a finance professor at the Amsterdam Business School. Essentially, Perotti's piece explains why Kotlikoff's prescription is necessary. As it did the US Congress, the banking industry has fought off international attempts to get the so-called Basel Committee to force the industry to de-leverage its business model. And Kotlikoff's idea does exactly that, simply because mutual funds are financed entirely by equity.

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