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Archive for February, 2013

Jack Lew, Treasury Secretary: Is He Qualified?

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 28th, 2013 9:13 AM |

Jack Lew was confirmed yesterday to be the next Secretary of Treasury.

I am not impressed.

I questioned Lew’s qualifications early on when inquiring as to Who Should/Will Be The Next Treasury Secretary? Nothing I have seen or heard since has given me any greater degree of confidence in this appointment. If anything, I am less impressed now than before. Why so? Well, what exactly are the duties and functions of the US Treasury? From the US Treasury site, we learn the Secretary is charged with the following:


ARS UPDATE: Cries for Help Go Unanswered

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 27th, 2013 8:21 AM |

February 14, 2008: The auction-rate securities market freezes, and tens of thousands of our fellow citizens’ lives are forever changed as that simple American virtue of “trust” goes out the window never to return.

I have long described the ARS market as Wall Street’s greatest scam. Five years out, the pain of this fraud continues and ARS investors’ cries for help go unanswered.

What happened to our country? I will tell you what happened. Our government and regulators are ineffectual at best and corrupt at worst. You do not think so? Let’s navigate.  (more…)

Mensack v Morgan Stanley, FINRA

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 26th, 2013 5:43 AM |

What do you think you would do if in the process of appealing a case, you were informed that the court stenographer had “somehow” lost (deleted or destroyed, perhaps??) 8 hours of testimony? Do you think you might be a little pissed off?

Just a little?

Mind you, what if the 8 hours of “lost” testimony were not just any 8 hours. That is, they were not the first 8 hours. They were not the last 8 hours. What if they were 8 hours of selected intermittent testimony including key points when the plaintiff alleges the defendant perjured himself?

Must be a banana republic and kangaroo court for such a gross injustice to have transpired, right?  (more…)

UBS, FINRA, and Naked Short Selling: “Duration, Scope and Volume of The Trading Created a Potential for Harm to The Integrity of The Market.”

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 25th, 2013 9:27 AM |

Last summer I tagged Wall Street’s industry funded police at FINRA as being little more than meter maids. With a recent review of FINRA’s largest fine imposed in its history, I now realize that I have actually done a serious disservice to those diligent and hard working meter maids patrolling our cities and towns. How so?

Let’s navigate and look more deeply into FINRA’s $12 million fine imposed on those paragons of virtue who ran Union Bank of Switzerland’s equity operations.

What did UBS do to deserve FINRA’s “largest” fine?  (more…)

CFO Survey: A Time of Extraordinary Risk

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 22nd, 2013 6:53 AM |

Who might that be flashing the warning signals about our markets and our economy?

I am always predisposed to look for risk on the horizon so that we can all navigate accordingly, but the quote referenced in the title of this commentary comes not from me but from professors at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

What prompts them to make such a statement? Only a survey of over a thousand global CFOs that projects economic activity a quarter ahead of most other surveys. Now that is the type of material we like as opposed to the “look in the rear view mirror” provided by many outlets.

Let’s navigate . . .

Chief Financial Officers See More Downside Risk in the Stock Market than Upside (more…)

Alchian: In Defense of Property Rights and Liberty

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 21st, 2013 9:46 AM |

Oratorical and literary giants have spoken and written at length on what has made our nation great. People could literally spend a lifetime studying the works of these individuals.

Yesterday while traveling on the train I read a simple yet compelling case for what I believe lies at the very foundation of our nation’s greatness.

Why do I think of the 272 word Gettysburg Address as I read a 192 word passage written by the recently deceased economist Armen A. Alchian.

The Wall Street Journal highlights Alchian’s timeless wisdom:   (more…)

Will Uncle Sam Expand “Too Big to Fail?”

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 20th, 2013 9:45 AM |

There is not even one credible individual in the world today who would believe that we do not still operate under a “too big to fail” model for our banking industry.

We now know that “too big to fail”also means “too big to regulate” and “too big to prosecute.” Free market capitalism is dying a slow and steady death in the process.

Might we ever get out from under the heavy burden of this model? We can only hope. Yet I awaken this morning and vomited my coffee as I read in the WSJ,

Should the government backstop even more of the financial system than it already does?

Sure, if you love a mix of crony capitalism and socialism, wave it in, right?  (more…)

“White House Could Grant Mary Jo White a Waiver From Ethics Pledge”

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 19th, 2013 6:04 AM |

If Mary Jo White were to be confirmed as the new head of the SEC, might she be the most conflicted individual to be our nation’s chief financial cop since the first person to occupy that seat, that being Joe Kennedy himself?

The White House and Washington would like to position Ms. White’s confirmation as nothing more than a formality. Our democracy deserves better than that. (more…)

Weekend Read: The Pension Fund That Ate California

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 16th, 2013 9:38 AM |

If anybody still has any confidence in the manner in which our nation’s largest state has been run, this is a MUST READ. Steven Malanga of City Journal writes of how California has methodically gone about screwing its future generations.

CalPERS’s corruption, insider dealing, and politicized investments have overwhelmed taxpayers with debt.

After spending years dogged by unpaid debts, California labor leader Charles Valdes filed for bankruptcy in the 1990s—twice. At the same time, he held one of the most influential positions in the American financial system: chair of the investment committee for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund for government workers.

Valdes left the board in 2010 and now faces scrutiny for accepting gifts from another former board member, Alfred Villalobos—who, the state alleges, spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to influence how the fund invested its assets. Questioned by investigators about his dealings with Villalobos, Valdes invoked the Fifth Amendment 126 times. (more…)

Taibbi on HSBC: Blood Money

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 15th, 2013 7:22 AM |

There are few writers today who hit as hard as Rolling Stones’ Matt Taibbi. That is a good thing for those who actually care about free market capitalism, let alone a sense of moral decency.

Two months ago, the European based bank HSBC was hit with a $1.9 BILLION fine for allowing — if not promoting — its operations to be used as little more than a laundromat by a host of very unsavory characters for a protracted period. Huge story, right? RIGHT!

Where are the major media outlets to dig in, unearth the dirt, clean out the residue in this laundromat, and bring the unbridled truth to the public? I will tell you where the media is: in the tank.

Leave it to Taibbi to make the contacts and expose the dirt, the grime, and the blood that was (is?) HSBC. In a Sense on Cents classic, Taibbi writes>>>>>>>>> (more…)

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