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Posts Tagged ‘Merrill LYnch’

An Insider’s Perspective on Insider Trading: “Everyone Doesn’t Belong on Wall Street”

Posted by Larry Doyle on November 26th, 2010 8:16 AM |

The Man in the Arena, written by Teddy Roosevelt in 1910, is certainly one of my favorite passages from history.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I thought of this passage in light of a communication I received from a regular reader of Sense on Cents. This reader wrote to me in response to my recent commentaries and appearance on CNBC discussing the ongoing insider trading investigation. This individual had a long and distinguished career on Wall Street. (more…)

Sense on Cents Calls for Independent Investigation of FINRA

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 27th, 2010 4:51 PM |


I have publicly stated time and again that I believe the Wall Street self-regulatory organization, FINRA, did sit and likely still sits at the nexus of the Wall Street-Washington incest that has brought our nation’s economy to its knees.

Regrettably, we have had no Congressional inquiries into the failures at FINRA. Dare I say, we have had no public pressure from the media to drive a Congressional inquiry.

I am tremendously sickened by Congress not working for America’s citizens interests by investigating FINRA. Please recall that FINRA not only failed to protect investors, but there are strong allegations that FINRA itself participated in some of the greatest frauds on Wall Street via its own internal investment portfolio. Which frauds?

We know they dumped $647 million auction-rate securities in mid-2007 and likely front ran the ARS market while doing it. I unearthed the fact that FINRA owned these ARS in January 2009 when reading FINRA’s 2007 Annual Report. Meanwhile, $150 BILLION held by thousands of investors remains in frozen ARS investments.

There is an outstanding allegation that FINRA invested its own funds in Bernie Madoff. We know they failed to properly regulate and monitor Lehman, Bear Stears, and Merrill Lynch. How much more should Congress need to know?

FINRA needs to be introduced to the American public and investigated by Congress. FINRA has not even received direct focus or attention in Senator Dodd’s proposed Financial Regulatory Reform.

We can sit idly by and allow Wall Street and Congress to dictate to us or we can do something. I choose the latter. I want this post and this site to be the lightning rod to bring attention to how Wall Street’s self-regulation, embodied in FINRA, drove our economy into the ditch.

Please add your support by leaving a comment endorsing this investigation. I intend to keep a focus on this topic until FINRA’s failures are fully exposed and people are held to account. Get your friends and colleagues to do the same. If we can create a groundswell of support, I feel confident I can get some selected media friends to pick this up. From there, I welcome leading this march to Washington.

The American public and American investors deserve nothing else.

Any questions. Please do not hesitate to ask here or write me at

Who’s with me?

FINRA must be independently investigated. America needs to learn how the Wall Street cop was not only asleep, but also in bed with the financial industry as Wall Street brought America to the brink of disaster.


FINRA Board to Address Allegations of Schapiro Misconduct

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 4th, 2010 11:40 AM |

Are the wagons circling around Mary Schapiro and her former FINRA colleagues?

Regular readers of Sense on Cents are familiar with the issues and concerns I have raised repeatedly with Wall Street’s self-regulator, FINRA. I continue to believe the issues embedded within this self-regulatory organization lie near the heart of what I deem the Wall Street-Washington nexus.

Perhaps America will learn more about these issues soon. Why? Next week, FINRA’s Board of Directors will address alleged wrongdoings by Ms. Schapiro et al. What are the issues?   (more…)

What Did Bank of America Know and When Did They Know It?

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 13th, 2009 8:19 AM |

Are the powers that be at Bank of America wilting under political pressure to release the details of its merger with Merrill Lynch? In fact they are and in the process, the executives at Bank of America are agreeing to waive attorney-client privilege. What are the critical points which New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the SEC, those in Congress, and especially Bank of America shareholders want to learn?

1. What did Bank of America know about the ongoing deteriorating financial position at Merrill Lynch?

2. What did Bank of America executives share with their board members about the billions in bonuses to be paid at Merrill?

3. Did Ken Lewis overplay his hand? Please reference my commentary from a few weeks ago, “Documents Indicate Ken Lewis Utilized the MAC To Shake Down Bernanke and Paulson.”

The Wall Street Journal summarizes these topics this morning in writing, BofA to Hand Over Documents Related To Its Merrill Deal:

Mr. Cuomo’s investigators, as well as Judge Rakoff, have said a fuller accounting of the events surrounding the deal is a prerequisite to any resolution of the probes. BofA is hoping releasing the privileged documents will satisfy those demands, according to people familiar with the matter.

BofA’s move will likely reveal exactly what advice was provided by outside firms, according to people familiar with the matter. Those firms include Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz, which represented BofA during the Merrill transaction and is a long and trusted adviser to the bank, as well as Merrill’s counsel, Shearman & Sterling LLP.

It may also show conversations with ex-general counsels Timothy Mayopoulos and Brian Moynihan. Bank of America recently hired law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP to join Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in representing the bank in the various federal and state investigations surrounding the Merrill acquisition.

“This is going to get to the down-and-dirty question of what counsel did say and did not say, what counsel meant and did not mean,” said James Cox, a law professor at Duke University.


(Associated Press) In a photo from Sept. 2008, Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO John Thain, left, and Bank of America Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis shake hands following a news conference.

Down and dirty? I love it. Get the extra large popcorn. This should be good.


Goldman and AIG

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 21st, 2009 5:49 AM |

There has been extensive speculation that Goldman Sachs unjustifiably benefited from the weakness at AIG over the last 6 months. While conspiracy theorists can and will have a field day with this story, at its core I think Goldman did what any well run firm should always do — protect its shareholders.

While the stock values of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America flirted with total disaster, Goldman Sachs traded down but bottomed out at approximately $50 a share. That price does not strike me as indicative of a firm on the brink of bankruptcy. As Goldman now reveals, it had significant exposure to AIG but it also significantly hedged this exposure to AIG via other transactions. Thus, Goldman would have been negatively impacted by an AIG bankruptcy but not fatally impacted. (more…)

The Truth May Hurt…

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 10th, 2009 11:19 AM |

I very much appreciate reading material written by people whom I perceive as having no agenda. I have tried to bring people like this (including Ray Dalio, Paul Keating, Bob Rodriguez, Steve Rehm, Kevin Doyle, Vaclav Klaus, and many others) to Sense on Cents because I firmly believe we all become more educated and informed in the process. Please let me know if and when you perceive me, any of the pieces to which I link, or radio guests on NQR’s Sense on Cents as not dealing totally in the truth. Constructive criticism is always appreciated and will make for a better site.

Along with the aformentioned, I have also previously remarked on my high regard for John Mauldin, one of our Economic All-Stars. John himself possesses an insightful global perspective and has a circle of friends and confidantes that are simply off the charts.

In John’s weekly Outside the Box, he shares with us the perceptions of Michael E. Lewitt. Mr. Lewitt writes at length on topics we have covered here previously, but his level of detail and thoughtful analysis are well worth the read.

Topics covered include: (more…)

How Wall Street Bought Washington

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 9th, 2009 3:35 PM |

A great American and loyal reader (thanks FL) shared a report recently produced by not-for-profits Essential Information and The Consumer Education Foundation.  This report, Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America, has gotten little to no attention in the general media. What a shame.  I find of particular interest the fact that a number of the currently discussed regulatory changes are directly addressing the points highlighted in this report. I personally view these proposed regulatory changes as substantiating this report and adding credibility to its effort. For the naysayers in the audience, I would ask you to review the report and reconsider your assessment.

I was struck a month ago by the incriminating statements put forth by Senator Chuck Hagel and CIA head Leon Panetta, which I highlighted on February 16th in Legalized Bribery. Those statements bluntly indict our massive system of lobbying, political fundraising, and the quality of those running for elected office! In light of that article, I am more and more convinced that our elected officials have turned their offices into massive for profit machines at the expense of our public well being.

I commend the authors of this report, Roger Weissman and James Donahue, for taking the time and making the extensive effort to expose the truth. The full report, 231 pages in length, spares no detail. In studying it, I found the information and analysis riveting. Let me try to summarize it for you. (more…)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Wall Street Model Is Broken…and Won’t Soon Be Fixed!!

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 5th, 2009 6:37 PM |

Some of my favorite movies are The Sting, Rocky, and Papillon.  I could watch those films a few times a year and appreciate the plot, character development, and climax.

In that same vein, for newer readers here at Sense on Cents, I want to highlight a piece I wrote on November 12, 2008.  I believe this piece is as clear cut an historical explanation as I have seen to highlight the background of the debacle on Wall Street which precipitated this economic disaster. I also find it interesting as to my comments about potential market reaction to an aggressive tax/spend program under President Obama and a Democratic Congress. 

I hope you find this article informative and enlightening: (more…)

Overnight Trade

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 4th, 2009 6:31 AM |

Stocks in Asia rose on the heels of a report that China’s Wen May Announce New Stimulus Measures to Revive Growth

With China allocating this capital to a new stimulus, will that lead to lessened appetite for U.S. Treasury debt? In overnight trading, Treasuries Drop on Potential $60 Billion Note Sale Next Week.

In other market making news, the shine has come off gold somewhat. I had cautioned that I do not play in gold because of the large number of speculative traders. Gold dropped 3% overnight and is back to $910/oz.

The U.S. dollar continues to move higher versus the Japanese yen and is back close to par, 100 yen for $1 dollar.

I remain in the camp that the bond market will continue to be pressured by the global demand for capital.

One story that also bears watching is the “plundering” of Merrill Lynch. In breaking news the WSJ reports how Merrill Lynch paid a large number of individuals outrageous sums at the end of 2008. Merrill’s $10 Million Men highlights the details. If I am John Thain, I’m not sleeping well!!


The Wall St. Model is Broken . . . and Won’t Soon be Fixed!!

Posted by Larry Doyle on November 12th, 2008 12:15 PM |

Despite billions and now trillions of dollars in capital injections and equity investments made by our government, private equity, and sovereign wealth funds, our economic turmoil is a long way from being over. I do find it interesting that despite numerous Wall Street titans having indicated to us at different points over the last year that we were in the 7th inning of this fiasco, now a recurring theme is that we should not expect any real economic recovery until 2010. Actually, maybe we were in the 7th inning but it was the 7th inning of the first game of a 4 game series.

Well, if we want to figure out where and when we are moving forward, I think it would be beneficial to know from where and when we came.

For those over 50 years of age, perhaps you remember when mortgage money dried up. Perhaps you also recall the days of putting down 20% before you even thought of buying a home. In any event, the growth of the secondary mortgage market in the mid 1980s was a result of some very sharp financial minds on Wall St. who engineered a product called a Collateralized Mortgage Obligation (CMO). (more…)

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