CNBC hosted a discussion about whether home prices will go up in 2010, with Kenneth Rosen, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business; Matthew Garrison, The Matt Garrison Group and CNBC’s Diana Olick. The American situation is vastly different from that in Ireland but it makes for interesting comparison.
I often try to focus on ‘what is’ rather than ‘what is right’ (and sometimes still get it wrong!), but the idea is to look at something from as objective a standpoint as possible. I’ll take the National Geographic for instance (stick with me on this!), if you watch it objectively and see a lion kill a gazelle you realise that it is nature, the gazelle didn’t want to be torn apart, equally the lion doesn’t want to starve to death and if you accept that lions killing gazelles is a perfectly natural thing then you are seeing what ‘is’. On the other hand if you watch the same scene but the build up to it was following the life of that particular gazelle from birth and its a Bambi story then the killing scene becomes a sickening tragedy.
That is the difference sometimes between looking at what is ‘just’ or ‘right’ and what merely ‘is’, I don’t know about you but I certainly struggle with that at times. It is …
This is an interesting clip from the Cato Institute and it covers the various vectors of the financial crisis. In this video the speaker talks about the ‘7 steps to failure’ – the basis of the talk is well covered ground at this stage but the addition of the Cato presentation is meaningful and offers some angles that are not commonly considered.
Johan Norberg is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a writer who focuses on globalization, entrepreneurship, and individual liberty.
In Ireland each staff member of the regulator costs 23% more than the international average, their cost to the taxpayer is 88% greater and yet they have responsibility – as a ratio toward population- which is only half that of other countries (to be exact its 96% less).
If that isn’t enough, our regulators deal with 15% fewer firms in terms of the number of actual regulated firms per employee, yet it is 26% more expensive to regulate a company in Ireland than elsewhere, and in terms of regulator staff to financial services staff they are dealing with 17% less than in other countries.
We are overpaying for under-service, in fact, in only one other country does the tax payer foot more of the cost of the bill than in Ireland, and for that we get the statistics above based on the figures below. Angry? You should be.
Cost per employee: In Ireland it is c. 23% more expensive for every staff member of our regulator than the international average
Roger Bootle notes that markets do quite well at the end of a recession and at the start of a recovery by drawing the benefits of the future down into the present. Roger has a lot to say on the topic of banks, in particular that of banker bonuses – he states (and we agree) that when banks become ‘too big to fail’ they essentially are oligopolies and hence they are able to pay so well. From an Irish perspective the domination of AIB and BOI put some stock in this theory.
Yesterday the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) legislation was brought out in the Dail (that’s the Irish Government buildings for our international readers) . We have put some of the developments into simple graphs to give an idea of the way NAMA will work and what the prices are as well as what they mean (for the pedants out there- they were drawn by hand to demonstrate the point).
So the total value of the loans is €68 billion, adding on €9 billion in rolled up interest – development accounts often had this factored into the end sale price, generally showing c. 15% profits (as a minimum) with the roll up included.
The €77 billion in loans will receive a 30% haircut (across the board) meaning the price paid will be €54 billion. It is important to note that different institutions will see larger haircuts than others, so it might be that BOI gets 20%, AIB 25% and Anglo 37% / INBS 42%, the 30% represents …
This is a video on the fall of Bear Stearns, it is based upon the book ‘House of Cards’ by William Cohan, it is a six part interview so rather than post them all on our blog, if you want to watch the rest go here. Minyanville is also a site worth bookmarking!
The ‘haircuts’ we are hearing about in the papers of late are not ‘bobs’,’mullets’ or ‘short back n’ sides’, it is all about the pricing of NAMA assets, and when the pricing does become public don’t be disappointed to hear that it isn’t as big as many have felt it must be, the taxpayer is going to (ultimately) over-pay for the assets that NAMA takes on, try not to feel ripped off, in fact, overpaying is perhaps the only way we can get NAMA to work and the alternative is worse. I don’t envisage a haircut of any more than 18-20% at most if we are to ensure that banks and Government are truly working towards one aim when it comes to NAMA.
It is vital to remember – any NAMA losses will be levied upon the banks with interest, so even if there are losses (and there has to be, because there is no way anybody could get things 100% right) the tax payer is -in the long term- sheltered. While …
Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading (I mistakenly read the link initially as ‘the mistrading’!) have recently published a paper which accuses traders of intentionally trading huge volumes where they buy and sell for the same price and in the process make a half a cent per share. The volume of trading is fictitious ‘high frequency traders’, what they do is buy and sell and collect liquidity rebates from the exchange (note: 50 milliseconds is a huge amount of time) in this game. Do it 8 billion times and it really starts to add up.
This is just depressing, actual investors don’t get to join in because the firms engaged in this are doing it within the actual exchanges using the fastest computer technology available. They also have an unfair advantage in how they trade because they use rules intended to match buyers and sellers to their advantage, they find hidden liquidity and in essence remove it from the market as profit.
The most powerful deterrent would be to make a rule …