Monthly Archives: November 2012

Can Open Source Ratings Break the Ratings Agency Oligopoly?

By Professor Krassimir Petrov, who has taught economics and finance in the U.S., Ireland, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Taiwan, and Macau

The current credit-ratings system is a complete farce that has caused damage in the trillions. It needs to be completely reformed into a more transparent, competitive system. An open-source approach presents a perfect solution.


Obama Signs Bill to Exempt US Airlines from EU Aviation Carbon Tax

I managed to avoid listening to pretty much all of Obama’s election victory speech but managed to click onto a news site that had a streaming video of it, and caught his tepid reference to climate change, a passing comment on “the destructive power of a warming planet.” This wasn’t a commitment of any kind; I took this as a sign simply that the president now feels he has to give global warming lip service.

This news story, of Obama undermining an EU carbon tax, is consistent with that theory.


Why Robert Khuzami Would Be a Terrible Choice to Head the SEC

Given that the Obama Administration appears to think that missing-in-action Attorney General Eric Holder has been doing a fine job, it probably isn’t surprising to see the SEC’s head of enforcement, Robert Khuzami, included on a short list of names rumored to be under consideration to head of the agency.

But if the object is to prove that regulators can’t regulate and it’s too hard to enforce securities laws, then Khuzami’s your man.


Spain About to Whack Hapless Smaller Savers Conned into Buying Bank Preference Shares as a Condition of its Bank Rescue

Yves here. We’ve flagged in earlier posts how the Spanish banking crisis had the potential to become destabilizing politically, as if Spain wasn’t already at considerable risk of upheaval. Spanish depositors were pushed to convert their deposits into preference shares, which they were told were just as safe. That of course was never true.

This was a simple desperation move by the banks to save their own skins, customers be damned, by raising equity from the most unsophisticated source to which they had access. And now that that gambit failed, these shareholders are due to have those investments wiped out unless the Spanish authorities can cut a deal to spare them. The conditions of a bank rescue, which Spain did try to resist, was to have equity holders wiped out, or at least haircut. And that plan is now about to be set in motion. Having losses imposed on small savers who were in many cases conned by their own bank to buy these preference shares is going to do serious harm as well as further delegitimate the government.


NC’s Guess About a Sean Quinn-GT Group Connection Just Got a Bit More Solid (But a Bit More Ho-Hum, Too)

More about a possible link between bankrupt Irish ex-billionaire Sean Quinn’s asset hiding activities and the Taylor family’s company registration businesses (GT Group and successors)


9 Greedy CEOs Trying to Shred the Safety Net While Pigging Out on Corporate Welfare

By Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet. Cross posted from Alternet

A gang of brazen CEOs has joined forces to promote economically disastrous and socially irresponsible austerity policies. Many of those same CEOs were bailed out by the American taxpayer after a Wall Street-driven financial crash. Instead of a thank-you, they are showing their appreciation in the form of a coordinated effort to rob Americans of hard-earned retirements, decent medical care and relief for the poorest.


Marshall Auerback: Bank of Canada Governor is Wrong on Too Big To Fail and Wrong on Canada’s Banking System

Yves here. It was very telling, and disappointing, to find out that the Governor of the Bank of England in waiting, Mark Carney, has been critical of the ideas of Andrew Haldane, the executive director of financial stability of the Bank. Haldane has the goods on major banks, and has come up with both colorful and insightful critiques as well as creative solutions. It now becomes clear why George Osborne made this surprising pick: Carney sees nothing wrong with large, universal banks, while the departing Governor, Mervyn King, Haldane, and the head of the soon-to-be-disbanded FSA, Adair Turner, were unified in their desire to cut the mega-banks down to size.

By Marshall Auerback, a portfolio strategist, fellow with the Economists for Peace and Security, and a research associate for the Levy Institute. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives

As a Canadian, perhaps I should feel a surge of patriotic pride now that Mark Carney has been designated the new head of the Bank of England – quite a step up for the current governor of the Bank of Canada. That said, his recent attack on the Bank of England’s Andy Haldane in a Euromoney interview last month, does give one some cause for concern, particularly as it evinces the usual complacency that most Canadians seem to feel about the basic soundness of their own banking system, which essentially upholds the universal banking model as a viable one.