Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Links 9/1/2015

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Proof of Ongoing Foreclosure Fraud and Mortgage Document Fabrication, in Five Emails

Five years ago this month, GMAC became the first mortgage servicer to announce that they would suspend foreclosure operations due to irregularities in their document preparation. Within a few weeks every major mortgage servicer in America followed suit. This is usually called the robo-signing scandal, but to be more precise we gave it the name foreclosure fraud. It ended with the five leading servicers, including GMAC, signing the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement.

Except it didn’t end, and this past week I was handed inconvertible proof of that fact. The scenario is so fantastical that if I didn’t have a working knowledge of foreclosure fraud I wouldn’t have believed it. But it appears to be very real.

Why is China finding it hard to fight the markets?

China’s market drama started in June this year with the collapse of the Shanghai stock exchange, followed by frantic interventions by the Chinese authorities. As if the estimated $200 billion already spent on propping up stock prices were not enough, China found itself in another battle with the market, defending the RMB against depreciation pressures after the PBoC devalued the RMB by nearly 2% on August 11. The cost of the foreign exchange intervention to keep the RMB stable is estimated at $200 billion.

CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Defends Tax Abuse as Investor Benefit

CalPERS Chief Investment Officer made statements to the Investment Committee that are demonstrably false. As a video of the August Investment Committee meeting shows, Eliopoulos apparently does not grasp how a common tax avoidance scheme by general partners is not beneficial to limited partners. Even worse, he failed to mention that the IRS has recently proposed rules to end this tax abuse.

Ilargi: The Real Refugee Crisis Is In The Future

Perhaps Angela Merkel thought we didn’t yet know how full of it she is. Perhaps that’s why she said yesterday with regards to Europe’s refugee crisis that “Everything must move quickly,” only to call an EU meeting a full two weeks later. That announcement show one thing: Merkel doesn’t see this as a crisis. If she did, she would have called for such a meeting a long time ago, and not some point far into the future.

2:00PM Water Cooler 8/31/15

Today’s Water Cooler: Walker’s Canadian border wall?, Trump tight with cash, new ECB asset class, Killing the Host, Twitter, MH370 flaperon

Don Quijones: Why Are the Four Richest Men in Mexico Getting Crushed?

By Don Quijones, of Spain and Mexico. Originally published at Wolf Street Tough times for Mexico’s very richest. A couple of weeks ago, I reportedthat Carlos Slim, once the world’s richest man and the undisputed Big Boss of Slimlandia, as Mexico has come to be called, lost $7 billion in the first seven months of 2015. But […]

Links 8/31/15

antidote august 30 2015

CalPERS Staff Demonstrates Repeatedly That They Don’t Understand How Private Equity Fees Work

The oversimplifications, mistakes, and refusals to answer basic questions by CalPERS staff members at the last Investment Committee meeting of its board suggest that CalPERS has so little understanding of private equity that it cannot responsibly invest in that strategy at all. These errors related to concepts that are fundamental to understanding the economics of a private equity investments and hence to negotiating them.

Senior Private Equity Officers at CalPERS Do Not Understand How They Guarantee That Private Equity General Partners Get Rich

Over the course of the last Investment Committee meeting of the CalPERS Board of Directors, many of the statements made by senior members of CalPERS’ investment staff showed a lack of understanding of basic issues, such as the industry’s economics and how widely-used contract terms operate.

Aguilar Proposes Transparency Fix for Broken SEC Waiver System

Since Kara Stein became a commissioner on the SEC, we’ve heard a lot about the agency’s waiver policy. Basically, if a financial institution commits a crime, the SEC has a series of automatic penalties that are “automatic” in name only, because the agency routinely waives the penalties. Stein’s outcry at this turn of events always makes people like Matt Levine, in his usual role of intentionally missing the point, completely befuddled, because the punishments wouldn’t fit the crimes, and banks would lose access to entire lines of business for some unrelated transgression, and that just wouldn’t be fair, now would it?

The point, of course, is that automatic penalties are either automatic or not. If the punishment of banning institutions from managing mutual funds or working with private companies to find investors, or forcing SEC approval for any stocks or bonds that the firm issues on its own behalf, is simply too harsh as a consequence of committing a crime, then the SEC can go ahead and eliminate the automatic trigger. But having them in place, and then routinely waiving them, makes a mockery of any sort of accountability whatsoever. I personally believe that having these penalties in place are a solid way to ensure compliance across business lines, with the only threat that matters – a threat to the pocketbook – in reserve. If it would be too costly for banks to break the law, well maybe they’ll be a little more careful. But I would rather just eliminate the penalties altogether than have the SEC bow and scrape to ensure that committing fraud doesn’t lead to anything bad happening to the perpetrator.

Links 8/30/15

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CalPERS’ Private Equity, Exposed: Executive Summary

Senior private equity professionals at CalPERS do not understand the economics of private equity funds, raising questions about the staff’s competence.

Perry Mehrling: Defending the RMB

It’s hard to short China, but not so hard to short China’s currency, and that’s a problem for the central bank.

Permaculture in Cold Climates

Permaculture in Vermont and “the jackpot.”