Monday, January 25, 2010

America's Most Expensive Real Estate Deal Goes Bust It's official: the biggest real estate deal of all time has gone bust. Tishman Speyer Properties and Black Rock Realty have surrendered Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper village, two sprawling Manhattan housing complexes they bought for $5.4 billion for in 2006. This comes as no surprise to residents, real-estate watchers, and economists who have been awaiting the implosion of plans to turn the rent-stabilized haven for middle-class New Yorkers into another condo complex for young investment bankers. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Who is backing the bank plan?
Jacob Aharon Frenkel (Hebrew: יעקב אהרן פרנקל‎; born in 1943) is an Israeli economist and businessman. A former Governor of the Bank of Israel, Frenkel currently serves as Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, which executes the international strategy of the American financial services firm.[1]
Paul Adolph Volcker (born September 5, 1927) is an American economist. He was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve under United States Presidents
Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (from August 1979 to August 1987). He is currently chairman of the newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board under President Barack Obama.[2]

An 80-page report produced by Volcker and Jacob Frenkel (former Bank of Israel governor) and released in January 2009 called for a clear separation between investment banking activities (like lending to hedge funds) and normal commercial banking.

The G30 wanted a more robust resolution regime which made it easier to close down big financial institutions. It also wanted a regulatory regime where the central banks have 'the authority and capacity' to deal with financial stability-Clearly, Volcker et al had little-time for the kind of split in regulation which Alistair Darling and the Treasury are seeking to renew with their banking reforms.

It is in the nature of the American system that the White House proposes and Congress legislates. On banking reform there is a clear common cause between a President, after the setback in Massachusetts, and members of the House and Senate who will be up for election in November.

Banks are deeply unpopular and measures to separate the Wall Street titans from their bonuses, and the commercial banks from their risk taking and speculation will have widespread support.

When Mervyn King suggested similar reforms last October Angela Knight, of the British Bankers' Association, said the 'key issue was not one of breaking up the banks'.

The momentum has significantly shifted and this was to be seen on the stock market in latest trading where Barclays - which would have most to lose from separation - fell 6pc, dragging the sector down.

The Rubicon has been crossed and the complacency of the banks has been punctured.

Read more:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Democrats propose $1.9T increase in debt limit to avoid ‘defaults on obligations’ - yahoo The unpopular legislation is needed to allow the federal government to issue bonds to fund programs and prevent a first-time default on obligations. It promises to be a challenging debate for Democrats, who, as the party in power, hold the responsibility for passing the legislation.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

NFA Releases Forex Regulatory Guide

Skype gets sued for expiring credits – get your unclaimed credit now
Plaintiffs Holly Barker and Brian Carness have filed lawsuits against defendants Skype Communications, S.a.r.l. ("Skype Communications"), Skype Technologies S.A., Skype, Inc. and eBay Inc., on its own behalf and as successor by merger to Skype Delaware Holdings, Inc. (collectively, the "Defendants") challenging the Skype Credit expiration policy. Plaintiffs allege that Skype User Accounts and Skype Credit constitute "gift certificates" that cannot expire or be subject to inactivity fees under various states' laws and that Defendants unlawfully applied the Skype Credit expiration policy against their Skype Credit balances after 180 days of inactivity in supposed violation of these various states' laws, including applicable "gift certificate," consumer protection and/or unfair and deceptive practices laws.

Defendants deny that they did anything wrong whatsoever, and contend that plaintiffs' claims are meritless. No court has decided which side is right, and both sides have agreed to resolve the cases and provide relief to the Settlement Class instead of litigation. There is a proposed settlement on behalf of a nationwide class of current and former United States resident purchasers of Skype Credit from Skype Communications, which, if approved, will provide that Skype Communications shall discontinue its Skype Credit expiration policy and implement a Reactivation Policy whereby Skype Credit will no longer expire after 180 days of inactivity, but rather be deemed "inactive" and subject to reactivation. In addition, Skype Communications, on behalf of itself and the other Defendants, has agreed to pay a Settlement Amount of $1,850,000 in full and complete settlement of the Released Claims, which shall include: (i) attorneys' fees and costs and named plaintiffs' incentive awards not to exceed $1,000 each, which collectively shall not exceed 25% of the Settlement Amount subject to Court approval; and (ii) availability, on a claims made basis, of an electronic voucher for $4.00 of Skype Credit per claimant from the Net Settlement Amount.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Links from the news January 15th

Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels, figures show Guardian (hat tip reader John D)

FCIC hearings must shatter the 'sociopathic nature' of Wall Street Rob Johnson, New Deal 2.0

Europe cannot afford a Greek default Simon Tilford Financial Times (hat tip Swedish Lex)

So what are banks for, anyway? Marshall Auerback, New Deal 2.0

It's Not About Interest Rates Yet Tim Duy

Google vs. CCP: All the possible WHYs Chinayouren (hat tip Michael T) and Google's fight: US-China lock horns Sydney Morning Herald (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

UK banks face $10bn bill from US over bailouts Times Online (hat tip Swedish Lex)

Reply to Krasting's reply to Coberly's reply to Krasting Dale Coberly Angry Bear

Why are we letting Wall Street off so easy? Joseph Stiglitz, Mother Jones (hat tip reader John D). Why is Stiglitz having to say this in Mother Jones?

Proof of Martians 'to come this year' Scientific American.

Scanners aren't the solution Josh Fulton

Groups ask U.S. to regulate shipping of commercial bumblebees Washington Post (hat tip reader John D)

The Sky Is Falling Before Schedule. Again Dale Coberly, Angry Bear and I'm No Chicken Little Bruce Krasting. A running slugfest dialogue about Social Security. Bruce has the latest salvo; I'll link to any update from Angry Bear.

Rehn to propose economic 'high representative' EurActiv (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

If you could write a song about the financial meltdown, what would you say? Tim Solanic

The future of Tim Geithner James Pethokoukis

Too Big Too Fail Tax Barry Ritholtz. Far from the first argument along these lines, but Barry, as always, is colorful

John Paulson's high-risk hubris Felix Salmon. High time SOMEONE is saying this! I just wish he had been even more pointed

The Carter Syndrome Walter Mead, Foreign Policy

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chinese banks have cemented their position as the most highly valued financial institutions ...Chinese banks have cemented their position as the most highly valued financial institutions, taking four of the top five slots in a ranking of banks' share prices as a multiple of their book values.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Malaysia c bank warns against forex fraudsters Malaysia's central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia has advised the public to not participate in any illegal investment or training programme on foreign currency trading offered by individuals or companies.

In a statement here on Monday, it said members of the public are usually enticed to attend such investment or training programmes with promises of quick and good returns.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

World Financial Crisis Data Update

World Financial Crisis Links


China Becomes World's Bigger Gold Buyer

Goldman Sachs To Give Employees 23 Billion In Bonuses

Third Bailout For GMAC With Another $3.8b

Arabia Takes The New Silk Road To China

2010 - China Continues Its Unstoppable Economic Charge

UK Plans 'Greenwash New Deal' To Refloat Economy

Bankers Get Potential $4 Trillion

Age Of Austerity Here

Eurozone Credit Contraction Accelerates

'Carousel' Frauds Plague Euro Carbon Trading Markets

Rusal First Russian Company To List On HK Exchange

The Economic 'Experts' Who Stopped Making Sense

Banks Accused Of Profiteering In 2009

Taxpayers Hit Harder As Bank Shares Nosedive

20 Million In US Got Unemployment Checks In 2009

Europe's Looming Demise

G. Edward Griffin Discusses The Fed - Vid

$50 Billion - Goldman Sachs Revenues From Meltdown

Fed Sued To Reveal Gold Market Intervention

Laid-off executives struggle to find any kind of job HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. — As chief financial officer of a top New York advertising agency, Jeff Boose boasted annual pay exceeding $400,000, a spacious office and a lifestyle to match.

Boose and his family live in a sprawling house in this affluent suburb, belonged to a country club and took numerous lavish vacations each year.

But since he was laid off in late summer 2008, they've made a head-spinning pivot. It's no surprise the country club membership, the vacations and a Volvo sport-utility are history. More tellingly, the Booses question every dollar they spend, sometimes eating pancakes for dinner and borrowing from their parents to pay the bills.

EES Outlook 2009 Wealth protection and investment insurance in unstable times

EES Outlook 2009 Wealth protection and investment insurance in unstable times