Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prophetic Article from January 2007

So I stumbled upon this article that was originally on the Financial Times from January 2007.

The title of this article is extremely interesting given the timing.... it is THE CENTRAL BANKS CAN'T DETERMINE HOW MUCH LEVERAGE IS OUT THERE

This is damn interesting because this article was dated almost 2 YEARS before the fall of Lehman Bros.

here are some interesting excerpts from the article which happens to be pasted on the gata website.

This particular quote is epic...

In other words, no one can be sure how much capital to set aside as insurance against these leveraged bets going wrong. While risk management techniques have improved, they remain flawed in fundamental respects.
here are a few other choice bits

Many private sector bankers believe that the newer markets in credit default swaps, which investors use as insurance against corporate default, and collateralised debt obligations, packages of debt instruments used to back the issue of new securities, are inherently stabilising. That is because they spread risk more widely around the system. At the same time technology, which facilitates trading in complex new financial instruments, serves to make markets more efficient.
This, together with a big surge in global liquidity, has contributed to a dramatic decline in financial institutions' concern about risk to the point where some companies are issuing securities at a zero or negative risk premium. The risk premium is the additional return over the return on risk-free government bonds that investors normally require as a reward for taking risk.

The credit euphoria in the markets, which has caused the yields of riskier bonds to move closer to the risk-free bond yield, is partly driven by the prime brokerage divisions of investment banks competing ferociously for hedge fund business. They have loosened lending standards and margin requirements relating to the amount of collateral they require to support a given amount of hedge fund debt. 

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