The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going

I wonder if Alec Litowitz is seen as a hero by the financial sector and MBA’s in particular
Fantastic article by Propublica on how to make money pushing toxic investments and betting they would fail.
http://www.propublica.org/feature/all-the-magnetar-trade-how-one-hedge-fund-helped-keep-the-housing-bubble

Stewart Armer Keynote

Looking ahead to TBLI CONFERENCE™ ASIA 2010 we are pleased to announce our returning champion, Stewart Armer, will be one of our illustrious keynote speakers.  Head of SRI at BNP Paribas Investment Partners SA, Stewart is currently responsible for the management of a number of sustainable investment products including the S&P rated “FutureVision” global sustainable equity fund and “Fortis L Fund Equity Environmental Sustainability World” which focuses on investing in environmental technologies. He leads an international specialist SRI team, based in Frankfurt, managing a range of sustainable investment products including equity, bond, balanced and specialist global sustainability funds.

As part of our ASIA 2008 conference, Stewart gave a keynote address focusing on problems and solutions in the context of investment in Asia. Instead of trying to summarize his words here, I will instead recommend you listen to this recording of his talk.

As a bonus: His slides from that keynote address.

Wall Street Investment Banks losing business due to reputation

In a recent article in the Guardian, Elena Moya, wrote how Wall Street investment banks were losing business as a result of reputation and their association with the financial crisis.
The headline read “Europe bars Wall Street banks from government bond sales • Leading US banks blamed for triggering financial crisis • Policymakers propose a rival European monetary fund” http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/mar/08/us-banks-european-bond-trading

She went on to write:
European countries are blocking Wall Street banks from lucrative deals to sell government debt worth hundreds of billions of euros in retaliation for their role in the credit crunch.
For the first time in five years, no big US investment bank appears among the top nine sovereign bond bookrunners in Europe, according to Dealogic data compiled for the Guardian. Only Morgan Stanley ranks at number 10.
Goldman Sachs doesn’t make the table. Goldman made it to number five last year and in 2006, and number eight in 2007, the data shows. JP Morgan was in the top ten last year and in 2007 and 2006 but doesn’t appear this year.
“Governments do not have the confidence that the excessive risk-taking culture of the big Wall Street banks has changed and they still cannot be trusted to put the stability of the financial system before profit,” said Arlene McCarthy, vice chair of the European parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee. “It is no surprise therefore that governments are reluctant to do business with banks that have failed to learn the lesson of the crisis. The banks need to acknowledge the mistakes that were made and behave in an ethical way to regain the trust and confidence of governments.”

We had written about the potential of reputation loss, last year, and the impact on investment banks. The association with Shell-Brent Spar & Nigeria, and Dow Chemical during the Vietnam War was quite similar, except the vulnerability of the banking sector was far greater. It will be interesting to see how this plays out this year. Will investment banks actually learn from the past and start working in the interest of clients and other stakeholders.