We're bombarded with information from the minute we wake up until the second we fall asleep. I was watching a news network last night for 45 minutes and the exact stories started coming back around. Nothing new to report, but the same topics on repeat, with the rare nominal development.
When I need something different (and relevant to me), I go to STRATFOR.com. They provide deep insight and explanation of events the networks can't begin to tackle. Today I'm including an extensive article on the banking situation in Europe. Enjoy, and sign up for their free email list to receive weekly reports and special offers.
This week we visit an essay from an old friend of Outside the Box, Paul McCulley, the Managing Directpr of PIMCO. This is a speech he did at the Minsky Conference sponsored (I believe) by the Levy Institute. It was also the same speech he gave at my conference mid-April that was quite well received.
Essentially Paul argues that the cause of the recent crisis was the creation of the Shadow Banking System outside the purview of regulation. And while he did not use the line in this speech, he did at my conference, which is one of the truly great lines I have heard this year.
"The rating agencies were like the man who went to an under-age drinking party and handed out fake IDs (identification cards). They were the necessary enablers as Paul shows. This is a think piece and one you should take some time to read as when you "get it," you will have some understanding of what must be done all over the world to prevent the next crisis. Let me offer two paragraphs as teaser copy"
"And I think the first principle is that if what you're doing is banking, de jure or de facto, then you are in a joint venture with the public sector. Period. If you're issuing liabilities that are intended to be just as good as a bank deposit, then you will be considered functionally a bank, regardless of the name on your door. That's the first principle.
"Number two, if you engage in these types of activities – call it banking, without making a big distinction here between conventional banking and shadow banking, as Paul Krugman intoned this morning – in such size that you pose systemic risk, you will have higher mandated capital requirements and you will be supervised by the Federal Reserve. Yes, I just told you who I think the top-dog supervisor should be. You will have tighter leverage and liquidity restrictions: You will have to live by civilized norms. In fact, a great deal of what is on the regulatory reform table right now proceeds precisely along those lines. If you're going to act like a bank, you're going to be regulated like a bank. That simple. And maybe you just might find the time to go back to working on your golf game at 3. That is the core principle.
(Note: Paul uses the following Latin terms a lot. For those not familiar with them, Ex-post is Latin for "after the fact." Ex-ante is Latin for "before the event or beforehand".)
Have a great week!
Your rushing to yet another plane analyst,
This week's letter comes to us from a group in London called Bedlam Asset Management. Last week my partners in London forwarded this article to me and said, "worth 5 minutes of your time." I agree. 5 minutes and more. Bedlam has a series of articles called Pick of the Week and this one from late July takes a look at the banking problems in China. Many of the world's largest banks seem to be rushing to China, just to be there and may be setting themselves up for problems in the future. China might have a lot of opportunity but the risk can be quite large as well. Bedlam gives us a different slant on China.