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-   -   L'iceberg dei derivati... sta cominciando a mostrare la sua ombra... ;) (http://www.finanzaonline.com/forum/macroeconomia/620900-liceberg-dei-derivati-sta-cominciando-mostrare-la-sua-ombra.html)

WorldLove 12-10-05 10:17

L'iceberg dei derivati... sta cominciando a mostrare la sua ombra... ;)
 
Cosa vi dicevo degli Hedge Fund sacrificabili (e sacrificati).... sul sacro altare dell'apparente non inflazione ?

Manipolazione tassi...
Manipolazione prezzi oro ed argento...

Qualcosa comincia a venire alla luce...

---------------------------------------------------

Scandal rocks New York brokerage firm

· Refco chief executive owed company $430m
· Accounts cannot be relied upon for accuracy

The esoteric world of derivatives was rocked by scandal yesterday when leading futures brokerage Refco, which has substantial operations in London and New York, said it had discovered that chief executive Phillip Bennett owed the company $430m (£250m) and that none of its accounts dating back to 2002 could be relied upon for their accuracy.
The disclosure is likely to increase calls for tighter controls of the high risk and often arcane financial instruments that have seen phenomenal growth over recent years in the City and on Wall Street.

Refco is one of the world's largest and most powerful commodities dealers, but its interests also spread across most financial assets, such as currencies and bonds. It specialises in derivative brokerage services. Last year it was the biggest trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the largest derivatives exchange in the United States.
In an opaque statement, Refco said that a company controlled by Mr Bennett had assumed "certain historical obligations" owed by third parties to Refco that "may have been uncollectable". He did so without telling the Refco board.

Analysts said that one interpretation could be that Mr Bennett had attempted to hide the bad debts. The firm said the amount did appear as a receivable on prior financial statements and on the balance sheet, but it as not shown as a related party transaction. The company warned that its financial statements for the past four years could no longer be relied upon. Mr Bennett, who has now repaid the money to the firm, has been put on leave pending further investigation.

Shares in Refco fell by a third yesterday as investors vented their anger. The company was floated in the US as recently as August, when the firm raised $583m. Part of that ire and possibly legal action is likely to be directed at the banks Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, which led the share sale, and the accounting firm Grant Thornton, which audited Refco's books. A year before the IPO, the private equity firm Thomas H Lee led an investor group that ploughed $507m of equity into Refco for a 57% stake.

The firm's chief operating officer, William ***ton, who had previously been planning to leave the company, said he would now remain with the firm as chief executive. "I am staying at Refco because I believe in our employees, customers and franchise," he said. Another executive, Santo Maggio, chief executive of Refco Securities and Refco Capital Markets, has taken a leave of absence.

The company tried to reassure clients and said that all of its customer funds on deposit are unaffected by the discovery. At the end of August, Refco said it had cash and cash equivalents of $649m.

Investigative lawyers and forensic accountants have been drafted in to investigate the books of the firm. Meanwhile, Refco has delayed the filing of its next quarterly financial results. A spokeswoman said the company doesn't know if a restatement will be required.

Refco has already had run-ins with American regulators this year, with the securities and exchange commission threatening action over alleged market manipulation in May. Last last month the company was the target of a law suit from a French investor, claiming that Refco had misled investors in its public filings and demanding compensation of £1.4bn.

What it is

Refco is a diversified financial services firm best known for its futures brokerage - dealing with contracts to buy or sell specific quantities of a commodity at a specified price in the future. It employs 2,400 people in 14 countries. Last year it was the biggest trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/s...589110,00.html

WorldLove 12-10-05 10:28

1 Allegato/i
Per restare nell'argomento che mi è più caro: l'argento... e di come il suo prezzo sia costantemente e criminalmente manipolato al ribasso al Chicago Mercantile Exchange... COMEX detto CRIMEX... di cui questa REFCO è uno dei player più grossi...

Guardate un pò il famoso COT sull'argento... il rapporto che indica chi compra e chi vende... chi è lungo e chi e corto... su una determinata materia prima...

WorldLove 12-10-05 10:33

Per l'argento è particolarmente facile è un mercato piccolissimo... e consente posizioni short enormi... che non devono mai essere coperte...

Chi sia short... non si sa... (ma si comincia a sospettare) probabilmente Hedge Found (o case di brocheraggio) sacrificabili dal governo USA... che assolutamente NON vuole concorrenza al suo US$... (carta straccia ormai).

Le regole del gioco sono contro i tori dell'oro e dell'argento che decidono di giocarsi la partita al Comex...

Gli USA possedevano miliardi di once d'argento... tutte vendute negli anni per compensare il deficit di produzione...

Il mercato dei derivati ... è enorme rispetto al mercato fisico...
Nel 2002 il valore dell'argento utilizzato nel mondo era pari a 3,6 miliardi di dollari... mentre il mercato dei derivati dell'argento (future) era pari a 193 miliardi di dollari...

Per ogni future long (che desidera l'acquisto futuro)... ve ne è uno short (che desidera la vendita futura)... il punto è che NON esiste nel mondo una tale quantità d'argento...

Nei magazzini del COMEX vi sono SOLO 40-50 milioni di once per la consegna... ovveorsia 280-350 milioni di dollari di roba...

Cosa succederebbe se molti investitori LONG decidessero di farsi consegnare il metallo?
In teoria uno Squeeze...

Gli shorts (gli hedge fund sacrificabili)... hanno delle regole a loro favore.

---> Possono decidere se fare la consegna in metallo sonante o denaro...

---> Non ci sono limite alle posizioni short... per cui chi vende avrà sempre ragione...

---> Al massimo possono essere consegnate 1500 contratti da 5000 once...(ogni contratto sull'argento rappresenta 5000 once...)... 7,5 milioni di once e questo limite può essere pure diminuito a piacere dalle autorità COMEX... detto anche CRIMEX)...

---> La consegna non può essere oltre la norma... ovverosia se in settembre 2004 sono stati consegnati 1230 contratti... nel settembre 2005 non ci si può discostare più di tanto...

In pratica gli short servono a comprimere i prezzi... in una misura ormai scandalosa... infatti ormai quasi nessuno investe più nell'estrazione dell'argento... i prezzi sono troppo bassi....

Il famoso COT sull'argento...
da un idea di chi è lungo e chi è corto ... occhio all'open interest...

117.718 x 5000 = 588.590.000 once... 588 milioni di once...

Vi ricordate quante ne possono essere consegnate (delivery) per mese ?

1.500 x 5000 =7.500.000... 7,5 milioni di once

In pratica servirebbero 588,59 / 7,5 = 78,5 mesi se tutti i longs decidessero di ritirare la loro merce...

Sei anni e mezzo !!!

WorldLove 12-10-05 10:48

Questions Over Deals at Refco Dating to '98... :D

Questionable transactions at Refco, one of the world's biggest commodities brokerage firms, began in 1998 and continued until this year, the company said yesterday.

The new disclosures raised the possibility that the company's chief executive had been inflating reported profits for years. Refco, which first offered stock to the public just two months ago, said it was cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The S.E.C. has begun an investigation, a person briefed on the inquiry said yesterday.

On Monday, Refco said that a company controlled by Phillip R. Bennett, who has been suspended as chief executive, owed Refco $430 million. Mr. Bennett repaid the money, in cash, to the company Monday, the day he was suspended. But that repayment did not reassure investors.

The stock plunged 45 percent on Monday, and it fell another 11 percent yesterday.

According to the company, it now appears that the $430 million "consisted in major part of uncollectible historical obligations owed by unrelated third parties to the company" that arose as far back as 1998. Refco said Mr. Bennett arranged to transfer the receivables to a company he owned, and then to transfer them temporarily to an unidentified company at the end of quarters.

If the debts were uncollectible, that normally would have led Refco to write off some or all of them, causing its reported profits to fall and conceivably endangering the capital levels that commodities and securities regulators require it to maintain.

Mr. Bennett had been chairman, president and chief executive since September 1998. He gained those titles during a volatile period in the markets, a time when some hedge funds suffered large losses in the swings that came after the Asian currency crisis and the Russian debt default. He was the company's chief financial officer before he became chief executive.

Refco does a lot of business with hedge funds, and it could face exposure if a customer were unable to meet its obligations after a large market move. In 1997, Refco was on the losing end when a customer, a commodity fund manager named Victor Neiderhoffer, was reported to have lost $45 million as the stock market tumbled. Refco seized the account and liquidated it.

The company has undergone two changes of ownership in recent years. In August 2004, the giant private-equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners bought control of Refco from Mr. Bennett and an associate, with Mr. Bennett rolling over part of the money he received to keep a large stake.

A year later, the company and insiders, largely Mr. Bennett and companies affiliated with the Lee firm, sold 30.5 million shares in an initial public offering underwritten by many of the leading firms on Wall Street, with Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America as the lead underwriters. In the last two days, volume in the stock totaled 41.5 million shares, substantially more than were sold to the public, as many of the purchasers in the offering took their losses. Yesterday, trading of Refco was delayed on the New York Stock Exchange until the company issued more information. The latest announcement came out in early afternoon, and the shares resumed trading at 2:48 p.m. The stock fell $1.75, to close at $13.85. So far this week, the stock - which went public at $22 - has lost more than half its value.

Late Monday, Moody's Investors Service lowered its credit ratings on Refco to B2 from B1, after a downgrade by Standard & Poor's.

The company says it "has adequate liquidity to run the business in the ordinary course."

A lawyer for Mr. Bennett declined to comment on the latest company disclosure. Representatives for Thomas H. Lee declined to comment.

Mr. Bennett has taken out large sums from Refco over the years, sums that might not have been available had the company taken write-offs on the receivables. In addition, it might not have been sold to Thomas H. Lee or to public investors.

When the company went public, a highly unusual provision in the prospectus provided that if the underwriter was able to sell additional shares, the money would be split by existing shareholders. Through that provision and the sale of some of his shares, Mr. Bennett took in $152 million from the offering.

He still owned 33.8 percent of the company, worth $1.2 billion on Friday but less than $600 million yesterday.

Mr. Bennett was hired by Tom Dittmer, a co-founder of Refco who was known for his bravado as a trader in cattle and other commodities and for his extravagant gestures, like giving away gold watches after a big successful trade.

Under Mr. Dittmer, who retired in 1998, the firm was also known for its prominent clients. Hillary Rodham Clinton traded through Refco in 1978 and 1979 and made almost $100,000 trading commodity futures contracts. That trading began when her husband, Bill Clinton, was the attorney general of Arkansas and a candidate for governor.

In 1979, Refco was fined $250,000 by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for record-keeping violations. The exchange suspended Mr. Dittmer for six months.

Mr. Bennett was cut from a different cloth than Mr. Dittmer. An Englishman who went to Cambridge University, where he played rugby, Mr. Bennett had a background in commodity finance. He joined Refco in 1981 after working at Chase Manhattan Bank. He established the Refco Capital Corporation to operate the company's finance and treasury functions. In 1983, he was made chief financial officer.

Refco grew quickly during the 1980's and 1990's, through acquisitions and an explosion of futures trading, commodities and debt-related instruments.

After Mr. Dittmer retired in 1998, Mr. Bennett became the chief executive. In recent years, Refco appeared to be highly profitable, in part because of trading with and serving as prime broker for many hedge funds.

That success led to the sale of the firm to Thomas H. Lee, but the sale did not go smoothly, at least within Refco. A consultant to the company, Edward McElwreath, asserted that he was owed a finder's fee for helping to arrange the deal. He was awarded $3.5 million in arbitration.

Sean O'Shea, a lawyer for Mr. McElwreath, said yesterday that during the arbitration hearing, Mr. Bennett testified that he had not met with certain people even though documents indicated he had done so.

Mr. Bennett has survived some regulatory problems. In 1999, the C.F.T.C. fined Refco $7 million for failing to take and record orders properly and for failing to have an effective supervisory program.

Refco settled the case without admitting or denying the accusations.

Yesterday, the first shareholder lawsuits seeking class-action status were filed against Refco.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/12/business/12refco.html

WorldLove 12-10-05 16:00

Eccoli lì a cercare di inventarsene un'altra per avere argento CHEAP... :D

US silver nonprofit opposes new silver-backed ETF

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) - A U.S. silver industry nonprofit group opposes the creation of an exchange-traded fund backed by the precious metal amid concerns such an investment product could make silver too expensive or illiquid in the world market.
The Silver Users Association is especially concerned that a new ETF might threaten jobs in the silver industry, as it would require large amounts of metal to be held in vaults and out of reach of the marketplace, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Commodity ETFs are designed to track the price of a specific product or basket of goods, and in the case of silver, one likely would be backed by physically stored metal.

"The concern we have is about jobs," Paul Miller of the SUA told Reuters. "That concerns our members greatly."

The SUA sees the removal of large quantities of physical silver having a negative impact on industry-specific employment as well as the overall economy, both through job losses and inflation, it said.

The organization has stated it supports the buying and selling of silver as an investment in general, but it does not endorse a silver ETF because of the potential liquidity problems it would create.

"The SUA urges the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) to take these issues into consideration before it decides whether or not to issue a silver ETF," it said in a recent newsletter.

Barclays Global Investors, the asset management arm of Barclays Plc (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) , filed a registration in June seeking regulatory approval for a new silver ETF.

The trust will be backed by silver held in England initially, and possibly at other locations down the road.

Gold ETFs have gained popularity in the recent commodity bull markets as investors were attracted to an alternate form of gold investment, aside from mining shares, options, futures and actual gold bullion.

In total, SUA said in the newsletter, the various gold ETFs have contributed to 250 tons of gold being purchased in the open market at a value of about $3.4 billion.

The SUA was established in 1947 to represent the interests of companies that make, sell and distribute products and services related to silver. Members include fabricators, manufacturers and other consumers as well as financial institutions and precious metals firms.

http://yahoo.reuters.com/financeQuot...2339259_newsml

fcoa 13-10-05 10:42

notare andamento REFCO ieri.....

WorldLove 13-10-05 11:20

Un bel "soft" landing...

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=RFX&t=5d

October 13, 2005 -- The New Jersey hedge fund surfacing as a key player in the accounting chicanery at Refco has a past that includes two other financial scandals.
The hedge fund, Liberty Corner Advisors of Summit, N.J., is believed to have aided Refco chief Phillip Bennett in his attempt to hide vast amounts of bad debt from the company's auditors.

Bennett was arrested yesterday and charged with securities fraud. No charges were filed against Liberty Corner or its executives.

Earlier this year, Liberty Corner was fired from managing investments for the state of Ohio by state Treasurer Jennette...

http://www.nypost.com/business/29419.htm

WorldLove 13-10-05 11:24

Futures broker Refco's CEO faces life in prison for fraud

Phillip Bennett, the suspended chief executive of Refco, the New York futures broker, was on Wednesday charged with defrauding investors by using a hedge fund to disguise $430m of debts owed by him to Refco.

Michael Garcia, US attorney for the southern district of New York, said Bennett had arranged a “scheme to hide this debt at the time of the audit each quarter”.

On Wednesday night Bennett was freed after posting a $50m bond. Prosecutors had opposed bail, arguing that he was a “flight risk” because he faced life in prison if convicted.

Refco's share price has more than halved since it disclosed on Monday that Bennett had been suspended after repaying a $430m debt that had not been booked as a related party transaction.

Bennett repaid the $430m debt by taking out a loan secured against his stake in Refco.

The broker's shares plunged another 22 per cent to $10.85 on Wednesday, compared with the $22 at which $583m of stock was sold in its initial public offering in August.

Refco's bonds have fallen about 30 per cent and the $390m of 2012 bonds were on Wednesday trading a just above 76 cents on the dollar, according to the NASD's Trace data service.

The company said on Monday it was financially sound but as with any service operation, it is highly dependent on the continued confidence of its clients.

Bennett's debt of $430m dates back as far as 1998 and it is speculated that it may represent personal trading losses incurred by Bennett or sums owed by Refco's clients.

Refco had big losses in 1997 after a hedge fund run by Victor Niederhoffer was wiped out during the Asian financial crisis.

Refco says the following about itself on its website:

Refco Inc. is a diversified financial services organization with operations in 14 countries, 2,400 employees, and more than 200,000 customer accounts in an extensive global client base. Our mission is to empower investors with integrated global trading solutions and cutting-edge analysis that facilitates informed decision-making.

Refco tailors our products and services to meet our customers' unique requirements. We provide a superior level of service, both personally and electronically, to sustain the long-term relationships that enable us to respond more efficiently and proactively to our customers' changing needs. Our commitment to partnership with each of our customers is based on the concepts of high quality personal service and cutting-edge innovation.

REFCO provides a broad range of financial products and services world-wide through its subsidiaries and affiliates. REFCO globally integrates client requirements with its extensive product offerings, including exchange-traded derivatives, managed futures, prime brokerage services, fixed income, foreign exchange, equities, OTC derivatives and asset management.

http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusin...10003612.shtml

Fastrunner 13-10-05 18:56

mi meraviglio come nessuno a parte te parli di cosa stia succendnedo......... qua viviamo veramente in un mondo a parte.... Ed a leggere le notizie di oggi mi pare che la situazione stia precipitando....

gu' 13-10-05 22:11

Refco Subsidiary Freezes Customer Accounts
Thursday October 13, 3:20 pm ET
By Michael J. Martinez, AP Business Writer
Refco Subsidiary Freezes Customer Accounts for 15 Days Because of Cash Issues; Shares Drop


NEW YORK (AP) -- Refco Inc., the commodities broker mired in an accounting scandal which finds its chief executive accused of hiding bad debts from shareholders and regulators, said Thursday it will freeze customers' accounts in one of its unregulated subsidiaries for 15 days because the unit may not have enough cash on hand to operate normally.
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While Refco said its regulated businesses have enough money to continue normal operations, a major credit rating agency warned there was "substantial doubt" about the entire company's liquidity.

Refco Capital Markets Ltd., an unregulated offshore broker for stocks, bonds and currencies, is the subsidiary that former CEO Phillip Bennett, 57, allegedly used to help hide up to $545 million in bad debts. Bennett was indicted on federal charges Wednesday that he caused Refco to file fraudulent statements to securities regulators. He is free on a $50 million bond.

In a statement, Refco said it would put a 15-day moratorium on all of the unit's transactions -- effectively preventing customers from withdrawing money from their accounts -- "to protect the value of the enterprise."

A spokesman for Refco did not immediately know how many accounts or how much money would be frozen. While Refco's regulatory filings do not list revenues from each subsidiary, the company's statement said Refco Capital Markets "represents a material portion of the business of the company."

Other subsidiaries have enough liquidity to remain operating normally, the company said. Those regulated subsidiaries deal in futures commissions, derivatives and commodities.

Shares of Refco fell $2.95, or 27 percent, to $7.90 on the New York Stock Exchange before they were halted prior to the company's announcement. The NYSE announced that the halt would continue while it evaluates whether the company needs to make further disclosures or even if it can continue to be listed on the Big Board.

Refco's bond and credit ratings suffered new downgrades on the news. "Standard & Poor's believes that there is substantial doubt concerning the liquidity of Refco," the credit rating agency said in a statement. S&P lowered Refco's counterparty credit rating from B-plus to B-minus, while Refco's own corporate bonds were lowered from B-minus to CCC. All of the ratings put Refco's debt firmly within "junk" status, considered to be speculative and more likely to default.

The capital markets subsidiary is at the center of the accounting troubles at Refco. Bennett is accused of moving uncollectable debts in and out of that subsidiary, and other entities, to hide the fact that the company was counting debts as revenues, even though it realistically was unlikely to collect on those debts.

Refco announced the irregularities on Monday, placing Bennett on leave after he repaid $430 million with interest to the company. Santo Maggio, head of Refco Capital Markets Ltd. and Refco Securities LLC, also was placed on leave.

In its statement, Standard & Poor's noted that the money Bennett repaid the company might not immediately be available. Bennett's lawyer said Wednesday the former CEO obtained the money through a bank loan secured by his Refco stock.

The company first went public in August, and federal prosecutors said Bennett's alleged transactions hid the true value of the company from investors, who have seen their shares tumble from more than $28 per share at Friday's close.

The company has said that its earnings reports dating back to 2002 are unreliable.

The company also said it has retained former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt and Eugene Ludwig, CEO of Promontory Financial Group LLC, as special advisers to the board of directors.
:eek:

WorldLove 14-10-05 09:43

Refco Sends Tremor Through Financial World

Author: Jim Sinclair

Refco’s position as the largest independent derivative dealer with billions of dollars in customers’ money, declared a moratorium on withdrawing assets or funds today. That’s analogous to a run on the bank with your once friendly banker slamming the front door in your face.

This is a very serious situation, not so much because of the run but rather because the missing money has been replaced. What makes this aspect of the situation so serious - and why Refco must be rescued - is because it is the principle of many over-the-counter, unregulated, unfunded, unlisted and non-Clearing House guaranteed derivatives. If Refco folds up its tent, then the financial world folds. You can take that to a real bank.

Every time you rescue a financial entity, you pour more fuel on the fire that will ultimately consume the dollar. We are so battered by economic misconduct and flagrant abuses in the business world these days that there are few if any rescue options for what is approaching in the financial world.

Even with “stabilization” activities in world dollar markets today, the US dollar did not make the desired technical breakout but in fact closed on its low – portending perhaps what’s in store for tomorrow.

Larceny 102 (Of course Not Related to Today's Drama)

In Larceny 101 I have already discussed:

*How you would start an OTC derivative market for widgets or electricity futures.

*How you create false profits in Widgets Inc.

*Then using those false earnings, how you attract major Wall Street brokers to issue equity and debt to bring in billions to your company.

*Again utilizing the miracle of OTC derivatives, you back the majority of that money to 2000 straw partnerships of rented names, then to Pakistan and Middle East accounts controlled by the perpetrators.

*When the auditor catches on, you incinerate all your OTC derivative records.

*The public company then declares bankruptcy.

Larceny 102

Larceny 102 is a lesson in how to extract funds from a controlled fund into another account and then hide the act for years until somebody drops a dime on the Fed because they do not like you. This method is known as “Rolling Forward” by the means of "Switch Trading."

Because you can unethically write the OTC derivative at any price you want (since there are no regulations) it is easy to construct a balanced trade both long and short of the same item as an offsetting loss and gain maturing in the present year and a future year constructed at the exact same time. The more exotic the OTC derivatives are, the more difficult if not impossible it is for an auditor to put it all together.

Step #1: The trade is initiated both on the buy and the sell by the same source at the same moment.

Step #2: When you put in a transaction, the result is a loss into the account of the captured hedge fund and a profit into your own (camouflaged) account.

Step #3: Since you have established the profit in your account with the offsetting loss in the captured hedge fund account, you could now extract say $500 million from the fund and direct it to yourself. If the fund was doing quite well, you might simply give yourself a bonus of the fund’s profit. However, let’s assume the fund activity, profit or loss, is no factor. You now have a $500 million profit in your account and a loss for the fund of the same amount.

Step #4: You now set up another trade but for the fund itself. You arrange this by writing the OTC derivative, offsetting long and short so that you create a simultaneous $500 million profit in the fund account, say for 2003, and the loss side matures in 2004. You do the same thing again for 2005 and 2006. This is how you “Forward Roll” the loss in the fund, breaking it even on a continuing basis maybe forever or until you tick someone off who knows what you're doing. Clearly, you don’t just do this in one transaction but perhaps for 10,000 transactions, with some winning and some losing, but the balance accomplishing what you want to do. The end result of these shenanigans is to take $500 million out of one pot and put it into your own pot, hiding the loss forever.

The more exotic you construct the derivative, the less chance there is that anyone can detect the evil deed.

Step #5: This cannot be accomplished by one person but requires others to assist in the construction. Step five is when you make someone in the transaction chain very angry. That person then trades immunity in exchange for blowing the whistle on you.

Step #6: You hire the best attorneys on the planet to get you out of trouble, having stolen enough to afford them.

Step #6: You now have a religious awakening, praying reverently that other similar transactions remain unnoticed.


http://www.lemetropolecafe.com/kiki_table.cfm?pid=4942

WorldLove 14-10-05 09:52

Il mondo finanziario è fetido di truffa ormai... però sembra che i più si siano ormai turati così bene il naso... che non sentono niente :eek:

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Financial Crisis/Wall Street Cartel Scandal/Gold, Silver Readying to FLY!

None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free...Goethe

GO GATA!!!

Where do I begin? What we have here is nothing less than sensational/historic and bodes for something catastrophic for US financial markets and our economy. Those on Planet GATA are prepared for what is to come and can explain why. Planet Wall Street will be dumbfounded. Joe and Jane American will be outraged and is going to unleash a rage not seen in the US since the Vietnam War. The difference is this time it will be the middle class, not college kids, who will create the fury.

The news this morning was bullish for gold/silver and bearish for US interest rates and stock market:

08:30 Sept. Import Price Index 2.3% vs. consensus 1%
Prior revised to 1.2% from 1.3%.
* * * * *

08:30 Jobless claims for w/e 10/8 reported 389K vs. consensus 360K
Prior reading revised to 391K from 390K.
* * * * *

08:30 Aug Trade deficit reported $59B vs. consensus $59.5B
Prior revised to $58B from $57.9B. Dollar is slightly higher in initial reaction; euro/dollar $1.1979.
* * * * *

We have our US inflation numbers coming in higher than generally thought, while the employment situation is not so hot. Planet Wall Street won’t pay much attention to the jobless number, in light of the aftermath of the hurricanes. Tell that to the people out of work in the Gulf. It is still a drag on the economy.

Meanwhile, a trade deficit of $59 billion is just terrible. AND, this number was calculated before the recent sharp run-up in the dollar. We all have short memories. For years now veteran Café members have heard me mention how in 1998 (around there) Goldman Sachs predicted the US trade deficit would balloon from $12 billion to $19 billion and Planet Wall Street was horrified at even the thought of it. Now it’s "So what, everything is fine."

This news is not good for the dollar at all. So why is the dollar going up and up? My take has been, and remains, this is coordinated central bank intervention because we are in CRISIS mode in the US with the potential of a stock market debacle, one which would filter through to the economy. As mentioned in the Sprott report on the PPT, the Japanese announced they would intervene in the currency markets if there was a crisis, and this surely is one for the US. To stem market panic re the US, the central banks are bolstering the dollar to maintain confidence in the US debt and stock markets. Other countries are more than willing to go along in the short-term to bolster their own exports and economies, as well as to assist in trying to prevent a US meltdown.

The 10-year note hit 4.5% this morning BEFORE the number was released. Then, dropped a bit following the number to 4.47%, while the dollar kept its rocket-like ascent??? Most likely the Fed (Caribbean Pirates) at work. Yesterday, Bob Pisani of CNBC claimed that the stock traders were all eyeing the 4.5% number and that if it took it out, they would run from the stock hills. The reason:

http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/NO/C5

A close above 4.5% could create a selling bloodbath.

In this regard The Gold Cartel is going all out to stop gold from moving higher on this gold friendly news, for if gold were to move up on the day it would make it nearly impossible to hold the 4.5% 10-year T note level. The cabal knows the technical condition of gold is weak per yesterday and they have the dollar soaring. It is their time to make their move to try and turn some more funds into sellers (so they can cover some of their shorts).

Gold just closed. A fabulous day for our camp. Yesterday I mentioned that gold could drop $6 to $10 and that ought to be it. There are just too many waiting and willing buyers out there. At today’s low, gold was down $6.10. For it to rally $3.50 off this level is a stunning defeat for The Gold Cartel. Yep, that ought to be it on the downside. The move up from here could be both stunning and dramatic. The bad guys are reeling behind the scenes.

There is no telling how high gold could go in a very short-term time frame. The bullion banking bums in the cabal have their hands full with the markets. Between rising rates and the Refco mess, there is a real shot we could see a couple of derivatives neutron bombs go off in the weeks to come. Once again, the bad guys are short thousands and thousands of tonnes of gold. They are trapped and cannot get out without sending the price up hundreds of dollars per ounce. HUNDREDS?

Should the US financial markets go into convulsions, some of these shorts will be FORCED OUT, by credit committees. This could get very wild, VERY fast.

When Katrina hit, The Gold Cartel orchestrated a gold take down of $6. 50,000 specs dumped their longs. Gold then rallied $40 per ounce. We fell $6 today, the difference being with so much new macro fund buying, the crooks couldn’t hold the price down. The price fixers are in the DEEPEST of trouble.

The gold open interest fell 3907 contracts to 366,937, as some funds and an ETF pitched.

Silver held up well all day today and did not plunge like it has so many times over the years.

The silver open interest rose 1583 contracts to 136,018.

Before silver made its recent 50 cent advance, MIDAS mentioned to The Café my smeller told me something was going on which was very positive for silver. So far so good.

Late last week our STALKER source talked of Saudi buying, saying they wanted physical not paper and were going to store the silver in Saudi Arabia, NOT London. Today, this source said they had not bought the physical yet. This is very valuable news and I believe it to be very explosive. Why:

The Saudis are smart and playing the market. They have told the London players they do not want paper. However, I believe that is just what they have been doing. BUYING FUTURES, which is why the silver open interest keeps going up. It is also why silver is trading differently than it used to.

The smartest traders in the world will go into the futures market first to price their coming physical market purchases. This way the pros and the market have yet to see the soaring demand about to goose the market. Once the Saudis have worked out their storage for silver, they will load up on cash silver. The tiny silver market will soar. As they are nearing the end of what they want to secure, they will unload the futures in lieu of their physical supply.

This should be exciting to watch, if the silver situation is as I see it.

LATE MARKET DEVELOPMENT:

My rant earlier was how ridiculous the dollar move up was. Made no sense except citing coordinated central bank intervention. Seems that intervention has run its course. The dollar has sunk like a stone in water very late in the trading day.

The December dollar closed at 89.61, up .16, after making a 90.28 high. The spot euro, still trading after the dollar trading closed, rose to 120.31, after making a 119.14 low. Both the yen and pound closed modestly higher after taking early drubbings.

Should the central bank intervention fail, and the dollar collapse like it ought, good grief! The Gold Cartel, PPT, Fed, Bush Administration, and the general investing public will be in even worse trouble than mentioned above.
My guess is we have seen the lows in gold and silver. The risk/reward ratio from here on in is fabulous. Literally dollars on the downside and, in the case of gold, hundreds of dollars on the upside. Investment in gold will soon begin to go off the charts.

http://www.lemetropolecafe.com/james...e.cfm?pid=4939

gu' 15-10-05 09:34

USA: REFCO, AUTORITA' CME CHIEDE INTERVENTO DI GOLDMAN SACHS

(VEDI ANSA 'USA: REFCO VERSO DEFAULT...' DELLE 22.06 DI IERI)
15 Ottobre 2005 0:03 NEW YORK (ANSA)

(ANSA) - NEW YORK, 15 OTT - L'autorità di controllo delChicago Mercantile Exchange (Cme) ha chiesto a Goldman Sachs ead altri primari operatori di Wall Street di acquistare Refco odi rilevare almeno il core business delle operazioni di tradingsui future. Nel tentativo di sbrogliare una situazione diventata semprepiù complessa, la Commissione di vigilanza sugli scambi dellaCme, la più grande Borsa merci al mondo, ha chiestoinnanzitutto l'intervento della banca d'affari che ha curatolaquotazione di Refco. L'iniziativa, secondo quanto scrive il WallStreet Journal, potrebbe contribuire a rasserenare i timori diinvestitori e partner, dopo la crisi che ha coinvolto il piùgrande broker di future indipendente degli Usa. Qualsiasi acquirente, tuttavia, dovrebbe garantire i depositifino a quando le posizioni della clientela non sarannno statechiuse. Fonti vicine a Goldman Sachs escludono però unpossibile interesse della maison d'affari per l'operazione.(ANSA).

WorldLove 18-10-05 11:20

Refco Files for Bankruptcy, Sells Futures Brokerage to Flowers

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Refco Inc., the broker reeling from a bad-debt scandal, filed for bankruptcy court protection and reached an agreement to sell its futures trading business to a group led by buyout firm J.C. Flowers & Co. for $768 million.

Christopher Flowers' New York-based firm is leading a buyout consortium that includes Enstar Group Inc., Silver Point Capital, MatlinPatterson Global Advisers LLC and Texas Pacific Group. The sale includes Refco LLC, Refco Overseas Ltd. and Refco Singapore Ltd, and other regulated futures units, the press release said. Refco applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for other parts of the business, the statement said.

Refco, the largest independent U.S. futures broker, is moving forward with the sale just a week after firing Chief Executive Phillip R. Bennett for hiding $430 million he owed the company. The sale to Flowers may be contested because the investment arm of Dubai's government and Blackstone Group LP, one of the world's biggest buyout firms, may try to trump the Flowers- led offer.

``Seeing that there is a bid that entertains the entire business concern, it should be seriously considered by the board and its advisers,'' said Raul Henriquez, 44, who runs an investment firm that has been a client of Refco's futures business for more than 20 years.

Greenhill & Co., a New York-based investment bank led by Robert Greenhill, becomes Refco's sole financial adviser. Refco said Goldman Sachs Group Inc., hired on Oct. 13, wasn't under contract to work for the company after a bankruptcy filing.

Rival Bids

Refco's units included in the sale deal in exchange-traded futures and are regulated by the Washington-based Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Refco said its bankruptcy filing didn't include the regulated units such as Refco Securities LLC. It filed the so- called 8-K form today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Henriquez is the chief executive of Miami-based Hencorp, Becstone LC. Other clients are pressing Refco to consider the Dubai bid more seriously, people familiar with those discussions said. According to Carlos Abadi, a New York investment banker who says he's also involved in the Dubai bid, J.C. Flowers & Co. got preferential treatment because its founder, Christopher Flowers, 47, is a former Goldman partner.

``We don't have a strategic interest in J.C. Flowers or any of its funds,'' said Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag. He declined to comment on Refco's plans. Refco spokesman Rob Solomon didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

Dubai Bid

Henriquez said considering a competing bid from the Dubai group ``would eliminate many potential conflicts of interest.'' Abadi, 45, said the consortium offered $1 billion for all of Refco and was rejected.

Refco's other main units are Refco Securities, a broker- dealer overseen by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Refco Capital Markets Ltd., an unregulated securities and foreign-exchange broker based in Bermuda.

Mark Winkelman will be chairman of Refco LLC. Winkelman was the head of J. Aron & Co., a commodities trading firm that Goldman bought in 1981. The business has since been folded into Goldman's fixed-income, currencies and commodities division.

Winkelman was co-head of the fixed-income business with Jon Corzine, until Corzine became Goldman's senior partner in 1994. Corzine is now Democratic U.S. Senator for New Jersey.

http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news...GUw&refer=home

gu' 18-10-05 17:00

Lo sfascio economico USA:

Refco, "la figlia di LTCM"
17 ottobre – La Refco è il più grande broker di materie prime e futures degli USA. Philip Bennett, suo amministratore delegato (e suddito britannico) è stato arrestato il 10 ottobre per aver tenuto nascosto un buco di 430 milioni di dollari nell'hedge fund Liberty Corner Capital. Si tratta di perdite su contratti derivati che secondo alcuni risalgono al fallimento di LTCM, nel 1998, nel contesto della crisi russa e asiatica.
La crisi della Refco potrebbe persino risolversi nella completa bancarotta, una riedizione della crisi di LTCM che nel 1998 condusse l'intero sistema "sull'orlo del tracollo", come ammise l'anno dopo il direttore del FMI Camdessus.
Mentre la Federal Reserve ha iniziato subito le trattative per evitare che il crollo di Refco metta in moto un effetto domino nel settore derivati, Christopher Cox, presidente dell'ente di vigilanza finanziaria SEC, ha detto di non poter commentare direttamente sul caso Refco ma ha obliquamente poi dichiarato: "C'è sempre la possibilità di effetti generalizzati provocati da casi isolati". Lasciando poi intendere che sono già scattate le misure per "minimizzare i danni", Cox ha aggiunto: "Per questo la SEC può contare su un'unità speciale, incaricata di guardare oltre l'orizzonte e dietro ogni angolo per scoprire se si possono materializzare casi del genere".
Un esperto di Londra ha fatto notare all'EIR che "il livello di criminalità" del caso Refco e quello delle collusioni di grandi banche internazionali nelle operazioni in derivati ricorda quello della Drexel Burnham Lambert, la finanziaria che fu alla testa delle "obbligazioni spazzatura" e fallì negli anni Ottanta. Altri ancora hanno paragonato la Refco alla Enron.
Tra i corresponsabili per truffa o mancato controllo figurano poi la la Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), la Goldman Sachs, la Bank of America, la Deutsche Bank e l'American International Group (AIG). L'ex chairman di quest'ultima, Hank Greenberg, è già sotto inchiesta per truffa. Lo scorso 11 agosto questi istituti hanno sottoscritto il debutto di Refco in borsa, dove sono state collocate azioni per 600 milioni di dollari, sebbene la Refco avesse annotato nella documentazione presentata alla SEC di non disporre di tutte le formalità necessarie per chiudere i bilanci. La trattazione del titolo è stata sospesa dopo una caduta da 23 a 7,90 dollari.
Diversamente dalla Refco, ha fatto meno scalpore la vicenda di Man Financial, hedge fund sul conto del quale la SEC ha annunciato un'indagine per accertare se è vero che abbia aiutato la Philadelphia Alternative Asset Management, finita in fallimento, a nascondere perdite per 175 milioni di dollari, una vicenda tutto sommato uguale a quella di Refco. Man Financial è la branca americana del Man Group di Londra, il più grande hedge fund del mondo, con assets per 44 miliardi. Se queste vicende contraddistinguono i più grossi, che cosa riservano gli altri 8000 hedge funds in materia di "trasparenza"?
Il Guardian di Londra del 16 ottobre ricordava la vicenda di LTCM del 1998 notando come la Refco "potrebbe diventare il catalizzatore di un altro tracollo". Lo stesso giorno il New York Times ha definito "paurosa" la vicenda, notando anche che la Refco operava con una quota di capitale proprio dello 0,3%. Nel febbraio 2005 Refco aveva capitale proprio di 150 milioni di dollari, con cui sosteneva assets per 49 miliardi e nel maggio successivo deteneva contratti derivati off-balance, non iscritti direttamente nel rendiconto, che ammontavano a 150 miliardi.
Le ripercussioni della crisi di Refco si fanno sentire in diverse direzioni, in particolare nei fondi pensione come TIAA-CREFF, grande fondo dei dipendenti pubblici che potrebbe essere il più duramente colpito, visto che ha acquistato ad agosto 25 milioni di azioni nel lancio in borsa. General Motors Investment Management, a cui fanno capo i fondi pensione di GM e sussidiarie, figura tra i primi acquirenti di azioni Refco. Anche il 60% delle transazioni dei titoli argentini e brasiliani a New York passava attraverso Refco, un mercato che complessivamente vale 1 miliardo di dollari al giorno. Gli effetti si sentono anche nella borsa mercantile di Chicago dove Refco svolgeva il 10% delle proprie attività.

La bancarotta di Delphi

La più grande impresa costruttrice di componenti per automobili, la Delphi Automotive Corporation, ha presentato richiesta di fallimento secondo il "Chapter 11" lo scorso 8 ottobre.
Il fallimento è stato orchestrato da Robert Miller, amministratore delegato in carica da soli tre mesi. In tal modo Miller conta di "garantirsi la protezione" dagli obblighi contrattuali in materia di salari, pensioni e sanità. L'obiettivo di Miller è delocalizzare la rimanente produzione della Delphi all'estero, in una impresa automobilistica che paghi salari al di sotto del minimo previsto dalla legge. Miller è reduce da operazioni analoghe con cui ha "ristrutturato" le principali imprese siderurgiche americane, la LTV, la Bethlehem Steel e la Morrison-Knudsen. In ciascun caso ha fatto ricorso al fallimento per rivendere poi le imprese.
Miller aveva lanciato l'ultimatum a 24 mila dipendenti iscritti al sindacato UAW (su un totale di 50 mila dipendenti americani): accettate una riduzione del salario del 63% e tagli di pari entità ai contributi sanitari e previdenziali. Il salario doveva scendere dai 26-30 dollari l'ora ad almeno 10-12 dollari. Il contratto sindacale della UAW prevede l'assicurazione sanitaria a vita. Miller ha invece offerto loro, in cambio, una buonuscita di 10 mila dollari. Per quanto riguarda la pensione, Miller propone di scaricare gli obblighi dell'impresa sulla PBGC, il fondo pensione pubblico che garantisce quando dovesse venir meno l'azienda. La PBGC stima gli arretrati contributivi di Delphi sui 10,9 miliardi di dollari, di cui non può coprire più di 4,1 miliardi, per cui l'assegno dei pensionati dev'essere decurtato. Si tratta di uno dei tagli retributivi e assistenziali più grandi della storia.
Miller aveva aggiunto, l'8 ottobre, che se la UAW non dovesse accettare "l'offerta", il 16 ottobre si sarebbe rivolto al tribunale fallimentare per chiedere al giudice l'annullamento del contratto UAW e, in aggiunta, la chiusura di "buona parte" dei 23 impianti Delphi in America delocalizzando il grosso della produzione all'estero. Quel poco che resta in America dovrebbe funzionare solo con operai che accettano salari minimi.
Una delle conseguenze del fallimento di Delphi è che si è innestata una reazione a catena di fallimenti dei suoi fornitori. Gli effetti peggiori però si faranno sentire sulla General Motors, che acquista il grosso dei componenti e dalla quale la Delphi si distaccò come una costola negli anni Novanta. Gli effetti si farebbero sentire in particolare sul mercato dei derivati, attualmente attraversato da tremori simili a quelli dello scorso maggio, all'epoca della crisi del debito GM-Ford.
Secondo il Financial Times, gli "investitori" avrebbero già capito che per GM tira aria di fallimento. Standard & Poor avrebbe portato i suoi bond a BB-, tre gradini sotto l'"investment grade". Dato il legame inestricabile tra GM e la sua finanziaria GMAC, a sua volta molto esposta sul mercato immobiliare, un tracollo di GM avrebbe effetti immediati sulla già molto preoccupante bolla immobiliare.
Il rischio più grave era stato segnalato lo scorso marzo da Lyndon LaRouche, alle prime avvisaglie della crisi di GM, Ford e Delphi, sostenendo che questo settore rappresenta il fondamentale parco tecnologico delle macchine utensili, con una buona specializzazione delle maestranze, e rappresenta quindi un pilastro centrale dell'economia USA. Il 13 aprile LaRouche aveva proposto al Senato di prendere iniziative d'emergenza per la riconversione del settore dell'auto, il cui mercato è già supersaturo, affinché passi a produrre componenti per le infrastrutture, a cominciare dall'alta velocità e i treni a levitazione magnetica, componenti per centrali di potenza e reti elettriche, ecc. L'aggravarsi della crisi del settore dell'auto non fa che rendere altre proposte decisamente insignificanti.

Ricky Roma 24-10-05 10:02

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da gu'
Lo sfascio economico USA:
...
Standard & Poor avrebbe portato i suoi bond a BB-, tre gradini sotto l'"investment grade". Dato il legame inestricabile tra GM e la sua finanziaria GMAC, a sua volta molto esposta sul mercato immobiliare, un tracollo di GM avrebbe effetti immediati sulla già molto preoccupante bolla immobiliare.
...

Bel contributo ! OK!

Riguardo al passo sopra però non sapevo che GMAC fosse così addentro al mercato immobiliare, mi sebrava che fosse preposta a "securitizzare" i leasing delle auto GM.
Certo sarebbe ugualmente esposta alle sofferenze in caso di aumento dei tasssi, ma mi sembrava avulsa dal Real Estate!

WorldLove 27-10-05 12:18

Moscow hedge fund tops Refco's unsecured creditors

NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Refco Inc. (RFXCQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research), the
former largest U.S. independent commodities and futures brokerage, issued an updated list of its 100 largest unsecured creditors on Wednesday with Moscow-based hedge fund VR Group topping the list.

Refco Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct.17 for the parent company and 23 of its subsidiaries. Here is a list of the company's 25 largest unsecured creditors. Its largest secured creditor is Bank of America.

The company had assets and liabilities of about $16.5 billion as of Aug. 31.

CREDIT0R AMOUNT OWED LOCATION
VR Global Partners LP $620.0 Mln Moscow, Russia
Wells Fargo & Co. $390.0 Mln Minneapolis, MN
Rogers Raw Materials Fund $287.6 Mln Chicago, IL
Bawag International Finance $234.0 Mln Vienna, Austria
Bancafe International Bank $204.0 Mln Guatemala.
Premier Trust Custody $194.2 Mln Neth. Antilles
Inter Financial Services Ltd $138.0 Mln British Virgin Is
Markwood Investments $135.0 Mln Rome, Italy
VR Argentina Recovery Fund $130.0 Mln Moscow, Russia
Leuthold Funds Inc. $120.4 Mln Minneapolis
Betio Asset Investments Ltd $116.4 Mln British Virgin Is
Capital Management Select Fund $109.5 Mln Nassau, Bahamas
Chaco City Investments Ltd $100.7 Mln British Virgin Is
Cosmorex Ltd $96.2 Mln Madrid, Spain
Rabaul Holdings Ltd $92.8 Mln British Virgin Is
Tecka Asset Holdings Ltd $78.2 Mln British Virgin Is
Tuvalu Holding Co Ltd $77.6 Mln British Virgin Is
Catamarca Asset Series I Ltd $77.6 Mln British Virgin Is
Rogers International Raw Mats $75.2 Mln Chicago, IL
Cargill $67.0 Mln Minneapolis, MN
Creative Finance Ltd $65.1 Mln British Virgin Is
RB Securities Ltd $62.9 Mln Riga, Latvia
Banesco Banco Universal CA Pan $51.0 Mln PanamaCity, Pan
Banesco International(Panama)SA $50.8 Mln PanamaCity, Pan
Rietumu Banka $50.1 Mln Riga, Latvia

http://today.reuters.com/investing/f...RS-FACTBOX.XML

WorldLove 28-10-05 10:43

Ecco un articolo del pluricontestato Blondet sullo stesso argomento...
(Chissà se Blondet legge il nostro forum...)

Sinceramente mi sto sorprendendo di quanto poco si parli di questo fallimento... ed effettivamente gli italiani sono troppo impegnati nelle loro Novelas per prestare attenzione agli scricchiolii sinistrissimi del Titanic...

Blondet sarà un cattolico integralista :angry: ... un protettore di Fazio :mmmm: ... uno con simpatie strane :eek: un mezzo n******... bannato uno contro la sinistra KO!

Ma gli occhi aperti lì ha...

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FALLIMENTO REFCO E L'INFERNO DEI DERIVATI

NEW YORK - Stavolta ad andare a fondo non è un solo un hedge fund, uno di quei fondi altamente speculativi che perdono il denaro dei clienti in fantasiose operazioni sui derivati.

A dichiarare fallimento, il 17 ottobre, è stata la Refco Inc.: la più grossa ditta indipendente di «broker» sui derivati, un’istituzione finanziaria che sta (o stava) all’intersezione dei mercati dei futures più famosi - Chicago e Londra, Singapore e New York - per conto di migliaia di clienti, fra cui centinaia di hedge funds.

Si è scoperto che la Refco falsificava i bilanci da ben sette anni, per celare le sue perdite speculative senza copertura.

Tali perdite risalivano al 1998, anno di grandi crisi finanziarie: i Buoni del Tesoro russi fasulli, il crollo delle borse asiatiche, il collasso del Long Term Management Capital (LTMC), un fondo speculativo gestito da due premi Nobel (già) e andato a pallino per migliaia di milioni di dollari.

La caduta della Refco ci dice una cosa agghiacciante: nell’oscuro mondo dei derivati (buco nero della finanza globale) i disastri possono restare nascosti per anni, aggravandosi di giorno in giorno, fino a mettere a rischio l’intero sistema del credito.
Philip Bennett, presidente esecutivo della Refco, aveva stabilito una relazione molto speciale con un fondo speculativo, il Liberty Corner Capital del New Jersey: vi trasferiva le perdite di 430 milioni di dollari, poi il Liberty Corner rimbalzava questo buco contabile ad una filiale della Refco che era sotto l’esclusivo controllo di Bennett.
E così via, avanti e indietro, in un rimbalzo contabile che consentiva di nascondere il deficit.

Altro messaggio dal buco nero dei derivati: in quel mercato la frode è comune, e si può nascondere alle autorità di controllo qualunque transazione.

Anche e soprattutto quelle delle mafie criminali che devono riciclare il loro denaro sporco.

Per Bennett, la giostra è finita il 10 ottobre scorso, quando è stato licenziato.
Il giorno dopo è stato arrestato, e rilasciato sulla cauzione - che il delinquente è stato in grado di pagare - di 50 milioni di dollari.

Le azioni della Refco sono cadute del 72% e infine sospese dal mercato il 14 ottobre.
Migliaia di azionisti e clienti si sono trovati senza il becco di un quattrino; Bennett aveva ancora almeno 50 milioni di dollari.

Riflettano i risparmiatori, quando un nuovo Bennett vi proporrà di arricchirvi se gli affidate i vostri risparmi.

La SEC, l’ente di controllo della Borsa di New York, ha appena cominciato l’indagine, e la Banca Centrale (Federal Reserve) cercava freneticamente di tappare l’enorme falla.

Il problema: come mantenere in vita tutti i contratti sui derivati in corso attraverso la Refco?

Quel genere di contratti richiede pagamenti periodici da servire, i «margin call»: e chi pagava, se la Refco non c’era più?

Tanto più che i suoi clienti spaventati avevano tirato via i loro capitali, o quel che ne restava, ai primi sentori del crack.

La falla rischiava di trascinare nelle insolvenze a catena l’intero mercato dei derivati, che vale sulla carta decine di trilioni di dollari.

Lo ha ammesso con velati eufemismi il presidente della SEC, Chris Cox: «c’è sempre il rischio che casi singoli abbiano effetti più vasti. Per questo la SEC ha un’unità speciale per guardare oltre l’orizzonte e dietro gli angoli, onde scoprire se questi rischi si materializzino».

Il New York Times ha definito il caso Refco «pauroso», per una semplice ragione: a febbraio, con capitali di 150 milioni di dollari, la Refco aveva esposizioni («attivi», nel gergo truffaldino dei derivati) per 49 miliardi di dollari, e a maggio aveva contratti derivati (esposizioni) fuori bilancio per 150 miliardi di dollari.

Il decuplo delle sue riserve.

Un tasso di riserve dello 0,3% rispetto alle esposizioni.
E’ l’insolvenza, la regola occulta in questo «mercato».

Il fallimento ha rischiato di far collassate anche la Borsa Merci di Chicago, la più importante piazza di futures su ogni genere di bene: grano, valute, metalli.
Il 10% di tutti i contratti negoziati a Chicago avevano la Refco come controparte.
La Borsa merci è crollata dell’8% il giorno dell’arresto di Bennett.

Ecco come i derivati possono trascinare nella loro rovina l’economia reale, quella che ci dà da mangiare.

La Refco controllava il 60% dei buoni del Tesoro del Brasile e di Argentina negoziati a New York; era attiva in 14 paesi, con 20 mila clienti, fra cui importanti fondi speculativi.

Senza contare che una decina di grandi banche, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, avevano accordato alla Refco, solo l’anno scorso, un credito di 800 milioni di dollari (non piangete sulle banche, erano soldi dei risparmiatori).
L’assicuratrice gigante AIG (American International Group) copriva i bisogni di credito e breve della Refco.

Ora Credit Suisse, First Boston e Goldman Sachs subiranno - come le banche complici del caso Parmalat - azioni giudiziarie di recupero, visto che garantirono l’offerta pubblica iniziale della Refco solo l’11 agosto, due mesi prima della catastrofe: chi ha comprato quei titoli si trova adesso con uno zero nel portafoglio.

La Goldman Sachs s’è presa parecchie responsabilità, e si addosserà gran parte del peso del crack: un bell’affare della più potente e pregiata banca d’affari.

Ma c’è di peggio.

Nel giorno del suo licenziamento, Bennett ha pagato di colpo alla Refco i 430 milioni di dollari del buco a lungo nascosto.

Come ha fatto?

Li aveva ricevuti caldi caldi dalla fonte più insolita: la banca dei sindacati austriaci, la BAWAG (Bank fur Arbeit un Wirtschaft AG).

Questa banca aveva dato 350 milioni di euro direttamente a Bennet (più 70 alla Refco) accettando come garanzia il portafoglio di azioni privato di Bennett: che comprendeva il 35% della proprietà della Refco.

Un portafoglio il cui valore si stava riducendo, in quelle ore, a zero.

Così oggi la banca «dei lavoratori» austriaca si ritrova padrona di un terzo di una finanziaria decotta, coinvolta nei derivati a livello mondiale.

E si è scoperto come i capi sindacali, socialisti da sempre vicini ai governi socialisti austriaci, trattavano i risparmi dei lavoratori e soci.

Già nel ‘94 si scoprì che il figlio del capo della BAWAG Walter Floett aveva incanalato 2 miliardi di dollari della banca in un fondo che trattava in derivati dai Caraibi.

Quando il fatto fu scoperto, i contratti dovettero essere sciolti, e la Refco partecipò a questo discreto salvataggio.

Altro aiuto, la Bayerische Landesbank tedesca acquistò il 46% della proprietà della BAWAG.

Ma la lezione non servì.

Nel 1999, la BAWAG è diventata azionista al 10% della Refco, rilanciandosi così nel mondo dei derivati.

Un anno dopo, si fondeva con la Postbank, altra banca austriaca; nel 2004, i sindacati austriaci ricompravano il pacchetto del 46% detenuto dalla Bayerische, e rivendette le azioni Refco.

Gli abbracci, movimenti e oscuri rimestii fra sindacalisti socialisti e finanza speculativa durano, come si vede , da un decennio. E probabilmente, le pensioni di migliaia di lavoratori tedeschi, iscritti al sindacato e al suo fondo previdenziale, sono spariti con i 430 milioni di dollari della Refco.

Perché abbiamo rievocato questo fatto, che sembra così lontano dalla polemica su Celentano e Santoro, dall’«isola dei famosi», insomma da ciò che assilla e preoccupa il pubblico italiano?

Perché una lettrice ci ha chiesto di spiegare, giorni fa, in che cosa può consistere un «collasso dei derivati».

Ecco un esempio.
E ci sono decine di altre Refco in condizioni simili: frode contabile, insolvenza, appropriazioni indebite, bassezza morale sono parte integrante di questo settore estremo della speculazione.

E tutte le banche, più o meno, ci sono coinvolte.
La vostra banca: quella in cui avete i risparmi.

Maurizio Blondet

(Fonte: Lothar Komp, «Derivatives trader Refco files for bankruptcy», Executive Intelligence Review, 28 ottobre 2005.)

FaGal 06-12-05 13:57

Attività degli hedge fund nei Caraibi e negli Stati Uniti
Le attività verso soggetti non bancari hanno segnato una forte espansione in
seguito all’aumento del credito a mutuatari negli Stati Uniti, nel Regno Unito e
nei centri offshore. In particolare, mai da quando vengono compilate le
statistiche BRI l’incremento trimestrale dei prestiti al settore non bancario
statunitense era stato così elevato ($185 miliardi). Tali prestiti sono stati
erogati per la maggior parte dalle banche nel Regno Unito e nei centri offshore
dei Caraibi, probabilmente a istituti finanziari non bancari (come società di
intermediazione mobiliare e hedge fund). Anche gli impieghi verso soggetti non
bancari situati nel Regno Unito e nei centri offshore dei Caraibi – aree
contraddistinte da una notevole attività finanziaria non bancaria – sono saliti,
concorrendo per quasi un terzo all’incremento totale degli impieghi verso il
settore non bancario.
Nel più lungo periodo, lo stock dei prestiti in essere verso prenditori non
bancari in queste tre aree è fortemente aumentato, assumendo un ruolo
preminente nella dinamica trimestrale degli impieghi totali negli ultimi anni.
Ad esempio, da fine 1999 i prestiti delle banche dichiaranti alla BRI
verso soggetti non bancari nei centri offshore e nel Regno Unito sono saliti del
169%, toccando $1 trilione nell’ultimo trimestre1. Analogamente, i prestiti
internazionali a mutuatari non bancari negli Stati Uniti sono cresciuti ogni
trimestre, salvo tre, per un incremento totale di oltre $560 miliardi (ossia del
110%). Ciò contrasta nettamente con l’aumento complessivo relativamente
modesto osservato in quel periodo per il credito erogato a questi stessi
mutuatari sull’interno2.
Nel complesso gli impieghi internazionali verso i soggetti non bancari nelle
Isole Cayman e negli Stati Uniti riflettono vari tipi di attività economica, il che
rende praticamente impossibile individuare con certezza le determinanti dei
loro flussi trimestrali. Ad esempio, le Isole Cayman ospitano diverse attività, fra
cui gestori di fondi, hedge fund, operatori di finanza strutturata e assicurazioni3,
tutte classificate come soggetti non bancari nell’ambito delle statistiche BRI.
Similmente, i prestiti internazionali a mutuatari non bancari negli Stati Uniti
comprendono sia i prestiti a imprese e famiglie, sia quelli a società mobiliari e
hedge fund.
In entrambe le aree, tuttavia, l’attività degli hedge fund è cresciuta
notevolmente da fine 1999. I dati di Hedge Fund Research (HFR), che rilevano
i rendimenti mensili e le attività in gestione (AIG) per un vasto campione di
fondi4, indicano che le AIG totali degli hedge fund con sede legale nelle Isole
Cayman sono quasi quadruplicate da fine 1999. Del pari, quelle degli hedge
fund negli Stati Uniti sono quasi raddoppiate nello stesso periodo (grafici 2.2 e
2.3, diagrammi di sinistra).
Su orizzonti temporali più brevi vi sono anche indicazioni indirette
secondo cui l’uso della leva finanziaria da parte degli hedge fund, unitamente
all’incremento delle AIG, potrebbe aver contribuito all’aumento dei prestiti
verso i soggetti non bancari in queste aree. Come illustrato dal diagramma di
destra del grafico 2.2, la crescita dei prestiti verso tali mutuatari nelle Isole
Cayman è aumentata, per gradi, dopo il 2003. Parallelamente, le stime del
grado di leva impiegato dagli hedge fund nelle stesse Isole – approssimato da
un indicatore della sensibilità dei loro rendimenti a diversi fattori di rischio5 –
sono andate aumentando da verso la fine del 2003. Ciò ha determinato un
incremento dell’ammontare totale stimato delle AIG con leva nelle Isole
Cayman, sostanzialmente in linea con l’aumento dei prestiti delle banche
dichiaranti alla BRI. Una tendenza analoga, sebbene meno chiara, si riscontra
negli Stati Uniti, dove la fluttuazione osservabile dal 2003 nelle AIG con leva
degli hedge fund aventi sede legale nel paese si è pressoché accompagnata al
rialzo dei prestiti di banche nel Regno Unito e al conseguente calo di quelli
convogliati da banche nei centri offshore (grafico 2.3, diagramma di destra).

Grafici e note
http://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt0509ita_b.pdf

visch 06-12-05 14:15

Leggete un po' questo, di persona sicuramente competente!

Finanza e risparmio

Seduti sul vulcano degli Hedge funds
Enrico Cisnetto, "Il Messaggero" Domenica 04 Dicembre 2005


Il record che ha raggiunto in questi giorni la quotazione dell’oro, bene rifugio per eccellenza, ci dice che la finanza globale è seduta sopra il ciglio di un vulcano.

Grazie all’informatizzazione dei sistemi di investimento si è creata, nei primi anni ’80, una situazione in cui il mondo finanziario è diventato sempre più indipendente dalla politica e dalle banche centrali. Il “campo da gioco” del capitale non sono più state le grandi Borse, ma i cosiddetti “mercati virtuali”. Quelli in cui si sono sviluppati i derivati (cioè titoli il cui valore deriva dal prezzo di mercato di un titolo sottostante, strumento utile per la copertura del rischio d’impresa sui cambi e sulle materie prime). Qui investono il private equity, gli hedge funds e il venture capital: fondi di “grande rischio” partecipati da grandi investitori privati e istituzioni finanziarie. E nei derivati, sfruttando il cosiddetto “effetto-leva”, si punta una piccola cifra per ottenere un grande guadagno. Sempre che i prezzi si muovano nella direzione desiderata, altrimenti la perdita sarà altrettanto pesante.
Oggi la situazione è questa: il valore facciale di tutti questi strumenti di investimento si aggira intorno ai 280 mila miliardi di dollari, quasi nove volte il pil del mondo. E questo significa che la quantità di moneta auto-generatasi è molto più della ricchezza effettiva esistente derivata dalla produttività. E’ evidente che tutto ciò, in una finanza sempre più globale, è assai pericoloso per la stabilità del mondo intero. Un esempio? Il crack del 1998 del Long Term Capital Management. Ltcm, di gran lunga il più grande e affermato, raccoglieva alcune superstar di Wall Street, banchieri e due Nobel per l’economia, Robert Merton e Myron Scholes. L’hedge fund si impegnava in operazioni in derivati superiori ai mille miliardi di dollari. Finché non ha sbagliato operazione, puntando i depositi degli investitori (4,75 miliardi di dollari) per l’acquisto di futures pari a 1250 miliardi di dollari. Era una speculazione monetaria in vista di una futura convergenza tra i tassi di interesse mondiale che non si è mai verificata. Per fortuna la Federal Reserve chiese e ottenne da 13 banche americane i capitali per ripianare il debito e salvare Ltcm.
Un episodio isolato? Oggi, in una delle maggiori Borse merci mondiali (il London Metal Exchange dove si scambiano i contratti sulle materie prime minerarie), un’altra operazione sui derivati sta facendo tremare il mondo. Il direttore del Centro di Regolazione delle scorte cinese, Liu Qibing, ha accumulato contratti di vendita di rame che non possedeva per 100 mila tonnellate, sperando in un crollo dei prezzi. Una manovra ribassista di dimensioni enormi, visto che le riserve mondiali non superano le 140.000 tonnellate. Il costo del rame, invece, è continuato a salire: il governo cinese è corso ai ripari, inaugurando una serie di vendite delle sue riserve, ma se i contratti venissero a scadenza, il buco sarebbe colossale. E intanto Liu Qibing è scomparso.
Come si vede, il sistema non trae giovamento dalle lezioni. Esistono ancora fondi con meccanismi di indebitamento e rischi molto elevati: se azzeccano gli investimenti, guadagnano loro. Se sbagliano, paghiamo tutti. Con una leva si può sollevare il mondo. Ma lo si può anche mandare in default.

Cantor 06-12-05 14:36

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da visch
Leggete un po' questo, di persona sicuramente competente!

Finanza e risparmio

Seduti sul vulcano degli Hedge funds
Enrico Cisnetto, "Il Messaggero" Domenica 04 Dicembre 2005


Il record che ha raggiunto in questi giorni la quotazione dell’oro, bene rifugio per eccellenza, ci dice che la finanza globale è seduta sopra il ciglio di un vulcano.

Grazie all’informatizzazione dei sistemi di investimento si è creata, nei primi anni ’80, una situazione in cui il mondo finanziario è diventato sempre più indipendente dalla politica e dalle banche centrali. Il “campo da gioco” del capitale non sono più state le grandi Borse, ma i cosiddetti “mercati virtuali”. Quelli in cui si sono sviluppati i derivati (cioè titoli il cui valore deriva dal prezzo di mercato di un titolo sottostante, strumento utile per la copertura del rischio d’impresa sui cambi e sulle materie prime). Qui investono il private equity, gli hedge funds e il venture capital: fondi di “grande rischio” partecipati da grandi investitori privati e istituzioni finanziarie. E nei derivati, sfruttando il cosiddetto “effetto-leva”, si punta una piccola cifra per ottenere un grande guadagno. Sempre che i prezzi si muovano nella direzione desiderata, altrimenti la perdita sarà altrettanto pesante.
Oggi la situazione è questa: il valore facciale di tutti questi strumenti di investimento si aggira intorno ai 280 mila miliardi di dollari, quasi nove volte il pil del mondo. E questo significa che la quantità di moneta auto-generatasi è molto più della ricchezza effettiva esistente derivata dalla produttività. E’ evidente che tutto ciò, in una finanza sempre più globale, è assai pericoloso per la stabilità del mondo intero. Un esempio? Il crack del 1998 del Long Term Capital Management. Ltcm, di gran lunga il più grande e affermato, raccoglieva alcune superstar di Wall Street, banchieri e due Nobel per l’economia, Robert Merton e Myron Scholes. L’hedge fund si impegnava in operazioni in derivati superiori ai mille miliardi di dollari. Finché non ha sbagliato operazione, puntando i depositi degli investitori (4,75 miliardi di dollari) per l’acquisto di futures pari a 1250 miliardi di dollari. Era una speculazione monetaria in vista di una futura convergenza tra i tassi di interesse mondiale che non si è mai verificata. Per fortuna la Federal Reserve chiese e ottenne da 13 banche americane i capitali per ripianare il debito e salvare Ltcm.
Un episodio isolato? Oggi, in una delle maggiori Borse merci mondiali (il London Metal Exchange dove si scambiano i contratti sulle materie prime minerarie), un’altra operazione sui derivati sta facendo tremare il mondo. Il direttore del Centro di Regolazione delle scorte cinese, Liu Qibing, ha accumulato contratti di vendita di rame che non possedeva per 100 mila tonnellate, sperando in un crollo dei prezzi. Una manovra ribassista di dimensioni enormi, visto che le riserve mondiali non superano le 140.000 tonnellate. Il costo del rame, invece, è continuato a salire: il governo cinese è corso ai ripari, inaugurando una serie di vendite delle sue riserve, ma se i contratti venissero a scadenza, il buco sarebbe colossale. E intanto Liu Qibing è scomparso.
Come si vede, il sistema non trae giovamento dalle lezioni. Esistono ancora fondi con meccanismi di indebitamento e rischi molto elevati: se azzeccano gli investimenti, guadagnano loro. Se sbagliano, paghiamo tutti. Con una leva si può sollevare il mondo. Ma lo si può anche mandare in default.

Su un articolo postato da Fabio i Cinesi dicono di avere in mano 1,3M tonnellate di rame :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
21 dicembre è vicino vedremo che succede.

Saluti
Cantor

Cantor 06-12-05 14:39

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da Cantor
Su un articolo postato da Fabio i Cinesi dicono di avere in mano 1,3 tonnellate di rame :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
21 dicembre è vicino vedremo che succede.

Saluti
Cantor

http://www.finanzaonline.com/forum/s...d.php?t=632326

per essere precisi

FaGal 06-12-05 15:00

Regulators close in on hedge funds
Da IFLR di dicembre

The UK Financial Services Authority has put 25 hedge funds under daily scrutiny, becoming the most recent in a line of regulators to focus attention on the sector. James Rice reports


Hedge fund advisers could be forgiven for feeling like marked men. In financial centres worldwide, regulators are monitoring them with increasing scrutiny, anxious about the potential risk they claim funds could pose to the stability of financial markets. Tied to this is a suspicion that some hedge funds are not taking compliance seriously. Hedge funds counter that they are unfairly targeted, and that claims they represent a risk to the market are based more on speculation than evidence.

In an industry with assets worth over $1 trillion, the costs of malpractice could be severe. In the latest action by a watchdog, the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has begun relationship management on a daily basis with the managers of 25 hedge funds it considers to have a high impact on retail consumers and financial markets. The FSA's new centre of hedge fund expertise will be in daily contact with the selected advisers, monitoring trades, identifying systemic risks and getting a flavour of the market.

"Hedge funds are now a large part of the market, with a lot of influence," says a spokesman at the FSA. "We need concrete action in engaging with the main players."

For those fund managers whose only previous contact with the regulator amounted to sending it returns, this heightened engagement might take some getting used to.
Identifying the risks

Increased reviews of hedge fund managers was one of the risk mitigation actions outlined in the FSA's discussion papers on hedge funds published in June. In those papers the FSA summarized its concerns about the sector, including market and liquidity disruption, operational risks, weaknesses in valuation methodologies, a lack of information flow, market abuse and fraud. Industry figures point to three over-riding concerns: contagion risk to financial institutions should funds fail; improper trading practices; and inadequate consumer protection.

One of the FSA's main worries is that hedge funds' increasing investment in credit derivatives could create imbalance in the market, either through a collective collapse if funds do not carry out enough stress testing, or through a sudden retreat from the credit derivative market. Banks and pension funds are also drawing much larger percentages of their revenues from hedge funds, which presents a wider systemic risk, say critics. Regulators are acting to avoid a hedge fund failure similar to that of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998, which was rescued by the Federal Reserve at a cost of $3.5 billion to prevent a global financial crash. Without more transparent information flows, the FSA might be unaware that any potential crash is looming.

The FSA also says that some hedge funds "may be testing the boundaries of acceptable practice with respect to insider trading and market manipulation". The close relations between hedge fund managers and prime brokers are seen as a possible source of improper practice. The discovery in October of accounting irregularities at Refco, one of the world's largest derivatives brokers, and subsequent charges made against its former chief executive Phillip Bennett, will not have eased regulators' minds. Indeed, a hedge fund suspected of receiving preferential issues from prime brokers is now under investigation from the FSA.

The root of the matter is that the FSA wants enough transparency to allow it to fully understand what the underlying funds do and what trades occur in what sectors, which will allow it to make better-informed decisions on risk and regulatory actions. It wants to understand the market impact issues from the perspective of the managers.
Avoiding fund flight

The difficulty for the regulators is how to increase compliance and protect investors without making hedge fund managers relocate to unregulated jurisdictions. The FSA has tried to reassure funds that it is not interested in regulation for its own sake, and that existing regulation is partial and approached with a light touch, making little practical difference to the way funds operate. Hector Sants, FSA wholesale markets and institutions managing director, says: "We are mindful of the danger of regulatory arbitrage and have no desire to cause the hedge fund management industry to migrate."

Managers of some of the larger hedge funds say being relationship-managed by the regulator could give them a competitive advantage, because they can show investors that they are running a tight compliance system. Some suggest that the FSA's latest exercise is more of an indirect warning to smaller hedge funds, who often have substantial assets but little effective self-regulation.

Although the FSA's latest action represents only a slight tightening of regulation, hedge funds are afraid it might signal that the FSA will ultimately follow the US regulator's methodology. Under the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) new rules, all hedge funds advising 15 or more clients annually and managing at least $25 million in assets must register with the SEC before February 2006. Once registered, the advisers will be subject to conduct examinations, disclosure requirements and tougher compliance controls.

"The SEC rules are universally perceived [by hedge funds] as intrusive and excessive," says Simon Gleeson, a partner at Allen & Overy who worked at the FSA from 1999 to 2000 on the UK market abuse regime. "But there is a tide in regulatory affairs whereby the US regulations tend to be applied in the UK over time."

FaGal 06-12-05 15:01

Finding a balance

Hedge funds believe that self-regulation as it stands is effective, with enough checks and balances already in place. They argue that stricter compliance will create unjustified costs and constrict innovation. The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), an industry association for hedge funds, declined to comment directly. But in AIMA's response to the FSA's discussion paper, the association rejected suggestions that control, compliance and risk management systems were lower in hedge funds than more regulated firms. It suggested that any regulation be assisted by "industry-led, together with internationally-coordinated, initiatives".

Pure self-regulation might be an optimistic proposition in the present climate, but the FSA does not want to strangle the hedge funds either. Jonathan Herbst, a partner in Norton Rose's financial services group, thinks that the FSA is striking a good balance, and easing concern by regulating the managers and certain prime brokers rather than the funds themselves. "There's a difficult tension between a voluntarist approach and a compulsory one," he says.

In other jurisdictions regulators tend to be more heavy-handed. European regulators are wary of hedge funds, and with the exceptions of Ireland and Luxembourg, are difficult to sell into. In a report published in September, for example, the Dutch financial regulator, the Autoriteit Financiële Markten, said that funds' lack of transparency was a key area of regulatory concern. Meanwhile, Japan's Financial Services Agency will soon publish a market assessment of hedge funds, following consultation with the Bank of Japan, the Ministry of Finance and leading figures in the alternative investment industry. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission was one of the first to regulate hedge funds, setting out its minimum disclosures required for hedge fund reports in 2002.

Regulators face the challenge of improving hedge fund regulation while allowing them to make the returns their investors expect without feeling victimized. In an investment sector wary of watchdogs after years of being unregulated, regulators will need to persuade fund managers that the free flow of information and open dialogue are essential, and that intervention will only come where market stability is at stake.

FaGal 06-12-05 15:01

Funds under scrutiny
US

From February 2006 hedge fund advisers with 15 or more clients each year and managing at least $25 million in assets will have to register with the SEC. The SEC will collect information on the operations of registered hedge fund advisers and conduct examinations of them, enforcing basic compliance controls and improving disclosures made to investors.
UK

In June 2005, the FSA published two discussion papers on hedge funds - one on risk and regulatory engagement, the other on consumer protection for investors in retail hedge funds. It has now established a six-person centre of hedge fund expertise, which began relationship management with the managers of 25 high-impact hedge funds on October 31.
Japan

Japan's Financial Services Agency is due to publish a market assessment of hedge funds soon, following consultation with the Bank of Japan, the Japanese Finance Ministry and other important industry players. New laws are expected to follow.
Hong Kong

In November 2002, the Securities and Futures Commission set out specific requirements on hedge fund managers' qualifications, risk management profiles, information disclosure and internal control systems of management companies.

FaGal 06-12-05 15:02

Sul blog dell'utente tegio trovate dei miei post sulla regolamentazione italiana e svizzera dei fondi offshore

http://masterfinance.splinder.com

A breve qualcosa anche su quella USA

visch 07-12-05 17:41

http://www.movisol.org/ulse345.htm

ramirez 07-12-05 18:40

confesso ke non ho letto tutti i post (interessanti) precedenti.
Comunque così velocemente posso dirVi:
1)Del problema Refco avevo già letto da qualke settimana
sull'economist.
2) l'economist ke ha trattato più volte il problema hedge funds
ne parla, in generale, come unA buona cosa per i mercati
3)nel mio piccolo qualke derivato su azioni lo vendo/compro
beh dal punto di vista di un investitore è una della opzioni
da prendere in considerazione anke in ottica DIFENSIVA

FaGal 09-12-05 20:49

US court to hear challenge to SEC hedge fund rule
today.reuters.com - December 8, 2005


WASHINGTON - A U.S. appeals court on Friday will hear arguments in a challenge to a new rule that will soon force hedge fund advisers to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC rule -- adopted amid controversy in late 2004 and over the objections of much of the $1-trillion hedge fund industry -- is scheduled to come into effect in February.

Phillip Goldstein, manager of hedge fund Opportunity Partners LP, has sued the SEC over the rule, arguing that the commission did not have authority to adopt it.

Goldstein argues further that the SEC misinterpreted a previous portion of law that had exempted hedge funds from registration. The new rule closes that loophole.

Finally, he argues that the SEC made procedural errors in adopting the rule -- a contention similar to one made in another recent lawsuit against the SEC over a rule requiring more independence among mutual fund directors.

The SEC has said in its reply in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that Goldstein's arguments were wrong and that the commission's rule should be affirmed.

The hedge fund registration rule was pushed through the SEC by a 3-2 vote under former SEC Chairman William Donaldson. Former congressman Christopher Cox replaced Donaldson over the summer.

Registration means advisers who manage hedge funds -- loosely regulated capital pools that have enjoyed years of explosive growth -- must supply the SEC with basic information about themselves and submit to spot inspections.

"The rule is a good thing because there are unethical companies out there that may be cutting corners. I think it will raise the bar on industry standards. The SEC has the authority to do it," said Janaya Moscony, president of consultancy group SEC Compliance Consultants.

Goldstein, of Pleasantville, N,Y., could not be reached for comment immediately.

SEC spokesman John Nester said, "We have filed our brief and look forward to arguing our case."

FaGal 09-12-05 20:55

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/briefs/initial051805.pdf

FaGal 11-12-05 13:42

New York Times
December 10, 2005
Judges Weigh Hedge Funds vs. the S.E.C.
By STEPHEN LABATON

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 - A federal appeals court on Friday sharply questioned the Securities and Exchange Commission's plan to tighten oversight of hedge funds.

The outcome of the closely watched case will determine whether the agency will be able to oversee many hedge funds as the business is growing rapidly, with big investors from university endowments to pension plans pouring billions of dollars into the funds. The notable troubles of some hedge funds - most recently the collapse of Bayou, a Connecticut hedge fund, this summer - have inspired calls for greater regulation.

The outcome of a case cannot always be predicted based on questions posed by judges in oral arguments. But the dialogue on Friday involving two of the three federal appeals judges and the lawyers suggested that a majority of this panel had significant questions about the way the commission has sought to impose new oversight on a business that now accounts for an estimated 10 to 20 percent of all stock trading volume in the United States.

The lawsuit was filed by Phillip Goldstein, a hedge fund adviser from Pleasantville, N.Y.; Opportunity Partners, a hedge fund partnership; and its general partner, Kimball & Winthrop.

They have maintained that the commission's decision to broaden its oversight of hedge funds - sophisticated pools of assets that are not marketed and are typically open only to wealthy investors - exceeded its authority and that only Congress, where the hedge fund business has more allies than the commission, may make the changes that the agency is planning to impose.

The lawyers and judges taking part in the oral arguments focused largely on statutory interpretation rather than broad financial policy questions, and in so doing, shifted the battle to a more friendly terrain for a business that is barely regulated.

Jacob H. Stillman, the solicitor of the commission, maintained that the agency was well within its authority when it decided to make a change of its interpretation of the word "client" in the Investment Company Act of 1940 to force more than 1,000 hedge fund advisers to register with the agency and be subject to government inspections.

The law exempts from registration advisers with fewer than 15 clients, but does not explicitly define the word "client." Last year, the agency changed its definition of "client" to count the investors of a fund rather than only the fund itself, thereby sweeping virtually every hedge fund under its regulatory umbrella.

"It is not clear from the statute who the client is," Mr. Stillman said. "Because of that, it is permissible for the agency" to define the term, and to re-examine that definition in light of changes in the marketplace.

But two members of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Senior Judge Harry T. Edwards and Judge A. Raymond Randolph, repeatedly challenged that assertion.

"You can't come in and say we will make 'client' whoever you want it to be," Judge Edwards said impatiently and dismissively to Mr. Stillman. "We have to test your thesis, and your thesis does not hold up."

Moments later, Judge Randolph asked for the policy on the exemptions, suggesting that the commission's new interpretation was out of step with the intent of Congress. He also repeatedly pressed Mr. Stillman about the broader implications of having different definitions of the term "client" in the same law.

Mr. Stillman, a seasoned appeals court litigant, appeared unfazed by the questions and carefully guided the judges through the history and purposes of the complex regulatory regime.

The panel's third member, Judge Thomas B. Griffith, pressed an industry lawyer, Philip D. Bartz, for support of his legal argument about the proper way to interpret the word "client" and suggested that the squabbling over legislative interpretation was less important than giving the agency the tools necessary to detect financial chicanery. He also suggested that the agency and Congress should set policy, not the courts.

"What's more important," Judge Griffith asked Mr. Bartz, "the concept of client or for them to root out fraud?"

The rules, which will go into effect in February, will require advisers of hedge funds to register with the agency and will set up a significant new regulatory arrangement that will enable the agency to examine many funds that now operate outside of any government oversight.

A bitterly divided commission adopted them last year after the agency's chairman, William H. Donaldson, and its two Democratic members concluded that it was untenable for the rapidly growing industry to have little oversight, particularly since the collapse of one large hedge fund could pose large problems for the markets and financial system.

But the agency's two other Republican members, who remain on the commission, as well as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, have said that the new regulations are unnecessary and possibly counterproductive.

The agency's new chairman, Christopher Cox, said recently that he would not seek to overturn the policy initiatives of his predecessor, including the new hedge fund rules, even though Mr. Cox had a strong deregulatory bent as an influential member of Congress.

"Another thing that won't change under my chairmanship is the commission's recent rule-making," Mr. Cox said in a speech last month before the Securities Industry Association. "The confirmation of a new chairman ought not to be a signal to reopen and contest every prior commission enactment."

He said the new rule "antedates my chairmanship."

"It's scheduled to go into effect in February 2006 - and it will," he added. "It is my conviction that consistency and clarity in rule-making and enforcement are essential."

A spokesman for the agency, John J. Nestor, said that of the 9,000 investment advisers already registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, 47 percent manage hedge funds either directly or indirectly through affiliates. He said that officials estimate an additional 1,100 would be required to register by the time the new rule takes effect in February.

The agency is expecting many of the registration forms to be filed this month, and Mr. Nestor said that it would be using an inspection force of about 420 people, now being trained.

WorldLove 12-12-05 11:41

Catastrofe Rame China in arrivo....

Shanghai copper futures break psychological important RMB 40,000per ton mark
Shanghai. December 12. INTERFAX-CHINA - Copper futures prices broke the
psychological important RMB 40,000 (USD 5,000) a ton mark during trading
in Shanghai Monday, despite government efforts to lower the price.
"Copper futures prices broke the psychological important level because
of the surge in cash prices in Shanghai, and also because of strong
metals prices overseas," Zhang Xuefeng, futures chief director at
Luoyang Copper Group Co. Ltd, told Interfax Monday.
Copper for delivery in December, the closest contract, stopped at RMB
40,420 (USD 5,053) a ton at Monday's close, while copper for delivery in
February 2006, the heaviest contract in position, ended RMB 40,140 (USD
5,018) a ton.

After passing the RMB 40,000 (USD 5,000) mark last Thursday, the cash
per-ton-price for copper climbed to an all-time high of RMB 40,350 (USD
5,044) during trading Monday at the Shanghai Changjiang Market, directly
fueling the increase in prices for copper contracts for delivery in mid-
December.

In addition, the three-month copper futures on the London Metals
Exchange (LME), the world's largest base metals trading center, reached
USD 4466.5 a ton last week due to a labor strike at Chilean FCAB Rail
Corp., which provides services for two of the world's largest copper
producers Codelco and Escondida.
However, Zhang said Chinese copper consumption was expected to be weaker
starting December, which will provide less support for the cash market
next quarter.

"Copper smelters are scheduled to cut their consumption from now on
because they are writing up their annual fiscal reports, and also
because the employees are preparing to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New
Year," Zhang said.

Zhang said the seasonal consumption drop may be one reason China's
stockpiling agency failed to sell more than 80% of copper auctioned last
week, and had not announced more public auctions. China's State Reserve
Bureau (SRB) sold only 3,761.704 tons out of 20,000 tons of copper at an
average auction price of RMB 3,8921.43 (USD 4,865) a ton at a fourth
public auction last Wednesday. Analysts said the higher-than-predicted
base prices for the auction was the main reason the SRB was unable to
sell more of its stockpile. In addition, the SRB only allowed copper
smelters to participated in the auction last week, rejecting
applications from traders.

"At the end of the year, copper smelters in China do not need so much
copper," Zhang said.

Copper prices may slow in growth over the remainder of this year, since
the SRB is expected to transport copper to the LME's registered
warehouses to settle its reportedly large short position.
"If the SRB pours its stockpile out onto the market, it will shake the
confidence of the bulls," Zhang said.
It is believed that a misjudgment by a trader Liu Qibing, who is working
for China's State Reserve Bureau (SRB) and put the agency into a large
short position, was the catalyst for the flood of Chinese copper
reserves that are now being auctioned on the open market in an effort to
bring down prices.

In July and August, Liu took short positions equal to about 130,000 tons
of copper at USD 3,300 a ton, expecting the price to decline; according
to the state-run newspaper China Daily. But prices continued rising,
putting the government at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars
when the contracts come due on December 21, the newspaper said.

http://www.interfax.com/4/112641/news.aspx

WorldLove 12-12-05 11:49

Copper prices rising despite China's efforts to bring them down - Macquarie

BEIJING (AFX) - Copper prices are still climbing despite efforts by China's State Reserve Bureau (SRB) to bring down prices to cover fast-approaching short positions, Macquarie Research Equities said in an investor note.

'The Shanghai cash copper price accelerated to a new high of 39,350 yuan per ton on Friday despite more auctions of stock by the SRB,' it said.

'On Dec 7, the SRB held its fourth 20,000 ton copper auction but only 4,000 tons of material were sold.'

China has denied trying to auction down the price.

The China Business News last week cited a senior industry official as saying the four copper auctions by the bureau are not aimed at lowering copper prices on the international market.

Chang Qing, vice director of the China Futures Association, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the auctions by the SRB -- the stockpiling agency of the National Development and Reform Commission -- were targeted at cooling the overheated copper smelting sector and at guaranteeing domestic supply.

'The fact that the SRB solicited expert opinion before the auctions demonstrates that the auctions were planned, and not a hasty response to short copper positions taken by a former SRB trader Liu Qibing on the London Metal Exchange, as reported by overseas media,' Chang said in the report.

Macquarie said in the investor note that total physical deliveries by the SRB are now around 120,000 tons over the past two months.

It has been widely reported that China -- which says it has 1.3 mln tons of copper stockpiled -- is attempting to cool the price in an effort to avoid potential losses on Liu's contracts, which are believed to be due on Dec 21.

Liu's short positions reportedly total about 200,000 tons and represent potential massive losses.

(1 usd = 8.1 yuan)

andrew.pasek@xinhuafinance.com

ap/dg/dk

WorldLove 12-12-05 13:53

GOLD UP $5 IN TOKYO - MIDAS TECHNICAL ALERT
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Le Metropole Members,

GOLD UP $5 IN TOKYO - MIDAS TECHNICAL ALERT

The Feb Comex gold contract, which is the nearby pivotal
one now on the continuation charts, has taken out its high
of 1981 of $535 on a quarterly basis. This breakthrough is
of big picture importance. What is of note is the next significant
resistance for gold on a quarterly basis on the continuation charts is all
the way up to $612.

Frank Veneroso confirmed tonight what MIDAS and GATA have
been saying for some time. The Gold Cartel has lost control
of the gold market. This was also confirmed to us the other
day by one of the members who sat on the Board of one of
the 12 Fed banks. This Board member has loaded his own boat
(big numbers) with physical gold and expects the price to
reach $900 to $1,000 within 3 years. This, from a
conservative banker.

One of the most critical dynamics of the gold market at
the moment confirms what GATA has said all along ... and
what no one in the gold mainstream gold world will even
admit exists. There is a MASSIVE Gold Cartel short position,
one they cannot get out of. The bums are trapped. These
white-collar thugs, who have violated US anti-trust laws
for so many years, have cooked their own goose.

I sent the following today to Ted David of CNBC, which
is like dropping an email into a black hole, but we
(GATA ARMY) have to keep up the good ole college try. I
included the Russian/GR 21 stuff I have been pounding
away on for weeks ... and these notes (facts):

*Since Gold Rush 21 gold rose $95 - YET, the dollar rose
from 87 to 91 and oil fell from $68 to $60 per barrel.
Almost no one thought that possible a year ago. The key
to the gold market is surging physical market buying
overtaking the Gold Cartel's ability to suppress the price.

*For years GATA stated the price of gold could rally $100
and the dollar do nothing as The Gold Cartel lost control
of their price rigging scheme. Few, if anyone else, thought
that possible. (It has done that.)

*The Central banks have less than half the gold they say
they have. Over the last decade they have surreptitiously
lent out this missing gold in order to suppress the price.
This calculation is based on studies by three GATA
consultants.

*One of the major factors in the gold market today is the
gold short position ... more than 10,000 tonnes in a market
with a 1500 tonne yearly supply/demand deficit and only
2500 tonnes per year coming out of the mines. The shorts
are trapped. Cannot get out. There are mega-derivatives
tied to those shorts. GATA knows this because of the
Bank For International Settlement derivatives numbers.

*A Gold derivatives neutron bomb will go off. Could happen at any time.

*Price prediction: Adam Fleming, former Chairman of Harmony
Gold and now Chairman of Wits Gold, said at Gold Rush 21
that he is looking for $3,000 to $5,000 per ounce. I concur.

FaGal 14-12-05 11:59

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FabioGalletti
New York Times
December 10, 2005
Judges Weigh Hedge Funds vs. the S.E.C.
By STEPHEN LABATON

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 - A federal appeals court on Friday sharply questioned the Securities and Exchange Commission's plan to tighten oversight of hedge funds.

The outcome of the closely watched case will determine whether the agency will be able to oversee many hedge funds as the business is growing rapidly, with big investors from university endowments to pension plans pouring billions of dollars into the funds. The notable troubles of some hedge funds - most recently the collapse of Bayou, a Connecticut hedge fund, this summer - have inspired calls for greater regulation.

The outcome of a case cannot always be predicted based on questions posed by judges in oral arguments. But the dialogue on Friday involving two of the three federal appeals judges and the lawyers suggested that a majority of this panel had significant questions about the way the commission has sought to impose new oversight on a business that now accounts for an estimated 10 to 20 percent of all stock trading volume in the United States.

The lawsuit was filed by Phillip Goldstein, a hedge fund adviser from Pleasantville, N.Y.; Opportunity Partners, a hedge fund partnership; and its general partner, Kimball & Winthrop.

They have maintained that the commission's decision to broaden its oversight of hedge funds - sophisticated pools of assets that are not marketed and are typically open only to wealthy investors - exceeded its authority and that only Congress, where the hedge fund business has more allies than the commission, may make the changes that the agency is planning to impose.

The lawyers and judges taking part in the oral arguments focused largely on statutory interpretation rather than broad financial policy questions, and in so doing, shifted the battle to a more friendly terrain for a business that is barely regulated.

Jacob H. Stillman, the solicitor of the commission, maintained that the agency was well within its authority when it decided to make a change of its interpretation of the word "client" in the Investment Company Act of 1940 to force more than 1,000 hedge fund advisers to register with the agency and be subject to government inspections.

The law exempts from registration advisers with fewer than 15 clients, but does not explicitly define the word "client." Last year, the agency changed its definition of "client" to count the investors of a fund rather than only the fund itself, thereby sweeping virtually every hedge fund under its regulatory umbrella.

"It is not clear from the statute who the client is," Mr. Stillman said. "Because of that, it is permissible for the agency" to define the term, and to re-examine that definition in light of changes in the marketplace.

But two members of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Senior Judge Harry T. Edwards and Judge A. Raymond Randolph, repeatedly challenged that assertion.

"You can't come in and say we will make 'client' whoever you want it to be," Judge Edwards said impatiently and dismissively to Mr. Stillman. "We have to test your thesis, and your thesis does not hold up."

Moments later, Judge Randolph asked for the policy on the exemptions, suggesting that the commission's new interpretation was out of step with the intent of Congress. He also repeatedly pressed Mr. Stillman about the broader implications of having different definitions of the term "client" in the same law.

Mr. Stillman, a seasoned appeals court litigant, appeared unfazed by the questions and carefully guided the judges through the history and purposes of the complex regulatory regime.

The panel's third member, Judge Thomas B. Griffith, pressed an industry lawyer, Philip D. Bartz, for support of his legal argument about the proper way to interpret the word "client" and suggested that the squabbling over legislative interpretation was less important than giving the agency the tools necessary to detect financial chicanery. He also suggested that the agency and Congress should set policy, not the courts.

"What's more important," Judge Griffith asked Mr. Bartz, "the concept of client or for them to root out fraud?"

The rules, which will go into effect in February, will require advisers of hedge funds to register with the agency and will set up a significant new regulatory arrangement that will enable the agency to examine many funds that now operate outside of any government oversight.

A bitterly divided commission adopted them last year after the agency's chairman, William H. Donaldson, and its two Democratic members concluded that it was untenable for the rapidly growing industry to have little oversight, particularly since the collapse of one large hedge fund could pose large problems for the markets and financial system.

But the agency's two other Republican members, who remain on the commission, as well as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, have said that the new regulations are unnecessary and possibly counterproductive.

The agency's new chairman, Christopher Cox, said recently that he would not seek to overturn the policy initiatives of his predecessor, including the new hedge fund rules, even though Mr. Cox had a strong deregulatory bent as an influential member of Congress.

"Another thing that won't change under my chairmanship is the commission's recent rule-making," Mr. Cox said in a speech last month before the Securities Industry Association. "The confirmation of a new chairman ought not to be a signal to reopen and contest every prior commission enactment."

He said the new rule "antedates my chairmanship."

"It's scheduled to go into effect in February 2006 - and it will," he added. "It is my conviction that consistency and clarity in rule-making and enforcement are essential."

A spokesman for the agency, John J. Nestor, said that of the 9,000 investment advisers already registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, 47 percent manage hedge funds either directly or indirectly through affiliates. He said that officials estimate an additional 1,100 would be required to register by the time the new rule takes effect in February.

The agency is expecting many of the registration forms to be filed this month, and Mr. Nestor said that it would be using an inspection force of about 420 people, now being trained.


Judges back hedge funds in SEC case
afr.com - December 13, 2005 - Demian McLean - Bloomberg


The US Securities and Exchange Commission's plan to force hedge fund advisers to register with the agency "doesn't hold up", a US Appeals Court judge said.

Judge Harry Edwards, one of three judges hearing arguments in a lawsuit against the regulations, told SEC solicitor Jacob Stillman the agency had stretched the definition of "clients" to make the registration proposal work. Judge Raymond Randolph expressed the same concern.

While hedge funds have usually viewed themselves as the advisers' clients, the SEC wants the definition to include the funds' investors as well. That would require advisers to register with the agency, giving it more power to fight fraud in the $US1.1trillion ($1.5trillion) industry.

"You can't just come in and say, 'We're going to define client to mean whatever we want it to mean'," Judge Edwards told Mr Stillman, who is defending the agency from a challenge by hedge fund adviser Phillip Goldstein. "Your thesis doesn't hold up."

The requirement by the SEC, which accused hedge funds of $US1.1billion in fraud between 1999 and 2004, says fund advisers overseeing more than $US25million must register with the agency by February1. Mr Goldstein, manager of Opportunity Partners, filed suit to block the regulations last year. His fund had $US87million in assets as of June30.

The SEC last year told hedge fund advisers to "look through" the funds, as if they were transparent, and view investors as their ultimate clients.

"The phrase 'look through' is very revealing," Judge Randolph told Mr Stillman. "You have no doubt who the real client is, so you say, 'We're going to look through that'."

Hedge funds, private partnerships that have traditionally catered to the wealthy, say registration would be costly and intrusive.

The cost of registration and hiring compliance officers ranged from less than $US25,000 a year to more than $US500,000, depending on the hedge fund's size, said former SEC enforcement lawyer Ron Geffner, who's firm of Sadis & Goldberg represents more than 400hedge funds.

Hedge fund advisers will have to provide ownership and client information and undergo random audits and criminal background checks, as if they were advising investors directly.

Mr Stillman defended the agency's stance that both the funds and their shareholders should be viewed as "clients". "It's reasonable to view it either way, based on the underlying purpose" of protecting shareholders, he said.

"Shareholders are not clients," Judge Edwards told Mr Stillman. "You don't have the authority to act just because you exist."

The third judge, Thomas Griffith, did not indicate which way he may be leaning.

FaGal 29-12-05 09:34

Hedge Fund Darwinism with Don Putnam

By Emma Trincal
Staff Reporter

12/28/2005 10:43 AM EST

Source: The Street

For hedge funds and their offspring, the days of rugged individualism are numbered.

That's the thesis of a new study by Don Putnam, the investment-banking luminary who founded Putnam Lovell and spearheaded such storied acquisitions as Pimco by Allianz Group (AG:NYSE) and Zurich Scudder by Deutsche Bank (DB:NYSE) . The piece, "Adapt or Die Trying: Darwinism and Intelligent Design in the Hedge Fund Industry," depicts a future in which rapid consolidation squeezes out smaller money managers and funds of funds, leaving a landscape dominated by huge, multi-strategy advisers.

The ideas are getting a lot of notice, particularly among the ostensible victims, some of whom believe Putnam is a less-than-impartial judge.

"Look at his agenda: It's his best interest to cry fire, so he can recommend those mergers," says one fund-of-funds manager who read the white paper. (Earlier this year, Putnam created Grail Partners, a Boston-based merchant bank that facilitated the purchase of the fund-of-funds GAM by UBS.)

But Putnam says it's not so. "I've done so many transactions. When I tell you that very few funds of funds are going to survive, you'd better believe me," he says. "Would you, for your elderly parent, pick a doctor who believes in euthanasia?"

In a nutshell, Putnam's study says only a handful of funds of funds will survive the next five years. He also believes that hedge funds that specialize in one strategy are doomed and that most wealthy investors will start looking for retail boutiques -- finding them in Europe. It isn't all doom and gloom: Putnam believes that pension allocations to hedge fund assets will triple through 2010 and that IPOs will flourish.

Still, Putnam's key thesis is that funds of funds, with their double layer of fees, their lack of transparency and their lower returns, undeperform hedge funds and will eventually be replaced by multi-strategy shops.

"In a fund of funds, a manager takes funds from his clients, allocates them across 10 hedge funds, wires the capital to the managers and signs 10 limited partnership agreements with them," says Patrick Hughes, a managing member at Guggenheim Partners, an investment firm whose Alternative Asset Management division was just purchased this week by Bank of Ireland for $184 million. "Every month, he waits for a call from his managers, aggregates the results in a spreadsheet and informs his investors." That does not add much value to the business.

"Banks have already purchased funds of funds or will start them themselves," Putnam says.

To make things worse, investors in funds of funds are often clueless about their positions, as they just get performance numbers. "Investors feel very uncomfortable investing in funds of funds where they lose control of the assets and invest in black boxes," says Kevin Dolan, head of Bank of Ireland's asset management division, who arranged the acquisition of Guggenheim Partners' alternative arm, a business that he finds attractive, as it is not a classic fund of funds.

Funds of funds are also under fire because investors are becoming reluctant to pay fees to their managers on top of the fees paid to the underlying hedge funds.

For diversification purposes, it makes more sense to go with a hedge fund manager that offers several strategies and one layer of fees, says Putnam. Those multi-strategy hedge funds will benefit from the fee pressure and will grow faster than other players, he argues.

Multi-strategy hedge funds will also thrive because single strategy "trader" funds do not work, although the biggest ones started that way, says Putnam. The market won't allow one particular strategy to work forever. The best example is convertible arbitrage: It had a great run for five or six years but has lately been stagnant.

The most successful big hedge funds are those that have brought new teams and added more strategies to their platform. "The Clinton Group started as a mortgage-backed securities shop, and now they have five different teams. All big hedge firms did that. Even Tiger at some point had seven or eight teams of people doing different things," Putnam notes.

So can funds of funds survive? Perhaps, if they're able to diversify into a multi-strategy format with only one layer of fees. Guggenheim offers another model. Its $2.8 billion alternative division is a hybrid between a fund of funds and a bank's proprietary desk.

Founded by proprietary desk traders who once oversaw trading themselves, the firm outsources trading to hedge funds but manages the risk internally. It can do so by setting up so-called "managed accounts" with each hedge fund; this basically means that the money remains in house and that Guggenheim can deliver transparency and statements to its clients. "It's a brilliant transaction," says Putnam, who worked on the initial phase of the deal.

Another surviving method is to join banks -- a reverse brain-drain in which talent heads back to the Street.

Firms may sell themselves to either a bank or the public. Chances are that the IPO option will prevail, as it allows a firm to preserve its team and strategy, though that's not necessarily true when the buyer is a bank. A successful example, Putnam says, is the U.K.-based hedge fund RAB Capital, which went public a couple of years ago.

Another survival technique is to pick and choose between a retail model and an institutional model. "It will be hard to serve two masters in the platform," Putnam says. That is because institutions tend to prefer quantitative strategies and lower fees and will accept more moderate returns, provided that the risk-adjusted performance is right. High-net-worth investors tend to trust traders, not computers, and they are ready to pay more for higher returns.

Interestingly, high-net-worth hedge funds flourish in Europe, where the private banking tradition has been established for decades.

"High-net-worth investors may have to move their money overseas because there may be more choices and better performance there," Putnam says.

FaGal 29-12-05 09:35

Funds: Is the sky falling? Not yet, but diversify

By Chet Currier Bloomberg News
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2005

Source IHT


LOS ANGELES You want reasons to worry about the economy and the financial markets in 2006? I'll give you half a dozen.

Bubbles in various real estate markets around the world, some of which may be popping at this very moment.

Jumpy energy markets, accompanied by a chorus of voices asking, "Are we running out of oil?"

Strains on the budget of the U.S. government, and on balance sheets of U.S. households, both bedeviled by what looks like chronic spending beyond their means.

The threat of an avian flu pandemic, heightened by recent word from a UN official that the world is "losing the battle" against the virus in poultry.

Tottering pension systems and other effects of insufficient personal savings.

China.

"At present, the biggest risks are the economic meltdown scenarios, the most dangerous of which could include a period of extended and substantial deflation," says the December issue of the No-Load Fund Analyst, a newsletter produced by the fund management firm Liman/Gregory. "We view this risk as real but remote enough so that we are not aggressively hedging against it."

So goes life for the 21st-century investor, dwelling always on the edge of disaster. Risks come in bigger-than-life dimensions. To steal a line from the television comedy "Seinfeld," they're real, and they're spectacular.

The question for mutual fund investors is not whether these hazards exist but what to do about them. Denying their existence isn't an appealing option. Neither, at the other extreme, is letting them frighten you into paralyzed indecision.

The mission, then, is to muddle through somehow in the middle. Fortunately, there are strategies available to help us.

First among these is diversification. Heard for the millionth time in investment discussions, the word can sound like an airy abstraction. So let's talk specifics.

No matter what calamities do or don't befall us, stock and bond prices and interest rates can do only three things: rise, fall or stay about the same.

Using mutual funds and/or their up-and-coming competition, exchange-traded funds, investors can set up an asset allocation plan intended to take all these possibilities into account. Funds afford a crucial measure of diversification by investing across a range of individual securities.

Optimists can go heavy on stock funds, maybe even on aggressive growth-stock funds. Pessimists can go heavy on bonds or money markets. If that's not cautious enough for you, there are other options, like gold. Twenty-one precious-metals mutual funds tracked by Bloomberg have treated their faithful to an average annual gain of 30 percent over the past five years.

On the negative side, gold isn't cheap, having almost doubled in price since 2001. Sooner or later this investor haven could encounter some stormy times of its own. But hey, that's just one more risk to be managed.

There is no such thing as a perfect hedge. Sometimes diversified investors must face simultaneous trouble in a variety of markets. On the other hand, pleasant surprises are possible as well.

Note the friendly fate that awaited investors over the past year and a half who had hedged their interest rate bets by splitting their money between bond and money market funds. Returns on money funds surged from less than 1 percent to almost 4 percent, in some cases, as the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates.

But at the same time, bond prices did not fall as one might have expected as interest rates rose. Longer-term rates have held steady since mid-2004. From June 30, 2004, through last Wednesday, a representative bond fund, the Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index Fund, posted a healthy 8.3 percent annualized return, according to Bloomberg data.

No matter how well investors inform themselves, nobody can nail down all the long-term implications of a subject like China's rise as an economic and political force. So investing in a world populated by such imponderables comes down to a matter of risk management.

There is the threat that the rise of China will lead at some point to serious problems - fast-growing economies are always susceptible to growing pains. There is also the chance that it will keep opening new avenues to prosperity.

Diversified investors aim to take account of both possibilities. They may be especially well positioned if, as so commonly happens, what ultimately develops is a messy mixture of good and bad.

FaGal 02-01-06 21:18

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FabioGalletti
Judges back hedge funds in SEC case
afr.com - December 13, 2005 - Demian McLean - Bloomberg


The US Securities and Exchange Commission's plan to force hedge fund advisers to register with the agency "doesn't hold up", a US Appeals Court judge said.

Judge Harry Edwards, one of three judges hearing arguments in a lawsuit against the regulations, told SEC solicitor Jacob Stillman the agency had stretched the definition of "clients" to make the registration proposal work. Judge Raymond Randolph expressed the same concern.

While hedge funds have usually viewed themselves as the advisers' clients, the SEC wants the definition to include the funds' investors as well. That would require advisers to register with the agency, giving it more power to fight fraud in the $US1.1trillion ($1.5trillion) industry.

"You can't just come in and say, 'We're going to define client to mean whatever we want it to mean'," Judge Edwards told Mr Stillman, who is defending the agency from a challenge by hedge fund adviser Phillip Goldstein. "Your thesis doesn't hold up."

The requirement by the SEC, which accused hedge funds of $US1.1billion in fraud between 1999 and 2004, says fund advisers overseeing more than $US25million must register with the agency by February1. Mr Goldstein, manager of Opportunity Partners, filed suit to block the regulations last year. His fund had $US87million in assets as of June30.

The SEC last year told hedge fund advisers to "look through" the funds, as if they were transparent, and view investors as their ultimate clients.

"The phrase 'look through' is very revealing," Judge Randolph told Mr Stillman. "You have no doubt who the real client is, so you say, 'We're going to look through that'."

Hedge funds, private partnerships that have traditionally catered to the wealthy, say registration would be costly and intrusive.

The cost of registration and hiring compliance officers ranged from less than $US25,000 a year to more than $US500,000, depending on the hedge fund's size, said former SEC enforcement lawyer Ron Geffner, who's firm of Sadis & Goldberg represents more than 400hedge funds.

Hedge fund advisers will have to provide ownership and client information and undergo random audits and criminal background checks, as if they were advising investors directly.

Mr Stillman defended the agency's stance that both the funds and their shareholders should be viewed as "clients". "It's reasonable to view it either way, based on the underlying purpose" of protecting shareholders, he said.

"Shareholders are not clients," Judge Edwards told Mr Stillman. "You don't have the authority to act just because you exist."

The third judge, Thomas Griffith, did not indicate which way he may be leaning.


Suit Tests SEC Rule on Hedge Funds
www.latimes.com - By Walter Hamilton, Times Staff Writer - January 2, 2006

A money manager leads an effort to curb the agency's oversight of the trillion-dollar business.


NEW YORK — Phillip Goldstein is an unlikely torchbearer for the swashbuckling hedge-fund industry.

He was a New York civil engineer for 25 years before launching his fund from his basement in Brooklyn, and he drives a Toyota Camry.

"Before that, I had a Corolla," Goldstein said.

But the 60-year-old Goldstein is leading a closely watched effort to prevent the Securities and Exchange Commission from greatly expanding regulation of the trillion-dollar hedge-fund business.

He is suing to overturn a new rule that would force hedge funds managing more than $25 million to be registered with the agency by Feb. 1 and undergo periodic audits. He appeared to gain traction last month when a federal appeals panel peppered SEC attorneys with tough questions about the legal justification for the rule.

The SEC says it must get a handle on the freewheeling investment pools that are mushrooming in popularity among pension funds, endowments and wealthy individuals.

The agency points to a spate of recent hedge-fund frauds, as well as the collective force the funds have on financial markets.

"Sometimes we learn about someone managing $1 billion when we read about them in the newspaper," said Robert Plaze, associate director of the SEC's investment management division. "We're talking about a trillion-dollar industry whose activities have a broad impact on the markets and investors."

Opponents counter that the rule would do nothing to combat fraud but would raise investor costs and sap some of the nimbleness that has made hedge funds successful.

"They are a big part of what's keeping the economy growing and you don't want to hobble that," said John Berlau, an economic-policy fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

Big-picture issues aside, Goldstein's case may be decided on narrow legal grounds.

He contends that the SEC lacks authority to extend its regulatory reach, and is intentionally misinterpreting a 1940 law that has, until now, largely exempted hedge funds from oversight.

The three federal appellate-court judges who heard the case in Washington on Dec. 9 focused on that issue. A ruling is expected this month.

"It is clearly a means to get at their end, which is to regulate hedge funds," Goldstein said. "And that offends me. It's intellectually dishonest."

There's little doubt that hedge funds have become a dominant presence in global securities markets and are taking a larger profile in the economy as a whole.

Hedge funds are known for taking large risks in pursuit of market-beating returns and, thanks to the staid performance of equity markets, institutions and wealthy individuals are clamoring to get in.

More than 8,000 hedge funds manage $1 trillion, accounting for as much as one-fifth of U.S. stock-trading volume. They're an increasing force in such areas as arranging mergers and lending money to companies.

About 40% of hedge-fund managers already are registered with the SEC, either voluntarily or because of other requirements.

However, some fund managers are going out of their way to avoid the agency. Funds must be registered if they allow investors to redeem their holdings within two years. Therefore, many funds' lock-ups have been extended to two years instead of one.

The SEC rule generated significant controversy when the commission approved it by a 3-to-2 vote in late 2004.

Two Republican commissioners excoriated then-Chairman William H. Donaldson for backing the plan.

Donaldson's successor, former Rep. Christopher Cox, a Newport Beach Republican, surprised Wall Street by promising to let the rule stand.

But the plan has also divided consumer activists.

Tyson Slocum, director of energy research at Public Citizen, says oversight is needed because of the funds' enormous economic effect.

In the energy sector, for example, some of the surge in oil and gas prices is because of speculative hedge-fund trading, he said.

"This is a very modest proposal, and the fact that the industry and its sympathizers are predicting so much gloom and doom is pretty crazy," Slocum said. "This is not heavy-handed regulation."

But other consumer advocates question whether the SEC should devote limited resources to funds catering to the wealthy.

The SEC is "there to protect investors," said Mercer Bullard, a University of Mississippi law professor. "They're not there to protect sophisticated investors."

Goldstein doubts his investors will benefit from the rule.

"I don't think it's going to do my investors any good, and it's going to be costly," he said.

During an interview in his kitchen in suburban Westchester County, Goldstein — dressed in khakis, a green sweater and old sneakers — hardly fits the image of a hedge-fund manager, much less one with the temerity to take on the SEC.

Goldstein specializes in value investing, often buying stakes in closed-end mutual funds or troubled companies and agitating for changes to boost stock values.

He left Brooklyn for Pleasantville eight years ago but boasts about how he still clings to frugality.

"I still save returnable bottles," he said. "I've got a big bag of them in my garage."

With prodding from a partner, Goldstein began his first fund, Opportunity Partners, in December 1992 with 10 investors and $700,000.

He's never had a losing year, he said, and averages 16% annual returns. He oversees more than $250 million.

Goldstein graduated from USC, and many of his investors live in the Southland.

At the core of Goldstein's case is his belief that only Congress can extend regulation of hedge funds.

"It offends me when agencies act like they're the king," he said.

Although he's received moral support and a bit of financial help, no one has publicly joined Goldstein's effort.

"Most people are afraid to sue the SEC," he said. "They're afraid of retribution."

But Goldstein says he's not worried.

"If you haven't done anything wrong, and I haven't, you shouldn't have anything to fear by speaking out," he said.

Cantor 01-02-06 14:48

ai capito!!!
 
RISCHIO DERIVATI 1 Febbraio 2006
IN BORSA

di Morya Longo

Secondo uno studio dell'Aiaf le prime 22 societa' quotate a Piazza Affari hanno in bilancio 85 miliardi di strumenti di copertura. Per 15 imprese il fair value e' negativo. Resta il mistero sull'ammontare detenuto dalle piccole e medie aziende.
(WSI) – Non hanno "ingolfato" solo i bilanci di molte piccole aziende italiane. I derivati sono iper-utilizzati anche (e soprattutto) dai grandi gruppi industriali quotati a Piazza Affari: le 22 maggiori società del listino milanese hanno infatti in bilancio vari strumenti derivati (su cambi, tassi e quant'altro) per un valore nominale complessivo di 85 miliardi di euro. Questa cifra emerge per la prima volta in Italia grazie a uno studio realizzato da Financial Innovations in collaborazione con l'Aiaf. E, sebbene sia una cifra limitata a sole 22 blue chip quotate in Borsa, non può lasciare indifferenti: 85 miliardi di valore nominale sono molti per sole 22 aziende che insieme capitalizzano in Borsa 242 miliardi e che vantano un attivo totale di 334 miliardi. E, soprattutto, sono molti se si considera che i derivati in mano a 15 di queste 22 società mostrano un fair value negativo. Tradotto: 15 gruppi sui 22 analizzati registrano una perdita potenziale su questi strumenti.
La ricerca. I derivati hanno un'importante funzione: quella di "coprire" i bilanci delle aziende dai rischi valutari, di tassi e così via. Se un'impresa è molto esposta negli Stati Uniti, per esempio, utilizza i derivati per "annullare" il rischio che il dollaro perda quota contro l'euro. Che le aziende italiane utilizzassero questi strumenti era noto e ovvio. Non bisogna dunque demonizzarlo.

Quello che fino a oggi non si sapeva, però, è quanto le grandi imprese quotate in Borsa fossero esposte sui derivati. Solo ora, con l'introduzione dei principi contabili Ias, queste informazioni sono disponibili nei bilanci. È così che Financial Innovations, in collaborazione con l'Aiaf, ha iniziato ad analizzare le principali società di Piazza Affari prendendo come punto di partenza le semestrali o le ultime trimestrali. Così ha realizzato una ricerca che sarà presentata domani a Milano ma che «Il Sole-24 Ore» è in grado di anticipare. In realtà una panoramica completa sarà possibile solo quando saranno pronti i bilanci 2005, ma già ora è stata possibile una prima analisi approssimativa. Ma molto significativa.

Derivati a tutto gas. Il primo dato che emerge evidente è quello numerico: le grandi società italiane utilizzano i derivati in gran quantità per coprirsi dai rischi. Derivati di tutti i tipi: su tassi, cambi, materie prime, merci e così via. Per tre società su 22, il valore di questi strumenti rappresenta addirittura più del 50% del totale dell'attivo patrimoniale. Questo rappresenta un rischio? «Il derivato, in sé, non è né un bene né un male, ma un'opportunità - spiega Gianpaolo Trasi, presidente Aiaf -. Il rischio di un uso non appropriato, però, c'è sempre». Le 22 blue chip affermano tutte di utilizzare questi strumenti per coprirsi dai rischi e non per speculare. Solo tre società (Luxottica, Telecom Italia Media e Sias) non ne hanno in bilancio: Luxottica ha dichiarato al «Sole-24 Ore» di usare altri modi per coprirsi dai rischi. Se l'utilizzo dichiarato è sano, non si può dire che questi strumenti stiano per ora dando soddisfazioni alle aziende. Ben 15 gruppi hanno infatti una perdita potenziale (cioè un fair value negativo). In tre casi (Autostrade, Beni Stabili e Seat) il fair value è negativo per un ammontare addirittura superiore all'utile netto, come si vede in tabella. Stanno invece realizzando potenziali guadagni soprattutto Aem, Edison ed Enel.

Questi dati pongono un quesito: in futuro potrebbero esserci problemi per alcune di queste società? «In teoria no - spiega Emanuele Facile, amministratore delegato di Financial Innovations -. Se il derivato viene utilizzato per coprire un rischio, la perdita accusata su questo strumento viene bilanciata da un utile realizzato sull'oggetto coperto». Il punto, insomma, è sempre lo stesso: questi strumenti devono essere maneggiati correttamente. E, quando sono in mano a grandi gruppi con elevata esperienza finanziaria, è facile immaginare che sia così.

L'indagine parlamentare. Il problema è quando i derivati vengono venduti dalle banche alle piccole aziende, non in grado di capirli. Per questo un paio di anni fa, sull'onda di questo "allarme" Pmi, la Commissione Finanze della Camera avviò un'indagine conoscitiva sul fenomeno-derivati voluta dall'allora presidente Giorgio La Malfa. Da allora la Commissione (che nel frattempo ha cambiato presidente) ha raccolto molto materiale. Ma, alla fine, l'indagine si è arenata. Da quando La Malfa ha lasciato la presidenza della Commissione - spiegano fonti parlamentari - l'interesse sulla questione è calato: alla fine non è stato neppure redatto un documento conclusivo dell'indagine. Ora la legislatura volge al termine. E, sperando che non ci siano in futuro altri "allarmi", sul tema cala il sipario.

Copyright © Il Sole 24 Ore per Wall Street Italia, Inc. Riproduzione vietata. All rights reserved

FaGal 01-02-06 14:52

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da Cantor
RISCHIO DERIVATI 1 Febbraio 2006
IN BORSA

di Morya Longo

Secondo uno studio dell'Aiaf le prime 22 societa' quotate a Piazza Affari hanno in bilancio 85 miliardi di strumenti di copertura. Per 15 imprese il fair value e' negativo. Resta il mistero sull'ammontare detenuto dalle piccole e medie aziende.
(WSI) – Non hanno "ingolfato" solo i bilanci di molte piccole aziende italiane. I derivati sono iper-utilizzati anche (e soprattutto) dai grandi gruppi industriali quotati a Piazza Affari: le 22 maggiori società del listino milanese hanno infatti in bilancio vari strumenti derivati (su cambi, tassi e quant'altro) per un valore nominale complessivo di 85 miliardi di euro. Questa cifra emerge per la prima volta in Italia grazie a uno studio realizzato da Financial Innovations in collaborazione con l'Aiaf. E, sebbene sia una cifra limitata a sole 22 blue chip quotate in Borsa, non può lasciare indifferenti: 85 miliardi di valore nominale sono molti per sole 22 aziende che insieme capitalizzano in Borsa 242 miliardi e che vantano un attivo totale di 334 miliardi. E, soprattutto, sono molti se si considera che i derivati in mano a 15 di queste 22 società mostrano un fair value negativo. Tradotto: 15 gruppi sui 22 analizzati registrano una perdita potenziale su questi strumenti.
La ricerca. I derivati hanno un'importante funzione: quella di "coprire" i bilanci delle aziende dai rischi valutari, di tassi e così via. Se un'impresa è molto esposta negli Stati Uniti, per esempio, utilizza i derivati per "annullare" il rischio che il dollaro perda quota contro l'euro. Che le aziende italiane utilizzassero questi strumenti era noto e ovvio. Non bisogna dunque demonizzarlo.

Quello che fino a oggi non si sapeva, però, è quanto le grandi imprese quotate in Borsa fossero esposte sui derivati. Solo ora, con l'introduzione dei principi contabili Ias, queste informazioni sono disponibili nei bilanci. È così che Financial Innovations, in collaborazione con l'Aiaf, ha iniziato ad analizzare le principali società di Piazza Affari prendendo come punto di partenza le semestrali o le ultime trimestrali. Così ha realizzato una ricerca che sarà presentata domani a Milano ma che «Il Sole-24 Ore» è in grado di anticipare. In realtà una panoramica completa sarà possibile solo quando saranno pronti i bilanci 2005, ma già ora è stata possibile una prima analisi approssimativa. Ma molto significativa.

Derivati a tutto gas. Il primo dato che emerge evidente è quello numerico: le grandi società italiane utilizzano i derivati in gran quantità per coprirsi dai rischi. Derivati di tutti i tipi: su tassi, cambi, materie prime, merci e così via. Per tre società su 22, il valore di questi strumenti rappresenta addirittura più del 50% del totale dell'attivo patrimoniale. Questo rappresenta un rischio? «Il derivato, in sé, non è né un bene né un male, ma un'opportunità - spiega Gianpaolo Trasi, presidente Aiaf -. Il rischio di un uso non appropriato, però, c'è sempre». Le 22 blue chip affermano tutte di utilizzare questi strumenti per coprirsi dai rischi e non per speculare. Solo tre società (Luxottica, Telecom Italia Media e Sias) non ne hanno in bilancio: Luxottica ha dichiarato al «Sole-24 Ore» di usare altri modi per coprirsi dai rischi. Se l'utilizzo dichiarato è sano, non si può dire che questi strumenti stiano per ora dando soddisfazioni alle aziende. Ben 15 gruppi hanno infatti una perdita potenziale (cioè un fair value negativo). In tre casi (Autostrade, Beni Stabili e Seat) il fair value è negativo per un ammontare addirittura superiore all'utile netto, come si vede in tabella. Stanno invece realizzando potenziali guadagni soprattutto Aem, Edison ed Enel.

Questi dati pongono un quesito: in futuro potrebbero esserci problemi per alcune di queste società? «In teoria no - spiega Emanuele Facile, amministratore delegato di Financial Innovations -. Se il derivato viene utilizzato per coprire un rischio, la perdita accusata su questo strumento viene bilanciata da un utile realizzato sull'oggetto coperto». Il punto, insomma, è sempre lo stesso: questi strumenti devono essere maneggiati correttamente. E, quando sono in mano a grandi gruppi con elevata esperienza finanziaria, è facile immaginare che sia così.

L'indagine parlamentare. Il problema è quando i derivati vengono venduti dalle banche alle piccole aziende, non in grado di capirli. Per questo un paio di anni fa, sull'onda di questo "allarme" Pmi, la Commissione Finanze della Camera avviò un'indagine conoscitiva sul fenomeno-derivati voluta dall'allora presidente Giorgio La Malfa. Da allora la Commissione (che nel frattempo ha cambiato presidente) ha raccolto molto materiale. Ma, alla fine, l'indagine si è arenata. Da quando La Malfa ha lasciato la presidenza della Commissione - spiegano fonti parlamentari - l'interesse sulla questione è calato: alla fine non è stato neppure redatto un documento conclusivo dell'indagine. Ora la legislatura volge al termine. E, sperando che non ci siano in futuro altri "allarmi", sul tema cala il sipario.

Copyright © Il Sole 24 Ore per Wall Street Italia, Inc. Riproduzione vietata. All rights reserved


Ogni tanto arriva qualche articolo interessante. Ma ad essere onesto, il sole 24 ore ogni tanto ha seppur nascosto qualche articolo raziocinante

FaGal 10-02-06 17:32

Maurizio Blondet
07/02/2006

Attenti, ingenui risparmiatori: le banche ci si stanno già truffando, perché per questi nuovi «prodotti finanziari» possono caricare commissioni più grasse che mai (1).
Presto ve li proporranno e consiglieranno: comprateli, sono meglio di Parmalat e dei bond argentini, vi diranno.
Gli ultimi OGM finanziari distillati dagli alchimisti dell'usura si chiamano «ibridi», perché sono un incrocio contro natura tra azioni e obbligazioni.
Un'impresa che debba raccogliere capitale lo può fare in due modi: indebitandosi emettendo obbligazioni, o cedendo una parte della proprietà emettendo azioni.
Emettere obbligazioni ha vari vantaggi per l'azienda: politici (perché non cede proprietà), tributari, perché essendo le obbligazioni un debito le emissioni godono di deduzioni fiscali, e di costo (l'indebitato paga al creditore un interesse fisso).
Ma una compagnia che s'indebita «troppo», diffondendo troppe obbligazioni, mina la propria reputazione come debitrice: e le agenzie di «rating» sono lì a declassare il loro debito, obbligandole a rialzare gli interessi che devono corrispondere ai creditori, detentori della loro carta.
Per questo le aziende prendono capitale un po' emettendo debito, un po' risolvendosi a vendere azioni ossia quote di proprietà.

L'emissione di azioni però è costosa, sul 12% fra tasse e altri costi.
Nell'insieme, una ditta che raccolga liquidità per 100 milioni di euro, metà in azioni e metà in obbligazioni, paga su questo mix costi attorno all'8 %.
Con gli ibridi, il costo per la compagnia è la metà: sul 4%.
Inoltre gli ibridi possono essere «scolpiti» su misura per le esigenze del debitore.
Gli ibridi consentono dunque alle aziende di indebitarsi più della misura consentita.
Da una parte, hanno i caratteri di obbligazioni (pagano qualcosa di simile ad «interessi» fissi), dall'altra hanno i vantaggi delle azioni: non vengono mai a scadenza (maturity) e non devono essere rimborsati; e i cosiddetti «interessi» possono essere, come i dividendi azionari, differiti o non pagati per anni.
In sé non sono una novità.
A certi fortunati privilegiati vengono distribuite azioni «privilegiate» appunto perché pagano un dividendo prefissato, prima che i comuni azionisti vedano un solo centesimo in dividendi.

Da un decennio la finanza creativa ha messo in circolazione certe «trust preferred securities» (Trups) che sono azioni privilegiate, ma confezionate in modo da lucrare la deducibilità fiscale per le aziende che le emettono.
Lo scopo è illusionistico, come dice il Financial Times: creare strumenti finanziari che «sembrano» un debito per chi li emette, per chi li compra e (soprattutto) al Fisco, ma che «appaiono» come azioni, ossia non come debito, alle agenzie di rating.
E infatti sono proprio le agenzie di rating ad avere insufflato una vita insperata agli ibridi.
Mesi fa Moody's, rovesciando una sua politica tradizionale, ha cominciato a considerare gli ibridi «più» come azioni e «meno» come obbligazioni, sancendo che ogni ibrido è al 75% azione e al 25% obbligazione.
Le aziende che emettono ibridi per 100 si indebitano, ai fini del rating, come se emettessero obbligazioni per 25.
E' un modo nuovo per indebitarsi eccessivamente, senza farlo sapere ai creditori.
E per evadere le tasse.
Standard & Poor's e Merrill Lynch hanno ovviamente seguito Moody's, come per ordine ricevuto dai salotti buoni dell'alta finanza in difficoltà.

Così opportunamente cambiate le regole del gioco, le banche d'affari e speculative hanno cominciato a salivare, prevedendo profitti enormi per sé.
Gli ibridi, con i loro vantaggi per i creditori, si delineano come l'affare del secolo per i banchieri che li confezioneranno su misura per le aziende, perché su queste operazioni possono chiedere («sono difficili da fare», è la scusa) un rincaro della commissione superiore all'1 %.
Per dire quanto è gigantesco l'affare, Citigroup ha calcolato con l'acquolina in bocca che se le prime 500 aziende USA sostituissero solo il 5% del loro capitale con gli ibridi, il loro «valore» (in realtà la loro capacità di indebitamento aggiuntivo) crescerebbe di 100 miliardi di dollari: un valore su cui le banche d'affari ritaglieranno le loro commissioni maggiorate.
Solo quest'anno l'emissione di ibridi ha raggiunto i 30 miliardi di dollari (erano 4 miliardi l'anno scorso), e si apprestano a soffiare il primato alle emissioni di obbligazioni-spazzatura ad alto tasso d'interesse (e ad alto rischio d'insolvenza), che è sui 90 miliardi.
In Europa la febbre degli ibridi infuria addirittura più che negli Stati Uniti.

Facile capire che questo gioco che tanto piace alla speculazione ha degli ovvi perdenti.
Il primo perdente è l'erario di tutti gli Stati, costretti ad accettare dal «nuovo legislatore globale» (Moody's & Co.) come «debito» deducibile ciò che è «azione» al 75%.
Ma i sicuri perdenti saranno i risparmiatori.
A cui queste creature sintetiche saranno presentate «sicure come obbligazioni» (si è visto com'erano sicuri i bond Parmalat e Argentina) e «lucrose come azioni» (perché gli interessi o semi-dividendi sono più alti), ma prive dei rischi del capitale di rischio.
Non si dirà al risparmiatore che questi ibridi sono, dal punto di vista legale, equiparati al «credito subordinato a lungo termine»: il che significa che se l'azienda che li ha emessi fallisce, il detentore di questi titoli «sicurissimi» starà in coda all'ultimo posto nella fila dei creditori.
E che il piccolo interesse in più corrisponde ad un rischio ignoto, essendo questi prodotti ancora sconosciuti, e il loro comportamento inesplorato, per esempio, in un clima di credito debole.
Persino il Financial Times (ma in caratteri microscopici nell'ultima pagina) ha scritto: «è difficile sfuggire alla sensazione sgradevole che questi prodotti-camaleonte abbiano in serbo alcune (amare) sorprese per gli investitori quando chi li emette affronterà difficoltà finanziarie nel mondo reale» (2).
Non dite poi che non vi avevano avvisato.

Maurizio Blondet

Note
1) Richard Beales, «Banks hope to cash in on rush into hybrid securities», Financial Times, 6 febbraio 2006.
2) «Centaurs or minotaurs», Financial Times, 6 febbraio 2006.

http://www.effedieffe.com/interventi...metro=economia

FaGal 24-02-06 18:11

Quei derivati talmente complicati da mettere in crisi i capi di Deutsche bank
Sono l' ultimo scandalo della City. Costato oltre 40 milioni di euro
FINANZA E INVESTIMENTI. Che cosa si nasconde dentro i collateralized debt obbligation
Oltre 40 milioni di euro di profitti inventati in due mesi di trading. Scoperto per caso, il 26enne Anshul Rustagi che li aveva dichiarati ha dovuto lasciare l' ufficio londinese della Deutsche bank dove lavorava. "È solo la punta dell' iceberg", commenta Janet Tavakoli, consulente indipendente esperta di derivati finanziari. Sotto l' ultimo scandalo che ha scosso la City c' è una montagna di nuovi sofisticatissimi prodotti, i cdo (collateralized debt obligation), ultraredditizi per le banche che li confezionano e vendono, richiestissimi dagli investitori ansiosi di guadagnare sempre di più. È un mercato cresciuto soprattutto in Europa, dove si stima che solo i cdo sintetici valgano 12 mila miliardi di dollari. Sono il terreno di gioco di giovanissimi geni matematici, molti indiani come Rustagi e il suo capo, Anshu Jain, 43 anni, il re degli Euromercati di Deutsche bank, una delle banche più attive nel business. Complesse formule matematiche infatti sono necessarie per valutare prezzi e rendimenti dei cdo. Talmente complesse da risultare incomprensibili agli stessi responsabili delle banche d' affari, come è accaduto in Deutsche bank. E sono formule dove i trader hanno una discreta libertà nel decidere quali ipotesi inserire come variabili, sottolinea Tavakoli, e così è difficile per i loro supervisori controllare se i calcoli sono corretti e se "il prezzo è giusto". Ma cerchiamo di capire di che cosa si tratta. Un cdo è un pacchetto di titoli di debito, per esempio cento diverse obbligazioni aziendali, che una banca mette insieme e poi divide in tranche o fette, diversificate per il rischio rendimento che offrono: l' investitore che sottoscrive la tranche più redditizia accetta di subire la quota maggiore di perdite, nel caso uno o più bond vadano in default, cioè l' emittente non possa pagare cedole e capitale. Un cdo sintetico è invece un pacchetto di derivati costruiti sui bond: dentro ci sono i credit default swap, ovvero delle specie di polizze assicurative contro il rischio di default. Chi investe in un cdo sintetico assume l' impegno di ripagare il valore nominale dei bond sottostanti se vanno in default, e in cambio incassa subito un premio per il rischio che si assume. Cruciale è calcolare non solo la probabilità di default dei singoli bond sottostanti un cdo, ma soprattutto quella che un default contagi gli altri titoli, cioè il livello di correlazione fra i diversi bond. Se per esempio, i titoli sono emessi da aziende dello stesso settore e questo va in crisi, il fallimento di una realtà può provocare un effetto domino catastrofico. "Le ripercussioni di un default non sono lineari e per stimare le sue probabilità di contagio si usano funzioni matematiche a n dimensioni dette copule", spiega John Blin, ex docente di matematica finanziaria all' università di Chicago, titolare della società di analisi rischi Apt. L' idea era venuta alla fine degli anni ' 70 a un giovane cinese, David Li, laureato in statistica e impiegato a Wall Street (ora è alla Barclays capital). Per calcolare la correlazione tra default, secondo Li, si può usare il concetto attuariale del cuore spezzato: una persona tende a morire più in fretta dopo la scomparsa del suo amato consorte, un fenomeno studiato dalle assicurazioni che vendono polizze e fissano il costo dei premi proprio usando le copule. Il modello messo a punto da Li è in particolare quello della copula gaussiana (grafico in alto): banchieri e trader ci mettono dentro tutti i dati sulle probabilità di default futuri per ogni bond del cdo e ne esce il livello di correlazione di tutti i default, sul quale si fissa il rischio rendimento prezzo del cdo. Ma lo stesso Li ammette che la formula ha inconvenienti, per esempio non tiene conto dei cambiamenti negli anni del livello rischio, ed è preoccupato che in pochi capiscano davvero l' essenza del modello. Di fatto non lo afferrano nemmeno i manager delle banche che ci speculano. Così lasciano fare ai ragazzini come Rustagi. Fino a quando qualcuno scopre un buco nero. La formula per capire la copula Ecco la formula del teorema di Sklar usato per calcolare i prezzi dei cdo (collateralized debt obligation, ovvero pacchetti di obbligazioni aziendali ristrutturate per rivenderle a fette, con vari livelli di rischio e rendimento): F(y1,y2,....,yn)ugualeC(F1(y1),....Fn(yn )) dove C rappresenta la copula, funzione matematica, mentre F è una funzione distributiva n dimensionale. Le variabili in F sono le probabilità di default nei prossimi anni di ognuno dei bond messi nel cdo. C calcola la probabilità che il default di uno o più bond causi quello degli altri: così si stima il livello di rischio del cdo, il rendimento e il prezzo. Ecco la copula gaussiana, utilizzata per valutare il cdo 3 febbraio il mondo

FaGal 04-03-06 08:46

1 Allegato/i
Of scorpions and Starfighters
Jan 31st 2006 | FRANKFURT
From The Economist Global Agenda


Are exotic credit derivatives achieving much more than pushing the envelope to its limits?


IN “JARHEAD”, Sam Mendes’s recent film about the 1991 Gulf war, some bored American marines arrange a fight between two scorpions. The money wagered and the attendant pandemonium, indexed to the fortunes of one protagonist or the other, are hugely disproportionate to the contest. Something similar happened when Delphi, a supplier of car parts, went bankrupt in October. It wasn’t just lenders and bondholders who suffered. Their exposure was a mere $5.2 billion. Market participants had another $28 billion of notional exposure to Delphi embedded in scores of credit derivatives. That triggered pandemonium too, as the market tried to assess the residual value of those derivatives.

Delphi was a popular name among the corporate entities bundled together in securities known as collateralised debt obligations (CDOs). Some CDOs are synthetic: that is, they don’t contain actual loans or bonds but are simply indexed to the fortunes of around 100 selected companies. If most of them stay solvent, the CDO pays good money. If more than a handful default, then investors begin to take a hit on the coupon payments and sometimes their capital too. The precise mixture of risks and payouts depends on how the CDO is constructed.

Moreover, the value of a CDO depends not just on expected rates of default, but also on what might be recovered from defaulting companies’ assets. Some pools are static: that is, their composition does not change during the life of the security (usually five or seven years). Others are dynamic: they are in the hands of a manager who can weed out the exposure to companies before they default, or trade credit risk with the aim of improving the portfolio.

CDOs can contain a single “tranche” of credit risk; or the exposure is sliced into tranches of differing risk. Thus in theory investors can pick the collection of risks that suits them. They are helped by the existence of credit ratings, at least for the safer tranches (the riskiest “equity” tranches, which bear the first loss in the event of default, usually have no rating). But they must also consider the likely market price of the tranche they invest in, both for accounting reasons and in case they want to sell before maturity.

CDOs are not that actively traded, and riskier tranches hardly at all. So it is often near impossible to establish a “market” price for them. Accountants have a horrible time when auditing books of illiquid CDOs, being forced to use numbers that they know are nearly meaningless.

Risk controllers have a hard task too. They rely heavily on the integrity of their traders, who are closest to the market, to price their own exposures conservatively. Anshul Rustagi, a CDO trader at Deutsche Bank, was fired in January after being found to have overstated the value of his trading book by around £30m ($50m). Which just goes to show how uncertain pricing becomes at the frontiers of finance. Investors are seeking to exploit areas where return might outweigh the perceived risk; arrangers are looking for ways to skew that return, trying to ensure that they won’t be on the losing side; while the rating agencies are hired as referees, to ensure that the investors at least start with a fair chance.

All three groups of actors are sophisticated. Yet the market is constantly learning from its own mistakes to produce better documentation, clearer definitions of default and loss, and better analysis of riskiness and of other factors that affect prices. Many of the Delphi claims, for example, are being settled for cash, since there are so few debt instruments available for delivery.

Rocket science squared

Developments in the CDO business often stretch the limits of understanding. They certainly seem to breach the limits of usefulness to actual borrowers and lenders. After the synthetic CDO, came the CDO-squared, a CDO comprised of other CDOs, which increases the likelihood of its value being impaired. In practice, though, rating agencies argue, CDO-squareds have suffered no more ratings downgrades than normal CDOs, perhaps because they carry a bigger cushion of collateral in the first place.

Products in this market become fashionable in waves. In the middle of last year the “leveraged super-senior tranche” was all the rage. Imagine a slice of exposure to 100 or so names well above triple-A, ie “super-senior”, because there is a very high loss threshold before it takes a hit. The likelihood of loss is minimal, but not zero. If you think the risk sufficiently remote, why not leverage your investment by, say, 15 times? That was the bet last summer, though like Mr Mendes’s scorpions, it has a sting in the tail: a sufficient move in credit spreads can trigger a wind-up of the CDO at market prices and eat into the investor’s capital. What’s next? Investors, notably hedge funds, have an appetite for highly risky single tranches of exposure, linked for example to the performance of funds of hedge funds, or private-equity funds.

Meanwhile, there is little attempt to relate this frenetic activity to the economy as a whole. Corporate borrowing spreads are thin; stockmarkets are buoyant. This means there should not be much margin left for intermediaries between borrowers and lenders. The intermediaries, in the arena of structured finance, have responded by creating debt instruments with equity-like characteristics. You might wonder whether this is really necessary, when private-equity funds have full coffers and plenty of targets in the corporate world.

In closing, Buttonwood is drawn to another military analogy. Who remembers the Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter”? Introduced in the late 1950s as NATO’s most advanced jet plane, with stubby wings and a huge single engine, it was a triumph of “rocket science” but difficult to control. The Starfighter shot to fame as a flying deathbed. Of the 916 bought in 1960 by the West German armed forces, 269 crashed over the next quarter-century; 110 pilots died. Surely, at some stage during those 25 years it would have been sensible to shelve the programme. But no: huge investments were involved, and the pilots who might have led a protest loved the challenge.

It is too soon to tell whether some strands of CDO may turn out to be financial Starfighters (although with merely pecuniary consequences). Meanwhile, a word of praise for Swiss Re, which last month used CDO technology to securitise €252m of credit-insurance risk on trade receivables. That seems a little closer to oiling the wheels of commerce than, say, synthetic CDO-squareds.

FaGal 04-03-06 08:50

1 Allegato/i
Hedge funds

Growing pains
Mar 2nd 2006
From The Economist print edition



As institutional investors move in, hedge funds are losing some of their rough edges—and their spectacular returns

IN QUIET moments veteran hedge-fund managers sound a little wistful these days. Being a “hedgie”, they reflect, isn't as much fun as it used to be. This may seem hard to believe, since many hedge-fund managers are very rich indeed. Steven Cohen, a hedge-fund star in Greenwich, Connecticut (the industry's main cluster in America) took home more than $500m last year. Plenty of others have pocketed $100m or more.

Much of the nostalgia is for an era of spectacular returns. Last year, overall returns in hedge funds were modest at best (although 2006 is off to a stronger start). But something more profound is going on: hedge funds are growing up. What once was a cottage industry is being institutionalised. The mix of investors has changed dramatically in the past five years, and that has led to big shifts in everything from fund size to competition, risk profiles, transparency and—horrors!—regulation.

That has raised a paradox: can the industry be big and yet retain the innovative, risk-taking culture that produced the returns which, in turn, encouraged more conservative investors to invest in it? There are signs that some leading fund managers are limiting the size of their funds because they think big money is incompatible with their way of doing business. Meanwhile, hedge funds face other pressures. New investors are more demanding and, curiously, risk-averse, which is forcing some hedge funds to change their investment style. And competition is growing, as more traditional fund managers introduce products that mimic hedge funds and crowd the market, making it harder to distinguish a genuine hedge fund from a souped-up traditional fund.

Amid all the change, regulators are looking more closely at the sector than in the past. This week Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) levied a £1.5m ($2.6m) fine against GLG Partners, a hedge fund based in London, and one of its traders, for improper securities trading. French regulators are reportedly also investigating GLG and its co-founder Pierre Lagrange, along with other big London-based hedge funds, for alleged insider trading. Such scrutiny is yet another restraint on hedge funds' buccaneering culture.

The changing investor mix is one reason why regulators are watching the sector more closely. Until recently, hedge funds were the exclusive preserve of rich Texans, Arab sheikhs and family offices of the super-wealthy. These investors put their millions in the hands of entrepreneurial fund managers who promised—and often delivered—stellar returns whilst offering almost no explanation of how they did it.

Today's hedge funds are increasingly monitored by professional managers at pension funds, endowments, foundations and even central banks—a much less colourful and vastly more demanding bunch. This new group of investors controls sums huge enough to make the assets of most hedge funds look like rounding errors. In short, they are investors with clout.

Today 50-60% of hedge-fund assets come from institutions, reckons Oliver Schupp, president of the Credit Suisse/Tremont Index, an indicator of fund performance. This trend is most pronounced in Japan and, to a lesser extent, pockets of continental Europe. In America, where the bulk of hedge funds are based, endowments and foundations embraced the sector early on, whereas other institutions were more tentative. Britain has the smallest take-up by institutional investors, although London is a big base for hedge-fund managers. “There's been much more cynicism among UK investors, due to the lack of transparency,” says Dominic Rossi of Threadneedle Asset Management, an investment firm that manages traditional as well as hedge funds.

Institutional money has helped the sector to balloon. There are more than 8,000 hedge funds today, with more than $1 trillion of assets under management. Institutions are increasingly attracted to two sorts of hedge-fund providers, says William Wechsler of Greenwich Associates, a consultancy: firms with multiple hedging strategies on offer and research to back up their claims, such as Bridgewater Associates; or traditional fund managers such as Barclays Global Investors (BGI) and State Street Global Advisors that have added hedge-fund products in recent years. In America, he notes, there has been a net outflow of institutional money recently from so-called “funds of funds”, which offer a mix of hedge-fund investments in one product to diversify risk, but also add another layer of fees.

Although there is a stronger institutional feel to the hedge-fund business today, that is not to say the cult of personality has disappeared. Most funds are clustered near a few places, such as Connecticut and London, and there is a steady buzz about the latest manager to jump ship and start his own firm. Even university-endowment managers are getting in on the act: Jack Meyer, formerly head of Harvard University's endowment fund, recently raised a record $6 billion for his start-up hedge fund. Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, has reportedly put $1 billion of his own money into a new firm being launched by Mike McCaffrey, who as chief investment officer at Stanford University helped that entity's $14.3 billion endowment to earn double-digit annual returns for a decade. Other hedge funds have launched with “star” power from investment banks. Eton Park Capital is run by Eric Mindich, formerly of Goldman Sachs, and Cantillon Capital was started by William von Mueffling, previously a successful portfolio manager at Lazard.

Indeed, the industry is still largely driven by personalities and reputations. Investors are backing the managers they believe can find and exploit inefficiencies or wrinkles in the market better than anyone else. How to reconcile the reality of this large and increasingly conservative sector with its swash-buckling and secretive image? “Perception always takes a while to catch up with reality,” says Stanley Fink, chief executive of Man Group, a global asset-management firm with a big stable of hedge funds. “The days of 30%-plus returns for hedge funds are long gone,” he says. “The Wild West is over.”

Expectations of annual returns have certainly changed: ten or 15 years ago, investors “wanted 30-50% returns and could handle the down years,” says Jerry del Missier of Barclays Capital, an investment bank. Now pension funds will settle for 8-10% returns, but want less volatility. In general, he says, “people have stopped looking for the drama.”

That is not to suggest things are dull. Hedge funds are popping up everywhere, using their muscle in takeover battles and shareholder revolts. Secrecy and limited regulation remain hallmarks of the sector. But some industry observers suggest the activism and other high-profile tactics—admittedly, still practised by only a small fraction of hedge funds—are evidence that the industry has become more mainstream. For some, activism can be very profitable: the Children's Investment Fund Management, a London-based fund that led a successful shareholder revolt against incumbent managers at Deutsche Börse in 2004, had net returns of 43% that year and 50% in 2005.

Overall, though, hedge-fund returns have been far from stellar in recent years. The Credit Suisse/Tremont Hedge Fund Index rose a mere 7.61% in 2005, on the heels of a relatively lacklustre 2004. A recent study by Harry Kat and Helder Palaro of Cass Business School in London says that in recent years fewer than one in five hedge funds gave investors returns above what they could have made themselves trading the S&P 500 stock index, Treasury bonds and Eurodollar futures. The pace has picked up at the start of 2006—the index was up 3.23% in January, the strongest monthly performance since August 2000—but overall returns are unlikely to be stunning.

Surprisingly, given the hype surrounding the sector, there was probably a modest net outflow of money from hedge funds in 2005. Exactly how much left is unclear, because the industry lacks a central database. Attempts to generalise are complicated further by the fact that hedge funds are actually a collection of different investment strategies (see article) rather than a coherent asset class.

Nevertheless, much of the money that came into the industry was from institutions. The $200 billion CalPERS Retirement system, one of America's biggest investors, recently doubled the size of its hedge-fund investments to $2 billion. Also in California, the San Diego County employees' retirement association, America's top-performing big public-retirement fund over the past decade, has about one-fifth of its total assets ($1.3 billion) in various hedge funds, roughly the same share as in the big university endowments.

Given the mediocre returns, why are institutions investing? Partly because of poor returns in other asset classes and the herd's sense that others have made a lot of money from hedge funds. But their belated arrival also signals slow decision-making processes—changing the strategy of a big institutional investor takes time.

According to a recent report on European investors by the Centre for Risk and Asset Management at EDHEC, a French business school, diversification is another powerful reason why institutions think they should invest in hedge funds. The study found that hedge funds had low correlations with other investments. Other advantages cited by institutions included hedge funds' low volatility, lack of correlation with economic cycles, and the extreme risks they can afford—presumably in the hope of making big returns.

Well matched

Pension funds have been particularly keen to diversify as they struggle to address a longstanding mismatch between their assets and long-duration liabilities. Mark Tapley, a pension-fund adviser and administrator at the hedge-fund centre run by London Business School (LBS), notes that consulting actuaries are searching for liability-matching strategies. He says there is a more intense search for what is known as “alpha” (returns above those of the relevant market index).

Some investors remain sceptical. “We're very nervous whether we have the skills to identify the hedge-fund managers with the right strategies, as opposed to those who are lucky or have a good story to tell,” Penny Green, a trustee with a British university employees' pension scheme, told an industry conference recently. Other institutional investors complain about a lack of understanding about investment techniques, a shortage of staff to investigate alternatives and worries about corporate governance (including potential lawsuits). “People want to know exactly how you're making your money,” says Fred Dopfel of BGI. He says institutional investors need to know exactly how hedge-fund strategies fit with the rest of their portfolios. They also seek a clear separation of returns: “Market exposures are cheap,” he says. “Alpha is expensive.” In other words, hedge-fund managers charge a lot to beat the market average.

A typical fund's compensation structure involves a 1% or 2% management fee (a few have stretched the limits with 3%, but investors balked), plus fees paying out 20% of performance. In Europe an estimated 75% of institutional investors with hedge-fund assets are in funds of funds. Increasingly, though, multi-strategy funds are attracting more interest.

The size of individual hedge funds is a growing concern for fund managers. “Once you become large it starts hurting, for a variety of reasons,” says Narayan Naik, director of the hedge fund centre at the LBS: “No market is anonymous when you need quantity.” Automated trading programs have proliferated, as funds increasingly flood exchanges with multiple small orders, in order to camouflage their trading strategies.

Several studies last year were pessimistic about the industry's ability to generate long-term returns as it grows larger. More and more retail investment funds are capping their sizes in an effort to protect their agility and performance. Mr Meyer's fund, Convexity Capital Management, has reportedly decided to accept no more than $1 billion per year in new investments over the next three years.

As hedge funds get bigger, the worry is that managers will also become more cautious. For a growing number of managers, the main goal is “not to make mistakes,” says Matthew Ridley of Consulta, a family office and investment firm. He notes that managers of large funds can live nicely on management fees alone. For retail investors and those institutions seeking edgier strategies or a personalised approach, he recommends smaller funds.

Mr Fink says he, too, worries about managers becoming too risk-averse. A shift into “asset-retention mode”, he says, is “the kiss of death”. Man Group has dealt with the difficulty by offering two sorts of hedge funds, he says: those that provide more transparency and lower returns, and those that are more opaque, focused and likely to give higher returns—for example Man Group's AHL Fund, a managed-futures fund that uses automated “black box” trading to invest in more than 100 futures markets across the world. It returned 14.3% in 2005, and has had average returns of 18.1% since it started.

Time to trim

Regulatory oversight of hedge funds remains relatively light, but there are signs that it, too, may grow more burdensome. Although hedge funds can set up almost anywhere, fund managers still like the marketing value of the imprimatur of America's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Britain's FSA. The SEC's fund-registration deadline on February 1st, which also affected large foreign funds with numerous American investors, was resisted by the industry, but stricter regulations are probably inevitable when retail investors' money is at stake.

Many observers predict consolidation among hedge funds in years to come. The liquidation rate of funds surged last year. Others have been bought out in whole or part by bigger businesses: Legg Mason, a big mutual-fund firm, bought Permal Group, a hedge-fund firm, for about $1 billion last year; ABN Amro, the banking group, bought out International Asset Management, one of London's oldest fund-of-fund managers, in January; and the derivatives unit of American International Group, an insurance giant that already has a fund-of-funds unit, bought a 4.3% stake in Aspect Capital earlier this month. The trend makes sense to those who watch the industry closely. “There are too many managers chasing too few opportunities,” says Mr Naik. “Everyone is using the same models.”

FaGal 04-03-06 08:57

1 Allegato/i
Asset management

The long and the short of it
Feb 23rd 2006
From The Economist print edition


Mutual funds are borrowing hedge funds' techniques—and their fees

FOR many asset-management firms, hedge funds have long been like a maddening little brother: small, cocky, subject to fewer rules and, yes, the apple of everyone's eye. Family resemblances, however, will out. Mutual funds, while more tightly regulated than their boisterous siblings, are acquiring hedge funds and adopting some of their behaviour, such as the use of leverage, short-selling (betting on a price falling) and derivatives.

Ironically, they are doing this after a period in which hedge funds have struggled to beat pedestrian index-trackers. And lately some index-fund managers have been fighting a fee-cutting war. So is the aping of hedge funds just a wheeze to justify higher fees, or will clients, such as pension funds, benefit?

This week, Schroders, a British institution born in the era of Admiral Nelson, became the latest old-style fund manager to embrace the saucier end of the investment market. It agreed to buy NewFinance Capital, a London fund of hedge funds founded just four years ago, for up to $142m. The price was not considered steep by the market. Indeed, it was on a par with last year's acquisition by America's Legg Mason of Permal, a French fund of hedge funds: with a downpayment of $800m, that was the largest such takeover so far.

Next week Morningstar, an American company that tracks the performance of mutual funds, will create a new category for regulated institutions that invest in both long and short positions, a favourite hedge-fund style. Dan McNeela, an analyst with the firm, says that at first it will consist of two dozen funds with $7.6 billion under management. “It's a very small percentage of mutual funds that do any shorting at all, but it's definitely becoming more common.”

Other big fund managers, including State Street Global Advisors and Goldman Sachs Asset Management, have also devised ways to spice up the returns of even their most passive-sounding funds, by overlaying short-selling techniques on long-only portfolios. The idea baffles many pension-fund trustees, brought up on simpler choices such as equities versus bonds. But its champions claim it can raise their chances of beating their benchmarks, without much increasing risk.

Although it can still give regulators the willies, especially when combined with derivatives and gearing, short-selling is steadily gaining respectability. In America, mutual funds can sell short with some restrictions, for instance on leverage. In the European Union, recent changes in regulation allow fund managers to take short positions by using derivative instruments, such as contracts for difference and credit default swaps, rather than through underlying shares or bonds.

State Street and Goldman Sachs are developing funds that will enable them to short-sell exposure to companies they do not like in an index, rather than just underweighting them, as they do now. It is a common complaint of long-only funds that they can only underweight shares by at most their share of the benchmark. At the end of last year, only 49 stocks in the S&P 500 accounted for more than 0.5% of the index's total capitalisation and therefore could be underweighted by more than half a percentage point (see chart). Bigger stocks tend to be underweighted more often than smaller ones. This breeds inefficiency and concentrates risk.

State Street says it is trying to “loosen the handcuffs”. But neither it nor Goldman Sachs is planning a short-selling spree. Both institutions would limit short-selling to around 30% of a global portfolio, while keeping 130% long-only. They say the strategy offers a slice of outperformance, or “alpha” in hedge-fund-speak, on top of a benchmark or “beta” product. “Currently, if we really don't like a stock we can't do much about it, and we regard that as leaving alpha on the table,” says Lloyd Reynolds of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “With the addition of shorting, we can underweight it more.”

Results have been unspectacular. A State Street fund that started using the technique in Australia last year has beaten its benchmark, but by less than it had hoped. Mr McNeela at Morningstar says the funds it will include in its “long/short” category have performed disappointingly. He puts this down to their higher fees and to the difficulties of beating a rising market.

Some traditional asset managers seem to believe they are entitled to charge hedge fund-like fees to manage hedge fund-like products. Others, such as State Street and Goldman Sachs, are developing more nuanced fee structures. They charge like a hedge fund only when they beat their benchmarks. That is generating interest among pension-fund clients, some of whom are eager for innovative and lucrative ideas. Only once the fund managers have proved their worth can they charge what they like.

FaGal 19-03-06 20:31

March 13, 2006
Funds back dealers in credit derivatives clean-up
By FT.COM

Leading credit derivatives dealers have committed to take steps that could lead to a "dramatic improvement" in market practices and to cut further the backlog of outstanding trades that has plagued the fast-growing market.

The pledges come amid continuing scrutiny from the New York Federal Reserve and other US and European regulators, and represent a continuation of industry efforts that began last October after the New York Fed had summoned 14 dealers to discuss the problems in the market.

In contrast to last year, when some hedge funds initially criticised the dealers' proposed actions, the latest commitments were quickly supported by the Managed Funds Association, a hedge fund industry group.

"We applaud the major dealers for reaching out to our members for their support in achieving the 2006 targeted objectives," said John Gaine, president of the MFA.

"We firmly believe that we can achieve broad market support and a dramatic improvement in credit derivative market practices," the MFA added.

In a letter dated Friday and sent to regulators, the dealers, including US and European institutions such as JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank, said they were committed to achieving "a stronger steady state" for the industry by increasing the level of automation in the industry and upgrading other practices.

The dealers said that by October all standard trades with active customers would be processed electronically and fully confirmed within five days. They also proposed mechanisms for confirming non-standard trades more quickly than at present, and endorsed the idea of a central database of credit derivative transactions, unveiled last month by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

Among other commitments, the dealers said they would continue to cut the number of trades still outstanding after more than a month and share more information with their customers and regulators.

Credit derivatives act as insurance against default on corporate debt. They can be used to hedge bond or loan portfolios, or to speculate on credit trends. The failure of back office processes to keep up with the explosive growth in the popularity of the instruments has led regulators to worry about potential risks to the stability of the financial system, especially given the heavy involvement of hedge funds in the market.

The New York Fed on Monday welcomed the dealers' further commitments. But regulatory interest is unlikely to subside soon. The US Treasury said last week that it, too, was studying hedge funds and the derivatives industry. While noting the risk transfer benefits of derivatives and "heartening" developments such as those in the credit derivatives market, Emil Henry, assistant secretary of the Treasury, also highlighted the need to pay attention.

"We are not expecting or responding to a particular crisis, but trying to prevent one from occurring," he said.

FaGal 19-03-06 20:37

Offshore: The long arm of the law
www.legalweek.com - March 16, 2006


The US Treasury’s recent rule for offshore hedge fund advisers bears a striking resemblance to its proposed anti-money laundering rule. But is greater disclosure based on Patriot Act requirements a rational way to prevent fraud, or is it simply another manifestation of the extra-territorial reach of US regulation? Martin Livingston reports

Offshore practitioners trying to maintain a faint grasp on the dynamo that is US regulation may be forgiven for thinking the recent rule requiring hedge fund advisers to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Rule 203(b)(3)-2 bears a striking resemblance to an anti-money laundering rule proposed by the department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in April 2003. Broadly speaking, both rules required investment advisers to set up compliance programmes (including mandatory periods for record retention), designate compliance officers and utilise similar carve-outs from regulation.

The Treasury’s proposed rule 68 FR 23646 (which has not yet been finalised), distinguished the two types of investment advisers requiring anti-money laundering programmes; SEC-registered advisers and unregistered advisers — that is, US-based advisers with more than $30m (£17.2m) of assets under management who are exempt from SEC registration (under the Advisers Act) by having less than 15 clients and not holding themselves out as investment advisers. In a show of bi-partisanship, the Treasury proposed allowing the SEC jurisdiction to inspect the programmes of unregistered advisers.

The definition of an ‘unregistered investment adviser’ under the Treasury’s proposed rule covered most US-based general partners of venture capital and private equity partnership funds. The rule also proposed that where a fund, created and administered by an investment adviser, was not itself subject to anti-money laundering requirements, the adviser would need to consider the investors as clients and perform due diligence on them, in addition to the fund.

The Treasury had previously issued a similar proposed rule (67 FR 60617) for unregistered investment companies (which also has not yet been finalised). This rule applied the same anti-money laundering programme requirements to hedge funds with a lock-in period of less than two years and assets of more than $1m (£576,000) that were organised, operated or sponsored by, or sold to, a US person; that is, essentially any open-ended fund with a US nexus. Funds not meeting the above criteria were exempted.

The net effect of the proposed rule on investment advisers meant that, by virtue of these criteria, where a partnership fund may be exempt from anti-money laundering requirements, the general partner of such a fund might still be required to establish a money-laundering programme. In other words, the general partner would still have to perform due diligence on investors of funds which were themselves exempted from conducting any due diligence. This was one of the main disconnects raised during the public consultation process.

Although advisers located offshore would not be subject to the proposed rule for investment advisers, the proposed rule for unregistered investment companies has extra-territorial reach. It was evident to industry associations representing foreign interests that the proposed rule for unregistered investment companies was of great concern to offshore administrators, as well as controllers and non-US investors of offshore funds, who wished to protect the confidentiality of their records from onshore regulatory authorities.

As noted above, for these reasons and more, the Treasury proposed rules introduced in 2002 for ‘unregistered investment companies’ and those introduced in 2003 for ‘unregistered advisers’ have effectively been shelved.

Fast-forward three years to the introduction of the SEC rule requiring the registration of private hedge fund advisers. The rule was promulgated largely on account of the perceived increased incidence of hedge fund-related fraud (the basis for which may be somewhat misleading in proportion to the growth of the industry). At the time the rule was proposed, the SEC estimated that 40%-50% of all hedge fund advisers were registered with the SEC. The rule would bring into question the need for registration of those US based advisers who had hitherto relied on the ‘private adviser’ exemption under the Investment Advisers Act 1940.

Using similar criteria to that imposed by the Treasury, US advisers having more than $30m of assets under management, 15 or more clients (in a 12-month period) and who either hold themselves out as investment advisers or advise registered investment companies will now need to be registered. Historically, advisers were allowed to regard the hedge funds themselves as their ‘clients’. The rule now includes as clients the investors of private funds, which are essentially defined as any unregistered investment companies with less than a two-year lock-up period. Reinvested dividends and redemptions for extraordinary circumstances were excepted when determining eligibility for the two-year lock-up period.

A broad range of regulatory compliance controls will be imposed upon registrants, including periodic reporting to the SEC (Form ADV) and investors alike, key employees of the adviser being subject to SEC fitness screens, as well as advisers establishing programmes to prevent violation of federal securities laws.

Technically, SEC registration does not yet make an investment adviser a financial institution, as defined under the Bank Secrecy Act for the purposes of the Patriot Act. But it does bring them one step closer to being subject to the US anti-money laundering regime, under the mandate of a federal functional regulator (as is the case for securities brokers and dealers or commodity trading advisers). The writing appears to be on the wall, as most investment advisers now choose to adopt anti-money laundering programmes based on Patriot Act requirements regardless.

Much like the Treasury rules, the registration requirements extend to offshore advisers (that is, those having a principal office or place of business outside of the US) where the adviser has more than 15 US resident clients. The SEC has ignored the need for offshore advisers to have managed assets over $30m.

When calculating US resident clients, the offshore adviser will need to count US-based hedge funds (determined at the time of investment by principal office and place of business for corporations and part-nerships) and must still look through offshore private funds for US resident investors. The compromise is that, if the offshore adviser needs to register, they can then treat the offshore private fund as their client (and not drill down to the investors) for the purposes of the application of the regulations.

In theory, therefore, an offshore adviser that provides services to an offshore private fund or funds with more than 15 US resident investors will need to register, notwithstanding the amount of foreign investors or the domicile of the fund.

So, how does the new rule sit with onshore or offshore investment advisers?

Fortunately, the scope of the private fund criteria meant that many venture capital, real estate investment and private equity funds automatically fall out-side the ambit. As the lock-up period applied only to investments made on or after 1 February (the registration deadline), it is understood that some advisers restructured their funds to impose a lock-in period exceeding two years. This is more easily said than done, as hedge funds with continuous offerings will have revised their offering memoranda and may have had to re-negotiate subscription terms for investors pre-existing 1 February.

Although some of the regulatory compliance requirements are relaxed, registration still has the effect of subjecting offshore advisers to US jurisdiction and SEC examination. Aside from the costs of compliance, many offshore advisers will be rankled by the thought that their records and those of their clients will be accessible to the SEC.

In conclusion, although there may be some rationality to requiring greater disclosure in the hope of preventing fraud, you have to wonder whether the scope of the rule, as it applies to offshore advisers with only tenuous US connections, is yet another manifestation of the extra-territorial reach of US regulation.


Martin Livingston is an associate at Maples & Calder in Grand Cayman.

FaGal 20-03-06 15:27

Gli hedge fund rallentano con le Borse troppo brillanti


VITTORIA PULEDDA

Blanditi, corteggiati ma anche temuti dai risparmiatori e in parte dalle autorità di vigilanza, che non a caso hanno dettato regole più stringenti per questi prodotti a difesa dell’investitore potenzialmente poco consapevole: gli hedge fund rappresentano negli ultimi anni la novità più articolata e di successo nel mondo del risparmio gestito.
In Italia sono soggetti a limiti particolarmente "punitivi": l’investimento minimo deve essere di 500 mila euro, con un tetto massimo di 200 sottoscrittori, proprio per evitare che un singolo fondo diventi troppo grande e che un eventuale errore del gestore si riveli troppo nefasto per molti. Tuttavia un po’ tutti i paesi hanno dettato condizioni e restrizioni all’operatività di questi prodotti, considerati in una qualche misura rischiosi, perché possono operare "a leva", cioè investendo cifre superiori a quelle di cui si ha la disponibilità in portafoglio lavorando con i prodotti derivati; in altre parole, andando "corti" sul mercato se si ritiene che sia il momento giusto.
Eppure, alla prudenza delle autorità di vigilanza per lungo tempo ha fatto da contraltare il gradimento dei risparmiatori. Che, almeno nel nostro paese, non accenna a tramontare: da gennaio del 2005 la raccolta netta di questi prodotti è sempre stata positiva cosa che non può certo dirsi per il complesso dei fondi comuni sebbene il "bottino" abbia dimensioni variabili: il massimo di periodo è stato toccato nel maggio scorso, con un più 995 milioni di euro, il minimo in settembre, con un più 50 mentre l’ultimo dato disponibile, al febbraio 2006, segnala una raccolta netta pari a 360 milioni di euro contro il dato complessivo dell’universo fondi in rosso per 919 milioni di euro. Il fenomeno ha dimensioni di tutto rispetto anche in termini assoluti: lo stock complessivo degli hedge fund, secondo i dati Assogestioni, era pari a 20,56 miliardi di euro a fine febbraio scorso. A livello mondiale, tuttavia, gli hedge fund cominciano a dare qualche segno di stanchezza: secondo le statistiche citate dalla Ubs investment bank, per la prima volta da dieci anni il settore ha perso denaro. Più in particolare, nel terzo trimestre del 2005 (ultimi dati disponibili) ci sono stati deflussi netti per 824 milioni di dollari, contro sottoscrizioni al netto dei riscatti per 11 miliardi di dollari nel corrispondente periodo 2004. Per l’intero 2005, invece, i flussi netti a livello globale si sono dimezzati: 40 miliardi di dollari contro i 75 del 2004. Insomma, le cose vanno ancora bene, ma si avvertono i primi segnali di stanchezza da parte dei risparmiatori. La spiegazione tutto sommato è semplice: negli ultimi tempi le performance di questi prodotti non sono state più clamorose, a fronte di rischi che tutto sommato non sono trascurabili. Nella maggior parte dei casi, infatti, questi prodotti hanno uno stile di investimento "long/short equity", insomma investono sul mercato azionario ma mediando il rischio. Ciò significa che nei periodi di mercato Toro, decisamente rialzista come quello attuale (a Piazza Affari ma un po’ ovunque nel mondo) questi prodotti offrono rendimenti non particolarmente brillanti. L’obiettivo di dare una performance sempre e comunque, tutti i mesi, porta infatti ad adottare una politica di investimento che utilizza le tecniche di copertura; se il mercato ha una sola direzione, specie al rialzo, i rendimenti un po’ ne soffrono. Senza contare che questi prodotti specie nella versione fondi di fondi, meno rischiosi ma più onerosi per i sottoscrittori hanno costi mediamente più alti degli altri, quindi prima di cominciare a guadagnare devono ripagarsi di costi non indifferenti. «Tuttavia, in un portafoglio ben strutturato di un risparmiatore benestante, una quota di fondi alternativi deve esserci spiega Pietro Giuliani, amministratore delegato di Azimut, una delle pochissime sgr insieme a Ersel, Kairos e Unifortune, che hanno "in casa" un fondo hedge puro, mentre molto più numerosa è la pattuglia di quanti vendono i fondi di fondi hedge perché garantiscono o quanto meno dovrebbero garantire un rendimento sempre e comunque; dunque, offrendo una buona copertura alla volatilità dei mercati e ai periodi di Borsa Orso».
Tuttavia, come si vede dal grafico, negli ultimi tempi le performance di questi prodotti non sono proprio esaltanti: con l’eccezione dei nove mesi, ad un anno e a due anni le performance dei fondi hedge sono più o meno allineate a quelle dell’indice generale dei fondi comuni e sono decisamente più basse di quelle dei flessibili (che dovrebbero avere una logica analoga all’hedge ma senza poter usare la leva finanziaria andando "corti" sul mercato). La "colpa" spiegano gli esperti del settore è dell’andamento troppo brillante delle Borse. Ma, come è ovvio, le quotazioni non vanno mai in una sola direzione: «In uno scenario "normalizzato", gli hedge fund sono lo strumento ideale. Certo, occorre avere un orizzonte temporale non troppo limitato, in media almeno a cinque anni», conferma Fabrizio Carlini, responsabile insieme a Francesco Zantoni del Kairos hedge fund gestito a Milano.


affari&finanza

FaGal 20-03-06 15:29

Il mercato dei derivati sul credito raddoppia

l’allarme


Il mercato mondiale dei derivati sul credito ha chiuso il 2005 con volumi più che raddoppiati, nonostante il rallentamento della crescita, che ha inciso sul secondo semestre. Questo proprio mentre le autorità di vigilanza esprimono preoccupazione per un’espansione troppo veloce, che sfugge al controllo delle banche. Il mercato è cresciuto del 39%, a 17.300 miliardi di dollari nel secondo semestre, con un incremento del 105% per l’intero 2005. L’espansione dei derivati sul credito, strumenti usati per tutelarsi dal rischio d’insolvenza sul debito o per puntare sulla qualità del credito, è rallentata l’anno scorso rispetto al 123 percento del 2004, come ha indicato la International Swaps and Derivatives Association a Singapore nella sua riunione annuale. Gli swap sulle insolvenze, che pagano gli investitori nel caso che in cui un debitore non onori i propri impegni, hanno guidato la crescita dell’intero settore dei derivati. La Federal Reserve Bank di New York ha chiesto alle società di brokeraggio di risolvere il problema dell’accumulo di contratti rimasti inevasi per settimane e a volte mesi. Le authority di settore temono che non vi siano titoli sufficienti in circolazione per liquidare i contratti, nei casi di effettiva insolvenza delle aziende, minacciando la stabilità dell’intero sistema finanziario. Secondo il presidente della New York Fed, Timothy Geithner, le 10 maggiori holding finanziarie degli Usa sono esposte a un potenziale rischio di credito per 600 miliardi di dollari derivante dalla loro posizione nei derivati.
affari&finanza

giusy44 20-03-06 16:40

molto interessante

ramirez 20-03-06 19:42

io opero in derivati (mercato idem) e trovo che sia
un mercato con opportunità fantastiche dallo
speculatore assatanato a chi vuole semplicemente
pararsi il cu-lo su eccessive perdite...
Se poi pensiamo che il denaro sia lo ster-co del diavolo
vabbè compriamo bot

FaGal 22-03-06 16:52

Hedge Fund Chief Can't Get to Russia
www.theledger.com - By ANDREW E. KRAMER - New York Times - March 18, 2006


MOSCOW - Russia has been holding up an entry visa to William F. Browder, who controls a $4 billion hedge fund in Moscow and is the largest foreign investor in the country's stock market.

Mr. Browder has been living in London for the last four months waiting for a visa.

While minor delays are common, a delay of four months would suggest an intentional refusal on the part of the Russian government to allow Mr. Browder to travel to Russia.

The delay was also unusual for such a high-profile investor. Authorities have often meddled with permits, or more aggressively, staged tax police raids on Russian businesses, but foreign investors have largely been spared direct government pressure.

Still, the Kremlin is seeking foreign investment in several large energy companies and would seemingly have no incentive to expel a hedge fund manager helping to channel capital into Russia.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry, which processes visa requests, declined to comment after working hours on Friday, asking that questions be faxed to a more senior press official.

Mr. Browder, the chief executive of Hermitage Capital Management, said he could not immediately discuss the details of the delay, but would later explain what happened.

"We've received a very sympathetic response from very senior officials in Russia and expect the situation to be resolved shortly," Mr. Browder said.

Hermitage Capital Management said the delay had no effect on investment returns, which soared this year, along with the Russian stock market.

The fund was up 43 percent in the months that Mr. Browder was absent from Russia, the company said. "All aspects of the business have continued to run normally," it said.








UK investor barred by Russia
www.telegraph.co.uk - By Christopher Hope, Industry Editor - March 18, 2006


Bill Browder, British chief executive of the largest foreign investor in Russia, Hermitage Capital Management, has been banned from entering the country for the past four months.

Mr Browder has developed a reputation as a campaigner for shareholder rights in Russia, particularly by targeting corporate governance issues at the state-controlled gas giant Gazprom.

Yesterday, Hermitage, which runs Russia's largest equity fund with more than $4bn under management, confirmed Mr Browder had been barred from the country since mid-November.

Hermitage stressed the exclusion had not affected the operations of its fund, which serves over 6,000 institutional and individual investors from 30 countries.

A spokesman said: "The fund is up over 43pc since this incident took place.

"Hermitage has been working constructively with senior Russian government officials to resolve this situation and has received full support of the British Government in these discussions."

The British embassy said the Russian authorities had given no reason for barring Mr Browder, who holds a British passport. Tony Brenton, the British ambassador, said: "British ministers have raised the matter with their Russian counterparts.

"Decisions of this sort are a matter for the Russian authorities, but we have asked them to reconsider and understand Mr Browder's concern that he has not been informed of the reasons for this decision." Russia's Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Other investors rallied to Mr Browder's defence. James Fenkner, partner at Red Star Asset Management, a $100m hedge fund, said: "It's hard to find any other investors who have done more to bring money into Russia than Bill."








Ex-Putin aide says G8 summit will be a triumph for dictators as Russia delays issuing visa for leading foreign investor
www.finfacts.com - By Finfacts Team - March 19, 2006

William Browder is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, the international hedge fund firm specializing in Russian equities.


The Russian Federation has been holding up an entry visa for US born British citizen William F. Browder, who controls a $4 billion hedge fund in Moscow and is the biggest foreign investor in the country's stock market.

Browder has been living in London for the last four months waiting for a visa. He is the chief executive of Hermitage Capital Management and is reported to have said he could not immediately discuss the details of the delay, but would later explain what happened.

"We've received a very sympathetic response from very senior officials in Russia and expect the situation to be resolved shortly," Browder said.

Browder has in the past spoken positively of President Putin but his advocacy of improved corporate governance, at large companies such as Gazprom, the state-controlled natural gas giant, has made him powerful enemies.

The hedge fund has gained 43 percent in the months that Browder was absent from Russia, the company said.

Meanwhile, Andrei Illarionov, a former economics adviser to President Vladimir Putin, has said that Western countries have adopted a policy of appeasement towards Russia by endorsing it as president of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised countries.

The Financial Times says that Illarionov said that by attending a G8 summit in St Petersburg this July, Group of Seven members would endorse fully Moscow’s policy of “nationalisation of private property, destruction of the rule of law, violation of human rights and liquidation of democracy”.

Illarionov, who was a critic of Putin's policies before he quit the Kremlin last year, said Russia did not qualify as a G8 member on either economic or political grounds.

The FT says that Russia’s gross domestic product per capita was less than one third that of the G7 and last year it was downgraded by the US-based Freedom House from a partially free country to a status of not-free country. “The St Petersburg summit will be a triumph for dictators around the world and a signal to them that what they do to their people and neighbours does not matter,” Mr Illarionov said at a recent meeting with journalists.





Cloud over G8 summit as Russia bars entry to fund boss
www.business.timesonline.co.uk - By Carl Mortished - March 22, 2006

The exclusion of Bill Browder has shone the spotlight again on the conflicts between business and corruption in Moscow


Preparation for the global leaders’ summit in Moscow in July are being overshadowed by the visa troubles of Bill Browder, the manager of Hermitage Management, Russia’s leading foreign investor fund, who has been barred from the country under a law that excludes foreigners who threaten national security.

The American-born Briton, who was refused entry at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport last November, has been given no explanation for his exclusion.

His case has been taken up by Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and sources close to Downing Street indicate that Tony Blair’s advisers to the G8 summit are pushing the fund manager’s immigration difficulties on to the agenda.

Mr Browder is an unlikely target of Kremlin displeasure. A highly successful but maverick fund manager, who campaigns aggressively for better governance in Russian companies, he is also an outspoken supporter of President Putin, frequently defending the the Russian leader and his policies in speeches and articles in the Western press.

His case has been put to several leading Russian officials, including Alexei Kudrin, the Finance Minister, German Gref, the Economy Minister, and Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister.

Mr Browder told The Times that he remained hopeful of being able to return to Moscow: “We are working closely with a number of Russian government officials who have given us indication that they are optimistic that this matter will eventually be resolved.”

However, petty corruption is rife within Russia’s security services and entry refusals frequently are used as a lever in business disputes. Russian ministries sympathetic to foreign investment and the reform process have no influence over the FSB, the successor organisation to the Soviet-era KGB.

The Moscow investment community is baffled by the decision to ban Mr Browder. His case is unusually protracted, according to Roland Nash, head of research at Renaissance Capital. “There appears to be no end in sight,” he said.

Hermitage is the leading foreign portfolio investor in Russia with $4.1 billion (£2.3 billion) in assets, a quarter of which is managed for American funds. Mr Browder’s success is linked closely to his combative approach, pointing the finger at corruption and campaigning for minority shareholder rights. His vocal campaigns may, some believe, provide a clue to his exclusion.

Hermitage’s biggest stakeholding, which the fund has not quantified, is in Gazprom. Mr Browder and his colleagues have subjected the gas giant to an unofficial annual audit, accusing former managers of fraud and asset-stripping. Campaigns have also been waged against Surgutneftegaz, an energy company, Sberbank, the national savings bank, and UES, the power company. In the case of Gazprom, the guerrilla tactics were successful, leading to the removal of its former chairman and the recovery of some of the stolen assets.

The Hermitage chief’s rebellious streak may be inherited. He is the grandson of Earl Browder, general secretary of the US Communist Party during the 1930s.

However, Mr Browder is also a vociferous critic of — and sometimes litigant against — Russia’s tycoon capitalists, the oligarchs, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos chief executive, who is serving a jail sentence for tax evasion.

Drawback of following in grandfather’s steps

Bill Browder is an unabashed cheerleader for Vladimir Putin. In fact, he is so enthusiastic that the Russian President apparently ordered that copies of a speech that the fund manager delivered, praising Russia’s prospects, be copied and distributed in Russian embassies around the world.

Why, then, has Mr Putin’s biggest fan been refused a visa for entry into Russia? The Hermitage fund manager seems not to know, but he could draw a few lessons from his grandfather, Earl Browder, who, with John Reed, helped to found the American Communist Party. Earl Browder became general secretary and twice ran for election as US President.

Like his grandson, he was a rebel who enjoyed upsetting the rich and powerful. He went to prison twice, the second time for passport irregularities, and in the 1950s was hauled before Senator Joe McCarthy’s hearings on communist influence. He fell out with his party in 1944 and later was expelled, after the Kremlin criticised him for arguing that capitalism and communism could co-exist.

Earl Browder said later that American communists thrived when they campaigned for reform but failed when they championed the Soviet Union.

With his campaigns against crookery in state enterprises, Bill Browder has been banging a similar drum in Russia today. Some in the Kremlin may think his music too loud.

FaGal 22-03-06 17:53

SEC registration filings expose market abuse allegations
French regulator Autorité des Marches Financiers (AMF) is investigating five hedge funds for insider trading
French regulator Autorité des Marches Financiers (AMF) is investigating five hedge funds for insider trading involving French telecommunications company Alcatel. GLG Partners, Ferox, Meditor, UBS O’Connor, and Marshall Wace are the five hedge funds under scrutiny and face allegations that they traded shares of Alcatel and Vivendi Universal before the companies announced a convertible bond sale back in 2002.

The allegations and subsequent investigations have come to light following the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) new registration disclosure requirements.

Marshall Wace, in its filing “strongly disputes the claim [made by the AMF] and has provided irrefutable evidence that the trades in question happened after the announcement of the convertible bond transaction.” According to information provided by Marshall Wace in its SEC filing document, the allegation is a result of an error on the part of JPMorgan, who has mistakenly recoded the time of the order as one minute before the convertible bond sale was announced. JPMorgan has informed the AMF of the mistake, the filing shows.

GLG Partners faces its second allegation after the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) fined the manager $1.32 million last month for trading on privileged information before a Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group convertible bond sale in 2003. GLG Partners declined to comment on the second allegation as did Meditor.

According to the filing document produced by Ferox Capital Management, an investigation into alleged insider trading began in December 2004. But a response to the allegation was not forthcoming in the filing document and Ferox declined to offer a comment to HFMWeek.

UBS O’Connor, which manages $1.8 billion and is being investigated for insider trading involving Vivendi shares, is waiting to receive the final investigation report from the AMF before submitting a response, its SEC filing document shows.

The new SEC registration requirements, which came into effect on February 1, makes sensitive information such as market abuse allegations, open to the public. But according to one hedge fund manager, “the additional disclosure is ok. It should not be a deterrent to managers and is a natural step [towards greater transparency].”

HFM Week

FaGal 31-03-06 13:52

International Monetary hedge fund?
$500bn in excess foreign exchange reserves could be invested on behalf of poor
Larry Summers, former US Treasury secretary and outgoing president of Harvard University, suggested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should become the world’s largest hedge fund. He made his remarks in an address to a conference entitled Reflections on Global Account Imbalances and Emerging Market Reserve Accumulation in Mumbai last week.

Summers called upon the IMF and the World Bank to create a “poor people’s hedge fund” to alleviate poverty by using developing nations’ excess foreign exchange reserves. “Perhaps it is time for the IMF and World Bank to think about how they can contribute to deploying the funds of major emerging markets, rather than lending to major emerging markets,” he said.

In the third quarter of 2005, developing countries had foreign exchange reserves that exceeded their short-term overseas borrowings by as much as $1.5trn, which is probably earning zero in terms of real return, Summers noted. He said: “A $500bn hedge fund producing returns of 6% would not be an overly ambitious estimate to start with, and what better way to counter misplaced apprehensions about hedge funds than to employ the IMF and World Bank as legitimate monitors of a hedge fund.”

HFMweek

FaGal 02-04-06 10:11

La clamorosa resa dei conti con i fondi in un libro dell’ex manager della Borsa tedesca Seifert, atto d’accusa per le «locuste»
FRANCOFORTE - È un duro attacco, quello che l’ex presidente di Deutsche Börse Werner Seifert sferra con il suo libro «Invasione delle cavallette» ai nuovi signori del denaro, gli hedge funds anglosassoni. Gli stessi che approfittando dell’uscita delle banche tedesche dal capitale della borsa di Francoforte si erano impadroniti, nella primavera del 2005, di una forte maggioranza, per scalzare Seifert dalla posizione, bloccando l’acquisizione ostile della Lse londinese. E provocando un terremoto ai vertici del colosso borsistico. Il libro sarà presentato lunedì a Francoforte dallo stesso Seifert, tornato dall’Irlanda, dove si è rifugiato con la sua buonuscita di 10 milioni di euro. Si tratta di una «resa dei conti» intrisa di veleno, che mette in luce il paradosso del quale Seifert si è trovato prigioniero nella sua aspirazione di grandezza: ha trasformato in 12 anni una piccola borsa delle grida nella più potente d’Europa continentale per poi collocarla con successo, aprendola al capitale internazionale. Poi è rimasto vittima delle regole della grande finanza, che chiede di partecipare alle decisioni del consiglio di amministrazione. È qui quello che Seifert descrive come un «dramma»: quello che ha trasformato il top manager da aspirante conquistatore in preda.
Un dramma anche per Rolf Breuer, ex presidente di Deutsche Bank (tuttora alla guida dell’organo di sorveglianza) e insieme a Seifert co-artefice dell’espansione di Deutsche Börse. Il «gentleman di ghiaccio», perennemente abbronzato, era tornato «frustrato» da un incontro a Londra nell’aprile 2005 con l’«aggressivo» e «arrogante» Chris Mohn, capo dello hedge fund Tci e ispiratore della rivolta degli azionisti. Questi a sorpresa gli aveva annunciato di aver rastrellato, insieme a Rothschild, Och-Ziff, Perry Capital, Fidelity e Merrill Lynch, fra il 60 e l’80% del capitale di Deutsche Börse. Poi gli ha chiesto di farsi da parte, lui e Seifert, perché il suo gruppo era «così forte da poter insediare anche Topolino o Paperino nel consiglio di sorveglianza». Una chiara «azione di concerto», secondo Seifert. Ma la Bafin (la Consob tedesca) non è stata in grado di provarlo. Sintomatico poi che della partita fosse Jacob Rothschild, discendente di quella famiglia di banchieri ebrei che aveva guidato la modernizzazione delle banche tedesche.
Marika de Feo corriere

FaGal 09-04-06 21:30

Thorns in the foliage
Mar 30th 2006 | GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT
From The Economist print edition


Financial watchdogs are making life less comfortable for hedge funds

LIFE looks pretty good in hedge-fund country. The mansions are sprawling; luxury-car dealerships—Mercedes, BMW, Maserati, Ferrari—sit cheek by jowl; and there are lots of fancy shops and cafés with faux-French names. In Greenwich, home to more than a few investment boutiques, even the local library oozes money: rows of pricey Aeron chairs cushion the posteriors of well-dressed patrons as they browse the internet on flat-screen monitors.

Nevertheless, these days it is becoming harder for hedge-fund managers to make money. Those who invest the wealth of rich individuals, family offices and institutions using fiendishly complicated investment strategies face greater competition. New funds are set up almost every day: across the world there are now more than 8,000. More dollars are pursuing the same strategies, reducing returns for many. The costs of both fund-management talent and office space are climbing.

Since February 1st, new rules have added a layer of cost and compliance for many funds. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now requires most hedge-fund managers to register if they have 15 American investors or more. The idea is to keep a closer eye on those with lots of investors than on those with a few rich ones, who are presumed to be better able to look after themselves. More than 2,100 hedge-fund managers had registered by the deadline, the SEC says, including many abroad with American clients. Industry lobbying won exemption from the regulation for American (though not foreign) funds with less than $25m under management and investment “lock-up” periods of less than two years.

The new rule, says David Matteson, who heads the hedge-fund practice at Gardner, Carton and Douglas, a law firm, will mean extra costs and a potential “chilling effect on creating new investment strategies.” He is not even convinced that the rule will protect investors. The SEC, he says, lacks the resources to watch over so many funds; and minimum investment requirements in effect bar small investors from hedge funds anyway.

The industry's sheer size—it now manages more than $1.5 trillion, according to HedgeFund Intelligence, a specialised information firm—has prompted regulators around the world to take a much closer look. Recently, the financial regulators in Dublin shut down three hedge funds operated by Broadstone Fund Management, an investment firm. Meanwhile in Britain, where more than three-quarters of Europe's hedge-fund assets are managed, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has been looking into potential conflicts of interest among fund managers and the unfair treatment of investors.

However, not all the regulatory attention is unwelcome. The FSA has also said that it may allow retail investors, not just institutions or rich individuals, to invest in funds of hedge funds, which spread money across individual funds using a single investment product. Other European countries, including France, Germany and Ireland, have already moved towards regulatory structures that permit retail investment in hedge funds, says Florence Lombard, of the Alternative Investment Management Association, an industry group in London. The European Union has also set up an “expert group” to study harmonisation of member states' rules and taxation on funds.

America's hedge-fund market, though, remains the world's largest and most important. The regulatory tightening there is being watched by hedge-fund managers in other countries too. But they, you suspect, will not be watching as nervously as the good citizens of Greenwich.
economist

FaGal 26-04-06 08:37

FOCUS
Un «hedge fund» chiamato Fmi Ma funzionerà?
La buona salute dell’economia mondiale sta costando cara al Fondo monetario internazionale. Le richieste di sostegno dai paesi in crisi sono calo, e con lei lo è la capacità del Fondo di finanziarsi grazie agli interessi sui prestiti. Grandi clienti come l’Argentina, il Brasile e la Russia hanno ripagato i debiti in anticipo. E ormai l’Fmi ha un portafoglio di prestiti (35 miliardi di dollari)troppo ridotto per coprire i propri costi. Il suo modello di business è in panne, nei prossimi anni il Fondo potrebbe subire perdite da centinaia di milioni. Una bella nemesi per chi si occupa - e vive - dei deficit altrui. Per scongiurarla il direttore generale del Fmi Rodrigo de Rato pensa sì a ridurre le spese. Ma non basta: occorre trovare altre fonti di reddito. Di qui l’ipotesi, discussa agli incontri di primavera degli 184 Stati azionisti, di creare un «conto d’investimento» del Fondo stesso. Si tratterebbe di far fruttare meglio sui mercati finanziari almeno parte delle riserve di liquidità da 9 miliardi di dollari del Fmi. Resta giusto un dubbio: per la sua attività di vigilanza sulle economie e la finanza globali, per definizione l’Fmi dispone di informazioni privilegiate rispetto al resto del mercato. Gli stessi pronunciamenti del Fondo influenzano i prezzi delle valute e dei titoli con regolarità. Insomma, i sospetti di insider trading e conflitto d’interesse possono essere dietro l’angolo. Come si crede di poterli dissipare? (f. fub.)
:(

FaGal 26-04-06 17:17

Market Analysis
Curing the world’s ills − or salving consciences?
THE IDEA of socially responsible investment (SRI) might seem to run contrary to the hedge fund industry mentality.

Hedge funds have traditionally been about making the best returns by whatever means. They’re the place where investors go to take risks and make high returns. SRI funds are the place they go to ease their social conscience. The two do not mix well together.

But what if falling under the SRI tag could in fact be a way to tap into a large pool of assets, while taking a sensible bet on changes in the modern world?

A total of $2.3trn, around 10% of all monies invested, is in SRI funds, according to studies by the Social Investment Forum, a US-based organisation that promotes socially responsible investing. It’s a pool that few hedge funds have yet to go after, and it is growing faster than non-SRI investment. The Social Investment Forum recorded US assets in SRI funds at the close of 2004 of $179bn, up $28bn in two years.

Pensions and endowments are increasingly obliged to invest via SRI funds, according to Lisa Vioni, founder of Hedge Connection, a capital introduction firm serving the hedge funds industry. Mutual funds are now latching on to the idea that there are assets to be tapped. According to Todd Larsen, media director for the Social Investment Forum, in 1995 there were 55 SRI funds in the US and there are now around 200. But there are still probably no more than five SRI hedge funds operating in the US, he says.

SRI refers to funds that have any kind of socially responsible screening on where they invest. The most common are negative screens against tobacco and arms. But they can also operate positive screens where they look for industries or companies within an industry that are operating in the most socially responsible manner.

In reality, the majority of SRI funds are in fact 95% correlated to the S&P500, according to Philip Matyi, chief financial officer of Civic Capital Group, one of the few US SRI hedge funds.

The area where they differ is “oil and smokestack” versus “high-tech and newer industries” he says, so whether they beat the S&P500 or underperform it largely depends on these areas. Many SRI funds had a bad year in 2005 because energy was a good place to be and they weren’t invested there.

Hedge funds could be in a unique position to tap into the growing appetite for SRI investment by operating the same old-versus-new play, but using their flexibility to produce better returns while remaining uncorrelated to indices.

Matyi’s fund is a good example of how a hedge fund does this. For long positions it takes specific social factors such as pollution or obesity and looks for companies that are successfully addressing them. Then it uses short positions to take away market risk in order to isolate the social factors that it is exposed to on its long book.

“We ask what are the problems that are facing society that have inertia − like education, environmental needs and obesity,” says Matyi.

Then the fund’s management team looks for companies that are successful in addressing that particular issue.

One long position the fund took was in a biotech firm called Senomyx. Senomyx was producing food flavouring that could fool the human body into believing it was sugar or salt. Taking a position in Senomyx played on the growing trend for more nutritious food.

“There is a move for eating healthier foods and supermarkets know this and are devoting more shelf space to them,” says Matyi. “They are taking shelf space away from less nutritious foods. So we take long positions in good companies offering nutritious foods and short those offering non-nutritious.”

The mandate of Civic Capital may show there is space for profit and a conscience. In the increasingly crowded hedge fund space, more managers are likely to look at taking on the SRI tag as a means of attracting investors, especially if its growth continues to outstrip non-SRI investment.

HFManager

claudio_rome 26-04-06 18:00

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
La clamorosa resa dei conti con i fondi in un libro dell’ex manager della Borsa tedesca Seifert, atto d’accusa per le «locuste»
FRANCOFORTE - È un duro attacco, quello che l’ex presidente di Deutsche Börse Werner Seifert sferra con il suo libro «Invasione delle cavallette» ai nuovi signori del denaro, gli hedge funds anglosassoni. Gli stessi che approfittando dell’uscita delle banche tedesche dal capitale della borsa di Francoforte si erano impadroniti, nella primavera del 2005, di una forte maggioranza, per scalzare Seifert dalla posizione, bloccando l’acquisizione ostile della Lse londinese. E provocando un terremoto ai vertici del colosso borsistico. Il libro sarà presentato lunedì a Francoforte dallo stesso Seifert, tornato dall’Irlanda, dove si è rifugiato con la sua buonuscita di 10 milioni di euro. Si tratta di una «resa dei conti» intrisa di veleno, che mette in luce il paradosso del quale Seifert si è trovato prigioniero nella sua aspirazione di grandezza: ha trasformato in 12 anni una piccola borsa delle grida nella più potente d’Europa continentale per poi collocarla con successo, aprendola al capitale internazionale. Poi è rimasto vittima delle regole della grande finanza, che chiede di partecipare alle decisioni del consiglio di amministrazione. È qui quello che Seifert descrive come un «dramma»: quello che ha trasformato il top manager da aspirante conquistatore in preda.
Un dramma anche per Rolf Breuer, ex presidente di Deutsche Bank (tuttora alla guida dell’organo di sorveglianza) e insieme a Seifert co-artefice dell’espansione di Deutsche Börse. Il «gentleman di ghiaccio», perennemente abbronzato, era tornato «frustrato» da un incontro a Londra nell’aprile 2005 con l’«aggressivo» e «arrogante» Chris Mohn, capo dello hedge fund Tci e ispiratore della rivolta degli azionisti. Questi a sorpresa gli aveva annunciato di aver rastrellato, insieme a Rothschild, Och-Ziff, Perry Capital, Fidelity e Merrill Lynch, fra il 60 e l’80% del capitale di Deutsche Börse. Poi gli ha chiesto di farsi da parte, lui e Seifert, perché il suo gruppo era «così forte da poter insediare anche Topolino o Paperino nel consiglio di sorveglianza». Una chiara «azione di concerto», secondo Seifert. Ma la Bafin (la Consob tedesca) non è stata in grado di provarlo. Sintomatico poi che della partita fosse Jacob Rothschild, discendente di quella famiglia di banchieri ebrei che aveva guidato la modernizzazione delle banche tedesche.
Marika de Feo corriere


In Germania sono piu' socialcomunisti che in Italia. Altro che libero mercato ..... da noi almeno c'e' il nero che elimina un po' di inefficienze stataliste ... li' non hanno nemmeno quello (comunque molto meno che da noi) ...

Mi ricordano tanto gli anni 30, quando un certo Hitler addossava la colpa della crisi economica tedesca ai banchieri ebrei (Rothschild), al capitalismo inglese e alle democrazie occidentali.

Per fortuna dopo 70 anni almeno una cosa hanno capito: che si sta' meglio con la democrazia. Quanto ci metteranno a capire che si sta' meglio con il libero mercato e il capitalismo (quello vero, non quello mezzo finto socialdemocratico), 140 anni?

FaGal 26-04-06 18:23

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da claudio_rome
In Germania sono piu' socialcomunisti che in Italia. Altro che libero mercato ..... da noi almeno c'e' il nero che elimina un po' di inefficienze stataliste ... li' non hanno nemmeno quello (comunque molto meno che da noi) ...

Mi ricordano tanto gli anni 30, quando un certo Hitler addossava la colpa della crisi economica tedesca ai banchieri ebrei (Rothschild), al capitalismo inglese e alle democrazie occidentali.

Per fortuna dopo 70 anni almeno una cosa hanno capito: che si sta' meglio con la democrazia. Quanto ci metteranno a capire che si sta' meglio con il libero mercato e il capitalismo (quello vero, non quello mezzo finto socialdemocratico), 140 anni?

Pensa che chi fa nero consistente io lo iscriverei alla stessa banca dati dei cattivi pagatori (non vedo perchè non pagare delle rate sia meno grave che evadere qualche decina di migliaia di euro) e farei provvedimenti :bye: interdittivi...come la pensiamo diversamente...

claudio_rome 26-04-06 18:31

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
Pensa che chi fa nero consistente io lo iscriverei alla stessa banca dati dei cattivi pagatori (non vedo perchè non pagare delle rate sia meno grave che evadere qualche decina di migliaia di euro) e farei provvedimenti :bye: interdittivi...come la pensiamo diversamente...

Premesso che a me il nero non piace, preferisco sempre la legalita' alla illegalita' ...... storicamente la pressione fiscale complessiva in uno stato efficiente non serve che sia superiore al 18% complessivo. In Italia (e in molti altri paesi occidentali) mi pare stiamo sul 50%. Se il nero e' circa il 30% dell'economia reale, va ancora bene.


P.S. La banca dati per i cattivi pagatori, serve ai creditori per capire se il (futuro) debitore abbia un buon "carattere" finanziario. Fai una ricerca con google su "fico credit score" (si pronuncia Faico :) )

FaGal 26-04-06 18:39

Meno male che sei per la concorrenza ed il mercato...quello nero :D

claudio_rome 26-04-06 18:40

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
Meno male che sei per la concorrenza ed il mercato...quello nero :D

Meglio il mercato nero del socialverdecomunismo. E quando dico meglio, e' soprattutto meglio per le classi povere e medie.


P.S. E' grazie al mercato nero se a Roma decine di migliaia di persone non sono morte di fame durante la guerra e subito dopo. Ed e' grazie al mercato nero che l'effetto della disoccupazione e' meno marcato di quanto sarebbe in sua assenza.

FaGal 26-04-06 18:46

Io ritengo che per riformare si debba partire dall'alto, non dal basso o dal margine

FaGal 28-04-06 08:58

FMI, hedge funds pericolo per piccoli investitori
28/04/2006

Gli hedge funds, i fondi di investimento altamente speculativi, sono un pericolo per i risparmi delle famiglie che vi hanno investito.

A lanciare l'allarme è il Fondo Monetario Internazionale, che ha recentemente messo in guardia l'Unione Europea dal rischio sistematico che questi strumenti possono costituire per la stabilità del sistema finanziario del continente.

ITALIAECONOMIA, il magazine tv di ADNKRONOS, ha affrontato l'argomento e ne ha parlato con Paolo Gualtieri, professore di economia degli intermediari finanziari dell'Università Cattolica di Milano. Le famiglie europee possono essere soggette a questo rischio anche inconsapevolmente, perchè i loro fondi pensione o le compagnie di assicurazione hanno a loro volta investito in questi strumenti.

I fondi hedge costituiscono un potenziale pericolo anche per le società di cui diventano azionisti. Negli Stati Uniti i fondi speculativi che siedono nel consiglio di amministrazione di General Motors chiedono ristrutturazioni aggressive e migliaia di licenziamenti. In Germania si sono opposti alla fusione fra la borsa di Francoforte e quella di Londra. In Italia giocano ancora un ruolo marginale, ma nel caso Parmalat hanno ottenuto la nomina di Enrico Bondi ad amministratore delegato della società. ''Gli hedge fund -spiega Gualtieri- in qualche caso intervengono nelle assemblee, lo abbiamo visto nel caso Parmalat, però bisogna tener presente che hanno nella maggior parte dei casi degli orizzonti di breve termine di investimento, non sono degli investitori stabili, come possono essere i fondi pensione. E quindi intervengono in qualche assemblea per qualche questione specifica, in situazioni veramente molto straordinarie, come è stata la vicenda Parmalat''.

Ma il loro operato non è sempre positivo per la stabilità delle società di cui sono azionisti. ''Certamente -continua Gualtieri- essendo degli operatori per loro natura speculativi in alcune circostanze possono essere non positivi per la realizzazione di progetti industriali di lungo termine''.

Attualmente i fondi speculativi, o alternativi, come si autodefiniscono, sono circa 8.000 e gestiscono capitali per oltre 1.000 miliardi di dollari.

Da una parte contribuiscono all'efficienza del mercato, ma dall'altra possono essere una fonte sistematica di rischio per la stabilità dell'intero sistema finanziario, come recentemente sottolineato Jean Claude Trichet, presidente della Banca Centrale Europea.

Il timore delle autorità finanziarie viene dal più clamoroso caso di fallimento di un fondo speculativo. Era il 1998 e il Long-Term Capital Management, il fondo nato dal modello finanziario di due premi nobel e dalle capacità di alcuni maghi della finanza di Wall Street, fallì con un'esposizione di oltre 1.200 miliardi di dollari. Per evitare una reazione a catena, i principali esponenti del mondo bancario internazionale decisero di salvare il fondo. Per facilitare l'operazione inoltre la Federal Reserve abbasso' di mezzo punto il tasso di interesse sul dollaro. Nonostante questo i fondi hedge, con i loro elevati ritorni, attirano anche i piccoli risparmiatori. ''Naturalmente -conclude Gualtieri- in un portafogli di investimento può essere opportuno avere anche degli hedge fund, perchè ad esempio ci sono degli hedge fund che hanno de ritorni che non sono correlati con l'andamento dei mercati e questo costituisce un buon elemento di diversificazione del rischio del proprio portafoglio''.

Fonte: Adnkronos

FaGal 02-05-06 10:14

Allarme derivati sul credito, un boom a rischio

Forte espansione dell’utilizzo di questi particolari strumenti finanziari per la copertura delle esposizioni. Bankitalia ha registrato un raddoppio nel 2004. Ma adesso gli organi di controllo temono che finiscano nel portafoglio di investitori non professionali

WALTER GALBIATI

L’economia va male, le aziende sono sull’orlo del crac e qualche fallimento è alle porte? Nessun problema, basta essere assicurati sui crediti concessi attraverso i derivati. Lo sconfinato mondo di questi strumenti finanziari, infatti, oltre a tutelare gli investitori contro ogni probabile rischio — da quello del rialzo dei tassi, dei cambi e del petrolio fino al rischio di uragani o di qualche altro evento atmosferico — è rivolto anche a una voce di bilancio in genere poco liquida come quella dei crediti. E nel corso del 2004, secondo i dati riportati nell’ultima relazione annuale di Banca d’Italia, i derivati sul credito hanno conosciuto un’evoluzione del valore nozionale a 8.400 miliardi di dollari, tale da raddoppiare rispetto all’anno precedente, nonostante i crescenti timori degli organi di controllo. La paura infatti è che strumenti così sofisticati e sempre più diffusi finiscano nel portafoglio di investitori non professionali, quindi non in grado di conoscere i rischi associati a questo tipo di transazioni. Oppure che soggetti diversi dalle banche, come hedge fund e dealer di derivati si accollino al posto di altri rischi che poi non sono in grado di sostenere.
Le tipologie di derivati sui crediti più diffuse sono i Cdo (Credit debt obligation) e i Cds (Credit default swap): nel 2004 tali strumenti hanno costituito l’11 per cento delle cartolarizzazioni nell’area dell’euro e il 5% di quelle italiane. «Le cartolarizzazioni sono operazioni di finanza strutturata che servono a smobilizzare attività non liquide o future attraverso l’emissione di titoli il cui rimborso e corresponsione di interessi sono collegati ai flussi di cassa delle stesse attività smobilizzate», spiega Francesco Caputo Nassetti, professore dell’Università Bocconi e considerato uno dei padri della dottrina italiana sui derivati. Nel caso dei Cdo, i titoli emessi sono obbligazioni derivanti dall’aggregazione di diverse attività soggette a rischio di credito. L’operazione nasce da quello che in linguaggio tecnico viene definito un Originator, ovvero colui che costruisce una Cdo prendendo un’insieme di asset che ha in portafoglio e sottoposti a rischio di credito (come i prestiti privati, i derivati, le obbligazioni o i fondi comuni) per venderli dietro a un corrispettivo a un veicolo speciale, chiamato Special Purpose Vehicle (Spv).
L’Spv, che si accolla il rischio di incassare i flussi di cassa derivanti dagli asset (come per esempio il recupero dei prestiti), raggruppa le attività comprate dall’Originator in diversi sottogruppi (tranche), le valuta assegnando un merito di credito in base al profilo di rischio e successivamente le vende agli investitori. In questo modo il rischio di credito che era in capo all’Originator viene trasferito totalmente o parzialmente al veicolo e agli investitori che comprano i titoli. Ovviamente le diverse tranche offrono diverse scadenze temporali e diverse caratteristiche di credito. Le tranche migliori, quelle che godono di una priorità di rimborso in caso di mancati incassi, sono le cosiddette Senior e hanno un rating compreso tra la A e la tripla A, ma percepiscono minori interessi delle altre, le Mezzanine (con rating da B a BBB) e le Subordinate, tra tutte le più rischiose. Molto spesso l’ultima tranche, per via della sua scarsa qualità (si accolla le prime perdite del portafoglio in genere fino al 5%) viene trattenuta dallo stesso Originator o dal veicolo e viene pagata solo se non si è verificato nessun default all’interno del portafoglio sottostante.
«Quanto ai Cds (Credit default swaps), invece, si tratta di contratti derivati che consentono di trasferire il rischio di credito senza trasferire il credito. Essi consistono in una promessa di pagamento condizionata al verificarsi di un evento di insolvenza e non vanno confusi con le tradizionali forme di garanzia (fideiussione, ecc.). La loro crescita e diffusione è impressionante dato che consentono di migliorare la liquidità dei mercati, di superare la segmentazione degli stessi e di ampliare la distribuzione dei rischi di credito come se fossero una commodity», spiega Caputo Nassetti.
Chi compra un derivato di questo tipo lo fa sempre per cedere a qualcun altro il rischio di default di un credito che ha in portafoglio: se un giorno quel suo creditore dovesse dichiarare bancarotta, sarebbe il soggetto che ha venduto il Cds a rimborsare per intero il capitale investito. In cambio della protezione l’acquirente del Cds paga periodicamente un premio al venditore della protezione per l’intera durata del contratto e proporzionato al rischio di fallimento del sottostante. A&F

WorldLove 02-05-06 15:02

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
FMI, hedge funds pericolo per piccoli investitori
28/04/2006

Gli hedge funds, i fondi di investimento altamente speculativi, sono un pericolo per i risparmi delle famiglie che vi hanno investito.

A lanciare l'allarme è il Fondo Monetario Internazionale, che ha recentemente messo in guardia l'Unione Europea dal rischio sistematico che questi strumenti possono costituire per la stabilità del sistema finanziario del continente.

Marò... :eek:

FaGal 02-05-06 15:18

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da WorldLove
Marò... :eek:

Solamente che abbiamo dei pavidi difensori del risparmio

ramirez 02-05-06 18:52

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
FMI, hedge funds pericolo per piccoli investitori
28/04/2006

I fondi hedge costituiscono un potenziale pericolo anche per le società di cui diventano azionisti. portafoglio''.

Fonte: Adnkronos

E nessuno che si sia posto il problema (vabbè è troppo presto...)
di cosa succederà quando, grazie ai futuri fondi pensione, gestiti
dai sindacati, questi potranno entrare nel 'board' e condizionare
le decisioni strategiche aziendali...

FaGal 02-05-06 19:00

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da ramirez
E nessuno che si sia posto il problema (vabbè è troppo presto...)
di cosa succederà quando, grazie ai futuri fondi pensione, gestiti
dai sindacati, questi potranno entrare nel 'board' e condizionare
le decisioni strategiche aziendali...

L'accostamento a mio avviso non ha alcun fondamento se non per politicizzare una discussione senza alcun riscontro.
Non vedo cosa c'entri il problema dei fondi hedge internazionali con i fondi pensione italiani.
Non che il problema dei fondi pensione non sia esistente, ne abbiamo già parlato richiamando l'ultimo bollettino della BRI....problema di fondi pensione a livello occidentale

ramirez 02-05-06 19:30

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
L'accostamento a mio avviso non ha alcun fondamento se non per politicizzare una discussione senza alcun riscontro.
Non vedo cosa c'entri il problema dei fondi hedge internazionali con i fondi pensione italiani.
Non che il problema dei fondi pensione non sia esistente, ne abbiamo già parlato richiamando l'ultimo bollettino della BRI....problema di fondi pensione a livello occidentale

io mi sono limitato ad un singolo problema, che seppure nasca per motivi
differenti, alla fine si concretizza con lo stesso risultato.
Gli hedge fund oggi e i sindacati, può darsi, domani (lo sai vero che con i fondi
pensione gestiranno miliardi di euro? come vorranno loro...tramite
banche ma come vorranno loro..) (*)
Ora già il fatto che i sindacati siedano nel board delle imprese tedesche
è stato giudicato negativamente da molti. E molti fanno risalire a questo
fatto i risultati negativi di alcune aziende.
(*) penso che tu conosca il CALPER (il fondo pensione dei
dip. pubblici californiani, gestisce una marea di dollari
e ha contribuito a mandare a casa alcuni CEO che gli stavano
antipatici..)

FaGal 02-05-06 19:49

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da ramirez
io mi sono limitato ad un singolo problema, che seppure nasca per motivi
differenti, alla fine si concretizza con lo stesso risultato.
Gli hedge fund oggi e i sindacati, può darsi, domani (lo sai vero che con i fondi
pensione gestiranno miliardi di euro? come vorranno loro...tramite
banche ma come vorranno loro..) (*)
Ora già il fatto che i sindacati siedano nel board delle imprese tedesche
è stato giudicato negativamente da molti. E molti fanno risalire a questo
fatto i risultati negativi di alcune aziende.
(*) penso che tu conosca il CALPER (il fondo pensione dei
dip. pubblici californiani, gestisce una marea di dollari
e ha contribuito a mandare a casa alcuni CEO che gli stavano
antipatici..)

I fondi pensione e il calo dei rendimenti a lungo termine
La persistenza di bassi rendimenti nominali a lungo termine, specie nelle scadenze superiori ai
10 anni, in un contesto di crescita economica robusta ha stupito molti operatori e osservatori del
mercato. Una delle spiegazioni talvolta avanzate è che la domanda degli investitori istituzionali, in
particolare dei fondi pensione, stia esercitando pressioni al ribasso sul segmento a lunghissimo
termine della curva dei rendimenti. Questa possibilità rispecchierebbe un effetto di retroazione, nel
senso che il livello modesto dei tassi di interesse favorirebbe ulteriori acquisti di obbligazioni da
parte degli investitori istituzionali. In questo riquadro vengono esaminate le dinamiche di tale
meccanismo nel Regno Unito – dove i rendimenti a lunghissimo termine sono estremamente esigui
– nonché la probabilità che una situazione analoga si verifichi in altri mercati.
Da anni ormai i titoli del Tesoro britannico (c.d. gilt) trentennali vengono negoziati a rendimenti
più bassi di quelli dei titoli a 10 anni, e le obbligazioni a 50 anni a rendimenti persino inferiori
(cfr. riquadro di sinistra del grafico sottostante). È opinione comune che i tentativi dei fondi
pensione di ridurre le asimmetrie delle scadenze fra l’attivo e il passivo attraverso l’acquisto di
obbligazioni a lunghissimo termine abbia contribuito alla riduzione dei rendimenti. Al calare dei
rendimenti sono tuttavia aumentate le passività dei fondi pensione, accrescendo ulteriormente la
domanda di titoli a lunga scadenza e innescando nuovi ribassi dei rendimenti.
Questo effetto di retroazione è stato particolarmente pronunciato nel mercato dei gilt per due
ordini di motivi. Primo, le norme britanniche in materia di requisiti minimi di finanziamento (Minimum
Funding Requirements, MFR) e di rendicontazione finanziaria prescrivono di impiegare i rendimenti
di mercato per attualizzare le prestazioni pensionistiche future, rendendo le passività dei fondi
pensione molto sensibili a variazioni dei rendimenti􀁣. Secondo, le società preferiscono minimizzare
le oscillazioni nelle posizioni coperte dei propri piani pensionistici, essendo tenute a segnalare i
rapporti di finanziamento nei propri bilanci. Gli operatori di mercato, e di conseguenza le società,
sono divenuti particolarmente sensibili ai costi potenziali dei fondi sottocapitalizzati, dopo le ingenti
perdite registrate dalle società sui portafogli azionari agli inizi degli anni duemila, proprio quando le
loro passività venivano gonfiate dall’effetto congiunto dell’invecchiamento della popolazione e
dell’aumento della speranza di vita. Le società britanniche hanno cercato di ridurre la volatilità dei
livelli di finanziamento dei loro fondi pensione privilegiando gli investimenti in obbligazioni a lungo
termine e i piani a contribuzione definita, a scapito degli investimenti azionari e dei piani a
prestazione definita.
Anche in vari mercati al di fuori del Regno Unito i rendimenti a lunghissimo termine sono molto
bassi. I rendimenti sui titoli del Tesoro trentennali sono prossimi o lievemente inferiori a quelli dei
titoli decennali negli Stati Uniti, nell’area dell’euro e in Svizzera (cfr. il riquadro di destra del grafico
precedente). Il ruolo degli effetti di retroazione è altrettanto importante in questi mercati? Alcuni
degli elementi presenti nel Regno Unito, quali i requisiti minimi di finanziamento, sono comuni
anche ad altri paesi. Tuttavia, altri aspetti tendono a moderare l’impatto a breve dei tassi di
interesse sui rapporti di finanziamento dichiarati. Ad esempio, nei Paesi Bassi i requisiti sono più
stringenti di quelli britannici, ma i più elevati livelli di finanziamento e l’impiego di un tasso di
interesse fissato per statuto anziché dei rendimenti di mercato per attualizzare le passività
pensionistiche hanno finora permesso ai fondi pensione olandesi di operare con una durata
finanziaria dell’attivo piuttosto bassa, pari a sei anni circa (che corrispondono approssimativamente
alla duration media del mercato dei titoli pubblici dell’area dell’euro). Negli Stati Uniti molti sistemi
pensionistici aziendali sono sottocapitalizzati e le prestazioni future vengono attualizzate a tassi di
mercato. Tuttavia, i tassi utilizzati per valutare le attività e le passività di bilancio sono in certa
misura modulabili. In prospettiva, le differenze fra i sistemi del Regno Unito e quelli di altri paesi
potrebbero ridursi, quantomeno se nei Paesi Bassi e negli Stati Uniti venissero attuate le misure
proposte, fra cui un maggiore ricorso a tassi di mercato (non modulati) per attualizzare gli esborsi
per prestazioni future. È possibile che i fondi pensione di questi paesi stiano già modificando le
proprie prassi in previsione di alcuni di tali cambiamenti.
Uno dei modi per attenuare l’incidenza degli effetti di retroazione è quello di accrescere
l’offerta di obbligazioni a lungo e lunghissimo termine, generando pressioni di segno contrario sul
segmento a lunga della curva dei rendimenti. I governi e le imprese hanno già risposto al basso
livello dei rendimenti accrescendo le emissioni di titoli a 30 e a 50 anni. Tuttavia, la possibilità per
governi e imprese di emettere debito a lunga scadenza incontra limiti derivanti dall’esigenza di
mantenere bilanciata la struttura per scadenze del passivo.
http://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt0603ita_a.pdf

Questo è il problema; il caso americano non c'entra nulla poichè la normativa americana è lacunosa
http://www.covip.it/documenti/PDF/Al...IONE_Testo.pdf
http://www.servprev.it/doc/DL703.htm


Il citare il discorso dei sindacati è solo un argomento pretestuoso per fare un discorso politico demagogico

claudio_rome 02-05-06 21:33

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
I fondi pensione e il calo dei rendimenti a lungo termine
La persistenza di bassi rendimenti nominali a lungo termine, specie nelle scadenze superiori ai
10 anni, in un contesto di crescita economica robusta ha stupito molti operatori e osservatori del
mercato. Una delle spiegazioni talvolta avanzate è che la domanda degli investitori istituzionali, in
particolare dei fondi pensione, stia esercitando pressioni al ribasso sul segmento a lunghissimo
termine della curva dei rendimenti. Questa possibilità rispecchierebbe un effetto di retroazione, nel
senso che il livello modesto dei tassi di interesse favorirebbe ulteriori acquisti di obbligazioni da
parte degli investitori istituzionali.

Potrebbe essere che la domanda internazionale (Cina in testa) e' tale da mantenere bassi gli interessi?

FaGal 03-05-06 09:26

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da claudio_rome
Potrebbe essere che la domanda internazionale (Cina in testa) e' tale da mantenere bassi gli interessi?

può essere

ramirez 03-05-06 09:28

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
Il citare il discorso dei sindacati è solo un argomento pretestuoso per fare un discorso politico demagogico

fabio questo è un pezzo del tuo post:
I fondi hedge costituiscono un potenziale pericolo anche per le società di cui diventano azionisti. Negli Stati Uniti i fondi speculativi che siedono nel consiglio di amministrazione di General Motors chiedono ristrutturazioni aggressive e migliaia di licenziamenti.
ora gli hedge chiedono ristrutturazioni aggressive ecc. ecc.
se i sindacati (e non è politica ma economia, i sindacati
sono a tutti gli effetti un soggetto economico..) potranno sedere
nei cda di aziende italiane probabilmente faranno esattamente
il contrario....cercheranno di tener aperti stabilimenti obsoleti
o non produttivi...non lo vedi questo rischio? ho detto rischio,
non certezza.
Fabio se scrivessimo solo dell'accaduto, potremmo chiudere il forum
bisognerà pur parlare anche del futuro...magari (anzi certamente)
sbagliando...

FaGal 03-05-06 09:33

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da ramirez
fabio questo è un pezzo del tuo post:
I fondi hedge costituiscono un potenziale pericolo anche per le società di cui diventano azionisti. Negli Stati Uniti i fondi speculativi che siedono nel consiglio di amministrazione di General Motors chiedono ristrutturazioni aggressive e migliaia di licenziamenti.
ora gli hedge chiedono ristrutturazioni aggressive ecc. ecc.
se i sindacati (e non è politica ma economia, i sindacati
sono a tutti gli effetti un soggetto economico..) potranno sedere
nei cda di aziende italiane probabilmente faranno esattamente
il contrario....cercheranno di tener aperti stabilimenti obsoleti
o non produttivi...non lo vedi questo rischio? ho detto rischio,
non certezza.
Fabio se scrivessimo solo dell'accaduto, potremmo chiudere il forum
bisognerà pur parlare anche del futuro...magari (anzi certamente)
sbagliando...

:censored:

ramirez 03-05-06 09:37

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
:censored:

ok fabio chiudiamo qui? non annoiamo gli altri partecipanti..
un saluto

FaGal 04-05-06 14:46

Hedge Funds: How to Spot the Warning Signs of Failure
Alistair Walters, Campbells - 04 May 2006
GTNews

This article discusses hedge fund structures and considers why some funds collapse, often with substantial losses to investors. It also reviews some of the signs that can give some warning of an impending failure.


Hedge funds are, and will continue to be, one of the major asset recovery battle grounds. The warring parties comprise those running the funds (the investment managers), investors and regulators.

There is no doubt whatsoever that collective investment vehicles, such as hedge funds, receive a massive amount of investor funds and will continue to do so. Hedge funds in the context of this article refer loosely to a number of different types of investment structure that are generally set up, domiciled and administered in offshore jurisdictions but which are typically run by investment managers in countries such as the US. These funds may not be the subject of direct regulation, but regulation usually applies to the service providers (which act as a registered office and provide director or administration services) and increasingly to those acting as investment managers.

Investors range from large corporations, pension funds and investment banks to high net worth individuals. There are estimates that the value of assets invested in hedge funds globally exceeds US$1trillion and is growing.

Hedge Fund Structures

A typical hedge fund will be a corporate entity incorporated in an offshore jurisdiction. The Cayman Islands is a good example and is the market leader for this type of structure. The company will be set up by the prospective investment manager who is likely to be working for a small investment management company or working alone. The investment manager will have determined what their investment strategy is going to be and will have potential investors interested in investing. The investment manager will have to find auditors for the fund, an administrator, attorneys and independent directors. A detailed offering document will be prepared outlining the basis upon which the fund will operate, and investors will be permitted to subscribe for shares and subsequently redeem them.

The trading strategy has to be clearly explained and may involve a combination of, for example, long or short selling and trading in derivatives, such as calls, options or futures. Once the structure is established, investor subscriptions will be received by the administrator, shares will be issued to the shareholders and the subscription monies will be placed under the control of the investment manager. The funds will then be invested in accordance with the predetermined trading strategy. The administrator will have to prepare regular net asset valuations of the fund's assets (NAV). This will take into account the market value of its investments and positions, and take account of the fees due to the investment manager (which is generally calculated on the basis of the profits made by the fund over a pre-determined period), the fees of the administrator, auditors and attorneys and then calculate the value of the interest of each shareholder. Depending on the type of fund and its investments, the NAV may be calculated monthly or on a more regular basis.

In order to calculate the NAV, the administrator requires information about the value of the fund's investments. If the investments are in securities or other instruments that can be traded on recognized markets then this information will usually be obtained electronically directly from the fund's prime broker. This verifies (or should verify) the existence of the fund's assets. Many administrators will then double check the value of the investments using sources such as Bloomberg, to verify market prices. As investments become more esoteric, they become harder to value. Some funds invest in private equity or investments that are not publicly traded and are highly illiquid. This makes pricing them very difficult and often, until the investment is realized, its current value can only be based on its acquisition cost.

Provided that the investment manager has followed the trading strategy disclosed in the offering memorandum, then investors will have been fully informed about the nature of the proposed investments and the difficulties that there may be in pricing and realizing them. This is the risk they take for potentially very high returns.

More complicated structures are often used which involve master and feeder funds, fund of funds, limited partnerships and segregated portfolio companies.

Causes of Hedge Fund Collapse and Failure


The success of hedge funds and other similar types of investment structure depends heavily on the skills and trading strategy of their investment managers. Some are conservative, others are very high risk. Clearly a poor strategy or an unexpected movement in markets can lead to a number of problems for a hedge fund. What is interesting is that, generally, hedge funds will not become insolvent, i.e. they will not get into a position in which they own more than the value of their assets. The fund may, however, lose sufficient value to simply cease to become viable going forward. Adverse movements in markets can also cause concern among investors and assuming that investors have a right to redeem, there can be a 'run' on the fund with large numbers of redemption requests. If there are problems with the markets in which the fund trades or its positions have become illiquid it may be impossible to generate sufficient liquidity to meet the requests. In turn, this can force the fund into seeking protection from the bankruptcy courts. These are some of the causes of market failure.

The more difficult cases involve either market failure and then an attempt to conceal that on the part of the investment manager or simple theft of investor funds by the investment manager.

Investment managers are generally paid in whole or in part, based on the performance of the fund. When profits dip or the fund starts to suffer trading losses the pressure on investment managers rises and in the context of fund failures, this is typically when there is the incentive to either conceal losses in the hope that the fund can trade out of them, or alternatively try and manipulate the date on, or period in which, losses are accounted for in order to smooth out peaks and troughs in monthly performance. As the industry grows and fund administrators become increasingly reliant on direct data feeds from prime brokers to price portfolios and calculate NAVs so the ability of an investment manager to falsify pricing information is decreased.

There are still, however, a regular flow of cases involving smaller funds where the investment manager is able to falsify information about position and values, thus concealing trading losses, failure to comply with investment restrictions as set out in the offering document or, the theft by them of the assets of the fund. There is a current case where it is alleged that an investment manager cross-margined the assets of a fund against trading losses in accounts opened in the name of the fund, the existence of which was concealed from the fund administrator.

There are also increasing concerns about the use of offshore hedge funds to manipulate stock prices and make use of price sensitive information. These are in addition to major investigations by the SEC into market timing and similar regulatory and trading offences, all of which can have a significant effect on investors in hedge funds and their ability to redeem their investment.

Red Flags

The onus is on investors when considering whether to invest in what is probably an unregulated hedge fund to do their due diligence on the investment manager, directors, administrator, legal advisers to the fund and auditors before investing. Assuming that the investor decides to proceed to invest, set out below are some 'red flags' that should either lead to further enquiries or at least warn investors that there may be issues of concern that warrant further investigation.

Where investment prices and trading information is provided by investment managers or where there is ambiguity as to who bears the responsibility for pricing there is clearly a risk of manipulation. The administrator (if there is one) should be receiving such information direct from the prime broker in a form that can be verified, both in terms of the existence of the portfolio and its pricing.

Investments that are not readily saleable, easily priced or are thinly traded or which are complex with the risk of significant price volatility are often a cause of concern. Investors in private equity funds or those investing in illiquid investments where there has been full disclosure in the offering document, must be prepared for deferred redemption rights and difficulty redeeming even when there may be a right to do so.

Non-disclosure of the investment portfolio to investors or changes in investment parameters should be an immediate red flag. The investment manager must be disclosing its investment strategy which in turn must indicate at least the general nature of the composition of the portfolio. Some investment managers are reluctant to disclose to investors the precise assets in which they have invested so as to protect their trading strategy. In such circumstances, it is important that the fund has a reputable administrator and auditor.

When reviewing the advisors to a fund, investors should consider whether the investment manager is responsible for multiple funds with similar objectives where there could be a risk of improper trading between the funds. Investors should also be concerned with a lack of independent directors, infrequent board meetings, different service providers retained for different but related funds, any delay, qualification, or unusual disclosures in audited financial statements and any sort of regulatory action or other sanction against the investment manager or director.

As mentioned above, investors should be aware of whether an investment manager is being rewarded based on its performance and the inherent conflict of interest that this can give rise to on the part of the investment manager.

If a fund does get into difficulties or does fail and have to suspend its NAV and therefore seek protection from bankruptcy courts, the immediate question will be what or who is the cause of the loss: is it the result of poor management, adverse markets or fraud? Tasks that will then have to be undertaken are the quantification of losses and restatement of investor entitlement to the assets of the fund. This can raise questions as to how far back such restatements must go and what restatement methodology to employ?

Complex issues will arise when considering attribution of responsibility for losses and the identification and assessment of causes of action for loss recovery the realization of any residual portfolio, the treatment of redeeming and redeemed investors and dealing with 'inter fund' transferring investors. One common problem is that investment managers, administrators and directors usually receive the benefit of indemnities from the fund. This both limits their liability for losses, unless caused by their own fraud or willful misconduct, and also provides an indemnity from the assets of the fund in relation to any losses and claims made against them (other than as a result of their fraud or willful misconduct), including the legal costs of defending any such claims. With the complexity of funds and the manner in which they invest and trade and the multi-jurisdictional nature of the fund structures, this gives rise to further challenges for investors and those advising them in the light of a fund failure.

FaGal 08-05-06 09:52

8 maggio 2006

Investire sulla vecchiaia, gli Usa doppiano l’Europa

WALTER GALBIATI


Gli Stati Uniti doppiano l’area euro. La previdenza integrativa, per la diversa impostazione dei sistemi pensionistici, raccoglie molte più risorse negli Stati Uniti che in Europa, tanto che le attività dei fondi pensioni d’Oltreoceano valgono praticamente il doppio di quelle presenti nei bilanci dei cugini europei. Secondo i dati riportati nell’ultima relazione della Covip (Commissione di vigilanza sui Fondi pensioni) nel 2004 il valore della attività complessivamente gestite dai fondi Usa era pari a circa 8.000 miliardi di dollari, circa il 65% del Prodotto interno lordo (Pil) statunitense. Per quanto riguardo l’area euro, invece, nel cui conteggio però sono associate anche le attività delle imprese di assicurazione, il valore era di circa 4.000 miliardi di euro, oltre il 50% del Pil complessivo dei Paesi che aderiscono alla moneta unica. Con una differenza: mentre negli Stati Uniti si investe prevalentemente in titoli azionari, gli europei prediligono quelli obbligazionari. Una differenza però che è stata contraddetta nel 2004, quando i 200 miliardi di dollari di flussi di investimenti registrati dai fondi previdenziali si sono diretti per la maggior parte sui titoli del debito.
Secondo gli esperti della Covip, nel portafoglio dei fondi pensioni prevale l’investimento obbligazionario là dove vi sono un minore sviluppo della previdenza complementare e una regolamentazione degli investimenti basata essenzialmente sulle restrizioni quantitative, mentre l’investimento azionario diventa dominante quando la previdenza complementare è radicata da tempo, la regolamentazione degli investimenti non è soggetta a restrizioni quantitative e il modello dominante è basato sulla prestazione definita, ovvero i fondi si impegnano ad erogare una pensione fissa e non regolata sul contributo versato. Non è un caso infatti che in Olanda, il Paese dell’area euro più avanzato in termini di previdenza complementare, prevalgano gli investimenti azionari, così come nel Regno Unito, dove da più tempo la componente previdenziale pubblica è compensata da una di natura privata. In termini di consistenza a fine 2004 le attività dei fondi pensione olandesi erano pari a circa 500 miliardi di euro, un ammontare che eccedeva il valore del Pil registrato nello stesso anno. Nemmeno nel Regno Unito si arrivava a tanto: al di là della Manica, il dato è apparso sostanzialmente in linea con quello degli Stati Uniti (65% del Pil), anche se questo sale al 120% del Pil includendo i contratti assicurativi.
Di recente però nei Paesi anglosassoni e in Olanda si è assistito a una riallocazione delle risorse verso titoli obbligazionari a lunga scadenza e il principale motivo va ricercato nell’impatto provocato sui fondi pensione dalla prolungata crisi che tra l’ottobre 2000 e il marzo 2003 ha colpito le maggiori Borse mondiali. La debolezza degli indici azionari, unita al basso livello dei tassi di interesse, ha originato, e in alcuni casi aggravato, la situazione di sottocapitalizzazione (underfunding) di quei fondi che erogano piani pensionistici a prestazione definita e investono prevalentemente in titoli azionari. Da qui il cambiamento di rotta negli investimenti e non solo.
Perché i recenti problemi legati ai fondi pensioni hanno indotto i governi di quei Paesi che da più tempo hanno adottato un sistema pensionistico misto a prendere in considerazione tutte le possibili aree di crisi della previdenza complementare. E i problemi non mancano. Un rapporto della Pensions Commission, la Commissione governativa istituita dal governo inglese nel dicembre 2002 con il compito di verificare l’adeguatezza del sistema di previdenza complementare del Regno Unito, ha evidenziato negli ultimi cinque anni una preoccupante mancata crescita di questo importante pilastro. A incidere negativamente è stata prima di tutto la mancanza di fiducia nel sistema previdenziale cresciuta giorno dopo giorno con il crescere delle insolvenze di alcuni datori di lavoro che hanno portato alla definitiva chiusura di molti fondi trovatisi in una situazione di squilibrio patrimoniale.
E in secondo luogo la chiusura ai nuovi iscritti degli schemi a prestazione definita (le cui caratteristiche hanno accentuato la crisi di molti fondi), e la loro sostituzione con schemi a contribuzione definita che prevedono prestazioni e percentuali di contribuzione più bassi. Non c’è da stupirsi del resto che gli schemi a contribuzione definita (gli unici possibili in Italia) non attirino tanti sottoscrittori, viste le loro prerogative: non solo il rischio finanziario che negli schemi a prestazione definita grava sui datori di lavoro, negli schemi a contribuzione definita è trasferito in capo ai lavoratori iscritti, ma anche il contributo erogato dai datori di lavoro agli schemi di contribuzione definita risulta in media inferiore (4,3% dello stipendio pensionabile) a quello (9,9%) dagli stessi erogato agli schemi di prestazione definita. La preoccupazione del governo inglese è dovuta al fatto che senza la previdenza complementare le condizioni di vita dei futuri anziani britannici saranno quasi certamente precarie, perché in Inghilterra un lavoratore con uno stipendio medio percepisce dal sistema pubblico solo il 37% dell’ultima retribuzione.
La crisi dei piani a prestazione definita non è circoscritta e ha colpito anche gli Stati Uniti. Malgrado l’andamento positivo dei mercati finanziari, nel corso del 2004 ben 192 piani a prestazione definita sono stati posti sotto l’amministrazione della Pension benefit guaranty corporation (Pbgc), l’Agenzia del governo federale, introdotta nel 1974 che gestisce il programma di riassicurazione contro l’insolvenza dei piani a prestazione definita. Complessivamente alla fine del 2004 il numero dei piani pensionistici in crisi finanziaria amministrati dalla Pbcg era di quasi 3.500 con oltre un milione di lavoratori coinvolti. L’ultima spallata al settore pensionistico statunitense è arrivata dalla United Airlines i cui piani pensionistici sono risultati sottofinanziati per 10 miliardi di dollari, il più consistente default nella storia dell’agenzia federale. Ora bisogna correre ai ripari. Il governo Bush preoccupato dal deterioramento della situazione dei piani a prestazione definita e del futuro dell’Agenzia federale ha inserito una serie di provvedimenti di riforma fra le priorità del suo secondo mandato.

8 maggio 2006

Hedge fund e real estate, la nuova frontiera dei pensionati :no:

PAOLA JADELUCA


Hedge fund e fondi immobiliari, possibilmente in aree economiche a forte crescita e specializzati in business emergenti. Usa e Gran Bretagna fanno scuola: gli investimenti alternativi, in settori a promettente sviluppo, sono la strada intrapresa per spingere sull’acceleratore e far salire i rendimenti dei fondi pensione. E la caccia alle novità è sempre aperta. Calpers, California Public Employees Retirement System, il maggiore fondo pensioni degli Stati Uniti, ha annunciato per esempio che intende lanciare quest’anno un fondo che investe in hedge fund neonati, ovvero di nuova costituzione. Calpers ingaggerà un advisor per mettere in piedi un fondo di questo tipo nell’arco dei prossimi sei o nove mesi. E’ quanto ha dichiarato Kurt Silberstein che gestisce un portafoglio di 2,5 miliardi di dollari — il corrispettivo di 2,1 miliardi di euro — in hedge fund presso Calpers, che ha sede a Sacramento, in California. L’annuncio, subiti ripreso dall’agenzia di stampa Bloomberg, è stato fatto a margine di una conferenza sugli investimenti alternativi che si è tenuta recentemente a Hong Kong. «L’intera idea è di sfruttare la parte migliore della performance investendo nelle fasi iniziali del loro ciclo di vita — ha detto Silberstein — Se entriamo subito, possiamo continuare ad investirvi mano a mano che crescono».
Calpers, che gestisce un portafoglio di oltre $200 miliardi, punta ad incrementare le proprie posizioni in hedge fund. Agli investimenti diretti nel settore per 2,2 miliardi di dollari, si aggiungono altri 300 milioni di dollari gestiti attraverso "fondi di fondi" asiatici, costituiti da un paniere di hedge fund.
Per i suoi investimenti, Calpers punterà a hedge fund che hanno fra uno e tre anni di vita e che gestiscono meno di 500 milioni di dollari. Ma Silberstein non ha voluto rivelare l’entità dell’investimento complessivo. Di sicuro si sa che l’investimento maggiore sarà diretto in Asia, dove Calpers opera attraverso tre fondi di fondi specializzati sul mercato orientale: il londinese Kbc Alpha Asset Management, Sparx Asset Management Co. di Tokio e Vision Investment Management Ltd. di Hong Kong.
Gli hedge fund hanno garantito un rendimento medio del 9,4% lo scorso anno, secondo Hedge Fund Research, e il rapporto con in fondi pensione si fa sempre più stretto. Sia in Usa che in Gran Bretagna. Il Financial Times qualche mese fa ha dato la notizia che il Pensions Regulator, l’organismo che regolamenta i fondi pensione inglesi, sta discutendo con la Fsa, Financial Services Authority, il corrispettivo della nostra Consob, la possibilità di concedere l’autorizzazione ai gestori di hedge fund di scalare i fondi pensione delle compagnie in fallimento. L’obiettivo è quello di garantire rendimenti più alti di quelli finora garantiti dal Pension Protection Fund, il fondo di garanzia finanziato dal governo.
Alzare i rendimenti, abbassare i costi che i lavoratori devono pagare per garantirsi una pensione adeguata. E’ questo l’obiettivo della corsa a investimenti più redditizi. Basti dire che, secondo i calcoli riferiti da Bloomberg, il deficit tra ciò che i fondi pensioni del Ftse 100 — Financial Times Stock Exchange, le blu chip inglesi — hanno in asset e ciò che devono pagare ai membri è di oltre 115 miliardi di dollari. Watson Wyatt Worlwide Inc, per esempio, ha raddoppiato nell’ultimo anno i contratti diretti a forme alternative di investimento, tra hedge fund, private equity e real estate — che sono ora 61 contro le 32 del 2004. Una bella fetta dei 555 contratti di investimento complessivi.
Quello dei fondi immobiliari è un altro settore sul quale si è focalizzata l’attenzione dei gestori di fondi previdenziali integrativi americani e inglesi. A fare da apripista è sempre Calpers che, ancora una volta, cerca l’emergente nell’emergente: ha deciso di investire 400 milioni di dollari in immobili cinesi, investimento da realizzare in partnership con Hines Real Estate Investment Trust, società di real estate con più di 700 proprietà. E’ il primo investimento diretto che il più grande fondo pensioni americano fa in Cina. «E’ la partenza e se va bene, condurrà a investimenti successivi», ha dichiarato in un’intervista all’agenzia Bloomberg, Michael McCook, senior investment officer per il real estate del gruppo. L’accordo con Hines prevede la costruzione di immobili commerciali e residenziali a Pechino. «Quando tutto sarà costruito e venduto, vogliamo avere un ritorno del 15% netto», ha detto McCook.
Al real estate guarda anche Oregon Investment Council, gestore di oltre 54 miliardi di fondi pensione dei dipendenti dello Stato. Oregon ha deciso di investire 200 milioni di dollari in due nuovi fondi immobiliari, il Guggenheim Partners Llc e Gi Partners Advisors Lcc. Due fondi che tra l’altro stanno a loro volta esplorando aree innovative. Guggenheim Structured Real Estate, per esempio, è stata fondata nel 2004 per costruire un fondo di private equity strutturato su misura per la copertura dei debiti del mercato del real estate. Un mercato in forte espansione dove Guggenheim ha dato vita a nuovi prodotti e inventato formule innovative di arbitrato del credito. Il fondo ha già investito oltre 1 miliardo e 800 milioni di dollari. Altro talent scout dei business emergenti su cui investire è Gi Partners Advisor, ennesimo fondo di private equity, specializzato in business strettamente correlati a componenti immobiliari, spesso nel settore hitech. Quelli principalmente trattati sono i telecom center e i data center. Come dire, i settori dominanti della nostra economia.
A&F

ramirez 08-05-06 12:18

Toh non sono d'accordo con Fabio..
mi riferisco all'uso di Hedge Fund per le pensioni...
non che non mi renda conto dei rischi insiti...
però 'saggi' (è un controsenso?) investimenti
prendendo posizioni Hedge....potrebbero fare solo del bene..
in un ambito ben delimitato e normato...

FaGal 08-05-06 12:21

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da ramirez
Toh non sono d'accordo con Fabio..
mi riferisco all'uso di Hedge Fund per le pensioni...
non che non mi renda conto dei rischi insiti...
però 'saggi' (è un controsenso?) investimenti
prendendo posizioni Hedge....potrebbero fare solo del bene..
in un ambito ben delimitato e normato...

non parliamo più di previdenza integrativa, poichè la funzione previdenziale è del tutto assente

ramirez 08-05-06 12:28

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
non parliamo più di previdenza integrativa, poichè la funzione previdenziale è del tutto assente

Fabio, con i tassi attuali di rivalutazione (ok stanno salendo)
temo che o ci inventiamo qualcosa o le pensioni saranno
elemosine...
p.s. io investo in derivati.....nessuno mi ha spiegato nulla...
non ho letto libri sull'argomento....ho dovuto imparare
tutto (oddio tutto..) sulla mia pelle....
mi pare che un esperto possa fare graaandi cose..
senza correre rischi eccessivi...

FaGal 10-05-06 09:58

http://www.beppegrillo.it/2006/05/co...tml#trackbacks

FaGal 12-05-06 19:03

Il faro degli hedge sull' Italia
Le società di Soros e quelle di Singer. Lo York e l' Oak. E anche...
primo piano borsa i fondi speculativi in prima fila al roadshow di ny
Muovono enormi capitali sui mercati internazionali facendo ricorso alla leva finanziaria (indebitamento e strumenti derivati per moltiplicare il potenziale di guadagno nelle scommesse su azioni, valute, materie prime). Ma negli ultimi anni sono anche sempre più attivi nelle battaglie di corporate governance, nel private equity e nello stimolare le ristrutturazioni di aziende in crisi; e quindi anche sempre più attenti alle occasioni di profitti nel Bel Paese. Gli hedge fund americani sono stati così gli investitori più presenti alla Italian investor conference organizzata da Borsa italiana a New York gli scorsi 3 e 4 aprile. Fra la trentina di hedge fund invitati delle quattro banche d' affari che hanno sponsorizzato l' evento (Imi, Intermonte, Mediobanca e Morgan Stanley) spiccavano la società di gestione dello speculatore George Soros, che movimenta circa 13 miliardi di dollari, e il fondo avvoltoio Elliott management di Paul Singer (5 miliardi di dollari in amministrazione), noto sul mercato italiano per essere intervenuto in vicende come il crac Federconsorzi, la battaglia degli azionisti di minoranza sulle azioni di risparmio Telecom e i tango bond. "Le aziende europee e in particolare italiane stanno abbracciando il modello anglosassone per diventare più efficienti e la conseguente ristrutturazione crea valore per gli investitori. Per questo siamo interessati a Piazza Affari", ha spiegato James Dinan, fondatore dello York capital fund (5,7 miliardi di dollari), presente alla serata di gala introdotta dal ceo di Borsa italiana Massimo Capuano nella Rainbowroom di Cipriani. Altri nomi famosi dell' industria degli hedge fund che sono intervenuti al roadshow newyorkese sono Oak Hill (6 miliardi di dollari), specializzato negli strumenti di debito compresi i distressed bond; Caxton associates (12 miliardi di dollari), attivo recentemente anche nel finanziamento di start up; Maverick Capital (11,5 miliardi); Pequot capital management e Angelo Gordon (entrambi con un patrimonio di circa 8 miliardi di dollari). il mondo 14aprile

FaGal 13-05-06 13:24

May 12, 2006, 12:25 pm
Will the New SEC Hedge Fund Inspector Have Industry Running Scared?
Posted by Peter Lattman

On Squawk Box this morning, David Faber, recently voted an Influential http://www.nymag.com/news/features/influentials/ by New York magazine, reported on the SEC’s recent hiring of Thomas Biolsi as its Northeast head of compliance for hedge funds. Though the SEC announced the news a month ago (here’s the press release http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2006/2006-54.htm ), Faber thinks the news could spell trouble for hedge funds seeking to steer clear of regulation and enforcement.

For the past nine years, Biolsi ran the hedge fund regulatory compliance group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. As a result, the non-lawyer knows all the tricks of the trade. Faber also noted in this morning’s report that Biolsi’s giving up a paycheck in the millions to take a government job. He starts in mid-June and will be based in the SEC’s Northeast regional office (where, of course, the preponderance of hedge funds are based). “In his new position,” says the SEC, “Biolsi will direct a staff of accountants and examiners responsible for the inspections of investment advisers and investment companies” in the region.

If you don’t think a single regulator can effect an entire industry, there’s an attorney general who works up the street from us we’d like to introduce you to.
Read more: Hedge Funds & Private Equity
Permalink | Trackback URL: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2006/05/12/...red/trackback/

FaGal 17-05-06 18:49

May 17, 2006
Fed Chairman Sees Risks in Stiffer Hedge Fund Regulation
By REUTERS

SEA ISLAND, Ga., May 16 (Reuters) — Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, said on Tuesday that stiffer hedge fund regulation could make financial markets less stable, as he backed the current focus on ensuring that hedge fund trading partners manage their risks well.

Mr. Bernanke argued the approach followed since the 1998 collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, which was seen as a threat to the broad financial system, had been effective.

"Authorities' primary task is to guard against a return of the weak market discipline that left major market participants overly vulnerable to market shocks," Mr. Bernanke said in remarks prepared for delivery at a conference in Sea Island sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.

"A risk of any prescriptive regulatory regime is that by creating moral hazard in the marketplace, it leaves the system less, rather than more, stable," he said.

The Fed chairman did not address the outlook for the United States economy or interest-rate policy in his remarks.

Hedge funds — private investment pools that cater mostly to wealthy investors, endowments and pension funds — often pursue complicated trading strategies and are big players in the market for highly sophisticated financial derivatives.

The loosely regulated industry is estimated to have assets topping $1 trillion, but funds often leverage their assets and use borrowed money to take even larger positions.

The industry's rapid growth has drawn the attention of regulators, who want to ensure that hedge-fund trading strategies do not pose a risk to the financial system as a whole.

In backing a go-easy regulatory approach to hedge funds, Mr. Bernanke was following in the footsteps of his predecessor Alan Greenspan, who had argued they had helped improve the economy's resilience.

But Mr. Bernanke also made clear that bank regulators had some concerns when it came to counterparty risk management.

He said supervisors were concerned that heavy competition for hedge fund business had led banks to lower the amount of collateral they required in lending to the funds to cover potential exposure if markets move sharply.

He said regulators believed that banks should increase their stress-testing and tie risk assessments more closely to the transparency offered by hedge funds.

FaGal 20-05-06 16:09

OTC derivatives reach $285 trillion
Natasha de Terán
19 May 2006
The value of the global over-the-counter derivatives market grew to $285 trillion (€223.4 trillion) in the second half of last year, an
increase of just 5% on the previous six months, the Bank for International Settlements said in its latest report today.
Over-the-counter derivatives are contracts traded directly between two
parties, without going through an exchange or other intermediary.
The rise was less than half the increase recorded in the same period in 2004, when strong interest rate, credit derivative and
foreign exchange volumes had fuelled a 12.8% growth rate.
Volumes in the two largest segments of the OTC market slowed dramatically. Interest rate derivatives grew by just 5% in the
June-December period, down from 13.8% in the year-ago period, while foreign exchange derivatives grew by 2%, down from
9.5%.
The pace of growth in the credit derivatives market also slowed from the 60% recorded in the first half of 2005, when the BIS first
measured the market's growth rate, to just over 30% in the second half of the year.
The commodity and equity-linked segments fared better, growing by 23% and 11% respectively. In the second half of 2004 the
commodities segment grew by just 13.6%, while the equity-linked segment contracted by 3%.
At the end of December interest rate derivatives notionals outstanding stood at $215 trillion, foreign exchange derivatives at $32
trillion; commodities at $3.6 trillion, credit derivatives at $13.7 trillion and equity-linked derivatives at $5 trillion.

FaGal 22-05-06 11:03

Innovazioni La buona finanza dei meteo-derivati
M olte discipline sono note per le innovazioni prodotte e per i benefici arrecati alla qualità della vita. Il caso che viene subito in mente è quello della medicina. Ma anche materie estremamente complesse come la nanotecnologia vengono guardate con ammirazione. L'idea di una finestra che si pulisce da sola o di un autoveicolo che si riaggiusta da solo dopo un incidente colpisce l'immaginazione. La finanza, invece, è nota soprattutto per gli scandali degli ultimi anni. Anche al cinema, le storie ambientate sui mercati finanziari coinvolgono persone avide che sono pronte a danneggiare gli altri per il proprio arricchimento personale. Eppure la finanza poggia su solide basi scientifiche. La matematica utilizzata per la formazione dei prezzi dei derivati, opzioni e future, risale a più di un secolo fa e venne utilizzata anche per la teoria della relatività. La teoria ha dimostrato che l'introduzione dei contratti finanziari può migliorare l'organizzazione economica del sistema e quindi il suo benessere. Le applicazioni originarie dei future riguardavano la copertura del rischio di attività agricole, con grande beneficio per i produttori. Chi è stufo di sentire parlare di finanza in termini di «scienza della prevaricazione» può consolarsi con alcuni sviluppi che mostrano il lato buono della disciplina, intesa come «scienza del miglioramento del benessere». Un processo verso la «democratizzazione della finanza» (Bob Shiller).
Una prima notizia riguarda l'Etiopia. Il World Food Program delle Nazioni Unite ha stipulato un contratto con la compagnia assicurativa Axa per dare all'Etiopia un aiuto innovativo. Nel Paese vivono 73 milioni di persone, di cui 22 a rischio di siccità, cifre che nel 2050 dovrebbero diventare 129 e 37. Nel 1984 morirono oltre un milione di persone in Etiopia proprio a causa di una carestia causata dalla mancanza di acqua. Invece di preparare finanziamenti da destinare all'Etiopia in caso di siccità, processo lungo e inefficiente perché soggetto a molti vincoli burocratici, le Nazioni Unite hanno acquistato da Axa un contratto assicurativo in base al quale, in cambio di un premio annuale di 930mila dollari, la compagnia pagherà sino a 7,1 milioni di dollari se il Paese dovesse soffrire di siccità.
Un altro esempio riguarda l'India. L'ultimo budget pubblico ha previsto la concessione agli agricoltori di prestiti speciali contenenti contratti di assicurazione contro gli eventi climatici (weather derivatives) che si attivano nel caso in cui le condizioni meteorologiche dovessero assumere configurazioni sfavorevoli ai raccolti. In India un problema sociale è costituito dai «suicidi rurali», causati dall’impossibilità da parte degli agricoltori di rimborsare i prestiti ricevuti dagli aguzzini. I weather derivatives, usati finora soprattutto dalle società produttrici di energia per coprire il rischio meteorologico, escono quindi dal ristretto club delle grandi corporation per influenzare la vita di tutti.
Questi contratti innovativi riconoscono che il rischio è l'elemento centrale della vita di molti individui e partono dal principio che la disuguaglianza sociale è spesso causata dalla sfortuna e dalla impossibilità di prepararsi agli eventi estremi piuttosto che dalla pigrizia e dalla incompetenza.
Il cambiamento climatico del Pianeta può creare in futuro forti elementi di rischio per tutti. L'introduzione di contratti innovativi rappresenta una grande opportunità per le società finanziarie e un grande incentivo agli studi. Potrebbe anche migliorare la nostra vita. Oggi facciamo l’abbonamento stagionale agli impianti di risalita sperando che l'inverno ci riservi grandi nevicate. Tra qualche tempo potremmo trovare una clausola che spiega come, a fronte di un modesto aumento nel costo, si riceverà dalla società che gestisce gli impianti un bonus per una vacanza ai Caraibi se la neve sulle piste è scarsa.

(Prorettore Università Bocconi)
ANDREA BELTRATTI corriere

Speriamo non ne facciano uso stile Enron :D

FaGal 02-06-06 09:13

n. 129 del 02-06-06 pagina 20

La Bce avverte: «Investitori esposti a maggiori rischi»
di Rodolfo Parietti
Il pericolo è quello di un «brutale assestamento» dei mercati dopo anni di caccia ai rendimenti. E gli hedge fund finiscono sotto accusa

Rodolfo Parietti

da Milano

Un avvertimento agli investitori, per i quali i rischi sono aumentati dopo oltre due anni di «caccia ai rendimenti»; e una bacchettata agli hedge fund, la cui politica aggressiva mal si coniuga con la trasparenza. La Banca centrale europea scende in campo sul terreno (minato) dei mercati finanziari, presentando la Financial stability Review, pubblicazione semestrale che arriva con grande tempismo dopo le tre settimane di passione vissute dalle Borse internazionali, tra ripetuti ribassi che hanno investito in particolare l’Estremo Oriente.
L’istituto guidato da Jean-Claude Trichet traccia uno scenario preoccupato, appena temperato dalla constatazione che la «forza e la capacità di ripresa del sistema finanziario europeo hanno continuato a migliorare» nel primo semestre. Ma l’attenzione è soprattutto concentrata sui comportamenti tenuti dagli investitori. E non solo da quelli istituzionali. Francoforte rileva come comune tra i piccoli e i grandi soggetti la ricerca globale del rendimento. Quindi anche sui mercati più esposti alla possibilità di rovesci. Un agire, agevolato da tassi di ritorno a lungo termine e senza rischi e dall’abbondante liquidità, che potrebbe aver portato gli investitori «a sottostimare i rischi» o ad averne assunti «in modo eccessivo». Anche se le probabilità sono al momento ridotte, l’Eurotower mette in conto il pericolo di un «brutale assestamento» delle quotazioni. Così come potrebbe verificarsi un «improvviso deterioramento dell’appetito di rendimenti» tale da compromettere la domanda di titoli statunitensi. Con conseguenze, visto lo stato dei conti federali e delle partite correnti Usa, di proporzioni non immaginabili.
Il focus della banca centrale si sofferma però anche su alcuni fenomeni che stanno via via prendendo piede sulla scena finanziaria mondiale. Tra questi, i Credit risk transfer (Crt), ovvero i trasferimenti dei rischi di credito, da tempo monitorati dal G10 e tra le aree di intervento preferite dagli gli hedge fund. La Bce non manca infatti di sottolineare come questi fondi, caratterizzati da scarsa regolamentazione, operino con modalità «piuttosto opache» e con architetture contrattuali complesse che comportano «oscure» redistribuzioni dei rischi. Tutto ciò costituisce un pericolo: perchè proprio «la fame di rendimenti» ha attirato negli ultimi anni gli investitori.ilgiornale

FaGal 02-06-06 09:14

Citazione:

Originalmente inviato da FaGal
n. 129 del 02-06-06 pagina 20

La Bce avverte: «Investitori esposti a maggiori rischi»
di Rodolfo Parietti
Il pericolo è quello di un «brutale assestamento» dei mercati dopo anni di caccia ai rendimenti. E gli hedge fund finiscono sotto accusa

Rodolfo Parietti

da Milano

Un avvertimento agli investitori, per i quali i rischi sono aumentati dopo oltre due anni di «caccia ai rendimenti»; e una bacchettata agli hedge fund, la cui politica aggressiva mal si coniuga con la trasparenza. La Banca centrale europea scende in campo sul terreno (minato) dei mercati finanziari, presentando la Financial stability Review, pubblicazione semestrale che arriva con grande tempismo dopo le tre settimane di passione vissute dalle Borse internazionali, tra ripetuti ribassi che hanno investito in particolare l’Estremo Oriente.
L’istituto guidato da Jean-Claude Trichet traccia uno scenario preoccupato, appena temperato dalla constatazione che la «forza e la capacità di ripresa del sistema finanziario europeo hanno continuato a migliorare» nel primo semestre. Ma l’attenzione è soprattutto concentrata sui comportamenti tenuti dagli investitori. E non solo da quelli istituzionali. Francoforte rileva come comune tra i piccoli e i grandi soggetti la ricerca globale del rendimento. Quindi anche sui mercati più esposti alla possibilità di rovesci. Un agire, agevolato da tassi di ritorno a lungo termine e senza rischi e dall’abbondante liquidità, che potrebbe aver portato gli investitori «a sottostimare i rischi» o ad averne assunti «in modo eccessivo». Anche se le probabilità sono al momento ridotte, l’Eurotower mette in conto il pericolo di un «brutale assestamento» delle quotazioni. Così come potrebbe verificarsi un «improvviso deterioramento dell’appetito di rendimenti» tale da compromettere la domanda di titoli statunitensi. Con conseguenze, visto lo stato dei conti federali e delle partite correnti Usa, di proporzioni non immaginabili.
Il focus della banca centrale si sofferma però anche su alcuni fenomeni che stanno via via prendendo piede sulla scena finanziaria mondiale. Tra questi, i Credit risk transfer (Crt), ovvero i trasferimenti dei rischi di credito, da tempo monitorati dal G10 e tra le aree di intervento preferite dagli gli hedge fund. La Bce non manca infatti di sottolineare come questi fondi, caratterizzati da scarsa regolamentazione, operino con modalità «piuttosto opache» e con architetture contrattuali complesse che comportano «oscure» redistribuzioni dei rischi. Tutto ciò costituisce un pericolo: perchè proprio «la fame di rendimenti» ha attirato negli ultimi anni gli investitori.ilgiornale

http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/other/fin...ew200606en.pdf

FaGal 09-06-06 16:20

Sugli hedge regulator divisi
L'assemblea della Iosco
http://www.assinews.it/rassegna/arti...le090606he.pdf

FaGal 15-06-06 10:35

Brokers and hedge funds

In their prime
Jun 1st 2006
From The Economist print edition



Brokers, feeling squeezed, are scrambling to serve hedge funds

Get article background

LIFE has been unusually hectic in the past few weeks for brokers rushing to fill buy and sell orders as financial markets toss and turn. Oh, that it were always so. It may seem hard to believe amid the recent rise in market volatility, but for some time brokers have been lamenting a whole range of pressures on their traditional businesses—not just the lack of action. With commissions for each trade having been whittled down to a fraction of what they once were and regulators increasing their focus on what clients actually pay for, broking has begun to look like a business in decline.

That is why many big investment banks are now seeking to forge closer relations with hedge funds, one of the few successes in their brokerage operations. Hedge funds can be extremely volatile—at least $1 trillion is sloshing around—and have played a big part in the ups and downs of recent days. Yet it is hedge funds' trading style—complex, multi-asset strategies often driven by insomniac computer-trading models—that has made the investment banks so excited. Eager to serve such customers, most big banks have established “prime-brokerage” arms that offer hedge funds a range of services, including securities lending, leveraged-trade executions, cash management and even computer systems if they need it.

In a recent report Morgan Stanley reckoned that revenues from prime brokerage at big investment banks surged by 29% last year, to $5.2 billion. That is still small compared with overall revenues, but they are expected to jump another 25% this year. Using a broader definition, TABB Group, a consultancy, puts total spending on prime brokerage in America at $10 billion (see chart). It is a lucrative business: historically, banks have recouped returns on equity from their prime-brokerage units of more than 40%. “The dirty secret about prime brokerage is it's all about the lending margins,” says one investment banker.

Given the ties between hedge funds and banks, questions have arisen about how each has fared in the recent market sell-off. Although hedge funds can make money from volatility, some are thought to have lost in May half of the year's gains. Emerging-market and commodity funds have been hit hard. But many funds invested in stocks had a “net-long” bias—meaning they thought markets would go up: the pain has been widespread.

Analysts say some smaller hedge funds may go bust, particularly those exposed to emerging markets. But these may not be big enough to matter. Industry experts reckon 7-12% of hedge funds have anyway shut up shop each year over the past decade, so this year's crop of failures may simply have been harvested early.

What does all this mean for the prime brokers? In the past, regulators have been worried about the systemic risk of brokers' loans to hedge funds. However, the brokers themselves sound confident. The big banks say lending is fully backed by collateral and they are monitoring their risk by marking their outstanding exposures to market on at least a daily basis.

Thanks in part to past industry scandals, prime brokers say they have tightened their risk management. The ghost of Long Term Capital Management, a hedge fund that went spectacularly bust in the late 1990s, still hovers over the industry. More recently, the minds of brokers, hedge funds and investors have been focused by scandals ranging from Bayou Management (a hedge fund caught in a web of alleged fraud) to Refco (where the prime-broking arm collapsed after an alleged fraud in a sister company).

One result of the collapse of Refco has been a “flight to quality” among hedge funds seeking the best investment banks. Those who can afford to are being choosy about who provides them credit, says Philippe Bonnefoy of Cedar Partners, a London investment firm.

Nonetheless, regulators and central banks are watching, alert to the risk of a big failure with potential ripple effects. Hedge funds are growing fast, but remain lightly regulated and often shift strategies, sell stock short and hold illiquid assets. Their growing use of derivatives quietly traded away from exchanges is also testing the appetite of prime brokers to lend, because they find it hard to price the business.

As some hedge funds have grown in size and sophistication, they have begun to ask more of prime brokers, says Huw van Steenis of Morgan Stanley. Big clients have the power to demand thinner margins. More professional fund managers know how to play banks off against each other. And when funds get big, they need more than one prime broker, so each broker gets only a share of the business. Today some big fund managers use six or more prime brokers, in the spirit of divide and rule.

Meanwhile forecasts suggest that the amount of assets managed by hedge funds will rise further, as institutional investors pour money into the funds. Although there is more business to go round, the battle among the brokers has also picked up.

In time, prime brokerages could face the sort of squeeze that has hurt broking in other markets. The old guard tells sorry stories of how the balance of power has tilted from intermediaries to their customers, as more financial products have become commodities and more information has been at investors' fingertips.

Caught between

Increasingly, middlemen throughout the financial sector have been asked to prove their worth to their customers—or to find other ways of making money for themselves, by proprietary trading or making more use of their balance sheets.

A recent study by IBM Business Consulting Services argues that the vocabulary describing financial markets today—buy side, sell side, hedge funds—could be redundant within a decade. It suggests that, in future, firms will be classed according to whether they add value through “risk assumption” or “risk mitigation”.

Although brokers in many assets are under pressure, equity brokers have been among the hardest hit, especially at “sell-side” firms. Twenty years ago, investors paid brokers six to ten cents per share for trading wrapped up with equity research; today they may pay only a cent or two. Brokers' costs have dropped too—but not as far as commissions have. In a sign of the times, America's Securities and Exchange Commission last month announced big fee cuts on securities transactions and registrations. Fees on securities trades will fall by half in the next fiscal year.

Life is harder in share trading, as elsewhere, because of regulators and technology (which provides direct access to the market, without the intermediation of brokers). One big change came years ago with the end of fixed commissions on trades. More recently, regulators in America and Britain have focused on how to manage and disclose commissions. The “unbundling” of broking services—separating the cost of research from the cost of trading—has come about in fits and starts. Fidelity, a big fund manager, has said that it will pay “hard dollars” for research from Lehman Brothers, separately from any trading commissions it pays the investment bank.

The pace of change could step up soon in Britain, where from this month the Financial Services Authority will require fund managers to report the costs of research and trading separately. This will free buy-side firms to trade with whomever they choose, without having to buy research. Commission-sharing arrangements are becoming more common.

“Everyone is rather nervous,” says Mr van Steenis. “Will it be a shock or a squeeze? Unbundling is making us wonder, ‘What will the future look like?'” Amid the uncertainty, he predicts financial firms will seek further growth in prime brokerage and proprietary trading as they try to replace lost revenues in more promising lines of business. And so they will continue to root for the hedge funds.

~Qohèlet~ 30-04-11 19:03

Segnalo, in questi giorni nelle pagine e nel sito de Il Sole 24 Ore una ampia inchiesta su derivati, CDS, shadow banks e Co. Copertura di più giorni e decine di articoli.


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