Weil on Finance: Wrist Slaps for Rate Rigging
Howdy, View fans. Here’s what I’ve been reading this morning.
Big banks get ticketed for rate rigging
Somehow in the grand scheme of things, 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) doesn’t seem like a lot of money for six huge banks to pay as penalties for rigging some of the world’s most important benchmark rates in order to boost their profits. The banks include Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and JPMorgan Chase. The stuff they rigged included the yen London interbank offered rate. The European Union said the combined antitrust fines were a record, but that’s not saying much. These are equivalent to parking tickets. Funny how it always seems to work out this way, isn’t it?
The first link takes you to a story in the Atlantic tackling the question. The second takes you to a Brookings paper on which the Atlantic article based. The short answer is that over the long term “smart kids earn more than rich kids.” But there’s a catch: “The unfortunate truth is that, more often than not, the rich kids are the smart kids.”
Collapsing yields on asset-backed securities
Here’s a good roundup at FT’s Alphaville blog looking at various types of securitized products, such as collateralized loan obligations and subprime mortgage bonds. These are the sorts of bonds that used to be considered toxic and once offered fairly high returns. Not anymore. “Except for high quality debt exposed to interest rate risk, the price of pretty much everything has gone up this year as yields have fallen,” writes Dan McCrum.
This is what we have trials for
The defense finally got its turn to cross-examine Jon Horvath, the star witness for prosecutors in the insider-trading trial of Michael Steinberg, who was Horvath’s boss at SAC Capital Advisors. Horvath said “I don’t remember” more than once in response to questions by Steinberg’s lead lawyer, just the sort of thing defense lawyers are supposed to get prosecution witnesses to say. Now Steinberg’s legal team will use Horvath’s memory lapses in an attempt to undercut his credibility.
A very sad story about dogs
The headline from the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida: “Maltese takes on three pit bulls and loses.” Rest in peace, Poochi.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)