Table: The Partnership Machine

-- Since 1999, investment banks have raised $35 billion for private partnerships. They do not disclose such deals, but insiders say they invest in 10% to 50% of the partnerships they sell to pension funds and foundations.

-- Experts estimate that 400 S&P 500 companies have used limited partnerships, or special purpose entities, to move debt off their balance sheets.

-- Investment banks are extensive users of limited partnerships to move trades and investments off their own balance sheets, say insiders.

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