Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CapitalAccount 15/10/2012 - Depression-Proof Banking and Monetary Mayhem in Myanmar w/Chris Mayer! ,


Welcome to Capital Account. Finance Chiefs from around the world are concerned about another global recession, the eurozone crisis, the US fiscal cliff and a slowdown in major emerging economies. They can't seem to agree on what to do about these concerns however. This is according to accounts from the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg citing news from the IMF's gathering over the weekend. Now, news from the IMF is naturally a "Big Picture" deal, but it's easy to lose sight of the nuances in the global economy when one focuses on multi-national corporations or global policy institutions. This brings us to a topic that we cover today with our guest Chris Mayer, author of Capital & Crisis. Chris travels the world looking for investment opportunities, and his travels recently had him visiting a country that most americans know about mainly through stories of self-emolating monks or sectarian tensions. This country is Myanmar, and it presents some interesting opportunities for investing, as well as one very interesting feature of "monetary mayhem," as Chris Mayer puts it. Apparently, the only foreign currency the people of Myanmar accept is the US dollar, despite all of its problems with only one caveat. The dollars must be in mint condition, and we do mean mint...not even creased dollars are accepted! And, is the CEO of Morgan Stanley a "reformer" relative to his too big to fail peers, as he is reportedly trying to get the bank to run a less risky, less complex bank model? That's how he's been cast by some in the mainstream press, but what about banks that have stuck to conservative, vanilla banking even during the boom times? Some of these banks have survived despite losing major market share to financial sausage factories like JP Morgan for example. How does this work, and are there investment opportunities for what our guest Chris Mayer calls, Depression-Proof banks? Chris Mayer, author of "World Right Side Up: Investing Across Six Continents," joins us for the show to discuss all of these topics and more! And last but not least, in today's "Loose Change," Lauren and Demetri tackle the latest absurd comments uttered by Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke, who recently spoke out against "the benefits of currency management." He slammed emerging economies like China and Brazil, which are resisting pressures on their appreciating currencies by soaking up the excess dollars printed by Bernanke and his ilk through their own money printing. Is this a case of do as I say not as I do? Or is Bernanke really this clueless? And what about Europe? The latest news from the continent that bore the greatest tales of feudalism is that we may actually be witnessing the birth of feudalism 2.0. Demetri explains how the death of bankruptcy law and sovereign default has moved the world closer to what we lived under during the middle ages. Central Planner Idol Worship and the Return of Feudal Banking! In today's episode of "Loose Change," Lauren and Demetri tackle the latest absurd comments uttered by Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke, who recently spoke out against "the benefits of currency management." He slammed emerging economies like China and Brazil, which are resisting pressures on their appreciating currencies by soaking up the excess dollars printed by Bernanke and his ilk through their own money printing. Is this a case of do as I say not as I do? Or is Bernanke really this clueless? And what about Europe? The latest news from the continent once littered with feudal manors suggests that we may actually be witnessing the birth of feudalism 2.0. Demetri explains how the death of bankruptcy law and sovereign default has moved the world closer to what we lived under during the middle ages...A world lit only by fire!

CapitalAccount 12/10/2012 - Algorithmic Trading to Algorithmic Campaigning, Behind the Political Scene w/Sasha Issenberg


Welcome to Capital Account. Last night was the US vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. If you pay attention to the message, the commentary, the fact-checking, the alternative analysis and criticism, or even the horse race coverage, there may still be much that you are missing. What about the stuff that goes on behind the curtains, deep within campaign war rooms? Well, campaigning has come a long way in the past twelve years. Specifically, technology and science has made available techniques and strategies to campaigns that were, until now, used far more extensively on Wall Street and other industries. The use of these technologies has enabled things like data mining, modeling and behavioral analysis of voters to target the electorate more efficiently, and with greater effect than ever before. These techniques have been particularly advantageous to "get out the vote" efforts, but much progress remains to be made. Our guest, the Victory Lab author Sasha Issenberg, says political campaigns have historically been resistant to innovation - he'll tell us how that has changed in recent years, particularly since the 2008 presidential cycle. Since we often cover the field of algorithmic trading, we thought: what about algorithmic campaigning? Just as in finance, when deploying technology to areas once governed by human beings, complexity becomes an issue, not just for those using these new technologies, but for the reporters and journalists on the campaign trail who are tasked with covering the candidates. What is there that the rest of us are missing as a result, and what is the greatest thing we can take away? Sasha Issenberg, author of the Victory Lab, is here to tell us. Plus, the E-U wins the nobel peace prize, a prize that has often come with strings of dubious attachment. What is the nobel committee up to this time around? And what is our friend Jamie Dimon and his firm JP Morgan up to now? They saw a big earnings jump this quarter, and the CEO himself attributed much of this to mortgage refinancing. Demetri and Lauren talk about this, as well as Lauren's comedy routine in today's "Loose Change!

CapitalAccount 11/10/2012 - Jamie Dimon Replaces Jesus at the Temple and Lends Long to the Orthodox Church! , Stephen Leeb: the Missing Presidential Debate on Trickle Up Economics & the Energy War


At yesterday's Q&A, Father Andrew from the Vatopedi monastery in Mount Athos, had a very interesting question for Jamie Dimon. He said that his church was interested in borrowing for the long-term...specifically, 600+ years. Imagine the int erest payment on that float? What was funny though, was Jamie Dimon's response. Speaking with an almost divine sense of self, Jamie responded to the Father by saying: "How much do you want to borrow? I know we bank churches...if we give you money and you shouldn't borrow, we are going to get blamed for that too, so sometimes we say to you "no, we are not going to do it and its not good for you either"...Its like selling too much liquor to someone or letting them have that 5th drink at the bar or whatever and so, but, i'll give you all the help. Send me an email and i'll give you all the information you need." So much for banishing the money changers from the temple. But this isn't the only place where Jamie Dimon channeled images from the past. The famous PR man for John D. Rockefeller, the somewhat less famous Ivy Lee, had encouraged the once richest man in the world to engage in certain acts of philanthropy as a means of cleaning up his image. One of these was handing out dimes to children on the street. We found it striking that Jamie Dimon talked about philanthropy and charity during his Q&A to the good folks over at the CFR yesterday. It is laughable, of course, since what passes as philanthropy in his mind is really just a reshuffling of a fraction of the money that we have unwillingly put at risk in order to backstop unrealized losses for him and his bankrupt counterparties. At least Rockefeller was actually giving away dimes to children. In the case of Dimon, he is picking the child's pocket of a dollar, and handing back a doctored penny in return. So much for progress...Lauren and Demetri discuss this matter and more on today's "Loose Change." Stephen Leeb: the Missing Presidential Debate on Trickle Up Economics & the Energy War Welcome to Capital Account. The global rate cutting contest continues with two central banks reducing interest rates in the past 24 hours. The Central Bank of Brazil and the Central Bank of South Korea lowered rates by a quarter point, while China continued its easing policy to offset tight liquidity conditions. We talk to Dr. Stephen Leeb, chairman of Leeb Capital Management, about the impact of global loose monetary policy on commodity prices. Plus, tonight is the only Vice Presidential debate of the 2012 Presidential elections featuring Paul Ryan and Joe Biden. As pundits talk about "what's at stake" tonight, we ask if there is a dirty little secret no one mentions? Our guest, Stephen Leeb, weighs in on the bigger picture; resource and energy issues you aren't likely to hear in the US Vice Presidential debates. For years we have been told that wars in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and other oil rich areas, are for security. We have been told that bailing out the biggest banks is about protecting Main Street from a financial fallout on Wall Street. We have been told that the Fed's purchases of mortgage backed securities will help homeowners and the economy, creating jobs and spurring employment. Is any of this true? If US wars were driven, in part, by a need to secure a depleting resource, oil, why wouldn't the government be spending that money on alternative energy at home? If bailouts were about stemming the economic crisis, why not bail out the holders of fraudulent mortgages? If the Fed wanted to help homeowners, why wouldn't they set up lending facilities as they did with the banks, lending directly to indebted households and mortgage holders? We talk to Stephen Leeb, author of the book "Red Alert", about the narrative given to the America public, and large industry, including big banks, oil companies, and military contractors, who want to preserve the status quo. Also, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, said Greece should be given an extra two years to meet its budget targets. What is driving high-level leaders to make sure Greece stays in the Eurozone? We ask Stephen Leeb if Greece is better off in the Eurozone, and continuing to service its debt, or is it better off out? And will we see criminal charges for actions surrounding JP Morgan's multi-billion dollar trading losses? Federal authorities are using taped phone calls to build criminal cases, according to Dealbook. Yesterday, Jamie Dimon, speaking about the London Whale losses, said "Punish us for our mistake, which was a shareholder mistake, it didn't cost anyone else any money." Really? It doesn't cost us to subsidize a TBTF bank, running enormous risks and realizing huge losses whenever you feel like it? In today's "Loose Change," we have a mash up of Jamie Dimon's best moments from yesterday's CFR press event.

CapitalAccount 10/10/2012 - Nigel Farage on the Rise of UKIP, the Fall of Europe, and the Parallels for the US , Capital Account asks Jamie Dimon about the Failed Bear Stearns Acquisition at the CFR!


Nigel Farage on the Rise of UKIP, the Fall of Europe, and the Parallels for the US Welcome to Capital Account. Nigel Farage is a UK politician with a strong US following. He has seen his own party, UKIP, grow from a fringe faction to a viable mainstream alternative. By turning his European Parliamentary position into a bully pulpit for a growing movement of euro-skeptics, he has managed to ride an alternative political wave sweeping across the Atlantic. And many of his speeches before the EU have gone viral on the internet, particularly on the financial blogosphere in the United States, making the man and his United Kingdom Independence Party a force to be reckoned with. Nigel Farage joins us in studio to discuss all this, as well as what happens behind the scenes of Europe's Parliament and give us a sneak peak at his relationship with other MEPs behind the new iron curtain! Also, the IMF said Europe's banks may need to sell as much as 4.5 trillion dollars in assets through 2013 if policy makers fall short of their pledges to curb the crisis. This is 18 percent more than previously estimated. The failure to implement fiscal tightening could force EU banks to shrink assets, according to the IMF, and this painful deleveraging might crimp growth. We talk to Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and Member of European Parliament, about how much pain is still left in the Eurozone. We ask him if he has been surprised at all, by the resilience of Eurozone leaders in their resolve to keep the monetary union together, and if he see's a timeline for a Grexit, a Spexit, and perhaps even an exit of France from the Franco-German Pact! And Jamie Dimon was in Washington today, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations. We are weeks away from the one year anniversary of MF Global's collapse. Since JP Morgan was a major counterparty and custodial bank of MF global, Capital Account tracked Jamie Dimon down to ask him about what he knew in the weeks before the broker's collapse. We also took him to task on the Bear Stearns acquisition and the civil fraud suit. Stay tuned to find out what he said at the end of the show! Capital Account asks Jamie Dimon about the Failed Bear Stearns Acquisition at the CFR! JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, said the bank did the Federal Reserve a "favor" by acquiring Bear Stearns in 2008 and that the bank has lost up to 10 billion dollars related to its acquisition through litigation, write downs, etc. Jamie Dimon was in Washington D.C., at the Council on Foreign Relations, where Capital Account segment producer Justine Underhill asked him if he now regretted working with the Fed to acquire Bear Stearns. Specifically, the New York Attorney General's filing of a civil lawsuit alleging fraud related to mortgage securities at Bear is what sparked the market's concern. Below we have some of Jamie Dimon's response: Dimon said JP Morgan Chase was asked by the government to buy Bear Stearns "at great risk to ourselves." When asked if he would reconsider acquiring Bear Stearns knowing what he knows know about the company, Jamie Dimon said: "it's real close," and said that his board wouldn't let him. Dimon said the 10 billion dollars in Bear-related losses can be put in the "unfair category," adding that he "thinks the government should think twice before they punish businesses every single time something goes wrong." Here's the Q&A from the press conference with Dimon's attempt to settle the score.

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