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  #141  
Old 30.01.2008, 10:37
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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Shorrick Mk2, Why do you say so? Can you please explain .. (see bold above)
Very simple. The banks would then have an infinite incentive for risk taking with near-zero downside risk. Such a disproportion between risk and reward is not necessarily conducive to good business practices (as brilliantly put into example by Messrs. Leeson and Kerviel at the micro level). As an investor I would not be very happy with that.

Further, guaranteed by the Confederation (or your favourite state of choice) actually means guaranteed by the taxpayer. Which in turn means that I as a taxpayer bear the full brunt should a catastrophic loss happen with zero upside potential to make up for it - i.e. I as a taxpayer should pay the bank's insurance policy bills.

Perhaps you want to read up on the demise of Banque Cantonale Genevoise and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise which were both shored up by their respective cantons. If you still think that is a good thing, I'm perfectly happy to pass on the respective part of my tax bill...
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  #142  
Old 30.01.2008, 10:48
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

rumours on the trading desks, Merril will report further writedowns.
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  #143  
Old 30.01.2008, 11:17
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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Very simple. The banks would then have an infinite incentive for risk taking with near-zero downside risk. Such a disproportion between risk and reward is not necessarily conducive to good business practices (as brilliantly put into example by Messrs. Leeson and Kerviel at the micro level). As an investor I would not be very happy with that.

Further, guaranteed by the Confederation (or your favourite state of choice) actually means guaranteed by the taxpayer. Which in turn means that I as a taxpayer bear the full brunt should a catastrophic loss happen with zero upside potential to make up for it - i.e. I as a taxpayer should pay the bank's insurance policy bills.

Perhaps you want to read up on the demise of Banque Cantonale Genevoise and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise which were both shored up by their respective cantons. If you still think that is a good thing, I'm perfectly happy to pass on the respective part of my tax bill...
Thanks Shorrick for the detailed reply. I am actually referring to something like 'FDIC insurance' in the US. As you are aware, its not available here in Swiss. In your opinion, dont you think that such a thing similar to the US is good for the customers??

Please post your feedback on this.
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  #144  
Old 30.01.2008, 11:29
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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Very simple. The banks would then have an infinite incentive for risk taking with near-zero downside risk. Such a disproportion between risk and reward is not necessarily conducive to good business practices (as brilliantly put into example by Messrs. Leeson and Kerviel at the micro level). As an investor I would not be very happy with that.

Further, guaranteed by the Confederation (or your favourite state of choice) actually means guaranteed by the taxpayer. Which in turn means that I as a taxpayer bear the full brunt should a catastrophic loss happen with zero upside potential to make up for it - i.e. I as a taxpayer should pay the bank's insurance policy bills.

Perhaps you want to read up on the demise of Banque Cantonale Genevoise and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise which were both shored up by their respective cantons. If you still think that is a good thing, I'm perfectly happy to pass on the respective part of my tax bill...
Unfortunately, the reality is that a bank of any appreciable size will be bailed out by the government in some way just to prevent damage to the wider banking system.

You only have to look at Northern Rock in the UK; It was a pretty small bank but the UK govt has backed it with tens of billions of pounds of taxpayer cash to keep it afloat, despite its non-viable business strategy which landed it in trouble.

During the good times the bank's senior board lined their pockets with tens of millions of pounds of bonuses. In the bad times, the taxpayer takes the strain. Privatising profit and nationalising losses is the stock in trade of the banking industry.

At the end of the day the whole finance/banking system is crazy and if people knew the truth they probably wouldn't trust banks with their money. However, in order for our way of life to continue it's essential that people have faith in the concept of fiat currency and reserve banking so banks more or less have a 'get out of jail free' card even if they ultimately screw up.
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  #145  
Old 30.01.2008, 11:44
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

Another question, CS came out relatively unscathed in this whole mess vis a vis UBS, but why is CS the target of a takeover rumour rather than UBS? wonders of the world
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  #146  
Old 30.01.2008, 12:16
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

I have a question too, how come UBS has had a total write off of 18 billion, whereas big American banks have had much less??

What on earth where these guys up to. I mean, they are worse off seemingly than the bank that actually provided direct sub-prime loans (Country Wide). Is that because they hedged it multiple times?
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  #147  
Old 31.01.2008, 12:52
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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I have a question too, how come UBS has had a total write off of 18 billion, whereas big American banks have had much less??

What on earth where these guys up to. I mean, they are worse off seemingly than the bank that actually provided direct sub-prime loans (Country Wide). Is that because they hedged it multiple times?
actually its quite simple

The guys who provided the loans took their cut and passed on the loans (after much packaging and repackaging) to the 'investors' (i.e. banks, among others).

- the borrowers, who would not ordinarily have qualified, are happy

- the brokers who pulled in the borrowers, and frequently helped them forge documents, made tons of commissions

- the valuers / assessors took a cut for valuing homes higher than what they were really worth, and got paid for their professional services

- the rating agencies got paid for certifying that a million bad loans, when wrapped in shiny paper and tied with a silky ribbon, turned into a very lucrative investment

- the bankers who bought these shiny wrapped investments patted each other on the back and said 'my, what a wonderful investment you made', and then agreed that they all deserved a large bonus for their smart investments

- after many years of this game, one of them guys decided to sell his shiny package and discovered that no one wants to buy it, cause it's full of garbage !!

in short, the ones who thought that package smelled like sh!t, sold it on ... the ones who liked the silvery wrapping, held on to it, and they are the ones becoming famous in the papers and on TV

naturally, now you and I have to pay to help the poor banker keep his Ferrari... because, really, how was he supposed to know what's inside the package ???????????
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  #148  
Old 31.01.2008, 12:56
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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actually its quite simple

The guys who provided the loans took their cut and passed on the loans (after much packaging and repackaging) to the 'investors' (i.e. banks, among others).

- the borrowers, who would not ordinarily have qualified, are happy

- the brokers who pulled in the borrowers, and frequently helped them forge documents, made tons of commissions

- the valuers / assessors took a cut for valuing homes higher than what they were really worth, and got paid for their professional services

- the rating agencies got paid for certifying that a million bad loans, when wrapped in shiny paper and tied with a silky ribbon, turned into a very lucrative investment

- the bankers who bought these shiny wrapped investments patted each other on the back and said 'my, what a wonderful investment you made', and then agreed that they all deserved a large bonus for their smart investments

- after many years of this game, one of them guys decided to sell his shiny package and discovered that no one wants to buy it, cause it's full of garbage !!

in short, the ones who thought that package smelled like sh!t, sold it on ... the ones who liked the silvery wrapping, held on to it, and they are the ones becoming famous in the papers and on TV

naturally, now you and I have to pay to help the poor banker keep his Ferrari... because, really, how was he supposed to know what's inside the package ???????????
Yep - that's a pretty accurate picture of what amounts to little more than fraud all the way down the line, with people looking the other way so long as they were profiting.


More succinctly, the public always end up carrying the can when the banking sector is involved. Either through more taxes or via inflation - or both (as looks like happening in the UK).
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  #149  
Old 31.01.2008, 15:14
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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More succinctly, the public always end up carrying the can when the banking sector is involved. Either through more taxes or via inflation - or both (as looks like happening in the UK).
....or lower share prices which hits their pension funds. it needs shareholders to start flexing their muscle and demand changes:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...Story/Business
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  #150  
Old 31.01.2008, 15:27
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

regarding the pension fund....

Quote:
> Interest rate applied to retirement assets
> At its meeting held yesterday, the Foundation Board of the PF UBS
> has decided that an interest rate of 4.0% will be applied to
> retirement assets in the PF UBS for 2007.
>
> One reason for this decision is the performance of 3.9% reported in
> 2007. Another reason is the solid financial situation in which the
> PF UBS finds itself. After applying an interest rate of 4.0% to
> retirement assets, the PF UBS still has on 31 December 2007 a
> technical asset-liability ratio of 135.1%* (1 January 2007: 134,5%)
> and an economic asset-liability ratio of 128.3%* (1 January 2007: 119,0%).
>
> Taking into consideration the distribution of around CHF 367 million
> to the participants following the conversion from a defined benefit
> plan to a defined contribution plan on 1 January 2007, the average
> interest rate on the retirement assets in 2007 was 9.3%.
>
> Those participants who retire or leave the Pension Fund of UBS
> during 2008 will be paid 2.75% interest on their termination
> benefits in the year 2008.
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  #151  
Old 31.01.2008, 16:06
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

Mr Kerviel is claims his superiors chose to turn a blind eye.
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/...ap4588381.html

How convenient for Boss Bouton that the bank was the victim of a "hacker".
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/mai...njerome124.xml

How many of us sympathise more with Kerviel than with Bouton?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/m.../27/do2702.xml
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  #152  
Old 31.01.2008, 16:49
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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Unfortunately, the reality is that a bank of any appreciable size will be bailed out by the government in some way just to prevent damage to the wider banking system.

You only have to look at Northern Rock in the UK; It was a pretty small bank but the UK govt has backed it with tens of billions of pounds of taxpayer cash to keep it afloat, despite its non-viable business strategy which landed it in trouble.

During the good times the bank's senior board lined their pockets with tens of millions of pounds of bonuses. In the bad times, the taxpayer takes the strain. Privatising profit and nationalising losses is the stock in trade of the banking industry.

At the end of the day the whole finance/banking system is crazy and if people knew the truth they probably wouldn't trust banks with their money. However, in order for our way of life to continue it's essential that people have faith in the concept of fiat currency and reserve banking so banks more or less have a 'get out of jail free' card even if they ultimately screw up.
Northern Rock provided 20% of all UK mortgages, so not exactly "small". To describe Northern Rock's strategy as "non-viable" is a bit like saying a bicycle is "a death trap" by virtue of only having 2 wheels, and no airbags or seat belts. Clearly having a wheel fall off (=catastrophic drying up of the shortterm credit markets) is not necessarily what you think about as you cycle along. No one was complaining when the offered super-competitive mortgages or high savings.

The government didn't intervene to save management or the shareholders, but ordinary savers and borrowers. Which is quite right to my mind.. that is the role of government: To provide "infrastruture" for society including a stable banking system.

Clearly management were ultimately to blame, but the IFA, BoE and government have absolutely not covered themselves with glory. The form of their assistance and the method they handled communication of the crisis have more to do with the fact the prospective buyers now have the treasury over the metaphorical barrel than any management actions.

The sad thing is that particular management team were by far and away not cynical barbarians. The believed passionately in developing a strong business based in Newcastle, set up the NR Trust which was the second biggest charitable giver of FTSE companies. Honestly as a company director myself, I tend to think "there but for the grace of god.."

Daniel
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  #153  
Old 31.01.2008, 17:12
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

I am in the process of opening 2-3 additional bank accounts. I am going to spread my savings across 3-4 Swiss bank accounts. Maybe a pointless exercise but it makes me feel safe(r). Any negative reason why I should not do that?
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  #154  
Old 31.01.2008, 17:15
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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How many of us sympathise more with Kerviel than with Bouton?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/m.../27/do2702.xml
He played, he lost. He deserves everything that comes at him. Lack of proper supervision is not a good reason to step outside your responsibility boundaries.
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  #155  
Old 31.01.2008, 17:19
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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I am in the process of opening 2-3 additional bank accounts. I am going to spread my savings across 3-4 Swiss bank accounts. Maybe a pointless exercise but it makes me feel safe(r). Any negative reason why I should not do that?
long-term - you'll pay more fees
short-term - erm, you'll pay more fees
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  #156  
Old 31.01.2008, 17:37
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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I am in the process of opening 2-3 additional bank accounts. I am going to spread my savings across 3-4 Swiss bank accounts. Maybe a pointless exercise but it makes me feel safe(r). Any negative reason why I should not do that?
It will make filling in your tax return a bit longer and more complicated...
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  #157  
Old 31.01.2008, 17:54
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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I am in the process of opening 2-3 additional bank accounts. I am going to spread my savings across 3-4 Swiss bank accounts. Maybe a pointless exercise but it makes me feel safe(r). Any negative reason why I should not do that?
It will be a major pain in the ass trying to keep track of which accounts have how much money, and moving money between them.

If it is money that you use on a day to day basis, then you'll be having to juggle ATM cards.

If it is money that you are not planning to touch then better off putting it into some diversified portfolio that will earn you more than the 0.00000000000000001% interest a Swiss bank will pay you.
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  #158  
Old 31.01.2008, 17:57
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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It will be a major pain in the ass trying to keep track of which accounts have how much money, and moving money between them.

If it is money that you use on a day to day basis, then you'll be having to juggle ATM cards.

If it is money that you are not planning to touch then better off putting it into some diversified portfolio that will earn you more than the 0.00000000000000001% interest a Swiss bank will pay you.

one word: Plastics
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  #159  
Old 31.01.2008, 18:21
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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Northern Rock provided 20% of all UK mortgages, so not exactly "small". To describe Northern Rock's strategy as "non-viable" is a bit like saying a bicycle is "a death trap" by virtue of only having 2 wheels, and no airbags or seat belts. Clearly having a wheel fall off (=catastrophic drying up of the shortterm credit markets) is not necessarily what you think about as you cycle along. No one was complaining when the offered super-competitive mortgages or high savings.

The government didn't intervene to save management or the shareholders, but ordinary savers and borrowers. Which is quite right to my mind.. that is the role of government: To provide "infrastruture" for society including a stable banking system.

Clearly management were ultimately to blame, but the IFA, BoE and government have absolutely not covered themselves with glory. The form of their assistance and the method they handled communication of the crisis have more to do with the fact the prospective buyers now have the treasury over the metaphorical barrel than any management actions.

The sad thing is that particular management team were by far and away not cynical barbarians. The believed passionately in developing a strong business based in Newcastle, set up the NR Trust which was the second biggest charitable giver of FTSE companies. Honestly as a company director myself, I tend to think "there but for the grace of god.."

Daniel
As a bank, they were tiny. It was only because they aggressively expanded their business by borrowing short term from the markets to lend long term and securitize the debt that they were able to get to that position of holding such a large part of the UK market by the time they hit the buffers.

They should have had a robust business model that didn't depend on cheap, plentiful short-term cash and an eager market for securitized debt. They didn't and they became non-viable. That's not bad luck, it's bad business strategy. Other banks did not suddenly become non-viable at the time of the credit crunch because they didn't have such an extremely skewed model.

That's not to say that other banks don't have problems and that we won't see similar crises (in fact, I am sure we will) but it does show that NR had a particularly flawed and unbalanced strategy.

The senior staff rewarded themselves handsomely when their strategy was paying off ... now that we hit the flipside and it has gone wrong for them, the public are paying to cover the potential losses while the ex-directors walk away with their millions. That stinks.


By the way, the government intervened to save the banking system itself, not any particular section of the public who might be either holding shares or deposits in the bank. If NR had went bust we'd most likely be looking at a similar fate for Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley too. Even bigger fish like Barclays would have been in serious trouble too.

None of the panic moves we currently see by the central banks/ governments are at all aimed at helping individuals, they are there to rescue the system. It is the general public who will ultimately bear the cost of the bail-out either by paying more tax or losing the value of their salaries and savings due to inflation.
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Old 31.01.2008, 18:29
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Re: Yet more sub-prime UBS woes another $10bn writedown....

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one word: Plastics
two words: platinum ingots
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