lunedì 19 ottobre 2009

Aggiornamento al 23 ottobre 2009

La settimana inizia con nuovi massimi degli indici azionari ma anche con un invito alla riflessione di Paul Krugman che dalle pagine del New York Times ci ricorda come le banche siano ancora in grave affanno e come ci sia ancora la necessità di nuove regole che impediscano il ripetersi di una crisi come quella del 2008: Beyond that, we desperately need to pass effective financial reform. For if we don’t, bankers will soon be taking even bigger risks than they did in the run-up to this crisis. After all, the lesson from the last few months has been very clear: When bankers gamble with other people’s money, it’s heads they win, tails the rest of us lose.
Anche l'Economist parla di Moral outrage

Qualche giorno dopo
il NYTimes ci informa della volontà dell'amministrazione Obama di
tagliare gli stipendi dei
top executives di quelle società che hanno sono state salvate da un probabile fallimento grazie ad iniezioni di denaro pubblico:

The plan, for the 25 top earners at seven companies that received exceptional help, will on average cut total compensation this year by about 50 percent. The companies are Citigroup, Bank of America, American International Group, General Motors, Chrysler and the financing arms of the two automakers.

Some executives, like the top traders at A.I.G., will face tight limits on their pay. In addition, the top-paid employees at all the affected companies will face new limits on their perks.

The plan will also change the form of the pay to align the personal interests of the executives with the longer-term financial health of the companies. For instance, the cash portion of the executives’ salaries will be slashed on average by 90 percent, and the rest will be replaced by stock that cannot be sold for years.

Continua quindi il dibattito sul moral hazard e su come evitare che le prossime crisi finanziarie mettano a rischio tutto il sistema come è invece successo un anno fa. La proposta dell'84enne ex-governatore della Fed Paul A. Volker è semplicemente di reintrodurre (con qualche aggiustamento per renderlo coerente con i nostri tempi) il Glass-Steagall act, revocato nel 1999, che separa banche commerciali da banche di investimento. Volker wants the nation’s banks to be prohibited from owning and trading risky securities, the very practice that got the biggest ones into deep trouble in 2008. And the administration is saying no, it will not separate commercial banking from investment operations. ... Mr. Volcker argues that splitting commercial and investment banking would put a damper on both pay and risky trading practices.

Il giorno dopo l'annuncio dell'amministrazione Obama è il momento della Fed: The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it would crack down on pay packages that encouraged bankers to take excessive risks, but officials acknowledged that the plan might not reduce the biggest paychecks on Wall Street.

While unlikely by itself to end the practice of lavish compensation, the Fed’s plan is one of the most far-reaching responses yet to last year’s financial crisis. It will subject executives, traders, deal makers and other employees of the biggest banks to regulatory scrutiny of their compensation and represent another increase in government intervention in the marketplace.

The announcement was choreographed to coincide with the decision by the Obama administration this week to cut the pay of many high earners at the seven companies that received the most taxpayer help. Both decisions were announced amid growing public outrage over large pay packages at many of those companies.


Instead of pay limits, the Fed rules are intended to discourage pay packages that may encourage risky practices. The government wants to encourage pay packages that reward executives for long-term performance.

Officials acknowledged that it could be months before they would be able to tell whether the Fed’s changes would have the intended effect. Bank examiners will have to be trained on the ties between compensation and risk management. Moreover, compensation consultants have been adept at finding ways to get around pay restrictions.

The officials emphasized that the plan was not intended to make pay packages more socially equitable but was part of a broader effort by the Fed to shore up the stability of the banking system. That effort has included tighter supervision of lending and trading practices and higher requirements for capital held as a cushion against losses.

La settimana si chiude in negativo per le borse e per il dollaro: Buttonwood si dedica allo studio del paradosso di una corsa tris con le azioni vincenti e oro e obbligazioni piazzate:

GAMBLERS dream of achieving a trifecta: picking the first three horses, in the right order, in a given race. The payout is huge but so are the odds against success.

The same could be said, in financial markets, of a strategy that backed equities, gold and government bonds. The three asset classes do not tend to perform well at the same time. Both gold and equities can be classed as inflation hedges but government bonds are hard hit by higher consumer prices. Both gold and government bonds could be bracketed as havens for risk-averse investors but equities are definitely classed as risky assets.

The bet has paid off this year, however. According to Dhaval Joshi of RAB Capital, a fund-management firm, the three asset classes have all produced double-digit returns over the past three months. That has occurred only twice before in the past 50 years.

Se avete dollari in portafoglio e non sapete cosa fare potete consolarvi, oppure confondervi ulteriormente le idee, leggendo le analisi dell'Economist sulla valuta qui e sul debito pubblico americano qui. Se soffrite di insonnia e la notte vi annoiate potete interrogarvi sulla sostenibilità del debito pubblico del Giappone, leggere l'editoriale di Paul Krugman sull'insostenibilità della politica cinese di sottovalutazione dello yuan oppure potete leggere questo editoriale del New York Times nel quale ci si interroga sull'attendibilità dei bilanci della Fed e dedicare qualche riflessione sul significato del denaro: le voci Money e Monetary policy possono essere una lettura stimolante.

Ecco l'aggiornamento al 23 ottobre scorso:

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