Biography
Latest posts

- The Greek government

- One or two French banks

- The Finnish government

- Spanish banks, UK banks, hmm a few banks really

These are just some of the world-class institutions Joseph has managed to annoy with stuff he’s dug up over the years. He joined FT Alphaville way back in March 2010.

Joseph likes all the politically and legally fiddly bits of finance. He also likes credit, rates, global macro, tail risk, and all that stuff. (You should email him story ideas. He’ll take anything.)

He doesn’t have a finance background.

Bonar turns into subpoena

That’s the gist of the latest from Judge Thomas P. Griesa…

On Wednesday the District Court judge ordered Deutsche and JPMorgan to turf over documents on the “flow of funds” relating to an unofficial, $2bn sale they were arranging of US dollar-denominated — although not US-law — bonds (Bonars) issued by Argentina. Read more

Mark 3:25 (or, the UK’s housing divide)

A few charts from the latest English Housing Survey, out on Wednesday…

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I find your lack of payment culture disturbing

We think this means the ECB doesn’t want Greece to end up defaulting.

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The first rule of secret Argentine debt talks club is, you talk about secret Argentine debt talks club

Compare (a press release from Daniel Pollack, a court-appointed negotiator, on an Elliott offer to talk to Argentina in the pari passu mess):

The invitation by the Bondholders was without pre-conditions and offered the possibility to the Government of Argentina of a settlement without any present payment of cash, details to be negotiated. That invitation was transmitted by me to Counsel for the Government of Argentina, Cleary Gottlieb, on January 30, with follow-up calls by me over the next two weeks. The Government of Argentina has neither accepted nor otherwise responded to the invitation by the Bondholders. Read more

Debt, Kant, and cant

One may think that this retreat from game theory is motivated by some radical-left agenda. Not so. The major influence here is Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who taught us that the rational and the free escape the empire of expediency by doing what is right.

– Yanis Varoufakis, ‘No Time for Games in Europe’, NY Times Read more

Pari passu: the English patience

Q. You are a foreign judge being pulled into one of the longest, biggest, stupidest sovereign debt cases in history, one which is presently in limbo in a US court. The debtor has become distracted by a political nervous breakdown at home and may have taken leave of reality altogether. The creditors can’t stand each other, and no one has been getting any money for months, because of the effects of a single bond clause drafted over two decades ago. How do you proceed?

A. Politely.

Click below for the attempt of Mr Justice David Richards of the High Court of England and Wales: Read more

Rebranding Troikas, then and now

While we patiently wait for Wednesday’s late-night Eurogroup meeting to decide nothing about Greece…

Surveillance – the ECB’s role in the Troika has recently been questioned by the ECJ, and so some “rebranding” of the monitoring has looked likely. But the basic structure of program targets and reviews will remain in place. Read more

TPG still really wants its Blackberry back

Because it’s not every day you see a $65bn private equity firm — a notoriously shy bunch — put its employee confidentiality agreement on show before a Texas courthouse…

Click for TPG’s latest injunction in a very awkward lawsuit against its “whistleblower”/former spokesman, Adam Levine: Read more

Greece and the ECB: the first cut

On the day Yanis Varoufakis declared “I’m the finance minister of a bankrupt country”: Read more

This is nuts. Who wants some eBonds?

Over in Mac McQuown’s Sonoma Valley workshop, courtesy of Bloomberg Markets

McQuown says his eBond will enable investors to jettison their credit risk because the swap, which is essentially a form of insurance, will cover their losses should the debtor fail. To garner such protection now, an investor must purchase a swap separately to cover a bond. Read more

The many faces of Jeroen Dijsselbloem

It’s Friday. You probably can’t wait for the weekend after a tough week.

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Missing: one Blackberry. Please return to TPG

You’ve read about TPG, the $65bn buyout firm, suing its former spokesman to get back his company Blackberry after he allegedly threatened to “take down” the firm with press leaks…

…Now read the lawsuit: Read more

Russian rate hikes, then and now

Click to enlarge — from an old St Louis Fed paper

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The kitchen sinksky*

**10.5 per cent to 17 per cent**

Click to enlarge for the Central Bank of Russia’s emergency rate hike at 1am Moscow time — surpassing both the Turkish central bank’s hike in January this year and the Bank of England’s 500bps of moves on one day in 1992. Lamontsky.* Read more

The Sony Effect

Click to enlarge — in which Sony gets one of the top lawyers in the US to ask the media to destroy information from the company’s massive hacking. (Via the Hollywood Reporter)

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Transparency for me (MPC), but not for thee (FPC)

Did you know there’s something called the Eijffinger-Geraats central bank transparency index?

There is one. It’s in the Warsh Review. On Thursday, the Bank of England accepted the review’s recommendations in favour of more open central banking. So, it decided to release minutes of meetings alongside policy decisions as they come out, to release transcripts of those meetings eight years later — and to hold fewer meetings a year from 2016 (8 versus 12). Read more

A trip to the Tripoli casino

Q. How do you tell the $65bn sovereign wealth fund of a notoriously erratic government that it might lose all its money on trades you arranged for them?

A. Very carefully.

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From Russia with bonds

Ukraine will probably end this year with public debts over two-thirds the size of its economy. We won’t know the exact figure until March when official statistics come out, nor if those statistics will be able to count the GDP of the separatist east.

But it is not looking good. We thought this rated a reminder.

Because the President of Russia certainly hasn’t forgotten about it — or the unusual clause inserted into the language of a $3bn bond Ukraine owes to his government: Read more

The Irish letters

Here is an unimpressed Jean-Claude Trichet.

And here is the ECB’s full response to the revelation of the Trichet letter…

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Someone’s in rouble now

С начала года ЦБ для поддержания курса рубля потратил $68 млрд. Полторы Олимпиады улетело в пустоту.

— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) October 30, 2014 Read more

What ails StanChart — spot the difference

In the first quarter:

By the third quarter… Read more

London Whale — some NY Fed blubber

Since it’s curiously hard to find on the NY Fed’s home page, given the prominence of Bill Dudley’s recent firebreathing speech warning against complexity and cultural dysfunction in US banks…

Click for the Federal Reserve inspector general’s account of how the NY Fed failed to follow up on the early signs it had uncovered of risks in JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office. Read more

Ukraine — call the sovereign debt cops

. . .Which is an announcement by the Ukrainian Security Service on Thursday that it has opened an criminal investigation into just how Ukraine managed to sell $3bn of some curious bonds to Russia in the last months of Viktor Yanukovych’s government. Read more

Second Circuit still not Argentina’s biggest fan

With Argentina in default, the pari passu saga has become a long, ludicrous, gruelling standoff — which plenty of financial institutions and Argentina’s restructured bondholders have been trying to escape.

And then running smack into the US court system.

On Friday the Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by Citibank to get local-law, US dollar-denominated restructured bonds (the ones with the ISIN confusion) out of the pari passu embargo: Read more

Un petit TLTRO

This is well below the €100bn-plus forecasts that were consensus…

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An oligarch arrest in Russia…

And so to the website of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation:

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Structured Scottish independence

There is a paper to be written on how UK structured finance nomenclature borrows from the topography of a Britain which is sort of (but not quite) familiar, and which feels reassuringly permanent. We suppose it’s like the Shipping Forecast.

Aire Valley, Arkle, Arran, Brass (that one’s from Yorkshire), Darrowby, Granite (famously), Lanark, Leofric… Read more

Well they would redomicile, wouldn’t they?

Cross-posted from Lex Live — Lex’s new, free, blog. Lex has also been writing notes this week on the consequences of independence for sovereign debt, banks, and Scotland’s oil industry

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Or, why it isn’t surprising at all that RBS and Lloyds would move their respective holding companies to the UK, probably overnight, if Scotland voted to become independent. Despite the odd packaging of this as NEWS by the UK press.

It’s the emergency liquidity (or ELA). Click chart to enlarge:

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The negative zone

Cross-posted from Lex Live — which is Lex’s new, free (you don’t even have to register) blog giving an insight on what Lex writers are reading and thinking…

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Not that negative zone – Europe: Read more

Calling European ABS sellers…

Draghi: The Eurosystem will purchase a broad portfolio of simple and transparent asset-backed securities (ABSs)

— ECB (@ecb) September 4, 2014 Read more