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Talk » Sales » Discussing 'Why haven't we banned CDS yet?'

Why haven't we banned CDS yet?

IBM is a NYSE listed stock..please tell me what markets the largest trades in IBM take place in? so get on ur bloomberg..hit help twice and figure that one out

NYSE along with other provides important pricing information. And NASDAQ in many ways operates like an exchange. Buyers and sellers are not privately negotiating a transaction.

Face it, swaps caused the financial system to collapse to a far greater extent than poorly under-written mortgages. Swaps allowed the system to over-leverage and hide it.

face it ur just on a populist bandwagon to bash a product / concept that you clearly do no not fundamentally understand. swaps are here to say so go back to sleep.

riversider doesn't need to know anything in order to know everything. keeps it much simpler. at least in rs's muddled mind.

OMG, Riversider, you really know NOTHING. Nasdaq does not "act like an exchange." It IS an exchange! But NYSe and Nasdaq's share of Tape A, B, &C stocks is down from 90%+ five years ago to under 40% - because market participants - buy side, sell side, even Schwab and TD Ameritrade - increasingly trade stocks OFF exchange.

Secondly, buy side firms can buy ON THE RUN treasuries from the Fed directly, but they trade off the run in the secondary market OTC, not on an exchange. But they are centrally cleared and prices are provided by TRACE. Just like Corporate bonds and agencies. The NYSE has offered bond trading since 2000, and has ZERO volume. Given a choice, ALL market participants choose OTC.

Comment removed.

What's the cost like for a client to novate or terminate a position?

Don't try and get all AP NOW Riversider, you did not even know Nasdaq became an exchange like 30 years ago.

As for your question to Marco, novate what? IRS, CDS, Cash USTs? What's the notional value? How many years left on the contract? What other terms does the agreement stipulate? What does your pricing model show? What is the bid/ask spread for similar instruments (if its farily standardized).

The very act of trying to ask a seemingly informed question makes seem even more stupid.

the cost is the same. all ur doing is another trade in the opposite dirction.

Well, you are assuming Marco that they are equal and offsetting positions (long ABX, short ABX, same terms.) My point was that you need to know the details of the position before you can even discuss novating them. But yes you are correct.


Why are you debating with a guy like riversider? He's a frickin real estate broker. Not worth your time.

Some facts for your consideration:

Fact 1: If you trade stocks based on insider knowledge (for example, maybe you know that next week's earnings announcement will be disappointing), that's illegal.

Fact 2: Ditto for bonds.

Fact 3: Credit default swaps are basically insurance on bonds. So buying or selling CDS coverage based on insider knowledge is illegal too. Right?

Well hold on there pardner! You're assuming that credit default swaps are securities. Because insider trading laws only apply to securities. But swaps are — well, they're just private contracts between two consenting adults. Nothing security-ish about them. Capiche? So forget this whole insider trading thing.

Felix Salmon explains further here and then says maybe we ought to do something about this:

The first obvious thing that needs to be done here is to give the SEC formal jurisdiction over single-name CDS....The second thing which ought to be considered is moving CDS trading onto an exchange, where it can be regulated. And it's almost certain, at this point, that that's not going to happen. In fact, I asked Craig Donohue, the CEO of CME Group, about this at yesterday's Reuters Global Exchanges and Trading Summit. He's very keen on clearing over-the-counter CDS trades, but he said that he's come to the decision over the past couple of years that he's not interested in listing CDS on any of his exchanges directly. The big CDS players are his clients, they make lots of money from their OTC trading, and he seems to have no appetite to start competing with them on that front, rather than simply facilitating the clearing of their trades.

Financial regulatory reform is looking better all the time, isn't it? No serious capital or leverage requirements. A consumer protection agency housed at the Fed and barely worth the paper it's implemented on. And no exchange trading of CDS because the exchanges don't want to do it and Congress probably won't force them to. I don't know about you, but I'm about ready to say we should just scrap the whole thing and admit that we're OK with Wall Street plutocrats continuing to run the country for their own benefit until they destroy the country properly. At least that would have the virtue of honesty.

And by the way: Felix will shoot me for saying this, but I've pretty much come to the conclusion that credit default swaps should simply be banned. Their benefits are actually pretty minimal, while their vulnerability to abuse seems almost unlimited. I'm having a harder and harder time these days buying the case that we can regulate them into submission.

Whether or not Goldman is guilty, the transaction in question clearly had no social benefit. It involved a complex synthetic security derived from existing mortgage-backed securities by cloning them into imaginary units that mimicked the originals. This synthetic collateralised debt obligation did not finance the ownership of any additional homes or allocate capital more efficiently; it merely swelled the volume of mortgage-backed securities that lost value when the housing bubble burst. The primary purpose of the transaction was to generate fees and commissions.

This is a clear demonstration of how derivatives and synthetic securities have been used to create imaginary value out of thin air. More triple A CDOs were created than there were underlying triple A assets. This was done on a large scale in spite of the fact that all of the parties involved were sophisticated investors. The process went on for years and culminated in a crash that caused wealth destruction amounting to trillions of dollars. It cannot be allowed to continue. The use of derivatives and other synthetic instruments must be regulated even if all the parties are sophisticated investors. Ordinary securities must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission before they can be traded. Synthetic securities ought to be similarly registered, although the task could be assigned to a different authority, such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.


Wide Spreads and Opacity are a Derivative Feature, Not a Bug

"This synthetic collateralised debt obligation did not finance the ownership of any additional homes or allocate capital more efficiently; it merely swelled the volume of mortgage-backed securities that lost value when the housing bubble burst. The primary purpose of the transaction was to generate fees and commissions. "

Thats not actually true. The article contradicts itself.

Whatever money was spent on buying those was money given back to folks who could originate mortgages. Hell, it was the problem with the cycle.

If the value of the mortgage stuff was swelled with more folks buying in, that meant there was more mortgage money.

Its like a stock being traded on the secondary market. The trade itself does nothing, but if another person buys the stock, that leaves the person who sold it to him to buy other stock...

The more participants buying in, the more capital to be spread.

Whatever money was spent on buying those was money given back to folks who could originate mortgages. Hell, it was the problem with the cycle.

Nope, nothing more than a side bet.

You and I bet on whether IBM goes up or down tomorrow.
It's a side bet

Banks are likely to lose a key lobbying battle in the US over whether they will be forced to spin off their lucrative swaps desks, according to people familiar with financial reform negotiations in Congress.

Defeat, which would be a further blow to Wall Street, has been made more likely by Paul Volcker, the influential former Federal Reserve chairman, softening his opposition to the provision.

George Canellos, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Manhattan office. Source: Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy via Bloomberg
George Canellos, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Manhattan office, said new U.S. rules for clearing derivatives trades are likely to expose frauds tied to instruments including credit-default swaps.

“In history, there’s been one insider-trading case brought in the context of credit-default swaps, and it’s not because insider trading isn’t perpetrated,” Canellos said at a hedge- fund forum at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters yesterday. “It’s because of the lack of transparency.”

Financial derivatives that are widely tracked as a measure of creditworthiness of companies and countries have in many cases been poor indicators of default in the financial crisis, says Fitch Ratings.

The findings of the Fitch study highlight how privately-traded credit default swaps, where even the most actively traded contracts change hands only a few times per day, are influenced by many factors beyond the fundamental credit positions of companies or countries concerned.

These include the numbers of buyers and sellers, the amount of borrowings that traders can access and overall risk appetite.

This may limit the usefulness of CDS prices, or spreads, for measuring default risk.

This is not news to actual portfolio managers or traders. Only reporters were dumb enough to ever think this.

Of course the predictive models built by the quants used CDS prices to predict defaults on the underlying Credits now sure who knew what and when..

EC accused of covering up report into effect of hedge funds on ...
Dec 7, 2010 ... It concludes: "All in all, the analysis... shows that the differences in bond and CDS spreads across countries are justified. ...

EU Report Shows CDS Trades Benign on Yields - The Hedge Fund Journal
Dec 6, 2010 ... "All in all, the analysis of the fundamental factors shows that the differences in bond and CDS spreads across countries are justified. ...


EC report clears hedge funds over Greek default
Dec 7, 2010 ... The "Report on Sovereign CDS", obtained by Financial News, ... It also concluded: "The analysis of the fundamental factors shows that the differences in bond and CDS spreads across countries are justified. ...

First I agree that credit spreads and CDS spreads can and will be different as they measure different things. and 2nd...

Goldman Sachs ’ trading activities in the credit insurance market in 2007 have come under attack from a US senator after e-mails revealed a senior trader urged colleagues to “kill” some investors’ positions.

Today, in a 3,500 word oeuvre, the NYT's Louise Story has done an expose on some of the key development in the CDS market. For those who may not have the patience of reading the whole thing, we provide an abridged summary...

* The most profitable product for banks currently are derivatives (and CDS in particular)
* As a result, the derivatives trading cabal wants to contain its members to as few as possible, and to preserve the status quo indefinitely
* Margins on CDS can be anything as there is no central clearing or pricing mechanism; buyers and sellers rely on the broker to present an honest market
* The trading desk spread profit on a CDS contract is 0.1% of notional ($25,000 of $25,000,000)
* Spreads can be as wide as the banking cartel (Goldman, as most other banks just price at Goldman levels) deems them to be
* Banks do not want to trade CDS on exchanges as that would kill margins
* Citadel tried to make CDS trading into a HFT operation. It failed (for now)
* Markit is a dominant industry-controlled player, and prevents transparency (and thus keeps margins high) in the market by not allowing broad dissemination of CDS pricing
* Regulation is powerless to break the cabal's control

That pretty much covers it.

This is not an expose. Every first year MBA student knows this stuff.

It's a useful summary, thanks.

^^^I agree its very useful for people who do not already know this stuff, which is 95% of people. But an "expose" is something that is a shocking, embarrassing, or titillating revaluation. Bill Clinton having sex with an intern. Insider trading. Etc. This story takes a non-secret that every OTC trader, exchange executive, CFTC or SEC regulator, Fed official, etc knows about and could learn about in a publicly available business school case study.

HOWEVER - CME's CEO says he does not even WANT to trade this stuff:

I disagree. The average person is totally unaware of how little progress has been made in this area and the enormous profits and risks the banks are obtaining, which come at the expense of Main Street.
It used to be that the banks were an important provider of money to main street. Now a days, it's the reverse.

RS..let cds go..thats least troublesome of all the problems out there

"I disagree. The average person is..."

Is the AVERAGE person = "...OTC trader, exchange executive, CFTC or SEC regulator, Fed official..."?

No, which is why I said: "...I agree its very useful for people who do not already know this stuff, which is 95% of people...."

U.S. Credit Swaps Decline to One-Year Low on Corporate Earnings
2011-01-24 16:15:05.427 GMT

By Mary Childs
Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of protecting U.S.
corporate bonds from default fell to the lowest in more than a
year as company earnings exceeded forecasts, adding to evidence
the economic recovery is gaining pace.
“There’s still no fundamental risk,” said Stephen
Antczak, head of U.S. credit strategy at Societe Generale SA in
New York. “Profits are OK, there are no defaults. People just
aren’t fearful of negative fundamentals.”
The Markit CDX North America Investment Grade Index, which
investors use to hedge against losses on corporate debt or to
speculate on creditworthiness, decreased 0.9 basis point to a
mid-price of 82 basis points as of 10:51 a.m. in New York,
according to Markit Group Ltd. The index is falling as headline
risk from the sovereign debt crisis in Europe declines,
according to Antczak.
“The market is just less vulnerable as time goes on,” he
said. “It’s just an old story.”
The credit swaps index, which typically declines as
investor confidence improves and rises as it deteriorates,
traded as high as 131.3 basis points in June as Europe’s debt
crisis roiled bond markets. It’s now at the lowest since
reaching 80.3 basis points on Jan. 14, 2010.
Earnings at 44 of the 60 Standard & Poor’s 500 companies
that reported results since Jan. 10 beat analyst estimates,
according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The U.S. economy
probably grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter, consumer
confidence increased and orders for durable goods rose,
economists said before reports this week.

Takeover Bid

Credit-default swaps on Sara Lee Corp. jumped after the
food company received a takeover bid from Apollo Global
Management LLC, Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital that’s higher
than its most recent closing share price of $18.70, said three
people with knowledge of the matter. Contracts on the Downers
Grove, Illinois-based company surged 45 basis points to a record
320 at 8:27 a.m. in New York, according to broker Phoenix
Partners Group.
Swaps on Rock-Tenn Co. surged after the Norcross, Georgia-
based company agreed to buy Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. for
$3.5 billion, making it North America’s second-biggest
containerboard producer as demand rebounds. Credit swaps on the
company jumped 17.1 basis points to 189.6 at 10:28 a.m., the
highest in five months, according to data provider CMA.
Credit swaps pay the buyer face value if a borrower fails
to meet its obligations, less the value of the defaulted debt. A
basis point equals $1,000 annually on a contract protecting $10
million of debt.

The U.K. Financial Services Authority started a market-abuse probe into trading of credit- default swaps on corporate debt, according to four people familiar with the investigation

The regulator requested information from market participants to determine whether there%u2019s been insider trading involving the financial products, said the people, who declined to be identified because the investigation isn%u2019t public. Last month, U.S. prosecutors said they would step up probes of possible fraud involving credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.
U.S. criminal investigators will step up probes into possible fraud involving collateralized debt obligations and CDS, a federal prosecutor in New York said earlier this month.

already been done here...Hows Raj Rajaratnam lookin

It's clear that anyone trying to engage in insider trading will use the instrumenets with the least transparency and reporting.

The European Commission has opened sweeping antitrust investigations into a collection of the biggest players in the credit default swaps market, including ICE, the industry’s leading clearing house.

The investigations, launched by Joaquín Almunia, the competition commissioner, open a new chapter in the commission’s attempts to regulate a group of exotic securities that played a central role in the financial crisis that brought down leading Wall Street investment banks and required hundreds-of-billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bail-outs.

The probe consists of two investigations. In the first, the commission is examining whether Markit, a British company that provides financial information about credit default swaps, colluded with 16 investment banks to dominate the market.

The second investigation centres on IntercontinentalExchange’s European clearing business, ICE, and whether special profit-sharing arrangements and other preferential tariffs it has granted to nine of the banks have effectively closed them off from doing business with competing clearing houses.

@ Riversider
You're all over the place.

1) Are you talking about CDO or CDS? They are totally different, yet somehow the convo has taken a turn.

2) Don't start a crusade against CDS because you don't like speculation. You can speculate using a lot of things. The problem was irresponsible risk management by firms, the worst one being AIG (who isn't even a bank in any sense of the word). A simpler solution would be to have position limits to make sure no one is too long or too short outright. If that's the case, then state that. Don't throw your hands up running around claiming we need to BAN things. You sound ignorant to the issue and are probably just regurgitating some crap you read in a bunch of biased articles.

saiyar1, you sound like someone who forms opinions without knowing the facts. Your entire post is wrong on all accounts.
CDS is a special form of speculation that's dangerous on many levels. Here's the latest.

2) Default Swaps. The leverage that created so many bad mortgages and the derivatives to help finance them would not have been possible without "credit default swaps" (CDSs)—ingenious derivative instruments that allowed lenders to insure their risks against defaults and pass them on to others. In principle, widening the market should be a good thing. But these risks have slipped outside the public memory systems, making it very difficult to know who ultimately bears the risk and where it is.

Robert Engle, a Nobel laureate who teaches economics at New York University, has said that proposals for reforming CDSs by Western governments are "good as far as they go, but they don't go far enough." European central banker Alexandre Lamfalussy and others have so far been unsuccessful at trying to collect information or even at creating a "risk office" at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). In the last quarter of 2010, various BIS publications noted that statistics on international debt still had too many gaps and overlaps—and that banks, fearful over their proprietary obligations, were reluctant to provide information.

Why haven't we banned riversider yet? The shut in continues to have access to the Internet. Did you put on more weight while I was gone? Holy fk you are obese.

Think Greece would've been able to do what they did, if derivatives traded on organized exchanges? Would've been all out in the open.

Comment removed.

Great points raised in the Dylan Ratigan piece, This market is a monster. It's insurance without the reserves. If it were done on organized exchanges the public would be assured of proper margin requirements being set and regulators would know the exposure, unlike what occurred in 2008 with AIG. The only parties that benefit from the current process are those that want to over-leverage or who benefit from wide bid-ask spreads. And it must be public data and not secretly shared with regulators to avoid regulatory capture and ensure efficient markets.

Comment removed.

700 trillion includes IRS which is a larger market than cds. these guys really dont what theyre talking about.

"700 trillion includes IRS which is a larger market than cds. these guys really dont what theyre talking about"

Its worse than that. IRS = about 2/3 the total. CDS notional outstanding is about $28T gross - or only 4% of the total. And net is maybe $4T at most. Its idiotic and stupid reporting.

The total combined notional amount outstanding of interest rate, credit, and equity derivatives at June 30, 2010 was $466.8 trillion, an increase of less than 1 percent from the end of 2009.

The notional amount outstanding of credit default swaps (CDS) was $26.3 trillion at mid-year 2010, a decrease of 13.7 percent from $30.4 trillion at year-end 2009. CDS notional outstanding for the past twelve months was down 15.9 percent from $38.6 trillion at mid-year 2009. As in past surveys, the $26.3 trillion notional amount was approximately evenly divided between bought and sold protection: bought protection notional amount was approximately $13.3 trillion and sold protection was about $13.0 trillion, with a net bought notional amount of $359.0 billion. Sixty-two firms provided data on credit default swaps. Credit default swaps are 5.6 percent of the total of all derivatives reported to the ISDA Market Survey.

Interest rates need to go on exchange. Everyone except the banks and traders involved know that. And privately many of the traders admit it. Face it opacity is good for business.

June 2011 Total contracts 700 trillion
Interest contracts 553 trillion
defaults swaps 32.4 trillion

These numbers are huge. Even the small one 32,400,000,000,000.
These are markets with trillions of dollars of notional risk being created(not hedges) and they are not out in the open like stock trades, or futures trades, etc. Exchanges are a wonderful thing, use em.

700 trillion includes IRS which is a larger market than cds. these guys really dont what theyre talking about.

It's all about counter-party risk. When you have 700 trillion of obligations going back and forth across 5 banks a failure of any one, creates an unacceptable situation, a big reason the gov't made good on AIG's bad bets. The key difference between IRS and CDS is that the risk on CDS can be priced in over-night making any margin other than 100% too little, until the event happens and then it's too little. Putting these on exchanges allows the full market to see pricing, allows for a central clearing firm to effect margin and cut down on counter-party risk.

This "they don't know what they're talking about" is crap talk to negate what is a very legitimate argument in favor of reasonable and prudent controls.

What the fuck are you arguing like its 2007 for, RS? Dodd-Frank, EMIR, MIFD etc will require central clearing, price transperency, margin, etc. CDS will (and in fact already MOSTLY) trade as transparently as corporate bonds.

The market is highly concentrated. The largest eight banks account for 63 percent of the market, according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).

Clearing houses, which have financial firms as members, stand between trade parties and guarantee financial obligations of the counterparties.

When banks and fund managers began discussing document guidelines for clearing in an industry working group, many assumed banks would retain their key roles as middlemen.

This gave support to documentation that required investors to specify in advance their partners for trading derivatives -- the triparty agreements at the center of the current dispute.

The issue became contentious in January, when Chicago-based fund manager Citadel raised its concerns in an industry group, which was later communicated to Gensler, that the model could be used to restrict competition.

Soon others, including PIMCO, BlackRock, AllianceBernstein and Vanguard, also voiced concerns, people involved in the talks said.

The documents give banks clearing arms "undue influence on a customer's choice of counterparties," James Wallin at AllianceBernstein recently said in a submission letter to the CFTC supporting the ban.

"Clients should not be forced to negotiate with three parties with regard to their ability to clear," said DeLeon, who declined to comment on details of the calls.

I know all of this. It will end up like the corporate bond market. Other than the HFT firms, the BlackRocks etc never actually want to make markets, they end up using banks anyway because they don't want to commit capital. Even for plain old futures and listed equities, they use dealers.

They want to go onto an exchange where buyers and sellers are equal. The buyers don't want bad execution. They don't want to overpay and sell for to little.

More than half of the derivatives- trading business of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Morgan Stanley and three other large banks could fall largely outside the Dodd- Frank Act if they succeed in lobbying regulators to exempt their overseas operations, government records show.

If overseas operations aren’t subject to U.S. rules or equivalent regulation by other nations, it could impede the goal of preventing another credit crisis, Darrell Duffie, professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, said in a telephone interview.

“Not only is that neglectful from a viewpoint of systemic risk as it sits today, but it’s also an incitement to move the risk abroad,” Duffie said.

The regulators said in their April proposal that foreign swaps pose “no lesser risk” to a U.S. company because of their location and noted that an exemption might allow banks to design swaps to evade the law by using their overseas affiliates. While global regulators are looking to establish an international regulatory system for margin to level the playing field, they have yet to announce a plan.

For example, New York-based Goldman Sachs’s largest counterparty for credit derivatives on the eve of the credit crisis in June 2008 was Deutsche Bank AG (DB)’s London branch; its third-largest interest-rate derivatives counterparty was JPMorgan’s London branch; and its largest counterparty for currency products was Royal Bank of Scotland Plc’s London branch, according to a 2010 report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a U.S. panel that investigated the crisis.

“The International Swaps and Derivatives Association said on Thursday that based on current evidence the Greek bailout would not prompt payments on the credit default swaps.”


Here is a question for the crowd: Exactly how brain damaged, foolish and stupid must a trader be to ever buy one of these embarrassingly laughable instruments called derivatives?

The claim that Greece has not defaulted — despite refusing to make good on their obligations in full or on time — is utterly laughable.

In order to get paid on a default, you need a committee to evaluate whether or not failing to make payments is a — WTF?!? — default? Even more ridiculous, the committee is composed of biased, interested parties with positions in the aforementioned securities?

ISDA: After this shitshow, why on earth would anyone EVER want to own an asset class that requires you to determine payout? Indeed, why should ANYONE ever buy a derivative again?

“I can’t understand why any financial institution would engage in a trade like this for legitimate objectives,” said Frank Partnoy, a former derivatives trader at Morgan Stanley (MS) and now a professor of law and finance at the University of San Diego who read the files. “They shouldn’t ever be doing that.”

The transaction shows how investment banks devised opaque products that years later are leaving companies and taxpayers with losses. From the Greek government to the Italian town of Cassino, borrowers have lost money on bets that were skewed in banks’ favor. In December, an Italian judge convicted bankers at four firms, including Deutsche Bank, of fraud in arranging an interest-rate swap for the city of Milan.

Sounds pretty bad.

Still wearing my "Restore Glass Steagall" t -shirt.

"Still wearing my "Restore Glass Steagall" t -shirt."

Such an odd idea that won't go away, evidence be damned.

1) Pure I-banks that would have been 100% legal and allowed under Glass Steagall: Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch.

2) Traditional bank with too-small of an i-banks so that they would have been 100% legal and allowed under Glass Steagall: Wachovia.

3) Traditional banks that they would have been 100% legal and allowed under Glass Steagall: Washington Mutual, Indy Mac. In the UK, similarly HBOS and Lloyds bank were pure banks.

4) Non-banks that they would have been 100% legal and allowed under Glass Steagall: AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac.

In fact, the only "universal" banks in the US that got into real trouble were BofA and Citi - and nothing about their troubles had anything to do with a conflict between i-banking and traditional banking. In fact, had BofA or Citi's I-banks been seperate from the commercial banks, their I-banks BOTH would have been in WORSE shape than Lehman and Bear COMBINED. This is why in "Too Big to Fail" they recount the government ENCOURAGING JPM to buy Bear, and Barclays and Nomura Lehman, and for the creation of BAML.

There is nothing whatsoever about G-S that would have stopped ANY of this.

Now, there are all sorts of things that DID cause this mess - no margin or CCP for OTC derivatives, over-leverage of banks, i-banks, the agencies, and of course AIG, and plain-old bad real estate loans, a-la the SNL crises.

I have met Volcker in person and asked HIM what about G-S would have prevented any of the above failures, and he says "nothing", but we should have it anyway, in case.

Now are banks too big now as a percent of GDP? Almost assuredly. But Basel 3 capital requirements are essentially a progressive tax that punishes banks and other financial firms the bigger they are above $50B in assets. At the sizes of Citi, UBS, and JPM, they will become essentially crippling. Which is why you have ALREADY seen UBS, RBS, Citi, Morgan Stanley, and others drastically shrink themselves. Inevitably even JPM will have to shrink or at the very least be much less profitable than it is now. Add in the impact of Dodd-Frank, and you will certainly shrink the biggest banks a lot over the next five years or so.

Jason's often repeated analysis ignores the fact that non-banks get their funding from banks in the form of mortgages, repurchase agreements, and lines of credit. Without the big banks providing easy credit on bad collateral like structured products, the non-banks would not have been able to leverage themselves. I've heard this many times and it sounded good the first time, but once you connect the dots, the argument does not hold water.

Secondary benefit of Glass Stegal is limiting the political power of banks

Last but not least, Glass-Steagall helped restrain the political power of banks. Under the old regime, commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies had different agendas, so their lobbying efforts tended to offset one another. But after the restrictions ended, the interests of all the major players were aligned. This gave the industry disproportionate power in shaping the political agenda. This excessive power has damaged not only the economy but the financial sector itself. One way to combat this excessive power, if only partially, is to bring Glass-Steagall back.

With Glass Steagall, there would not, could not, have been a Citi/Travelers merger, and competitors would not, could not have bulked up the way they did. Major money center banks most likely would have been smaller, more manageable, more easily wound down

Lehman,Merrill, and Bear were smaller than Traveller or Ciibank had been. JP Morgan in 1991 was bigger than any of them, long before G-S. (They destroyed a lot of shareholder value in the next three years but...).

And none of what you say has anything to do with Wachovia, WaMu, AIG, Fannie, Feddie, Countrywide, Indymac, or what happened with the non-US TBTF banks (and endless list of bank-banks and universal banks alike.)

In fact the only US TBTF bank your comment has ANYTHING to do with is...Citi itself.

Sorry next ten years...

Jp Morgan had to buy Bear, otherwise they would have failed.

Yeah? What does that have to do with Glass? Near failed because it was NOT part of a bank!!!!

Freedom...maybe it is bailouts we should outlaw and not cds..bailouts were the real problem.

This sounds more reasonable

"How to Cut Megabanks Down to Size"

Pismo as in Pismo Beach, California?

Wall Street is feeling new pressure from an unlikely source — the top Republican tax writer in the House.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, released a draft plan last week that he says would modernize the treatment of derivatives and other complex financial instruments that often have similar economic effects but very different tax rules.

Camp’s plan would force derivatives to be valued on the market for tax purposes each year, scrapping a number of tax breaks in the process.

Camp’s plan, for instance, would scrap a provision that lets some investors treat 60 percent of earnings as long-term capital gains.

It would instead force gains from a derivative marked to market to be treated as ordinary income, which is taxed at a higher rate. President Obama has put forward similar proposals in past budgets.

Many investors, especially those on derivatives exchanges in Chicago, prize the 60/40 set-up, a preferential treatment that has been in place since the late Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) was chairman of Ways and Means.

JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have scrapped a plan to sell “synthetic collateralised debt obligations” – sliced and diced pools of credit derivatives – after failing to find investors willing to take on all of the deal’s different pieces.

So...we need to BAN something that the market does not even want?

Gov't has banned certain types of contracts in the past for the greater good. For years bucket shop contracts were not permitted.

The exotic financial products that nearly crippled the economy in 2008 are roaring back at the nation’s biggest banks, according to data released Friday that reform advocates worry come just as regulations to rein in risky trading are being weakened in Washington.

Four banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs — account for 93 percent of all the derivatives activity. Thirty-eight banks began trading derivatives in the first three months of the year, bring the total to 1,390, according to the OCC report.

“The growth of derivatives by insured banks should worry everyone,” said Dennis Kelleher, a former Senate aide who now runs Better Markets, an advocacy group. “The problem with insured banks having massive derivatives activity is no one knows until they blow up.”

Thirteen of the world’s biggest investment banks were accused by the European Union of colluding to curb competition in the $10 trillion credit derivatives industry.

The EU sent a complaint, or statement of objections, to 13 banks, data provider Markit Group Ltd. and the International Swaps & Derivatives Association over allegations they sought “to prevent exchanges from entering the credit derivatives business between 2006 and 2009,” the European Commission said.

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