Michael Hassett

Michael Hassett

Posts by This Writer

10 years 3 months ago

Let's start with a disclaimer.   Actually many disclaimers, sort of a Goldman therapy session.  I own a little stock in Goldman and a few shares of funds managed by Goldman.   I normally root for the underdog and against teams like the Yankees, and Goldman.    I think stories are more interesting when they have a villain.  I am irritated by most general interest media stories on financial topics, especially first day stories,  because in the drive to produce an elegant, black and white story  – they just get it horribly wrong.

In 2007, John Paulson (now a gazillionaire hedge fund rock star, back then, just...


10 years 3 months ago

This Post continues the analysis of SEC v Goldman from Part 1.

Goldman is publicly making all these arguments: we didn't tell anyone Paulson was a long: we had an obligation to keep his role confidential not to disclose the fact that he was going short; even if ACA thought Paulson was going long, it wasn't material because ACA still had the responsibility to assess the proposed referenced securities based on the data about the securities – not the source of any recommendation.

Goldman is making at least one other...


10 years 3 months ago

Mother Earth is Makin Her Last Stand
(to the tune of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)

It was forty years ago today,
Mother Earth got her very own day
She's been going in and out of style
Takin care of us all the while
So may I introduce to you
The orb you've known for all these years
Mother Earth is makin her last stand
She's Mother Earth, she's makin her last stand
We hope we'll all survive the show
She's Mother Earth, she's makin her last...


10 years 3 months ago

The world's leading multilateral development banks (MDBs) recently announced they had entered into a cross debarment agreement.  Hmm – MDBs, that would be outfits like the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank Group,  the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank Group, NGOs that spur development in emerging markets?  Right.  And cross debarment agreement?  If you defraud one of the MDBs, the others agree not to lend to you.

Not lending to fraudsters...


10 years 3 months ago

In celebration of the opening day of Annual Meeting Season we consider an article from the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, The Parallel Universes of Institutional Investing and Institutional Voting, posted on April 6, 2010 by Charles Nathan.  Normally our trusty panel discusses weighty subjects like this, but Homer Simpson ran for cover.  It wasn't “Harvard” that scared him, it was “Law School” -  he was afraid he would be called on in class even when his hand wasn't up...


10 years 3 months ago

A recent release from the Emerging Market Private Equity Association reveals some interesting trends:

Total fund raising for private equity funds dedicated to investing in emerging markets was down in 2009, way down, from US$66.5 Billion in 2008 to $22.6 Billion in 2009, but fund raising for developed markets private equity showed almost the same percentage decline.  Private equity investors were constrained by cash crunch, as credit tightened and older deals struggled to generate cash flow for...


10 years 3 months ago

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is considering authorization of trading in movie futures contracts and all Hollywood, including the studios most likely to benefit from the new contracts, is screaming foul.  What is going on here?

One movie futures contract, proposed by an affiliate of  Cantor Fitzgerald, has been filed with the CFTC.  On settlement, the contract value is set at $1 for each $1 Million the film grosses in the first four weeks of wide release.  Consider a greatly...


10 years 3 months ago

On February 5, 2010 Sustainable Finance ran a post which:
-Noted the rapid growth in unpaid internships with the reminder that just calling an employee an intern did not exempt the employer from minimum wage laws;
-Explained that most states applied US  Dept. of Labor guidelines – under these guideline, an internship must meet each part of a six part test to qualify for a trainee exemption;
-Observed that most internships in professional settings failed at least one part...


10 years 4 months ago

Today's panel discussion features our usual suspects, Homer Simpson, Henry David Thoreau and Gordon Gekko, who, just like Claude Rains in Casablanca,  are shocked by reports that Lehman Brothers might have used accounting gimmicks in the period leading up to its collapse.  Release of Gordon's new movie (Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps) has been postponed until September, but it is still on the way.

Homer -  So, what happened - Lehman cooked the books, went broke and got caught in the postmortem with its hand in the donut jar?

Gekko– Possibly Homer, but...


10 years 4 months ago

Our panel – Homer Simpson, Henry David Thoreau and Gordon Gekko – continues its discussion of Lehman Brothers and Accounting Rules vs Principles:

Thoreau – If the only purpose was to hide the extent of Lehman's debt, it's still a gimmick,, in fact it's worse because it makes no sense to sell a $105 security for $100 – even if Lehman did get it back at the same discount less interest.

Gekko – Your a born regulator Henry.  The SEC just sent a letter to the CFO's of twenty-four large financial firms asking for details on repos accounted for as sales, and one of...


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