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City_of_London_Skyline

Brexit and the Real Estate Markets

I don’t know and don’t pretend to know what the long term effects of the UK leaving the European Union will be. We saw in the short term that it sent the financial markets into turmoil and send the British pound to the lowest levels in years. The U.K property market looks like it is […]

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Are You Systemically Important?

The first step in figuring out if a financial company is too big to fail, is to figure what it means to be “big”.  Section 113 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act authorizes the Financial Stability Oversight Council to determine that a nonbank financial company will be subject to supervision by […]

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Occupy the SEC

In jest, I wrote that we should occupy the SEC, but noted that they are very open to comments and influence by the public. One of the comments to that story was from a group organized as Occupy the SEC and they were planning to comment on the Volker Rule. They submitted a massive comment […]

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corzine vanity fair

The Rise and Fall of Jon Corzine

Bryan Burrough, William D. Cohan and Bethany McLean have a piece in this month’s Vanity Fair on Jon Corzine, the man behind the spectacular crash of MF Global. It doesn’t provide much insight into what happened at MF Global or where the missing money went. But is does paint an interesting picture of the captain […]

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Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition

The most dangerous parts of managing risk are the risks you don’t expect. Looking back at my old four-box analysis, there are really two types of unexpected risks, the risk that you know that you don’t know and the risk that you don’t know that you don’t know. In the first case you know there […]

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free and the black swan

“Free” and the Black Swan

I’ve talked in the past about the Black Swan by Taleb and at other times about Free by Chris Anderson. I think I missed a connection between the two. Taleb points out that the Black Swan event is only a surprise to one side. The turkey thinks life is great living on the farm. Until […]

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Do You Want to be Systemically Important?

The hard work has begun as federal regulators are trying to implement the provisions of Dodd-Frank. The law pushed lots of the detail out to the agencies so there are lots of unanswered questions. One of the hot button issues was what to do with financial institutions that were too big to fail.  Dodd-Frank came […]

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Securities Class Actions in Canada

With the winter Olympics going full swing in Canada, I thought I would look to how that country is dealing with securities class actions. NERA Economic Consulting just released their 2009 Update on Trends in Canadian Securities Class Actions. Some tidbits: Eight securities class actions were filed in 2009, compared with the 10 filings in […]

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cdo defaults

The Economist: Special Report on Financial Risk

This week’s The Economist has an excellent special report: The Gods Strike Back. The title comes from Peter Bernstein’s Against the Gods: “The revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past is the mastery of risk: the notion that the future is more than a whim of the gods and that […]

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The Drunkard’s Walk, The Butterfly Effect and The Black Swan

The “drunkard’s walk” refers to the Brownian motion, the seemingly random movement of particles suspended in a fluid. The original thought was that you might be able to calculate the movement by measuring and calculating the interaction. It proved impossible. There are too many factors and too many interactions. Small changes in a system can […]

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