The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – Week of 7/15/13

Good

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC) will fine JP Morgan Chase “close to $1 Billion” for manipulating energy prices in an Enron-esque scheme in Michigan and California. Could easily be an Ugly as Taibbi reviews all the fines “the good bank” Chase has racked up since the crisis. Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone July 18, 2013.
  • In what still might be an overly optimistic headline, Jessie Eisinger posits that “Finally the Bank Regulators Have Had Enough.” With capital ratios increasing to $6 for every $100, and new derivatives rules being put in place, you can bet the banks will fight back tooth-and-nail. Furthermore there is still time for regulators to back down. We can only hope Mr. Eisinger is right. Only time will tell. Jesse Eisenger at ProPublica July 17, 2013.
  • The SEC has filed suit against hedge fund titan Steven Cohen of SAC Capital for failure to supervise fund managers who were engaging in insider trading. While it would be better if this “failure” was prosecuted at the big banks too, it’s still good to see the regulators going beyond lower- and mid-level folks. Joshua Gallu & Katherine Burton at Bloomberg July 19, 2013

Bad

  • By contrast, the “Fabulous Fab” Tourre trial is nothing more than an attempt to pin the notorious ABACUS case on a lower-level employee while the executives who were really behind it sit in the wings after Goldman signed one of those “neither admit, nor Deny” agreement with the SEC. It’s “like prosecuting a foot-soldier for war crimes” Heidi Moore at The Guardian July 15, 2013.

Ugly

  • Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr and governor Rick Snyder arranged a rushed bankruptcy filing for the city, the largest in US history. Orr has made clear that he will treat the tens of thousands of retirees who rely on the city’s pension funds as “unsecured creditors” on a par with Wall Street borrowers, regardless of the fact that Wall Street has already pulled nearly $500 million in underwriting fees out of the beleaguered city. Steven Church, Dawn McCarty & Margaret Cronin Fisk at Bloomberg July 19, 2013

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