Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Alice In Wonderland World of Declining Capitalism

Just a quick note to say that ex-CEOs are now calling for financial regulation...much like retired generals criticizing Bush's Iraq policy. This article is typical:

Ex-Salomon CEO Gutfreund Calls for More Financial Regulation
By Rhonda Schaffler and Alex Lange
Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- John H. Gutfreund, chief executive officer of Salomon Brothers during the 1980s, called for greater regulation of the financial industry in the U.S. and abroad in the wake of a $7.2 billion loss a French bank blamed on a rogue trader. Gutfreund said writedowns at major banks because of poor risk management may be more frequent than most people think. He made the comments today in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Gutfreund resigned from Salomon in 1991 after regulators said traders at the firm had rigged U.S. Treasury bond auctions. Societe Generale SA last week reported a 4.9 billion-euro ($7.2 billion) loss it attributed to unauthorized bets on stock futures made by Jerome Kerviel.``I think the SocGen problem could be rather widespread,'' said Gutfreund, 78. ``I don't think that the management in the financial institutions understands all the other vehicles that are being created.'' The ex-banker, who is now president of Gutfreund & Co. Inc. and a senior adviser at Collins Stewart Co. in New York, bemoaned the rise of hedge funds. He called them ``the unregulated tip of the market,'' and said they could make for a ``treacherous and a horrible storm. ''Hedge funds globally lost an average 3 percent this month through Jan. 25, according to the HFRX Index, a daily estimate of fund performance voluntarily reported by managers and calculated by Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. ``There are global institutions that should be paying attention and probably do,'' Gutfreund said. ``The U.S. influence has been for `no regulation, do whatever you can get away with.'''

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