Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shadow banking system anyone?

Does anyone really believe that we're going to manage to regulate these guys? We don't even know what a bank is anymore.
Private-equity firms have also been buying up much of the private-equity debt held by the banks—often borrowing from the bank to do so. A hypothetical example of such a deal: a bank sells debt with a nominal value of $10 billion to a private-equity firm or consortium for $8 billion, lending the buyers $7 billion towards the price. The bank takes a $2 billion write-down, but reduces its overhang of non-performing debt and gets an additional $1 billion of equity, moving it one step back towards resuming normal activities. Meanwhile, the private-equity firm buys debt at a fire-sale price, and will probably end up making a killing.
Market discipline is the only true discipline, or in the the words of Warren Buffett, "Capitalism without failure is like Christianity without hell".

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