Tag Archives: Bermuda

Nubentes capitalismi

Here we see more of the Greek way, as per yesterday we see that the Greek banks need more money, billions more. So this is where I looked for the Latin word of deficit and it is ‘Repudii’ (Latin humour). The Greeks might say “Αποθήκευση έλλειμμα σε ένα θησαυροφυλάκιο της τράπεζας“, but the sad story is not the deficit or the shortage, the sad story is that many Governments, not just the Greeks relied on credit cards whilst they made sure that those spending the money would not have to pay for it, they got a large bonus for spending money they never had and the people have been suffering for far too long. This situation is not just seen in Greece, for the most nearly all EEC nations have spent way too much, a terminal amount of money I might add. If the budgets are a setting for a nation’s health than 30% of them should be pronounced dead and an additional 50% is on the edge of dying. That is the grim situation. In all this we see more and more news on how things are getting better. Better for who? The people around me have not had any rise in living for close to a decade. In addition the cost of living has exceeded the income rise for about that same time, so in all this, when have people been better off since 2004?

In all this Greece might have been hit visibly harder but life in the UK or in France or Italy is no picnic either. In all this the banks seem to go about their usual ways. In addition, as we saw the news regarding bank liquidity and other reserves. The things that are referred to as Basel III and now also Basel 4, why did they not shift the timeline? Why has ‘mandatory’ implementation been delayed until 2019? Why was Greece, as it faced the things it faced and as it needed funds all over the place, not pushed into a mandatory implementation of Basel III? Part of the deal should have been stress testing and demanding defences for banks directly. It seems that it had not been done!

This takes me to an article by Morris Goldstein from May 2012 (at http://www.voxeu.org/article/eu-s-implementation-basel-iii-deeply-flawed-compromise). In here three points come to order.

The first: “Whether member countries should be permitted to enact minimum capital ratios considerably tougher (higher) than those specified under Basel III without approval of the EU“, which is an interesting need, because this would have applied to Greece from the very beginning, and I am talking the issues as they emerged in 2013.

The second: “Whether the restrictions on what can be counted as high-quality capital under Basel III should be scrupulously adhered to in EU legislation“, the fact that EU legislation is not up to par here is even more of an issue, you set rules and standards and then not legislate it? How will banks EVER fall in line when it is not legislated? We have evidence going back to 2004 where bankers lost trillions and still got millions in bonuses. You mean that after a decade, the national legislation arms within the EEC are still no more than mere ‘pussies’ looking for that banking fellow named Dick?

The third: “Whether the Basel III deadlines for introducing an unweighted leverage requirement for bank capital and two new quantitative liquidity standards (the liquidity coverage ratio and the net stable funding ratio) should be mirrored in EU legislation“, which sounds all good and fine, but Basel 3 was already in the works in 2002, why has it taken such a massive amount of time to get close to nothing done? Why were the Greek banks not set to a higher setting because of them requiring so many billions in funds?

It seems that no one has any clear answers here.

Now we get to the good stuff. In the article Morris states the following: “The 15 May accord also permits EU banks to count as equity capital several financial instruments with dubious loss-absorbency, including the so-called “silent participations” of German banks and the minority stakes of French banks in insurance companies. Such a step weakens the Basel III guidelines on the quality of bank capital. In one of the few concessions to the Osborne View, the agreement adheres to the Basel III time schedules for the leverage ratio and the two liquidity standards“, which was to be discussed somewhere after May 2012.

So now we take another leap towards a Danish bank paper, a mere publication (at https://www.danskebank.com/da-dk/ir/Documents/2012/Q1/SpeechQ12012-Confcall.pdf), So in all this, we see the following text: “And you could not just use the what has been known as the Danish compromise, where you have 370% risk weighting for the capital, to kind of end up somewhere in between the two extremes?” to which the response by Henrik Ramlau-Hansen – Danske Bank – CFO was “That could also be a solution, yeah“. Let’s sit on this for a second, a form of weighting where we get to set the weight to ‘370% risk weighting’, so how is this a good idea? I have used weighting in the past, so it is not a big deal on one hand. However, when we look back towards 2004 and 2008, where setting abnormal risks, why give such a level of leeway to a branch that cannot be trusted?

The last part in this comes from shaky grounds, I will tell you this right now and I never hid the fact that I am not an economist. Consider the PDF from the Crédit Agricole Group from November 2013 (at http://mediacommun.ca-cib.com/sitegenic/medias/DOC/94509/2013-11-07-cp-casa-resultats-3eme-trimestre-en.pdf). So they report “Net income Group share in Q3-13: €1,433 million“, now take into account their solvency part:

The targets for fully loaded Basel 3 Common Equity Tier 1 ratios (CET1) are shown below:
1st JAN 2014 31st DEC 2014 31st DEC 2015
Crédit Agricole S.A. 7.8% to 8.0% 8.8% to 9.0% >9.5%
Crédit Agricole Gp 11.0% 12.0% 13.0%
Disclaimer: The above ratios are based on a number of assumptions

 

Now consider the text “These figures take into account the weighting of the capital and reserves of Crédit Agricole Assurances according to the Danish compromise (at 370%) or 34 billion euros in risk weighted assets as well as the extension of the specific guarantees (Switch) between the Regional Banks and Crédit Agricole S.A. for 34 billion euros in risk weighted assets“, so a company with a little over a billion in revenue, ending up with around 830 million in net income group share. So that place is running a weighted risk of 34 billion, which implies that the risk of 34 billion is covered by an income that covers 2.44%, how is that even close to realistic? Why has a massive change in dealing with the weighted risk not been done? Why are people still under threat of exploitation by banks as they live of the fringe of a Danish Compromise?

I am just asking!

This now reflects back to the Greek banks, have they been playing that same game, where did all those billions go to? As an underwriting for more riskier and more profitable incomes? It seems to me that there are issues with the banks all over Europe and their own local governments are clueless as to what the banks are doing. If you consider me wrong than ask any politician right now an answer in regards to Basel III, Basel 4 and their own banks. They are very unlikely to give you a clear answer. This approach is not just for the UK, several other countries should be asking questions and holding the answers to account. So as these politicians have no answers, how come they are elected and how come they are unable to budget anything. Are they budgeting in the same way the Danish compromise is applied to banks? A government spending anywhere between 37%-370% in a weighted budget for the expected gains of taxation tomorrow?

That sounds as hollow as Mr Wimpy going into a food court stating: “I will happily pay tomorrow for a hamburger today!” I wonder how many places he will be able to get food from. Interesting that we do not hold our politicians to this account, which is exactly why the massive cuts from the Conservatives (UK) are so essential, they are in the fight of their lives not to become the mere puppets of the banks. You see, I think it is not that unrealistic that even within my lifetime our income slips will have a taxation part and a deficit settlement part. The day that happens, remember my words! Austerity was the only option, and only when we neuter both the banks and politicians. I think that the change of making an administration accountable for their spending will be essential for us to have any future. For a decade politicians have been writing checks no one could pay and that choice should no longer be an option from 2015 onwards.

Which gets us back to Greece. The two final quotes are: “In August, Eurozone finance ministers released €26bn of the €86bn in bailout funds that went to recapitalising Greece’s stricken banking sector and make a debt payment to the ECB” and “Depositors pulled billions out of the country fearing that Greece would be forced to leave the euro. Limits on withdrawals and transfers imposed in June to prevent Greek banks from collapsing remain in place, although they have been loosened” (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/31/greece-banks-14bn-survive-economic-downturn), so as that risk was known, how come limits on transfers were loosened? So we see the need for another €14bn for the reason that people took their cash outside of Greece, something that was a certainty. Why allow for the loosening of rules on transfers? In that the first paragraph is also an issue. The text: ‘Greece’s four main banks need to find another €14bn (£10bn) of reserves to ensure they could withstand an economic downturn‘, should basically read: ‘Greece’s four main banks need to find another €14bn (£10bn) of reserves to ensure they will withstand the next upcoming economic downturn‘. Because in case of Greece the next downturn is a given and it is not that far away.

This again links to another part. The Greek Reporter gives us: ‘Head of Greek Capital Market Regulator Resigns’ (at http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/10/31/head-of-greek-capital-market-regulator-resigns/), so basically, after the completion of the bank recapitalization he shoves himself out of the back door. Can anyone explain that to me? Because if he did a good job he should not get fired, if he did poorly, or even if he has messed up he should end up in holiday retreat Korydallos. Of course, as far as I can tell, he never committed any crime, so Hotel Korydallos is not for him, but it does re-iterate on how the banks should have been cut to size in freedom before those billions were pushed into Greece and in light of loosened restrictions a few more questions and demands should be set. Now, ‘shoving himself’ out of the back door is of course completely incorrect as the man resigned, but why did he resign? Is he not committed to saving Greece, or has he figured out something I saw almost 2 years ago when I spoke about the idiocracy of enabling the Greek system to the extent the ECB had done?

So why as I finalise this blog, the valid question becomes ‘Why is the Blogger Lawlordtobe having a go at Konstantinos Botopoulos?

This is one that requires an answer and an explanation. You see, on May 20th 2015 (at http://www.waterstechnology.com/buy-side-technology/news/2409402/esma-board-member-capital-market-union-shouldnt-reinvent-the-wheel) we see the title “ESMA Board Member: Capital Market Union Shouldn’t ‘Reinvent the Wheel’“, which is fair enough, but the text: “The idea behind the CMU is not to reinvent the wheel by creating new rules but to achieve free flow of capital by using the existing tools and finding intelligent ways to tie everything together“, leaves me with the clear impression that the application of ‘to achieve free flow of capital’ could be seen as the loosening of restrictions which allowed for many billions (read: dozens) to be transferred out of Greece and as such the ECB (or the IMF) ends up pushing a few dozen billion more into Greece. In that same part ‘finding intelligent ways to tie everything together’, could be seen as diversifying the wealth of the Greek rich and famous towards the shores of Bermuda or Riyadh, places with not a taxman in sight. Is my interpretation correct? I am willing to consider that I am wrong and I am making no accusation, it is mere speculation on my side.

Yet in all this the timeline should be the cause of many questions, questions the press at large does not seem to be making. The rest of the article is on centralising reports and it seems to me that the article is missing a few steps. Even as the implied dangers of Brexit are voiced, Frexit is ignored. Now we must allow that people were not taking Frexit seriously, but the tide is still turning and the one danger in that part (Marine Le Pen) is gaining approval ratings on the right side of the Isle. Reuters stated: “Le Pen, who is set to win control of France’s northernmost area in December elections, saw her rating rise 5 percentage points to 52 percent among right-wing voters who were asked who they wanted to become more influential in political life“, which now puts her right behind former prime minister Alain Juppe, whilst both are leaving Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy far behind them in the dust. The battle is far from over, but again the reality of a Frexit is moving one more step forwards towards reality and in all that Greece was the starting spark to that upcoming dangerous escalation, only because hard choices were not made in late 2013, because the bankers and the greed driven required the Status Quo to remain as is, which is why we are seeing escalations that could impact the savings of millions to come soon enough.

Now, I will admit that there is no given that Marine Le Pen would win, yet as we have seen a massive amount of speculation and innuendo left right and centre, the mere danger of Frexit is ignored for the larger extent. Why? Is Frexit not an additional danger that is also propelling Brexit? And the Greek issue is what drove both to begin with, so there are direct links and in all that these intertwining events have been largely ignored for too long.

You should not take my word for any of this, it is my view on the matters, it is however important that you read up and that you ask the right people the right questions, the absent part in that is slightly too scary, especially when the Greek bank towers come tumbling down.

 

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Questions that follow

Is it not an interesting day, for some Mondayitis is only just now setting in, for some the Mondayitis issue is just a ‘fab’ for others to avoid becoming active until Wednesday around after lunch time, and for another group, well, we never know what they are up to, so let’s ignore them for now. There is however a group that works 24:7 (please do not imply that those people are journo’s).

I am talking about the financial institutions, no matter how we oppose greed, it is the one motivator that will never stop being efficient in many walks of life. That consideration came to me as I read the article ‘HSBC’s response: ‘Standards of due diligence were significantly lower than today’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-responds-revelations-misconduct-swiss-bank) this morning.

The article is to some extent a barrel full of laughs. Let’s have a look at some of the mentioned things. The fun already starts at the second sentence “Private banks, including HSBC’s Swiss private bank, assumed that responsibility for payment of taxes rested with individual clients“, you see the word ‘assumed’, in this case that translate to, the bank sets the responsibility so that it makes an ‘ass’ of ‘you’, banks do not work from the ‘me’ setting (ass-u-me). When was the last time when you received a letter from a bank (any bank for that matter) where the word assumption was used? Most banking contracts have two one-sided parts, what your responsibilities are and how you get charged the moment you make an error (like simply withdrawing a little too much). So are you giggling yet?

The next one is an interesting one for more than one reason “HSBC’s Swiss private bank has reduced its client base by almost 70% since 2007“. Yes it is interesting, because WHERE did those people go to? The fact that they moved away from HSBC is no indication that there was a sudden massive influx of taxpayers, was there? So was the exodus reported on? My bet is that this was not; the statement is likely to be ‘this account is no longer under our care‘. This hunt for tax evasion, sounds nice, but it also comes with a flaw, not that I oppose such hunts (I will forever be roughly $1,915,000 short from making that list), but did some of these ‘witch hunters’ realise that moving these funds would have a side effect? You see, it would all be good and fine if those accounts all resorted to their original nation getting properly taxed, but that is not the case is it? As these Status Quo places get upset the dynamics change, when the accounts can no longer be hidden on Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland or Guernsey. How long until we see a new circle of banks, now in Bahrain, Dubai and Jeddah? Do not think this will not happen, because it already is happening (at http://www.thenational.ae/business/banking/dubai-islamic-bank-confident-on-loans-portfolio-thanks-to-record-profit), so as we are reading on how a bank voluntarily moved from 78 billion to 45 billion, I have to wonder on the impact of the sentence at the very end: “However, providing client data to foreign authorities would itself constitute a criminal offence under Swiss law“. This than gives rise to the question how these changes are enforced. More important, the sentence implies that providing client data to local authorities is an option, and what they do with it, is not covered here, but it is an interesting question to consider.

The second article, which also came from the Guardian discusses more HSBC issues in ‘HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-files-expose-swiss-bank-clients-dodge-taxes-hide-millions), so is this High School of Business Concealers a real bank? Well, that is a moral question not a scientific one. This is where we see more ways to get a case of the giggles. “The Swiss arm, the statement said, had not been fully integrated into HSBC after its purchase in 1999, allowing “significantly lower” standards of compliance and due diligence to persist“, so if we consider the leak by Hervé Falciani, which happened in 2007, considering the fact that the Swiss bank had been acquired in 1999, the simple question ‘Were banking executives allowed to sit on their hands for 8+ years?‘, the question might seem unfair, but no alignment in a bank that was until doing 78 billion seems very odd to me. It almost sounds like a trial in equity. “Yes, sir, I have washed my hands of everything and I have made very certain that I am not being kept in the loop for anything“, might make for interesting academic considerations, but so is the story of the Mayfair prostitute with her Hymen intact (the moral is that neither is realistic).

When you read on you will see the sentence “We have opened a company account for him based in Dubai“, so is the interest of HSBC moving towards additional banks? That question is not asked and should some consider asking Lord Green (who was group Chairman of HSBC in those days), they are unlikely to get any answer.

It is so interesting to see the HSBC onslaught all over the Guardian, but this is not just about that event. It is also nice to see how last weekend, Yahoo reported on how the Swiss Franc is boosting business in German brothels, so in the end at least one party is getting screwed (the question is who of course). Weirdly enough, the Telegraph has a passable view written by Peter Spence (yes, I am surprised too). The end has the quote that mattered in my view “What has happened in Switzerland might be a sideshow compared with larger global players, but is illustrative of a world in which central banks are increasingly looked to for answers“, I am not sure whether this is entirely correct. There is a difference between incorrect and wrong, and this one skates on two sides, you see, the mess, which I discussed in ‘A seesaw for three‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/18/a-seesaw-for-three/) is still at the heart of this, there is a credit swap in play with many governments in play, it is a global dance act which includes the US, Japan and the bulk of the EEC nations, as tax havens are now under scrutiny, the people using them are looking for options, some will make a deal, but the larger part will be looking for an alternative, I reckon that the Swiss have been very aware with the move of those HSBC accounts and the question is not just where those 70% moved to, but who else will be moving sooner rather than later. When you consider that, we see the picture as it reshapes the issue. The Swiss are holding on for dear life and at some point the Franc will lose some of its value, but as this happens, we will also see a currency destabilisation. That part is seen (in my personal view) as Switzerland is no longer playing the ‘offset’ game for other loans, which means that the game will transfer to other shores, but which shores will they move to? That part is not a given, but when we see how new players are now willing to become a member of the banking secrets. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia would only need to adopt two rules in their banking laws (if they have not done so already).

  1. Providing client data to foreign authorities constitutes a criminal offence.
  2. Personal wealth can be declared via the bank, who will charge a fee of n% (where it is likely that n < 5).

After that, both the Oval office and Buckingham palace can kiss any chance of those taxable billions goodbye, which could spell a massive exodus from Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey towards sandier shores, which will hurt the Commonwealth beyond expectations. All this started from the wrong viewpoint from the very beginning, the US became reckless on how it dealt with its 18 trillion in debt by going after non-taxed fortunes from American account holders, this drive (supported by many) started a new fire and now that the flames are getting higher, those avoiding taxation are moving to shores where not only is taxation an almost impossibility, it will also limit the other acts done by both the US and the EEC to keep their currencies high, which is an act that will backfire to some extent for a longer period of time.

Personally, I am all for holding the wealthy tax accountable; we all have to pay our taxation. Yet, at present, in this economy, we are now chasing those cars, whilst we have no parking lot, so even if one is caught, what to do with this person? The US, Greece, the UK and a few others should have seriously changed certain laws half a decade ago; this mess would not have been so complete. The fact that this hunt is so visible at present gives also pause for that what we do not see. Yes, we see that the US added 257,000 jobs in January, but how many are not shown as we also see that RadioShack is filing for bankruptcy this week with over 4,000 shops expected to close (2,000 went to sprint). A host of Shale gas companies will go the same way, whilst the mountain of companies going under in the oil and gas sector is a lot larger than many can fathom. These events have a clear bearing on the banks too. Shale gas operations, oil platforms, all these places will get hit and it will affect many banks who held onto debts with the certainty that black gold brought, now there is no blame here, yet the consequence of persecuting tax dodgers will also come with another negative boost as a league of them will move to the Arabian shores, when that happens, the little stability the Euro and the US dollar had, will go straight out of the window.

Here is the kicker, no matter how wrong the expression ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ is seen in light of the tax dodgers, we must wonder how much lower the coming negative financial waves would have been if the hunt for the tax dodgers would have been delayed. In the end, it was not a solution to not go after them, but the timing truly sucks. This situation translates to governments getting kicked in the head, just as they had just accidently stumbled through no fault of their own. Yet in all this, Greece has made ZERO clear steps in dealing with its own tax dodgers, so where to go next? More questions are to follow, but I am not sure if there will be ANY answers forthcoming as it seems that three parties have painted themselves in the corner, whilst the fourth was not in the room at all, in addition these four parties aren’t even clearly communicating with each other, their only goal is to meet their own needs whilst three cannot move and the fourth can’t get into the room, one would offer the thought that a mere pre teenager would have done a better job of it all. I am not sure if I could disagree.

 

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