The currency war is getting out of control. Here's a snapshot of the week so far in central banking.» Read More
Our world does not lack for self-styled experts—people who claim to have experience, knowledge or systems that allows them to understand and forecast better than ordinary people. But, especially when it comes to municipal bonds, it is clear that our world has an inadequate amount of expertise—actual ability to understand or forecast—to justify these claims
The fallibility of experts probably won’t be news to many people. But it is amazing how persistently deference to experts is demanded and granted.
The strongest case for investing in municipal bonds turns on claims of expertise. Unfortunately, there’s little reason to be confident in these claims and strong reasons to be skeptical.
Marketers of bond funds like to promise that their “proprietary portfolio management system and the portfolio manager’s 20-plus years of experience” will give investors an edge, despite the recent rise in risk for muni bonds.
Unfortunately, these claims are undermined by the historical strength of the muni market. No one has lived through a muni market like the one we have entered, which means that “20-plus years of experience” may be largely irrelevant.
The words debt and crisis have become terribly associated with each other over the last few years. We have had a mortgage debt crisis, a sovereign debt crisis and now a lively debate over the likelihood of a municipal debt crisis.
Everyone agrees that the muni debt is undergoing a serious and perhaps permanent change. Muni debt was once viewed as almost risk free. Now even those who advocate investing in muni debt acknowledge the “very real credit risks in the municipal space,” as Pimco put it in their most recent note on munis.
Does Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, want a return to a Bretton Woods style fixed rate regime?
Frankly, it's difficult to thread through the econo-speak of King's latest white paper; nonetheless, Tracy Alloway makes a noble attempt for the Financial Times Alphaville blog .
King's paper is ominously entitled 'Global imbalances: the perspective of the Bank of England'. \(A one paragraph summary on the title page contains this gem of bureau-speak: "The main lesson from the crisis is the need to find better ways of ensuring the right collective outcome." — which seems to suggest 'stuff got really bad, so we all need to do things differently next time'.\)
The madness in Libya has escalated beyond the level seen in Egypt—even during its darkest hours, just prior to the fall of the Mubarak regime.
Recent counts of the dead in Egypt put the death toll from the uprising at well over 300 .
Video of plain clothes police officers in Tahrir Square, clubbing demonstrators while mounted on horseback or riding camels, remain the indelible images of the regime's brutality — proof that Mubarak had little reservation about sending in goons to bust skulls when his regime was teetering on the brink of collapse.
Since yesterday was President's Day, I found it only fitting to focus my column on some of the most important policy decisions that have helped shaped our nation. Nick Ragone, a presidential historian whose latest book is called "Presidential Leadership: 15 Decisions That Changed The Nation," sat down with me and offered me his perspective on some of these key economic and foreign policy events.
When news broke last week that the California Public Employees' Retirement System was suing former Lehman executives, we immediately started wondering what these folks are up to now.
Three Lehman executives were named in the suit: former CEO Dick Fuld and former CFOs Chris O'Meara and Erin Callan.
Our investigation into O'Meara and Fuld continues. But we do have some intelligence on Erin Callan.
Fret not: Saudi prince tells CNBC Saudi Arabia Will protect world oil supply. [CNBC.com's Patrick Allen]
Mozilo walks! [DealBook]
It's not a bubble – It's a chain letter. [PE Hub | Hat Tip: Term Sheet]
"SEC Case Prompts Hedge Funds to Sweep for Bugs" [CNBC.com via Financial Times]
Dynegy CEO and CFO to Leave After Failed Icahn Bid [The Street.com]
The currency war is getting out of control. Here's a snapshot of the week so far in central banking.
Banks no longer are the center of the market universe, Meredith Whitney said at a conference Wednesday.
Investments by academic institutions did well in 2014, boosting long-term performance records hit during the financial crisis.