Matt Levine

  • I keep melting my dictation software


    Goldman Was “Professionally Negligent” On An M&A Deal But It’s Fine

    I find the story of Dragon Systems hilarious and horrifying so I’m never going to miss an opportunity to tell you about it and one occurred today. The story, quickly, is (1) Dragon Systems, a closely held speech-recognition company, hired Goldman to advise it on a merger with Lernout & Hauspie, (2) Goldman assigned Dragon […]

    / Jun 12, 2013 at 4:34 PM
  • Surprisingly difficult to do curved arrows in Google Drawings.


    New York Financial Regulator Not A Fan Of “Shadow Insurance”

    I don’t particularly hang out with insurance and I assume that if you do today’s big angry report on captive reinsurance, by Benjamin Lawsky and his New York State Department of Financial Services,1 doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Still it’s fun for me because of its overlap with some of my favorite financial […]

    / Jun 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM
  • Really, the question is: why *not* Bob Diamond here?


    Everybody Always Manipulated Everything, Basically

    When I was growing up the phrase “market manipulation” really meant something. To be a “market manipulator” in the grand style you needed to corner a market, or pump and dump, or organize a bear raid, or do some other cigar-chompy mustache-twirly 1920s-y thing, I don’t know, it was never really my thing. But there […]

    / Jun 12, 2013 at 8:45 AM
  • vigorous AND authoritative


    Lynn Tilton Gets Some Good News

    “There are three universal lies: Margins are weak, but we’ll make it up in volume; the check’s in the mail; and I won’t come in your mouth” is really a thing that Partiarch Partners founder and CEO Lynn Tilton says, but “we’ll double down and make up all our losses” probably deserves a spot on […]

    / Jun 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM
  • Did you know that if you Google "SEC chairman" the first result is the official SEC bio of Mary Schapiro? Who was replaced by Mary Jo White two months ago?


    CBOE’s Commitment To Customer Service Did Not Quite Extend To Getting The SEC To “Back Off” Fraud Investigation

    “Self-regulation is a unique and fundamental component of federal securities regulation in the United States,” the SEC begins its order against the CBOE announced today, but it’s also a little silly. It’s right there in the name! If you’re doing it yourself, it’s not regulation; it’s just some stuff you’re doing. Regulation is being forced […]

    / Jun 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM
  • Daniel Mudd seems as good a scapegoat as anyone for this picture. He's not involved in the suing though.


    Fannie And Freddie Shareholders Politely Ask For Their Companies Back

    There’s an alternative theory of the 2007-2008 financial crisis in which it was just a minor hiccup that would have worked out fine for all concerned if the meddling U.S. government hadn’t been so trigger-happy in bailing out basically sound but momentarily embarrassed financial institutions.1 I mean, you probably won’t actually run into anyone who […]

    / Jun 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM
  • I count 39% green?


    Dell: Our Performance Has Been Atrocious, But Only For Certain Limited Purposes

    One of my favorite themes in the Dell LBO pseudo-battle is the cognitive dissonance between Dell’s need to tell its shareholders how screwed it is, for the purpose of convincing them to vote to sell at the somewhat underwhelming price of $13.65, and its need to simultaneously tell everyone how good it is, for most […]

    / Jun 10, 2013 at 7:04 PM
  • Chauncey Mayfield, from his 2011 "Corner Office" interview with the Times. Has anyone ever done a study on the percentage of "Corner Office" interviewees who later turned out to have been committing fraud at the time of their interview? It's not just him, right?


    Investment Manager Was Just Waiting For The Right Time To Tell Client About The $3 Million He Stole

    It’s kind of old news but today’s SEC suit against MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors is still pretty amusing. Basically MayfieldGentry was a registered investment advisor with $750mm of AUM at its peak, something like $140mm of which belonged to its biggest client, the city of Detroit’s Police and Fire Retirement System. You get the sense that […]

    / Jun 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM
  • The coffee is from "his ritual stop at Scooter's Coffee & Yogurt for a latte and some chitchat with employees." I JUST CAN'T.


    How Much Is Adorable Worth To You? Is It 116bps A Year?

    Among the best established facts in finance are that (1) the average fund manager underperforms his index, net of fees, and (2) the above-average fund manager is above average due to random fluctuations and will probably be below average next year. I mean, not your fund manager, obviously, but all the other ones will have […]

    / Jun 7, 2013 at 5:49 PM
  • Would you have drawn more arrows? Fewer? Discuss.


    Portfolio Manager’s First Mistake Was Hiring Guy Whose Hobbies Included Insider Trading Club

    If you’ve been really closely following the SAC-Diamondback-expert-network-etc.-etc. insider trading investigations you might be able to keep the players straight but it’s beyond me. I have a hard enough time keeping one list of their prison sentences. The SEC’s new case against Whittier Trust and Victor Dosti really ought to come with a flowchart: During […]

    / Jun 7, 2013 at 1:48 PM
  • soothing soothing blue


    Here’s Another Plan For Not Bailing Out Too Big To Fail Banks

    Some analysts at the Bank for International Settlements have found a new way to unwind too-big-to-fail banks painlessly, which I guess is newsworthy; here is a good summary, and here is the actual paper. The basic idea is to resolve a bank over the weekend by writing down its debt by some regulator-chosen amount X, […]

    / Jun 6, 2013 at 5:53 PM
  • I didn't capture as many flying arrows as I'd intended to (this is an animation), but I do like this slogan.


    For Some Reason Regulators Don’t Want People Gambling Online Using Binary Options Sold Through Spam Emails From Cyprus

    Today in when prediction-markets-are-outlawed-only-outlaws-will-run-prediction-markets news, the SEC and CFTC have sued Banc de Binary, a prediction market that sounds like it’s no Intrade: Banc de Binary solicited customers in the United States. … It broadly advertised its websites to individuals in the United States through YouTube videos, spam emails, and other internet-based advertising. Also it’s […]

    / Jun 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM
  • It's like the one picture of him, but the pose always works.


    Aubrey McClendon Not Done Delighting Us

    Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy’s delightfully shady former CEO who was forced out by shareholders who found him more shady than delightful, is the sort of person about whom I might say “never change, Aubrey,” if that seemed necessary. It does not: Aubrey McClendon, the controversial former chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, is attempting to stage […]

    / Jun 6, 2013 at 11:54 AM
  • eh?

    CASH+ Breakfast, News

    Let Me Introduce You To: One Financial Corporation

    So here’s a story about a Canadian asset manager and I don’t know what to do with it so I’m pretty much just going to tell you the story, and at the end there’ll be a quiz, and the choices on the quiz will be like: Is there something a little weird about this company? […]

    / Jun 6, 2013 at 9:27 AM
  • It's a good thing this picture is so great because honestly how do you illustrate money market funds? Mary Jo White?


    The SEC Doesn’t Seem Particularly Sorry To See Some Money Market Funds Go

    I dunno, you want to get excited about the new proposed money market fund rules? You can if you want. To get a sense of the stakes involved, consider the email I got from a reader today worrying that the SEC may wind up “killing say the market for receivables conduit financing in an attempt […]

    / Jun 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM
  • Also let's cut off the y axis so our shitty performance looks even shittier!


    Dell Begs Shareholders To Put It Out Of Its Misery

    I feel like it would be a useful, or at least entertaining, exercise to require every company, once a year or so, to give a presentation to its shareholders that is like “here’s why you should vote for an LBO of our company at a ~2% premium to the current stock price.” Even if there’s […]

    / Jun 5, 2013 at 10:48 AM
  • Jes Staley


    Jes Staley Thinks That One Day Investors Will Be Able To Understand Banks

    The basic thing about investing in big banks’ unsecured debt is that once upon a time it was a pseudo-risk-free proposition because, like, it’s a bank, what could possibly go wrong,1 and now it’s like,2 hi, you are buying the mezzanine (call it 10-to-30%-loss3) tranche in an actively traded and extremely opaque CDO full of […]

    / Jun 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM


    S&P: Obviously No One Thought Our Ratings Were Objective Or Unbiased Or, For That Matter, True

    The Journal checked in on the government’s lawsuit against S&P today, since there’s a hearing coming up next week where S&P will ask a court to dismiss the case. You can read the arguments here, here, here, and here. My sympathies are mostly with S&P, though I’m also not holding my breath that a judge […]

    / Jun 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

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