AIG

  • 11 Sep 2012 at 11:34 AM

How Much Did The Government Make On AIG, Anyway?

AIG priced a giant stock offering last night at $32.50, making the government rich. A really really simple question you could ask about AIG is “how’s the government doing?” and I Googled around for the answer yesterday and got increasingly frustrated, then angry, then drunk. Why can’t someone tell me that? The answer has to do I think with competing interests and secrecy and embarrassment and innumeracy both real and tactical, and I could write a book about it but won’t.1 Instead, I will just tell you how the government is doing on AIG, and then you will know.2

  • The government has gotten back $12.3 $15 billion more than it put into AIG so far, plus it has about $10bn $8 billion worth of AIG shares left over. (This is what the government says too, to within rounding error.) [Update: revised for greenshoe exercise.]
  • So, great!
  • Its IRR is 3.2% 3.9%, or 5.7% if you assume it sold the remaining AIG shares today (which: it didn’t).
  • If you assume the government’s cost of capital for the bailout was 3.04%, or roughly 5-year Treasury rates as of the time they signed on to this almost 5-year bailout, then the government’s made an economic profit (returns in excess of cost of capital) of $600 million $3 billion, or $9.9 billion including the remaining AIG shares.
  • If you assume the appropriate discount rate for the bailout was 12%, or roughly what AIG’s initial Fed credit facility paid, then the government has undercharged AIG by about $26.3 $24.6 billion, or $19.7 billion including the remaining shares.
  • Neither is a good assumption.3
  • The end.

Here’s a chart:

Here is the math. Here is a footnote with sources, caveats, instructions for correcting errors, etc.4 Read more »

“Many companies have transactions that go bad,” Greenberg said today on “In the Loop With Betty Liu” on Bloomberg Television. “Everybody’s not paraded down to Washington to testify.” “He handled it OK,” Greenberg said of Dimon, 56. “It was really outrageous to have the CEO come down and testify before Congress because of a transaction that didn’t work out well.” [Bloomberg, related]

The three directors who oversee risk at JPMorgan Chase include a museum head who sat on American International Group Inc.’s governance committee in 2008, the grandson of a billionaire and the chief executive officer of a company that makes flight controls and work boots. What the risk committee of the biggest U.S. lender lacks, and what the five next largest competitors have, are directors who worked at a bank or as financial risk managers. The only member with any Wall Street experience, James Crown, hasn’t been employed in the industry for more than 25 years…The committee, which met seven times last year and hasn’t changed its composition since 2008, approves the bank’s risk- appetite policy and oversees the chief risk officer, according to the company’s April 4 proxy statement. [Bloomberg]

  • 14 Feb 2012 at 12:46 PM

Presenting: Executive Bitches

For Valentine’s Day this year, Fortune put together a slideshow of various executives, analysts, fund managers, and disgraced AIG CEOs posing with their one true loves– their dogs. For the big names who missed the deadline to submit photos, fear not– this feature is clearly going to become an annual thing. For those already mentally directing a photoshoot of yourself and Jamie the Younger, maybe running down Park Ave or shooting hoops at the Garden, you might first consider looking to this year’s pioneering efforts for inspiration.


For instance, in addition to putting your love for each other on display, why not use the opportunity to showcase your credentials, as “Fortune All-Star Analyst” Mike Mayo does here? Read more »

There’s a juicy pile of something going on over on Maiden Lane. Once upon a time, Goldman Sachs murdered AIG and stuffed its corpse with tons of shall we say “troubled” residential mortgage-backed securities. Like a cursed diamond, those securities then bounced around among owners who came to bad ends and ended up in a thing called “Maiden Lane II,” owned by the New York Fed and managed by BlackRock, with a mandate to sell them off over time at prices that “represent good value for the public.”

One day, Credit Suisse came to BlackRock with reverse inquiry for those Maiden Lane II bonds. The Fed via BlackRock solicited bids from five banks, CS, Goldman, Barclays, RBS and Morgan Stanley. The banks conducted some pre-bidding price discovery with their clients, though they were sworn to secrecy and had to get the clients to sign nondisclosure agreements before they could solicit them. Eventually the banks put in bids and Goldman won and bought the bonds, and is now selling them rather nonchalantly to clients, keeping most of them overnight after buying them from the Fed.

A simple story, but it raises two interlinked things to worry about:
(1) Why are you giving all those wonderful wonderful bonds to Goldman, huh NY Fed? HUH?
(2) Why are you keeping all those deadly deadly bonds on your balance sheet, huh Goldman? HUH?

For the first one, Bloomberg says: Read more »

Remember a couple of months ago when former AIG CEO and current dog fancier Hank Greenberg sued the government for $25 billion because it had stolen AIG from him? We all had a good giggle at that but some people think he wasn’t entirely crazy. One of those people is friend of Dealbreaker and Stanford GSB student Ed Couch, who feels Hank’s pain but also has some doubts about his lawyers’ efforts on the case. We pass along his views on the complaint in case you are (1) Hank’s lawyers (give Ed a call!), (2) particularly keen on Hank getting or not getting, as the case may be, his deserved or undeserved $25bn from AIG’s government captors, or (3) just generally interested in the wonky mechanics of equity-linked voting and exchange procedures, which YOU DAMN SURE KNOW I AM but the rest of you can keep your own counsel. Here’s Ed: Read more »

The complaint in Hank Greenberg’s lawsuit against America is now online, and strange and entertaining in equal measures. I’m pretty sure Occupy Wall Street will be interested to hear his theory that the Constitution allows Fed bailouts of struggling financial institutions, but requires those bailouts to be much gentler than the one handed to AIG.

There is some sensible stuff here. Greenberg’s suit makes good use of the SIGTARP report finding that the government didn’t exactly conduct hard-nosed negotiations with AIG’s CDS counterparties. Instead, it bought off the assets covered by CDS at par (even though some of the counterparties might have accepted a haircut), tore up the CDS contracts, and waived any claims AIG might have against those counterparties. And the description of how the government avoided and ignored legal requirements to get a shareholder vote to authorize new shares for the government, and kind of maybe lied about it a bit in disclosure documents, is kind of interesting for shareholder-voting nerds, of whom there are about five and I am one.

But that’s all just a political smoke screen: lots of people are good and mad that the government funneled too much money through AIG to Goldman Sachs or Deutsche Bank or whatever, but pretty much zero of them think that money should have gone to Hank Greenberg instead. And lying in disclosure documents, like insider trading, isn’t a crime if the government does it.

Greenberg’s case really boils down to two claims. First is the constitutional argument that the bailout-in-exchange-for-equity was unconstitutional because “everyone else got a no strings attached bailout, so we should have gotten one too.” And “everyone” included “Libya”:

Throughout the global financial crisis, the Government allowed many domestic and foreign institutions access to the discount window. … [D]iscount window loans peaked at about $110 billion at the end of October 2008. Foreign banks borrowed approximately 70% of that amount; for example Dexia SA of Belgium borrowed about $33 billion; Dublin-based Depfa Bank, Plc, subsequently taken over by the German government, received approximately $25 billion; Bank of Scotland borrowed $11 billion; and Arab Banking Corp., 29% owned by the Libyan Central Bank at the time, received 73 different loans. Wachovia also borrowed $15 billion, and numerous investment banks were also granted access. At no time did the Federal Reserve Board require that it be given control of, or an equity stake in, these institutions. … If AIG had been given similar access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window or other sources of liquidity like these other institutions, AIG would easily have met its liquidity needs.

Well, okay. Maybe! The legal theory of “the constitution requires that anything you give to Libyans you have to give to me” is a bit untested – if true, I am planning to assert my Constitutional right to call down air strikes on my enemies (who are legion). Read more »