Opening Bell: 03.25.09

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Hedge Fund Bridgewater Mulls U.S Toxic Asset Plan (Reuters)
"In a letter to clients, Bridgewater Associates: "From a macro perspective, this is a big transfer of money from the government to the banks (who are getting the higher prices for their assets) and to the buyers (who are probably going to get a heck of a deal because of the non-recourse loan and the easy access to leverage).
"If the government was operating in an economic way, it would not do this deal -- it would deal with the banks' finances separately and sell this insurance (i.e. the implied put arising from the non-recourse loan) for what it's worth," Bridgewater said in the letter.
"But, politics being what they are, this route is probably motivating this non-economic behavior. We are eager to see how it is received on the Hill," it said."
This would be awesome, if Geithner, Bernanke, Obama et al were subject to Bridgewater's 360 review, wherein subordinates are supposed to tell their bosses what they're doing wrong.
Hedge Fund Employee Pay May Drop 25% (Bloomberg)
With 70% of the single manager funds down, the industry will have to look at pay cuts across the board.
"Chief executive officers earned an average of $2 million last year, while chief investment officers made $1.4 million, according to Alpha's survey. Senior portfolio managers took home $1.1 million and senior traders were paid $790,000."
And of course there's this.
U.S. Plan Seeking Expanded Power in Seizing Firms (NYT)
"It is precisely because of the lack of this authority that the A.I.G. situation has gotten worse," Mr. Obama said, predicting that "there is going to be strong support from the American people and from Congress to provide that authority."
Boehner says Geithner nonbank plan a power grab (Reuters)
"This is an unprecedented grab of power, and before that occurs, there ought to be a real debate about whether we should give that authority to the Treasury Secretary," Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters.
Senator Dodd's Wife Worked As An Outside "Director" For A Bermuda-based Company Affiliated With AIG (NYP)
Presented without comment.
Dear AIG, I Quit (NYT)
Sent Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of AIG's financial products unit, to Ed Liddy.
"DEAR Mr. Liddy,
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:


I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in -- or responsible for -- the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company -- during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 -- we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
[...]
The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity -- directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.
I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country's call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.
But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn't defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut."
Ford Chief Takes Cut (WSJ)
"Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally's base salary was $2 million in 2007 and remained unchanged in 2008, according to a preliminary company filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But Mr. Mulally received no bonus in 2008 -- compared to a $4 million bonus in 2007.
The CEO's total compensation for 2008, including stock grants, was $13.6 million, down 37% from the comparable 2007 figure. The company earlier announced that Mr. Mulally will take a 30% salary cut in 2009 and 2010."

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