Daily Archives: January 26, 2015

As inequality soars, the nervous super rich are already planning their escapes

Hedge fund managers are preparing getaways by buying airstrips and farms in remote areas, former hedge fund partner tells Davos during session on inequality.

With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people’s mind, the world’s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session in Davos, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,” he said.

Johnson, who heads the Institute of New Economic Thinking and was previously managing director at Soros, said societies can tolerate income inequality if the income floor is high enough. But with an existing system encouraging chief executives to take decisions solely on their profitability, even in the richest countries inequality is increasing.

Johnson added: “People need to know there are possibilities for their children – that they will have the same opportunity as anyone else. There is a wicked feedback loop. Politicians who get more money tend to use it to get more even money.”

Global warming and social media are among the trends the 600 super-smart World Economic Forum staffers told its members to watch out for long before they became ubiquitous. This year, income inequality is fast moving up the Davosagenda – a sure sign of it is poised to burst into the public consciousness.

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and a Davos star attraction after giving the closing address in 2014, said he had spent a lot of time learning from the leaders behind recent social unrest in Ferguson. He believes that will prove “a catalytic event” which has already changed the conversation in the US, bringing a message from those who previously “didn’t matter”.

Read on.

FHFA Director Watt goes before House committee Tuesday

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt will appear Tuesday morning before the House Financial Services Committee entitled “Sustainable Housing Finance.”

The purpose of this hearing is to receive an update from the FHFA on measures FHFA has taken as conservator ofFannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHFA’s current Strategic Plan for the GSEs, and the current financial condition of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and and theFederal Home Loan Banks.

Watt will likely face a tough grilling from the new Congress on whether adequate steps are being taken to encourage additional private capital in this market and what additional actions FHFA has taken as regulator of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHLBs.

He will also likely face questions about the wisdom of President Obama’s move to cut the FHA mortgageinsurance premiums.

Read on.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is rattling Wall Street’s cage

Go Bernie!!

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)–Sen. Bernie Sanders plans on using his new position on the Senate Budget Committee to take on too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks.

An article in The American Prospect says that Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, plans to use his position as a ranking member to fight against cuts in social welfare programs and to frame the argument against banks getting bigger as a potential risk to American taxpayers, who would be forced to foot the bill if theses institutions imploded.

“Being the ranking member of the budget committee gives Senator Sanders the opportunity to say, look, people on food stamps didn’t cause the economic crisis, people that lost their jobs weren’t responsible for the economic crisis that we faced,” said Warren Gunnels, director of the committee’s minority staff told The American Prospect.

Gunnels went one step further stating that the best way to rein in banking behemoths is to break them up.

Read on.


Great article!

OCC Drops Stance On Anti-Money Laundering Recommendations

Law360, New York (January 26, 2015, 3:03 PM ET) — Office of the Comptroller of the Currency examiners will no longer make recommendations on how banks can better comply with anti-money laundering regulations, raising all such problems to a level that could see enforcement actions if they are not fixed, a top agency official said Monday.

James F. Vivenzio, the OCC’s senior counsel responsible for oversight of Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering compliance, said that all anti-money laundering problems would be designated as matters requiring attention or violations of law that need to be addressed…

Source: Law360

JPMorgan Accused Of Futures Manipulation In $25M Suit

Law360, New York (January 23, 2015, 7:53 PM ET) — Hedge fund manager Daniel Shak on Thursday commenced a lawsuit in New York against JPMorgan Chase & Co. accusing the lender of manipulating the silver futures market at the expense of other traders and seeking at least $25 million in damages.

Shak, the founder of SHK Asset Management and SHK Diversified LLC who is also known as a professional poker player, brought the action in New York state court, saying that starting around late 2010, JPMorgan wrongfully gamed the closing range of deferred futures spreads in…

Source: Law360

California settlement puts Ocwen on a leash, prohibited from acquiring California MSRs without state’s approval


Under the terms of the agreement, in addition to thepreviously disclosed $2.5 million fine Ocwen must pay California, Ocwen is also prohibited from acquiring any additional mortgage servicing rights for loans in California until the CDBO is “satisfied that (Ocwen-subsidiary)Ocwen Loan Servicing can satisfactorily respond to the requests for information and documentation made in the course of a regulatory exam.”

Perhaps most importantly though, the settlement only covers Ocwen’s failure to provide the documents to the CDBO, not what the documents contain.

“The consent order addresses and resolves the examination disputes between the CDBO and OLS, and does not involve any accusation or admission of wrongdoing with regard to OLS’s servicing practices,” Ocwen’s SEC filing states.

Read on.