Behind The Scenes At Merrill
The following was obtained from secret sources inside the Fed:
Everyone is familiar with the Bear Stearns (subprime mortgage) hedge fund blow-up or you should be. Merrill also had an investment in that hedge fund. And when word of the fund's massive losses became known, At first, Merrill tried to force Bear Stearns to make a capital infusion to try and save the fund. When Bear Stearns balked, Merrill threatened to sell shares of the fund in a public market.
Selling the shares in a public market would have priced the shares. Since the troubled hedge fund was similar to numerous other leveraged (subprime mortgage) hedge funds, publicly pricing the shares would have forced those other funds to price theirs, as well. This would have caused a massive, destructive ripple effect across mortgage markets, since this pricing would have made public the huge losses that have been hidden away. These losses would not have only been suffered by hedge funds, but also the banks that lent the funds $10 for every $1 in mortgages.
The result: Merrill was convinced not to sell its shares and Bear Stearns made a capital infusion.
My opinion: The charade won't last forever.
Fortunately, none of my clients own any of these type of hedge funds. Not because I'm brilliant (though my mother begs to differ), but because I learned a long time ago, stay away from cr*p.
What kind of leverage is that where you lend somebody 10 dollars to get 1 dollar worth of something?
What kind of leverage is it to borrow 10 and the go out and buy 1 dollar's' worth of something with the 10 dollars?
"Hey Jethro! I jest got me the earnin's on 1 whole dollar!"
"Well Cletus, what'd it costja?"
"The earnin's on 10 dollars."
Which would you rather have an old crumpled up germy 10 dollar bill, or a new one?"