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Archive for the ‘Federal Reserve and SEC’ Category

Disclosure:  This post is both broad and detailed so that interested analysts and journalists can gather key facts and form their own opinion.   Reviewing incredible schemes such as this orchestrated by Robert Mercer and Jim Simons often attract teams of analysts and reporters.  This post is original fact checked independent research available free on the internet.

In order to understand Robert Mercer’s brilliant financial engineering,  let’s begin our analysis using three outstanding local Portland beers.  They are Rogue Brewery’s Shakespeare Stout, Widmer’s Hefeweizen and Deschutes Breweries Fresh Squeezed IPA.

All three beers are distributed by Portland based Columbia Distributing, one of the nations largest beer distributors, which was purchased by the Jim Simons controlled investment fund Meritage in 2012.  Simons along with Robert Mercer is Co-CEO of the $100 billion Rentec hedge fund.

While Meritage CEO is listed as Nat Simons, Jim Simons son,  the elder Simons holds the controlling ownership position per SEC filings, owning more than 75 percent of the Meritage fund.

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This analysis will unravel the relationship between Rentec’s Medallion fund, its company retirement plan,  the Meritage private equity fund, which purchased Columbia Distributing in 2012, and numerous tax exempt foundations including those of Jim Simons, Nat Simons and Robert Mercer.

The key to understanding this financial engineering feat is analyzing the Medallion fund, which is managed by Renaissance Technologies.  This hedge fund is indeed the unifying thread.

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President Obama’s best chance for turning around the economy is to make sure that Paul Volcker, Federal Reserve Chairman prior to Greenspan, is in charge of needed economic reforms.   Although Tim Geitner showed promise when nominated Treasury Secretary, he looked more like Michael (Katrina) Brown than a competent leader in his first press conference.   He may indeed be nothing more than a figure head for unregulated hedge and private equity funds.  After all, the Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank– where Geitner came from– was formerly with Goldman Sachs, and now works for a leading private equity fund.

Geitner actually proposed that these unregulated hedge and private equity funds could be a key part of the solution to the current financial mess, a mess they created.   While Volcker is calling for immediate registration of hedge and private equity funds with the SEC, Geitner and Summers, both of whom have strong ties to these funds, are silent on the issue.

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This week TD Ameritrade held its annual institutional advisor conference at Cesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  CEO Fred Tomczyk, pictured on left below, summarized TD’s strong financial position in addition to his belief that money market accounts should be about safety and stability. For this reason, TD has chosen to minimize both duration and credit risk in these accounts. Tomczyk is clearly the right person to be leading TD Ameritrade.

Tom Bradley, pictured on right below, leads the institutional area and was instrumental in successfully advocating against the Merrill Lynch brokerage exemption rule, a rule which allowed investment professionals to avoid registration with either the state or SEC.  It is now up to the SEC to take action regarding this rule which has led to such widespread abuse.

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On January 31st I posted a brief video on youtube summarizing a program in which the Oregon Investment Council is lending its securities portfolios, using State Street as an intermediary, to hedge funds and private equity firms so that they may meet the ownership standards required to conduct short selling– betting on the declines of stocks.   The video can be seen by searching for Bill Parish Public at youtube.com or by following this link: Public Pensions Fuel Short Selling.

Below is the Agenda, note this was for January 2009, it mistakenly lists Jan 2008, highlighting the review of this program in addition to a photo of Tom Motley, the representative from State Street in charge of Security Lending.

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On November 18, 2008 I gave a presentation to the local chapter of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) at the Multnomah Athletic Club here in Portland, Oregon regarding the overall state of the financial markets.  The talk focused on how we arrived where we are and what to look for going forward.  Also included were what I believe to be the six most important regulatory reforms– all of which could be implemented immediately– that would collectively turn around the economy.

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VIEW EXCERPTS FROM AAII PRESENTATION

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This week Bloomberg disclosed that Warren Buffett, the man who has called derivatives a weapon of mass destruction, has himself afterall leveraged his fund Berkshire Hathaway by making a $40 billion bet in derivatives.

Little known to most investors is that Buffett’s primary source of revenue is his 50 insurance companies, including General RE, his company in which top executives are going to jail for accounting fraud associated with transactions involving AIG. The derivaties revelation was accompanied by a sharp drop in the fund price and the downgrading of Berkshire Hathaway bonds.

It is probably also time that Buffett divest himself of Moody’s, he is the bond rating company’s largest shareholder.  Moody’s played the key role in the subprime mortgage debacle and later claimed that it mistakenly overrated subprime debt due to a computer error.

It has been a tough month for Buffett in which the old expression “walk the walk” comes to mind.

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On Friday President Elect Obama designated Tim Geithner to be the next Treasury Secretary and the stock market rose roughly 5 percent in minutes.  Clearly, this was former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker’s choice and once again demonstrates Volcker’s influence as a beacon of integrity and competence.  It also highlights Obama’s good judgement by seeking out and relying on the best advice, i.e. Volcker.

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