- Tainted & conflicted analysts passing off conjured fiction as "research"
- Largest mutual fund companies complicity in mutual-fund timing scandals that systematically defrauded longer-term investors for the benefit of the management company and short-term trader;
- Rampant, options back-dating by managements for self-gain, systematic balance sheet and income statement fabrication across a wide universe of securities whether channel-stuffing or any other manner of creative accounting;
- Systematic altering of pension-fund return assumptions to reduce required corporate contributions to pad EPS;
- Ludicrous, unbenchmarked and grossed-up executive comp schemes, structured by boards appointed by management themselves;
- Endemic abuse of SPVs and tax-havens for balance sheet distortion and tax avoidance;
- Bid-rigging by brokers (supposedly working for their clients) across the entire reinsurance industry with complicity by the reinsurers themselves;
- Acceptance and use by major companies of "finite-insurance" to directly smooth earnings, at best willfully deceitful, and at worst, completely fraudulent;
- The wholesale capture and corruption of the ratings agencies who were at the very center of financial money markets;
This is before one even talks about the abuse of securitisation-run-amok, and the shadow banking system. And I have undoubtedly left a few out. All these things were/are criminal in the spirit of the law, and most to the letter. It has gotten to the point where one must look very hard for the honest company with real down home values, I suppose like Berkshire Hathawy. Ahhh, yes, one points to Warren Buffett and that pillar of sobriety, Warren and Berkshire Hathway. Errr ummm, except that even the revered WB was front-and-center to the finite reinsurance game of providing earnings-smoothing "insurance" and earnings management to those in need. Anything to make a buck.
At least the Japanese bowed their heads in shame, and eventually fessed-up and took the painful medicine. Mr Buffett, as the example of the American solution by contrast, disavowed himself of all knowledge of these activities, for crimes which his loyal underling is now rotting in jail. With Repo-105, only the number of zeros have gotten larger, and the fact that they were caught red-handed. However, the pattern of behavoiur of what is normal, remains completely out of bounds to what prevailed, and what is required in modernity to enforce the rules of fairness and what remains of trust, else the entire system unravels towards lawless chaos, or an authoritarian nightmare arbitrarily awarding the spoils to the cadre of cronies. How have we fallen so far? How is it our society grants the rights and privileges seemingly without the responsibilities? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves when looking at Repo-105....