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Posts Tagged ‘Goldman Sachs’

Banks’ Alice-in-Wonderland Accounting

In Accounting, Banks on 28/10/2011 at 7:02 am

The problem with a bank’s balance sheet is that on the left side nothing’s right and on the right side nothing’s left.

Think Lehman’s and Dexia’s balance sheets. One day AAA, six months’s later rubbish. That fast leh?

Profit and loss accounts are just as rubbishy. Recently UBS’s third quater profit fell to 1.02 billion Swiss francs (US$1.2 billion) in the three months ended Sept. 30 from 1.66 billion francs in the period a year earlier. The trading loss of  1.85bn Swiss francs (alleged caused by a rogue trader) and charges linked to a cost-cutting plan were partly offset by an accounting gain on the bank’s own credit of 1.8 billion francs and the sale of some investments.

Now this accounting treatment was not not only used by UBS. According to the FT’s Lex, four-fifths of the US$16bn net profits  in the latest announced results of (BoA, Citi, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs came from using used the same accounting treatment of the banks’ own debts.

Lex describes the accounting treament thus: ” Try this on your credit card company: your creditworthiness has weakened, so you write down the value of what you owe them to reflect the greater riskthat you will not pay it back and credit the difference to your personal account. That is what exactly accounting allows”.

UBS: What else can go wrong?

In Accounting, Banks, GIC on 27/10/2011 at 6:36 am

Readers will know by now that UBS, where GIC is a major long-term (and suffering)  investor, is planning to reduce the scale of its investment banking operations, the source of its on-going problems since 2007.

But they may not know “What they are trying to do has never been done before,” Christopher Wheeler, an analyst at Mediobanca, said. “They want to shrink the investment bank by choice, which means unwinding positions without loss and running down their books while keeping the morale among staff, and it’s unclear who’s running the shop.”

And don’t be fooled by its latest results. Despite being hit by a 1.85bn-franc loss from deals made by an alleged rogue trader, it just made  a better-than-expected third-quarter net profit of 1bn Swiss francs (US$1.1bn).

The loss was almost entirely offset by a 1.77bn-franc accounting gain that came from changes to the value of the bank’s own debt. One of these days, I’ll blog on the Alice-in-Wonderland accounting that allows this type of gain to materialise. According to the FT’s Lex, four-fifths of the US$16bn net profits  in the latest announced results of (BoA, Citi, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs came from using used the same accounting treatment of the banks’ own debts.

He bot preferreds, stupid

In Investments on 01/10/2011 at 6:57 am

Or the perils of trying to copy Buffett by buying ordinary GE and Goldman Sachs shares. http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/buffetts-not-so-golden-touch/?nl=business&emc=dlbkpma21

Goldman is worth breaking up?

In Financial competency, Investments, Uncategorized on 13/09/2011 at 8:10 am

Masterclass in back of envelope calculations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/business/breaking-up-could-be-good-for-goldman.html?nl=business&emc=dlbka23

Value investing at its best

In GIC, Temasek, Uncategorized on 02/05/2010 at 7:05 am

Buffett has a big stake in Goldman Sachs and the recent problems there had “experts” saying that he must have lost serious money. But no: the fall is gd for him, “Heads he wins, tails he still wins”.

FT reports:

In a surprising turn however, Mr Buffett, also explained that the travails at Goldman had been specific net positive for Berkshire, which bought $5bn of preferred shares paying a 10 per cent coupon at the heart of the credit crisis when Goldman was in need of additional funds.

Despite the roller coaster share price ride, Mr Buffett said that the headline challenges facing Goldman made it less likely that the bank would call its preferred shares. Those earn Berkshire almost $500m a year. If it the shares were called Berkshire would get $5.5bn back, but could only deposit that in low interest accounts earnings less than $20m a year.

“Every day that Goldman does not call our preferred is money in the bank,” Mr Buffett said. “Our preferred is paying $15 per second … so as we sit here… tick tick tick … its $15 in the bank. I don’t want those ticks to go away.”

If only the FTs, scholars and ex-SAF generals were quarter as gd, GIC and Temasek could make better returns, giving government more money to help the needy. They should realise, as FT’s Lex says, Funny how “once in a lifetime” opportunities roll around every few years or so.

Footie: Did you know?

In Uncategorized on 02/05/2010 at 5:36 am

Political divisions in Lebanon are  so deep and tensions are so high that football fans are not allowed to attend matches.The authorities fear that clashes between supporters of opposing teams could spill onto the streets and soon escalate into armed warfare.

Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, was considering buying ‘Pol.

That they developed a business model – however sketchy and premature Goldman Sachs would like us to think it was – based on the development of Liverpool’s new stadium should give hope to the club’s long-suffering supporters

..  it is revealing that a deal put together by a bank of that stature – and after so many failed attempts to resolve the financial problems at the club – still fell down because the price Hicks and Gillett were asking was too high.

‘Pol: Lingering death?

In Uncategorized on 17/04/2010 at 4:12 am

One was the worse kept footie secrets is out.  The present owners want out of  ‘Pol after saddling it with massive debts, not winning the EPL, and now playing for the foreseeable future in the Europa League, Europe’s second tier competition. Article. Pls read the bit in bold below on the chances of a sale.

Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, was considering buying ‘Pol.

That they developed a business model – however sketchy and premature Goldman Sachs would like us to think it was – based on the development of Liverpool’s new stadium should give hope to the club’s long-suffering supporters

..  it is revealing that a deal put together by a bank of that stature – and after so many failed attempts to resolve the financial problems at the club – still fell down because the price Hicks and Gillett were asking was too high.

Small- hearted Evertonians will be pleased that No Europe for Everton is coupled with ‘Pol playing in Europa League next season and ownership instability.

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