Update! - Bob O'Brien - The Easter Bunny - Speaks, Live On CFRN
Note: Day 3 (Dec. 23) Interview should be up by 7:30 EST
I completed a series of interviews on CFRN today, and if you want to hear the Easter Bunny go off about everything from the SEC to the history of Wall Street to comparisons to the S&L crisis to an in-depth description of the clearing and settlement system to a breakdown of the Byrne email exchange to a blow by blow dissertation on the scope of the problems impacting our markets, this is for you. All 3 are located on the lower right hand side of the page. If you can get past the filters, mild distortion and the pitch shift that makes me sound like an angry débutante, it is a fun and informative series. The high points:
1) Naked Short Selling - nothing more than sales transactions effected by the system for which no shares are delivered. Because Wall Street divorces clearing from settling, everyone gets paid upon the sale, and delivery is left as an afterthought, often winding up with no delivery.
2) Wall Street History - Cockroaches have abounded on the Street for time immemorial, stock manipulation pools are well documented, and today's manipulations are nothing more than those manipulations updated with modern technology.
3) The SEC - Chartered with "Restoring investor confidence in the system", but never chartered with ensuring there is a fair playing field, or for creating a good reason for the investor confidence. A paper tiger with no prosecution capacity. Worse than useless.
4) S&L Crisis - The current naked short selling crisis resembles the S&L crisis in that a relatively small group of crooks are stealing untold billions from the system, while Wall Street makes a fortune and the regulators/elected officials/press pretend there is no problem, and leaving Joe taxpayer to pick up the bill when it is all over.
5) The DTCC and ex-clearing - "Ex-Clearing" FTDs are likely orders of magnitude larger than the FTDs memorialized on the Reg SHO list, and pose the biggest challenge to the system. Because of the leverage involved, this could be the body blow the system cannot withstand. Ex-clearing is simply sales transactions for which delivery occurs outside of the DTCC system, on the honor system, between brokers.
6) Hedge Funds - Hedge funds are nothing more than unregulated, anonymous pools of money. 8000 in number, most are honest and legit, but a small percentage, maybe 2%, aren't. They represent most of the trading on Wall Street now, and the system is beholden to them for its profits.
7) Voting Rights - Wall Street has an elaborate system designed to trick investors into believing that they still own shares, rather than broker IOUs, and issues proxies to the IOU holders to keep them from asking questions. Legitimate shareholders are diluted, and investors are tricked.
8) NCANS.net - Created the Wall of Letters to document complaints to the system, is a place where concerned investors can rally and contribute to raising visibility.
9) Solutions - Shareholders' only protection from being defrauded is holding paper certificates. Investors need to write letters, support organizations like NCANS, and sue the brokers via class actions suits. Regulators need to make the system transparent, withhold money from sales until delivery is made, and create penalties with real financial teeth for failing to deliver.
The series was fun, and has amusing moments, as well as depressing commentary. The takeaway from show 3 is to compartmentalize the problem in such a way that it is bite-sized, and solvable. The shows aren't perfect by any stretch, but they give you some insights into the world of the bunny, and make a good starting point for discussion of the problem.