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Launched in Januarythe ABX also offered the attractive option of buying and selling index futures. That is, traders could now place bets on the movement of the entire housing market. Goldman was quicker than most to place negative bets, predicting that the housing market would tumble as more and more homeowners defaulted. So, as Denzel Mitchell struggled to keep a roof over his family, the bank that owned his loan was betting that he and others would fail.
Goldman was by no means the only establishment to use the ABX. These particular London traders oversaw what the bank management termed the synthetic credit portfolio, largely composed of exotic derivatives. Such transactions were cascading through the global financial system in those years, powered by the bank-promoted boom in subprime loans. Vastly magnifying the scale of operations was another recently invented instrument: There was no limit on the number of bets riding on a particular bond; a post-crash inquiry found one that had nine separate CDS bets against it.
Bythe bets were going bad at an ever-accelerating rate. Huge financial institutions began to crumble. Bear Stearns collapsed in March On September 15 came the cataclysm of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
An internal Federal Reserve email sent five days later, and published here for the first time, tersely conveys the prevailing mood of official panic as Morgan Stanley, Timothy Geithner, and Goldman Sachs attempted to circle the wagons: Washington rushed to shore up the collapsing financial system. Fearful of public outrage over such generosity to those who had fomented the disaster in the first place, the Fed and the banks struggled to keep the numbers a secret.
Fortunately for the bankers, they had protection from the top. Despite such welcome news, the banks did face the unwelcome prospect of new rules and regulations likely to impinge on cherished modes of operation. They prepared their defenses. The Volcker Rule was even more anathema to the banks themselves, which, flush with bailout cash, were once again generating profitable trades and executive bonuses. Bankers and their representatives argued vehemently that their prop trading had absolutely nothing to do with the crash, despite the trillions in bailout money needed to keep them afloat.
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The Volcker Rule meanwhile had to undergo a long and tortuous gestation, beginning with its passage through Congress as part of the financial reform legislation introduced by Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Barney Frank. On hand to observe the progress of the legislation was Jeff Connaughton, formerly a high-powered lobbyist, who had recently signed on as chief of staff to the reform-minded senator Ted Kaufman, a Democrat from Delaware.
In his instructive memoir The Payoff, Connaughton describes how the banking committee functioned: Staffers gave lobbyists information about bills being drafted or what one senator had said to another.?.?.?. The lobbyists passed the information on to their clients in the banking or insurance or accounting industry.?.?.?.
Sometimes within an hour, the news would be emailed to the entire financial-services industry and all of its lobbyists. With multiple leakers from the banking committee keeping K Street well informed, the banking world had complete transparency into bill drafting. Michael Paese, for example, was the deputy staff director of the House Financial Services Committee for seven years until moving to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a trade group, in September The lobbyists saw little point in exercising their skills on Carl Levin, a seasoned politician whose views on the banks were well known.
The staffers basically used that as leverage: Among other concessions extracted by the Massachusetts senator was a loophole in the Volcker Rule allowing banks to own a small stake in hedge funds after all. Thanks to such negotiations, the rule acquired significant concessions before Dodd—Frank was passed on July 21, If you kept a supply of, for example, foreign-currency swaps in stock, just in case a customer ordered some, were you engaging in prop trading?
Such issues could keep many lawyers well remunerated for a long time. Unsurprisingly, the banks and similarly interested parties launched waves of lawyers and lobbyists at the agencies to ensure that rules were crafted to their liking.
A painstaking academic study of the public record by Kimberly Krawiec of Duke University revealed that the agencies were subjected to almost 1, meetings with those seeking to influence their deliberations, the vast majority with representatives of the financial industry. An ambiguous word here, an obscure footnote there, could be worth billions down the road.
They then called on foreign embassies in Washington to say that their banks back home, now limited by the rule to buying only US Treasuries, would consequently be barred from buying bonds issued by their own governments. Predictably, this generated a torrent of high-level complaints to the US government from foreign capitals demanding that the rule be changed.ORANGE COAST COLLEGE SWAP MEET
It was, at least partially. Over the past two years, the law professor and former regulator Michael Greenberger has been investigating another such maneuver, and an especially artful one. In the run-up to the crisis, for example, no one had understood that AIG was on the hook for bets it could not possibly pay. With his enthusiastic endorsement, the rule was approved by a majority vote of the commissioners.
Requirements should not apply if a non-U. MSP [the counterparty, or person on the other side of the trade] relies on a written representation by a non-U. There it was, cloaked in bureaucratese. Employee advancement to Step 2 is now included under merit promotion procedures. Clarifies when screening panels may be used during the promotion process, and clearer requirements to ensure the fair consideration of all best qualified candidates during the interview process.
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Article 12 — Career Ladder Advancement Section 3: The criteria will be applied fairly and consistently to employees in the same positions. Employees will also receive a copy of the position description for the higher level, and supervisors will discuss what must be done by the employee to be considered to have demonstrated the ability to perform at the higher level.
Article 13 — Details and Special Assignments Section 2: Clearer standards for when an employee will be eligible for a temporary promotion for performing duties at a higher band level.
Article 14 — Reassignments Section 2: Management originally proposed significant reductions in space allocations for employees in field and satellite office, which NTEU opposed. The parties ultimately agreed to establish a joint working group, comprised of equal numbers of management and Union representatives, to study space allocation in these offices and make recommendations on appropriate standards to the OCC-NTEU Labor-Management Forum in June Article 16 — Work Schedules Section 4: Credit Hours may now be both earned and used in 15 minute increments Article 17 — Overtime and Compensatory Time Sections 1 and 2: Comp time may now be both earned and used in 15 minute increments.
For FLSA exempt employees, a new procedure has been added to provide pay for comp time that cannot be used within the 26 pay period limit because of business exigencies.
Article 19 — Telework Section 1K: Supervisors will approve or deny each request for telework in a timely fashion. When a telework request is denied or cancelled, the supervisor will provide written notification to the employee, explaining the reason s for the decision.
Clarifying appropriate tasks and procedures for approval of telework requests. New procedures for maintaining confidentiality of employee medical documentation submitted in connection with requests for medical telework. Article 20 — Part-time Employment Section