Category Archives: Counterparty Risk

The Known and the Unknown

“There are known knowns… there are known unknowns… and there are unknown unknowns…”  Donald Rumsfeld

In this age of uncertainty over the regulatory impact on the banking industry we turn to former Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld[1] for some guidance on how to think about managing counterparty risk. Let’s break down this quote and see where it leads us.

Continue reading

Safety In (Prime) Numbers

What is the right number of prime brokers in the Basel III new world order? This month’s essay addresses another unintended consequence of financial regulation: its impact on the risk reducing effects of the multi-prime model. Basel III and the new US bank regulations have prime brokers fixated on balance sheet usage and client ROA. The conventional wisdom being put forth by the prime brokers is that hedge funds should consolidate their financing balances across fewer primes to boost their returns (ROA). Besides being a self-serving argument it misses the point. I feel hedge funds should do exactly the opposite. First, let’s review the new math of Basel III.

Continue reading

Atlas Shrugged – The (Unintended) Impact of Financial Regulation: Part 2

Continuing on the theme of the unintended consequences from the new bank regulations we come to the recent, and increasing, exodus of senior players from the industry. It started with Mike Cavanaugh, the heir apparent to Jamie Dimon, (who is now recovering from throat cancer) leaving for a job in private equity. His reason? He couldn’t see his future in such a regulated industry. This was quickly followed by a large group of the senior ex-Lehman Barclays executives leaving. Same reasons. Now hardly a week goes by without another announcement of a senior banking executive leaving for a hedge fund, private equity or striking out to set up their own boutique investment advisory firm.

Continue reading

What They Wished For… The (Unintended) Impact of Financial Regulation: Part 1

“The war is over. They won”. [1]

The impact of Basel III and Dodd-Frank on the banking industry is becoming clearer and it appears the government is getting what it wanted:  a smaller, less risky and less leveraged banking system.  Capital ratios, leverage and liquidity rules are all combining to constrain the size of the major banks. Throw in the Volker rule so banks can’t risk their own capital through prop trading and the picture is complete. However in the world of unintended consequences, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get just what you want.

Continue reading

New Product Announcement: CP Accelerator

Pangaea Business Solutions announces the release of CP Accelerator.  It is important that every hedge fund have a framework for managing counterparty risk. It must also be sized to your organization and your capacity. CP Acclerator is a quick, cost-effective way for a hedge fund to develop this initial framework for their counterparty risk management process. This product includes the following:

Continue reading

50 Shades of Counterparty Risk

What follows isn’t going be quite as racy as the books (I hear) from which I paraphrase the title for this essay. However I will be offering up some suggestions to help you not get tied up by your counterparties. At times many people in the industry, myself included, tend to only view counterparty risk as some cataclysmic event like 2008. Markets in turmoil, banks failing or on the brink and a general global crisis. But the absence of such an environment or market condition does not mean an absence of counterparty risk – just an absence of that particular kind of counterparty risk.

Continue reading