Monday, December 12, 2011

MF Global Recoveries

There is a dearth of information about what to expect regarding the balance of customer funds missing at MF Global. The best data point that I have seen is that the market is apparently treating the bonds as a bet on how much money will be left over after the customers are repaid, and the bonds are still trading in the low 30s. There is something like 2 billion in bond debt so that would suggest an extra 600-700 million, assuming that framework is correct.

I'm interested in reading about what is going on with the situation, but it is hard to take Zero Hedge seriously when they rant about it without addressing these types of details. With big banks and brokerage firms, they either get bailed out or the entire financial system collapses.

When you think about it, it's weird that people smoke or ride motorcycles AND worry about survivalism. But the cognitive bias research shows that the mind is shockingly bad at comparing rare events, even if the incidence is separated by many orders of magnitude. Partly the bias seems to be induced by skewed media attention. So, for example, people think that murders are as common as car accidents because they are talked about roughly equally on TV news.

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