Skip to comments."The Entire System Has Been Utterly Destroyed By The MF Global Collapse" - Obama Cronyism
Posted on 11/17/2011 1:03:10 PM PST by frithguild
Dear Clients, Industry Colleagues and Friends of Barnhardt Capital Management,
It is with regret and unflinching moral certainty that I announce that Barnhardt Capital Management has ceased operations. After six years of operating as an independent introducing brokerage, and eight years of employment as a broker before that, I found myself, this morning, for the first time since I was 20 years old, watching the futures and options markets open not as a participant, but as a mere spectator.
The reason for my decision to pull the plug was excruciatingly simple: I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets because they are not. And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy.
The futures markets are very highly-leveraged and thus require an exceptionally firm base upon which to function. That base was the sacrosanct segregation of customer funds from clearing firm capital, with additional emergency financial backing provided by the exchanges themselves. Up until a few weeks ago, that base existed, and had worked flawlessly. Firms came and went, with some imploding in spectacular fashion. Whenever a firm failure happened, the customer funds were intact and the exchanges would step in to backstop everything and keep customers 100% liquid even as their clearing firm collapsed and was quickly replaced by another firm within the system.
Everything changed just a few short weeks ago. A firm, led by a crony of the Obama regime, stole all of the non-margined cash held by customers of his firm. Lets not sugar-coat this or make this crime seem complex and abstract by drowning ourselves in six-dollar words and uber-technical jargon. Jon Corzine STOLE the customer cash at MF Global. Knowing Jon Corzine, and knowing the abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime and its cronies, this is not really a surprise. What was a surprise was the reaction of the exchanges and regulators. Their reaction has been to take a bad situation and make it orders of magnitude worse. Specifically, they froze customers out of their accounts WHILE THE MARKETS CONTINUED TO TRADE, refusing to even allow them to liquidate. This is unfathomable. The risk exposure precedent that has been set is completely intolerable and has destroyed the entire industry paradigm. No informed person can continue to engage these markets, and no moral person can continue to broker or facilitate customer engagement in what is now a massive game of Russian Roulette.
I have learned over the last week that MF Global is almost certainly the mere tip of the iceberg. There is massive industry-wide exposure to European sovereign junk debt. While other firms may not be as heavily leveraged as Corzine had MFG leveraged, and it is now thought that MFGs leverage may have been in excess of 100:1, they are still suicidally leveraged and will likely stand massive, unmeetable collateral calls in the coming days and weeks as Europe inevitably collapses. I now suspect that the reason the Chicago Mercantile Exchange did not immediately step in to backstop the MFG implosion was because they knew and know that if they backstopped MFG, they would then be expected to backstop all of the other firms in the system when the failures began to cascade and there simply isnt that much money in the entire system. In short, the problem is a SYSTEMIC problem, not merely isolated to one firm.
Perhaps the most ominous dynamic that I have yet heard of in regards to this mess is that of the risk of potential CLAWBACK actions. For those who do not know, clawback is the process by which a bankruptcy trustee is legally permitted to re-seize assets that left a bankrupt entity in the time period immediately preceding the entitys collapse. So, using the MF Global customers as an example, any funds that were withdrawn from MFG accounts in the run-up to the collapse, either because of suspicions the customer may have had about MFG from, say, watching the companys bond yields rise sharply, or from purely organic day-to-day withdrawls, the bankruptcy trustee COULD initiate action to clawback those funds. As a hedge broker, this makes my blood run cold. Generally, as the markets move in favor of a hedge position and equity builds in a clients account, that excess equity is sent back to the customer who then uses that equity to offset cash market transactions OR to pay down a revolving line of credit. Even the possibility that a customer could be penalized and additionally raped AGAIN via a clawback action after already having their customer funds stolen is simply villainous. While there has been no open indication of clawback actions being initiated by the MF Global trustee, I have been told that it is a possibility.
And so, to the very unpleasant crux of the matter. The futures and options markets are no longer viable. It is my recommendation that ALL customers withdraw from all of the markets as soon as possible so that they have the best chance of protecting themselves and their equity. The system is no longer functioning with integrity and is suicidally risk-laden. The rule of law is non-existent, instead replaced with godless, criminal political cronyism.
Remember, derivatives contracts are NOT NECESSARY in the commodities markets. The cash commodity itself is the underlying reality and is not dependent on the futures or options markets. Many people seem to have gotten that backwards over the past decades. From Abel the animal husbandman up until the year 1964, there were no cattle futures contracts at all, and no options contracts until 1984, and yet the cash cattle markets got along just fine.
Finally, I will not, under any circumstance, consider reforming and re-opening Barnhardt Capital Management, or any other iteration of a brokerage business, until Barack Obama has been removed from office AND the government of the United States has been sufficiently reformed and repopulated so as to engender my total and complete confidence in the government, its adherence to and enforcement of the rule of law, and in its competent and just regulatory oversight of any commodities markets that may reform. So long as the government remains criminal, it would serve no purpose whatsoever to attempt to rebuild the futures industry or my firm, because in a lawless environment, the same thievery and fraud would simply happen again, and the criminals would go unpunished, sheltered by the criminal oligarchy.
To my clients, who literally TO THE MAN agreed with my assessment of the situation, and were relieved to be exiting the markets, and many whom I now suspect stayed in the markets as long as they did only out of personal loyalty to me, I can only say thank you for the honor and pleasure of serving you over these last years, with some of my clients having been with me for over twelve years. I will continue to blog at Barnhardt.biz, which will be subtly re-skinned soon, and will continue my cattle marketing consultation business. I will still be here in the office, answering my phones, with the same phone numbers. Alas, my retirement came a few years earlier than I had anticipated, but there was no possible way to continue given the inevitability of the collapse of the global financial markets, the overthrow of our government, and the resulting collapse in the rule of law.
As for me, I can only echo the words of David:
This is the Lords doing; and it is wonderful in our eyes.
With Best Regards- Ann Barnhardt
My neighbor who would know the answer to that moved back to Hungary.
Looks like Ann Barnhardt has read Ayn Rand.
I searched the title, and did not find that original post
“That base was the sacrosanct segregation of customer funds from clearing firm capital, with additional emergency financial backing provided by the exchanges themselves.”
Well, that works just as well as controls in place to enforce it - and this is an industry that has undertaken a two decade-long effort to reduce such controls and to intimidate those charged with enforcing them.
So now, they’re pretty much hoist on their own petard: they preached the gospel of self-regulation with market forces as a backup, with results absolute predictable to anybody who’s studied financial history.
And now they’re looking very, very hard to find somebody else to blame for the fact that the operation of the combination of absolutely predictable human self-delusion and greed absolutely guarantee absolutely massive misbehavior by some participants, that when there vast amounts of money to be made by misbehavior, you can never, ever trust that 100% of the participants are going to play even by their own rules.
This is a case where “trust and verify” should’ve been the order of the day, but the financial industry just didn’t want anything to do with that “verify” part when it started interfere with “efficiencies” and “synergies” - and especially the fabulously lucrative payouts to the people involved.
And still, in many cases don’t.
So now we’ll be hearing again about “rogues”, and “unfortunate failures of internal controls”.
And who knows, in this case maybe a few higher-ups will actually been discovered to have been privy to some of it, and will be made suitable examples of.
But nobody in the financial industry - at least anyone who still making any serious money - is going to be talking about the simple truth the individual incentives are set up in such a way that organizations rot simultaneously from a top-down and the bottom up, that for example many people in the mortgage industry. and right on up the food chain that fed on the toxic paper it was producing, from the real estate brokers, to the appraisers, to the underwriters, to their bosses and right on up to the CEOs - everywhere from the street corner to corner office, were breaking the rules because was so damn lucrative to do so.
And how the make incentives coupled with neutered regulators guaranteed that it would just spread and spread: as for example to where that many people in risk management knew perfectly well that the rating agencies were bought, and many people at the rating agencies knew that they were sold.
And the beauty of it was that the people at the very top could make it happen that way with a wink and a nod, and somewhere down the line somebody would perform the actual criminal act, but the boys at the top would walk with 10 or 20 or 50 million, and “clean hands”.
So even if Jon Corzine *is* actually dirty (unlikely, he knows how to play the game) and gets sent to the slammer for 150 years, don’t think it makes a difference.
He’s just playing the same game he he played at Goldman Sachs, as it’s played throughout just about nook ad cranny in the financial sector where there’s this kind of money to be made.
And until sector gets serious cops on the beat - ones they can bribe and they can’t browbeat, and they can’t buy enough politicians to get fired - it’s just going to go on and on and on.
No worries. There is another thread directly from the source too (not ZeroHedge, Ann’s site).
It’s worth multiple postings IMO.
The size of the position is not the issue as much as it is the extent of the leverage - unwinding by one firm subject to a call causes the cascade.
You might also be interested in a somewhat related thread on Gerald Celente having his gold account $$$ taken as a result of MF Global collapse. His account was with Lind-Waldock, which apparently MF Global acquired.
Yea, I get that........but its gone viral on the net and the implications being touted is a dollar freeze up worse than what happened in 2009. I don’t see any documented evidence of that.
Oh boy.Source: http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=197702
Look folks, the risks involved here are real.
Rick Santelli was just on CNBC pointing out that there have been no answers forthcoming on the MF Global mess. There are reports that several people who you would never expect to have gotten caught in something like this did, including Gerald Celente.
The reason they got caught is the same reason I would have gotten caught if I had been clearing through MF Global: Despite being around the markets since well before the 2000 crash and having successfully negotiated that and the 2008 mess everyone has believed, right up until MF blew up, that customer funds were in fact segregated and thus this risk would never occur.
Simply put everyone has now discovered that this assumption is wrong.
Nothing that has come out of the CME, the SEC or Washington DC that has restored my confidence that MF Global is, in fact, a one-off situation. In point of fact The Fed is now requiring margin on certain repo transactions where they never did before, implying that there may well be additional snakes in the grass and additional unrecognized and intentionally hidden risks of this sort.
Read Ann's entire missive. Yes, it's highly partisan, but given what has just happened and Obama's continued insistence that "no crimes were committed" (yet no grand juries have been convened to investigate, so how would he know?) it is entirely justified.
Folks, we must insist that the rule of law be brought back into the forefront. We must do this particularly with credit instruments and other OTC derivatives and that has to happen right now. In addition all off-balance sheet BS must be ended immediately.
I have, since 2007, advocated that all credit instruments be forced onto an exchange and that cash margin be required on all underwater positions, marked nightly, without exception or offset. This has been "poo-pooed" as impractical due to bespoke contracts and other considerations.
Now it turns that I was in fact right - there were additional "snakes" in the grass that were cheating. First we had ENRON, then Bear and Lehman and now this.
Here's reality folks: We either fix this problem and do it now or you had better pray that Europe doesn't detonate, because if it does you're going to see the very thing that everyone was talking about back in 2008 happen on a global scale, it's a hundred times the size that Lehman was, and we will not be immune to it here in the United States -- in fact we'll damn near be the "center of the sun!"
There is the potential for an imminent cascade failure on these contracts just as there was in 2008; it has not gone away, it has not been attenuated, it has in fact grown in size since 08 and if we do not act to put a stop to it and the risk becomes realized it will be too late.
Anything to discredit a firebrand Christian? Thus my original comment about the architect of Project Mayhem - "There is a a little Tyler Durden in all of us." You will appreciate so many ZH inside jokes, once you understand who this is. I love it when the mediaocracy have to source commentary to "Mr. Durden."
It’s simple really . The U.S. is broke and 15 trillion in debt while the Treasury holds close to 2 trillion of that debt. All it would take to bring down the Financial Sector would be for any EU Nation to go down the toilet. And we will be going with them. Reality really sucks.
The big unanswered question is does China have a hard landing, requiring dramatic tightening, resulting in the unspeakable ...
Money laundering ping.
Don’t know ‘nothin bout this ‘Tyler Durden’ fella, but sure does seem Ann Barnhardt’s gone ‘John Galt’.
Muslims send her death threats all the time; she gives them directions to her house from the airport..."bring it, musloids"! LOL! Sic 'em, Ann.
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