One World Market, baby / The Private Global Equity Order

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BoNY Mellon Corp

Postby Gouda » Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:51 am

(Before reading this post, I strongly suggest checking out the previous updates on page 2...)

OK,

BoNY Mellon Corp. And the bad puns of the global testosterone order do not end there. Our favorite capitalist male press, um, organ The Economist keeps the macho metaphors rolling (see article below on the consensual mating of Bank of New York and Mellon Corp.)

A nice caption for this thread could be: “if you know the plumbing, you know who's running the water,” as one banker cited in the article below puts it.

Behold, the newly merged Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BoNY Mellon Corp). Custodians of almost $17 trillion in other's assets. Such asset-protectors are called "Global Custodians." And NYC has that market cornered.

Things to note from the article:

* "Global custody" is asset-servicing, or administering. And it is going global. Shock!

* There's a chart at the link which shows that the top 8 banks handling global custody assets are handling, if you add 'em up, about 65 trillion dollars. And control over those dollars is tightening as the merger wave continues like musical chairs at an orgy. The article hints that "JPMorgan Chase or Citigroup may yet try to swallow State Street, the third-largest actor." Uh, he said "swallow." Uhuh.

* The Economist notes that Asia is "virgin territory."

* Custodians are broadening their definition of asset servicing to include short-term securities lending and those nasty derivatives contracts.

* Custodians "are courting new kinds of customers, namely—you guessed it—hedge funds and private-equity firms."

Grab a beer, read it all here...

Joint custody

Dec 7th 2006 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition

Bank of New York and Mellon shake up what is a dull business no longer


http://www.economist.com/finance/displa ... id=8381969

“NOTHING takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love,” noted Charlie Brown. The all-American spread must taste more delectable than ever to executives at Bank of New York (BoNY). Eight years after their first attempt to woo a forerunner of Mellon Financial, a Pittsburgh-based rival, was roundly rebuffed, the two banks have fallen into each other's arms. It is hard to find anyone—except their competitors—who isn't pleased for them.

The new bank, which will go by the not-so-pithy name of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, will just squeak into the list of the world's top ten asset managers. More importantly, it will be the new number one in global custody (also known as asset servicing), overtaking JPMorgan Chase and cementing American dominance of that business (see chart).

Global custodians safeguard and administer securities for banks, mutual funds and other institutional investors.
It is an unglamorous line of work, but an important one. It can also be lucrative: BoNY and Mellon made combined net profits of $1.88 billion from servicing others' assets in the first nine months of the year.

The benefits of financial mergers are often exaggerated, but in the case of custody scale is universally acknowledged as a good thing. Custodians handle huge sums—the new bank will keep $16.6 trillion-worth of assets—but only get to hold on to a tiny sliver and, says David Hendler at CreditSights, a research firm, must live with very tight profit margins. The only way to gain an edge is to have the best (ie, most expensive) technology and lots of customers. “It's a business of dimes and nickels, not dollars,” says one adviser to the industry, “so it pays to be the low-cost, high-volume producer.” The market clearly thinks BoNY and Mellon have grabbed that role: both banks' shares leapt after the deal was announced.

For both, it comes after years of evolution away from general banking, during which they sold their branch networks and snapped up custody-type businesses. But there are still areas where they complement each other. BoNY is bigger in asset servicing and more focused on supporting financial institutions; Mellon is stronger in fund management and looking after assets for pensions and endowments. The main risk, as ever, will be integration—though the man who will be chief executive, Mellon's boss Robert Kelly, has plenty of experience in crunching banks together.

The deal comes as the asset-servicing business is changing in various ways. First, it is going global. The American market has seen lots of consolidation (though JPMorgan Chase or Citigroup may yet try to swallow State Street, the third-largest actor). By contrast, Europe is fragmented and much of Asia is virgin territory. The big American custodians hope to do well in China. A combined BoNY Mellon would already do a quarter of its business outside America.


The second big change is the broadening of what counts as asset servicing. Storing and settling stocks and bonds is no longer enough. The industry is rushing to offer more lucrative services such as short-term securities lending. This is growing as more traders borrow to short stocks or because they need an underlying instrument for a derivatives contract: more than $3 trillion-worth of paper will be lent out this year in America and Europe, according to Celent, a research firm.

The third change is closely related to the second: custodians are courting new kinds of customers, namely—you guessed it—hedge funds and private-equity firms.
These are keen to outsource their back-office administration so they can focus on trading, and the big banks are rushing to pick up this fiddly work. One way they are doing this is through “lift-outs”, where they buy, say, a hedge fund's back-office technology and staff, move them in-house and use that platform to attract asset-servicing business from other hedge funds. In February JPMorgan Chase did a deal of this sort with Paloma Partners, a Greenwich-based fund.

Cosying up to hedge funds is about more than moving with fashion. Winning custodial work from them often leads to other business—“if you know the plumbing, you know who's running the water,” as one banker puts it. And as hedge funds tread deeper into elaborate swaps, options and the like, those who service such assets stand to gain, for with complexity comes profit. Whoever said global custody was dull?
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Postby Gouda » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:11 pm

Oooo I'm just squirming is suspense. NASDAQ gives her a little more time to just think about it...

Nasdaq says LSE offer deadline extended
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070111/bs_nm/nasdaq_lse_dc

But can her virginal honour be bought?
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....

Postby Gouda » Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:35 am

Europe: Takeover accords drive shares higher
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/15/ ... bxeuro.php

LONDON: European stocks rose Monday on a resurgence of takeover activity.

"I don't see any letup in the near term" in mergers and acquisitions, said Daniel Broby, chief investment officer at Bankinvest in Copenhagen. "Balance sheets and cash flows are still good for M&A activity."

(...)

Private equity is a driver

"People are looking to focus their businesses and swap assets, so M&A will continue," said Kevin Lyne-Smith, head of equities at Julius Baer in Zurich. "Private equity is pushing a lot of buttons."

(...)

Leveraged buyout firms have $1.6 trillion to spend this year, Morgan Stanley estimates.
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Postby Gouda » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:36 am

Much more on this stuff in the pipeline.

Here's the big news today, as telegraphed by John Thain earlier in this thread:

N.Y., Tokyo exchanges announce alliance
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070131/ap_ ... nyse_tokyo
NEW YORK - The New York Stock Exchange and Tokyo Stock Exchange announced an alliance Wednesday that extends the NYSE's global reach and could lead to an eventual combination of the world's two largest financial markets.

The deal comes amid a backdrop of mass consolidation between domestic and global exchanges, highlighted by the NYSE's transformation into the first trans-Atlantic market with its recent acquisition of Paris-based exchange operator Euronext NV. The NYSE Group Inc., which is competing fiercely with the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., just weeks ago announced that it had led a team of investors to buy a 20 percent stake in India's largest financial market, the Mumbai-based National Stock Exchange.

The agreement with the TSE gives the New York exchange an entree into the Pacific. It is also a first step toward a possible merger or acquisition between the two exchanges when the TSE becomes a public company in 2009.

Thain made it clear during the news conference that the two companies planned some form of combination in the future, saying, "We're also setting the stage for a potential capital linkage."
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Postby Gouda » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:09 am

NASDAQ gave up in its bid to bed the London Stock Exchange after repeated fobbings. I will gamble that that's not nearly the end of the story. The NYSE takeover of Euronext is moving ahead, and they all have their claws dug into China, India and Tokyo.

Meanwhile, private equity rolls on, consolidating and converting the public side of capitalism to the uber-private, which basically makes capitalism even worse than it was before. Which rankles and worries traditional free marketeers who just can't understand (or see) why capitalism is evolving this way and would much rather have the seemly lid put back on the bottle.

***

The following article comes from CNN-Money/Fortune online. Allow me to extract a key bit of foreboding from the mouth of Rich Friedman, chief of merchant banking at Goldman Sachs:

"Cheap debt is the rocket fuel for this, but it's not the only driver," says Rich Friedman, longtime head of merchant banking at Goldman Sachs (Charts), whose private-equity business has some $27 billion of assets (including a big chunk of the firm's and its employees' capital). "In terms of governance, management focus, and strategic decision-making, the private-equity model is usually superior to that of publicly held companies."


That's where I think they want things to head, in all spheres of life and society. Governance & management are ominous terms coming from the super-empowered private sector - especially when taking into consideration the erosion of democracy, nations and the public sphere worldwide. Private molding and occult dominance is superior to anything public, open, participatory, democratic - even superior to the public trading of old style capitalism. This is where the "new world order" or "one world government" people might have it wrong. It won't be brownfaced UN blue helmets directed by Rockefeller and Rothschild loading good Americans into gulags - it will be americans blithely forking over their wealth and value and labor and rights over to a private regime totalitarian capitalism to save their own asses. The usual ethnic, political, and lower-class scapegoats will be on the receiving end of fascism, as usual. As for enforcement, the outsourcing and privatization of law enforcement and intelligence is an obvious example. It was bad enough enough before, but now...

Not only do they want to control money and resources, they want to privatize money itself. Now who owns your ass?! And they will appoint the right managers. Can you freaking imagine the fabric from which such "Managers" are cut? (See previous articles in this thread about the recruiting of CEO and managers to run these newly occultized corporations.)

Even the bland financial press is referring to this trend in terms such as "alternate universe."

Look at it this way, if Private Equity "wins" and implements the new paradigm, it's bad for everyone except them. If they lose, and bankrupt everything in their wake, toppling the economy, that's not too good either - the only bright side being that it might take down capitalism with it. The downside of that is, they may be preparing to survive such an undertaking whereas the rest of us won't.

***

Watch now as the most essential of public servants, teachers, entrust their pension funds in private equity gambits.

Here's the rest of the article:

Private money
What happens inside the exclusive enclave of private equity is roiling the economy in a way that it never has before, says Fortune's Rik Kirkland.
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/ ... /index.htm

(...)

The teachers ended up bidding against themselves.

(...)

The majority of these public servants are undoubtedly oblivious to the role that private equity is playing in their lives, and they are not alone. Do you start your day with a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee and lunch at Burger King? Shop at J. Crew, Toys "R" Us, Neiman Marcus? Rent cars from Hertz, watch movies at a Loews cinema, gamble at Harrah's, or sleep at a Fairmont hotel? All these as well as less visible products and services - the gas heat for many homes, cable systems, the satellites that enable your daughter's text-messaging, the hospital that replaced Aunt Millie's hip - are controlled (or were recently bought, then sold) by private-equity firms.

(...)

Are we moving into an era when we have both a public and a private economy in the same way we have a public and a private educational system?

(...)

the private-equity industry today has the scale to first buy up assets and then match them up with the right managers."

(...)

Already this alternative universe controls assets approaching 10% of the value of the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

(...)

"People just see it as more fun - that sense of ownership private equity offers vs. merely providing a service in traditional consulting or investment banking," says Philip Delves Broughton, a 2006 HBS grad.

(...)

No wonder the leading private-equity firms are setting up their first lobbying groups in Washington and London.

(...)
To Wilbur Ross, who's made a fortune timing the distressed debt market right, it points one way: to "a very big escalation in defaults." Hovering over everything is the mind-blowing expansion of the global credit derivatives market, up from nowhere five years ago to $25 trillion - and headed toward $30 trillion..."How and when it happens I can't tell you," says prominent short-seller Jim Chanos. "But there's a train wreck coming."

(...)

So, while private equity may well be an even bigger force when we look back from 2012, you might not want to bank on it.
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Postby Gouda » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:28 am

The trend seems to be the emergence of four or five large liquidity pools across the world each servicing the capital needs of a major regional economic bloc...

A little more open source intelligence on the exchange merger-and-alliance trend,
and what it was outright called in 2000, ie, the "Global Equity Market"
a 10-exchange alliance that included NYSE, Euronext, Mexico and Australia before it petered out prematurely.
Then came the blessing of 9-11 and its opportunities for global capital.

***

Stock exchange ties are expanding, but to what end?
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/22/ ... php?page=1

NEW DELHI: Multibillion-dollar mergers are not the only way to bring stock exchanges together.

Many exchanges around the globe are instead connecting through small stake sales, partnerships and joint ventures with their oversees peers. The price tags, when there are any, are tiny, but the hope is that these alliances will set the stage for more substantive deals in the future.

(...)

Last week, Deutsche Börse agreed to purchase 5 percent of the Bombay Stock Exchange for 1.9 billion rupees, or $43 million, on the heels of a $115 million NYSE Group purchase of 5 percent of the National Stock Exchange in India.

Fresh from signing a cooperation agreement with the New York Stock Exchange in January, the Tokyo Stock Exchange was set to announce an alliance with the London Stock Exchange — probably limited to joint listing of mutual funds and exchange technology sharing — on Friday.

Mexico's stock market, meanwhile, is embarking on partnerships with the São Paolo exchange and the Lima stock exchange. Singapore's stock exchange, a rumored bidder for the BSE stake purchased by Deutsche Börse, is expected to look elsewhere for small deals, and Dubai's start-up bourse is said to be looking for a partner.

The string of alliances has little historical precedent, and has been accompanied by vague promises of cooperation and brief discussion of nicely phrased intangibles like "shared strategic objectives." The alliances are being forged in lieu of more concrete deals, because despite the talk of global consolidation, many countries see their exchanges as important national assets and limit foreign ownership.

(...)

For a large, well-capitalized stock exchange, these deals can be a way to get a toehold in fast-growing emerging markets, and perhaps convince their largest companies to list overseas.

(...)

"These will help global consolidation and integration of capital markets in key geographies," predicts Mukarram Bhagat, chief executive and managing partner of ASK Raymond James in Mumbai.

"The trend seems to be the emergence of four or five large liquidity pools across the world each servicing the capital needs of a major regional economic bloc," he said.


(...)

For example, a 10-exchange alliance that included NYSE, Euronext, Mexico and Australia, called the Global Equity Market, was announced with great fanfare in 2000. It petered out within a year.

"What seems to be changing this time is that alliances are being replaced with shareholdings," said Jones. Whether this will have any impact on how well alliances work is unclear, he said. "For an exchange to change its behavior radically, I suspect it needs to change its ownership completely," he said.

(...)



...oh yes, change of ownership is surely in the cards. These deals, agreements and alliances are the precursors to the big exchanges, I think, eventually taking up the private equity market model, when the time is right. I am not clear however, on the extent of the surface antagonism and/or behind-the-scenes cooperation between public exchanges and private equity. I suspect more cooperation than not, since all sectors of finance have diversified into the other, and fewer owners are emerging at the heads. There will be some fighting for Chairs.
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Postby Gouda » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:33 am

Private equity ate my Chrysler!

Private equity firms eyeing Chrysler: report
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070223/bs_ ... eequity_dc

NEW YORK (Reuters) - At least four private equity groups have been in preliminary talks with DaimlerChrysler AG (DCXGn.DE)
about buying Chrysler, the Financial Times reported on Friday on its website.
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Postby Gouda » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:39 pm

Private equity controls my electricity and mollifies my so-called environmental opposition!
And there's Goldman Sachs again, this time as Eco Friendly Robber Barons!!

$45 billion TXU deal is an environmental watershed

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/26/business/txu.php

DALLAS: TXU, the largest power producer in Texas, agreed Monday to be sold to a group of private equity firms in a deal valued at $45 billion. It was a watershed deal not just for its size, but for its confluence of business decisions and environmental concerns, as well as a vow by the buyers to cut residential electricity prices.

The cash-and-debt deal would be the largest leveraged buyout in history

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group led a group that included Goldman Sachs and three other Wall Street firms.

(...)

But it was the backing of two prominent environmental groups that set the deal apart. TXU was the whipping boy of the biggest U.S. environmental groups when Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, received a telephone call two weeks ago from William Reilly, who was head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush.

(...)

At the time, neither Kohlberg Kravis nor Texas Pacific told TXU about its ambition to scale back its controversial coal plants. But behind the scenes, both firms had been developing a new strategy for the company with the help of Goldman Sachs, their lead adviser.

(...)

Goldman Sachs has been a longtime proponent of reducing carbon emissions. Its former chief executive, Henry Paulson Jr., now the secretary of the U.S. Treasury, was also the chairman of the Nature Conservancy, an environmental advocacy group.

Texas Pacific's co-founder, David Bonderman, is member of the board of the World Wildlife Fund, and Reilly is chairman emeritus. Bonderman called Reilly to help work on the deal and create what they ultimately called the Green Group — a committee of advisers that included Reilly, Roger Ballentine of Green Strategies and Stuart Eizenstat, the former chief domestic policy adviser for President Jimmy Carter.

(...)

"As a private company, free from the short-term financial pressures affecting all public companies, TXU will be able to accomplish important goals for customer service innovation and new generation technology development on a scale and schedule that would otherwise not be possible," TXU said Monday.


Oh yes, they also will get their hands on the internet:


The private equity firms will be getting more than just a utility. TXU is in an experiment to run broadband Internet over its power lines as part of a venture with Current Communications.
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Postby Gouda » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:04 pm

Green for Red - A Buyout from a Buyout Firm betting on Wounded & Maimed futures. There's Goldman Sachs again:

***

Investor AB to Buy Moelnlycke for 2.85 Billion Euros
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... refer=home

Stockholm-based Investor AB teamed up with Morgan Stanley's Principal Investments unit to purchase the maker of surgical gloves from buyout firm Apax Partners Worldwide LLP. Apax, based in London, also got bids from Blackstone Group LP and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Inc.

``Wound care is pretty solid and a good cash generator,'' Charles Weston, an analyst at Nomura, said in a telephone interview from London. ``You can count on it to continue to grow.''


(...)

Last year, Apax hired Deutsche Bank AG to advise on a possible sale or initial public offering. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. were also advising on the IPO.

(...)

$122 Billion

Deals involving European health-care and pharmaceuticals companies surged to more than $122 billion in 2006 from $75 billion a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A group of buyout firms including New York-based Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners last month agreed to buy Biomet Inc., a U.S. maker of artificial hips and knees, for $10.9 billion.
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Postby Gouda » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:14 pm

Fascinating expose, with interviews...

Private equity - the purest capitalism
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbrie ... 790355.htm

Stan Correy: …Until it all becomes too big, too fast, too secret, the fees too greedy. The loans involved can be gigantic, as large as some nations' deficits. They're different from the publicly listed companies in that they don't have to give out very much information about their activities, and thereby hangs a tale as you'll hear a little later. The fact is, there's a global game of pass-the-debt-parcel that has the debtors, investors, and regulators spinning.

(...)

Andrew Sorkin: The big players are the following: there is KKR, Kolbert, Kravis, Roberts, still probably the pre-eminent, the old guard firm…And then, oh, of course, you have Carlyle Group. You have the Carlyle Group of Washington, D.C., which in the '90s was considered a power centre for all things defence and aerospace, and people thought they were involved with the CIA and all sorts of things. But they have also proven themselves to be a major player beyond Washington to all sorts of other industries. They now own Hertz, for example, which is a big rental car agency in the US and across Europe and I believe where you are too…

(...)

Stan Correy: This is important. Private equity firms are now doing deals, says Rebecca Jones, that are so complex, are often done in secret, and lack media scrutiny, that the potential for abuse is strong.

(Rebecca Jones from the Financial Services Authority in London.)

Rebecca Jones: What we do note is that transactions where a large number of people have access to this price sensitive information are particularly vulnerable to market abuse. Private equity transactions very often have hundreds and sometimes even up to a thousand parties holding this price sensitive information, because typically what you see is a number of different private equity fund managers competing against each other to acquire the company, and each of those fund managers will ask different banks to help them provide the debt finance. Which means that each one of them is passing the information out to a number of different parties, and obviously, that means that these transactions are particularly vulnerable to market abuse.

Rebecca Jones: Very often the banks take on multiple roles in these deals. They may be investing themselves, they may be investing their own capital, they may be advising the company that is the potential target, either trying to help them defend themselves from a private equity acquisition, or indeed helping them to secure the best possible price. And at the same time, those banks may be advising a number of their private equity fund manager clients, helping them trying to achieve the deal, helping them to try and get the best possible finance package, which they, the bank, may in actual fact be offering to them. So it's these multiple roles that they take which can lead to these different conflicts.

(...)

Stan Correy: There's no problem, say the banks, they're 'originating and distributing' the loans. In other words they sell them on to hedge funds, insurance companies and pension funds. The regulators are concerned that if a company does get into trouble, it will be impossible to work out who's holding the debt.

...much more...
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Postby Gouda » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:53 am

In the Wall Street, Golman Sachs, Private Equity Universe, some companies and some markets are going to have to suffer
and/or face elimination to serve the longer term greed and superstructural control interests of the greater finance capital class.

An instructive metaphor:

http://stangoff.com/?p=264

The capitalist state is owned and operated by the capitalist class. Under conditions of stability and productivity, it represents capital-in-general. This often means that it has to suppress or even eliminate certain fractions of capital – whose range of view is limited by its own business cycle – in order to ensure continued power by the class as a whole.

In the classic Brando film “Burn,” based loosely on the history of Haiti, the colonial military commander orders an entire island colony set ablaze, including its lucrative sugar plantations, in order to crush a Black proletarian rebellion. One of the island’s capitalists pleadingly objects that the commander has wiped out the island’s profits. The commander then explains that the destruction of the island is necessary to send the message to other workers on the rest of the colonized islands, and that this “pacification” is required to ensure profits for all, not just over the next business cycle, but for the next decade.
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Postby Gouda » Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:17 am

I would like to interrupt this fascinating thread with an urgent message from our Honorary Treasury Secretary of the United States of Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson:

Paulson: 'Comfortable' with world economy
"We have a global economy with low inflation and high levels of liquidity and I feel very comfortable with the global economy," he added, without elaborating on what he discussed with Kwon.


I'm sure he is.

Back in the Peoples Republic of China, to get debriefed on the engineered market meltdown there:
Paulson, on a three-country trip, has visited Japan and is due to head to China later in the day.


http://edition.cnn.com/2007/BUSINESS/03 ... index.html
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Postby Gouda » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:51 am

Croooooosssssposted:

A "Treasury Department" Conference. Fairly open conspiracy here.

(Granted, Cheney's private dinner opening the conference is, as per Cheney, closed.)

Nevertheless, this pretty much sums it up in terms of the elite's economic hopes for the globe we happen to occupy:

Wall Street confers on competition
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/BUSINESS/03 ... index.html

I like it. I like how Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce basically rent out the US Government for its conferences. They are all there, and they are united in this: Wall Street, Bush, Cheney, the Chamber of Commerce, The Fed, Buffet, Robert Rubin, Charles Schumer - a bipartisan overclass fest.

As Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance Robert Steel says, "There's nothing partisan about this."

While Iraq burns and splits, Bush muddles though South America shoring up narco & biz ties, vigilante spooks meet to reinvigorate the war on inconvenient people, and Cheney is moving his blod clot to Dubai...

* Honorary Treasury Secretary of Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson, is hosting the ruling class (on behalf of the US Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street) to discuss

* Rolling back the last weak vestiges of restraint and regulation and litigation of capital and business (post- Enron legislation) by claiming, incredibly, that Business and Finance are "suffering" under government regulation, even as profits and expansion and wealth consolidation have never been greater. This aims to

* Make it basically harder to "follow the money" in order to

* Better hide illicit funds, funding, and distortions; enhance laundering; cut costs, hide income; increase profits which are by no means high enough yet; accelerate the privatization of everything, including the economy itself; allow for further market and corporate consolidation; and provide a silk down cushion for any economic meltdowns or bubble popping.

Again (Alex Jones, take note) here's the conspiratorial confab:

Wall Street confers on competition
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/BUSINESS/03 ... index.html

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Business interests are putting more muscle behind a push to roll back U.S. financial regulations, with a major study just issued by a business lobbying group and some of Wall Street's top names gathering for a Treasury Department conference on the matter Tuesday.

The conference being hosted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will include some of the nation's richest men, including multimillionaire Warren Buffett, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Citigroup Executive Committee Chairman Robert Rubin and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will be a guest, as will JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO James Dimon, for discussions centering on regulation, the accounting industry, legal enforcement and corporate governance.

Touching on some of the same areas, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a report Monday recommending the Securities and Exchange Commission dismantle its front-line watchdog unit and reassign its examiners to the agency's other divisions.

The chamber also called for an end to quarterly earnings guidance by companies, greater legal protections for auditors that review corporations' books, optional federal charters for insurers, and new retirement savings initiatives.

In a laundry list of Big Business goals, some old and some new, the chamber -- the nation's largest business lobbying group -- said these and other changes are needed because U.S. markets are becoming less globally competitive.

The same theme forms the basis of the Treasury conference, which Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance Robert Steel said keenly interests President Bush.

Although he will be traveling abroad during the conference, Bush will be briefed by Paulson after returning, Steel said.

"The secretary and the president are talking about these issues all the time. I think this president's quite interested in what we learn" at the conference, Steel said.

Dick Cheney to speak

Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to speak at a private dinner to open the conference Monday night.

Duke University Law School Professor James Cox said, "The one area where the Bush administration has not succeeded at deregulation is financial markets ... This is a big push, being made by many of the same people who were busy in early 2002 trying to prevent the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley."

The post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) has become a target for specific business complaints about government regulation, and for a broader critique that blames government interference generally for a perceived decline in Wall Street's fortunes versus competing markets in Europe and Asia.

Georgetown University Law School Professor Donald Langevoort said U.S. competitiveness is "a big picture issue with lots of dimensions," regulation being only one of them.

Asked about likely outcomes of the Treasury conference, Steel said the notoriety and strong views of the participants make it difficult to predict what will result.

"There's nothing partisan about this," Steel said.

Paulson last year lent his support to a private-sector committee that issued a report in November urging reduced regulation and less exposure to litigation for companies, also citing U.S. market competitiveness for its recommendations.

In January, Bloomberg and New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer warned that New York will lose its status as the world's financial capital within a decade if the United States does not change its market and immigration rules.
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Postby Gouda » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:07 am

The middle east is a mess. Armageddon is at hand.
But some things are business as usual, and manage to slip under the radar.

NAFTA was bad. Now enter the US-Korean Free Trade Agreement, the largest bi-lateral free trade deal so far.
It follows naturally from the US-Korean military alliance.

U.S. and South Korea reach free trade agreement
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/02/asia/fta.php

SEOUL: U.S. and South Korean negotiators agreed on the world's largest bilateral free trade pact Monday, giving the United States a badly needed lift in its foreign trade policy and South Korea a chance to reinvigorate its export economy.

Negotiators announced the agreement, reached after 10 months of tortuous negotiations, just in time to comply with a legislative deadline in the United States, after which President George W. Bush's "fast track" authority to negotiate foreign trade deals without amendments from Congress would expire.

(...)

The deal is the biggest of its kind for the United States since the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, which was enacted in 1994. It also is Washington's first bilateral trade pact with a major Asian economy.


All fired up over Korea-US free trade
By Donald Kirk
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/ID03Dg01.html

WASHINGTON - They no doubt would never admit it, but conservative US business people share common cause with radical Korean activists in one of the most contentious debates ever to break out between US and South Korean negotiators.

(...)

A South Korean man who tried to burn himself to death on Monday might just as well have been sacrificing his life on the altar of US motor-vehicle manufacturers as on that of South Korean farmers. They're both lined up as hostile to a deal that they believe passionately can only harm their best interests - though clearly they differ in ways of expressing their opposition.
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Postby Gouda » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:47 am

Citigroup, one of the world's largest behemoths (a massively criminal one at that) and banco supremo for the Military-Intelligence-Oil Complex (see their board of directors: Alcoa, Dow, CIA, United Tech, Chevron, MIT, Rockefeller Foundation, and the largest shareholder, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal) is restructuring itself out of the US, shedding some anticipated 15,000 or so jobs in the process, and embedding itself further in the (cheaper) global scene to squeeze more profits out of more humans while adding a wing or two to the global equity maze. One of the stated global goals is "to eliminate the distinction between developed and developing markets." Not sure what that means, but I am sure it ain't nice. Kind of sure it has something to do with that quiet economic invasions and occupations we barely hear for the noise of the military side of things.

Are they leading or following? Dunno, probably both.

Citigroup maps plans to focus on global operations
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/26/ ... php?page=1
NEW DELHI: Under pressure from shareholders, Citigroup is planning to shed thousands of jobs and sharpen its focus on operations outside North America.

The colossal bank plans to get most of its growth from its international operations, Charles Prince, chief executive, told thousands of employees in India on Monday during a tour of Asia.


Citigroup set to move or cut 15,000 jobs
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/7e25f36c-db7f-1 ... 10621.html
Chuck Prince, chief executive, is under intense pressure to curb mounting expenses in an effort to revive Citigroup’s stagnant share price.

Last year, he faced public criticism from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of a 4.3 per cent stake, who called for “draconian” action to rein in expenses.


Citigroup, HSBC, enter Chinese market
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/news/archiv ... 106225.htm
"Today we opened a new chapter in the bank's 142-year history in China," said Vincent Cheng, chairman of HSBC Bank (China) Co.

The banks have already spent years gaining a foothold in China's banking market. Several have bought stakes in Chinese banks and are helping them to market credit cards and other services.


Citigroup sets up global operation in London
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17747408/
Michael Klein, global head of banking, is also reorganising the corporate bank, which services the largest clients, to eliminate the distinction between developed and developing markets.


And please reference the US-S.Korea Free Trade Pact news above because...

Citigroup seeks to double presence in South Korea
http://www.gulfinthemedia.com/index.php ... 396128657a
The head of Citigroup Inc. said Friday that the U.S. financial services company is aiming to double its presence in South Korea.
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