the finance industry / wall street

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a thread for documenting the excesses of

dayo, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 11:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

Seabed survey work for the Hibernian Express, as the 6,021km (3,741 mile) fibre-optic link will be known, is already under way off the east coast of America.
The last cables laid under the Atlantic were funded by the dotcom boom in the 1990s when telecoms infrastructure firms rushed to criss-cross the ocean.
The laying of the new transatlantic communications cable is a viable proposition because Hibernia Atlantic, the company behind it, is planning to sell a special superfast bandwidth that will have hyper-competitive trading firms and banks in the City of London and New York queuing to use it. In fact it is predicted they will pay about 50 times as much to link up via the Hibernian Express than they do via existing transatlantic cables.
The current leader, Global Crossing's AC-1 cable, offers transatlantic connection in 65 milliseconds. The Hibernian Express will shave six milliseconds off that time.
Of course, verifiable figures are elusive and estimates vary wildly, but it is claimed that a one millisecond advantage could be worth up to $100m (£63m) a year to the bottom line of a large hedge fund.

dayo, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 11:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

"We spent 18 months planning the route," says Mike Saunders, Hibernia Atlantic's vice-president of business development. "If it ever gets beaten for speed we end up giving our customers their money back, basically, so my boss would kill me if we got it wrong."

we should be so lucky

dayo, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 11:10 (4 years ago) Permalink

tut tut

idk how that money is 'lost' rly. some cunts lost it, some other cunts got it.

a fake wannabe trying to be a pimp (history mayne), Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:00 (4 years ago) Permalink

here is an interesting thing on why/how they can make money out of microsecond advantages

p.s. that telegraph thing is written by my actual bro.

caek, Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

how many imaginary bros you got

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:22 (4 years ago) Permalink

I met someone who seemed pretty rich and told me that he had quit his job at micr0s0ft and moved to hong kong so that he could focus on writing microtrading software

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:27 (4 years ago) Permalink

Human beings can, and still do, send orders from their computers to the matching engines, but this accounts for less than half of all US share trading. The remainder is algorithmic: it results from share-trading computer programs. Some of these programs are used by big institutions such as mutual funds, pension funds and insurance companies, or by brokers acting on their behalf. The drawback of being big is that when you try to buy or sell a large block of shares, the order typically can’t be executed straightaway (if it’s a large order to buy, for example, it will usually exceed the number of sell orders in the matching engine that are close to the current market price), and if traders spot a large order that has been only partly executed they will change their own orders and their price quotes in order to exploit the knowledge. The result is what market participants call ‘slippage’: prices rise as you try to buy, and fall as you try to sell.

ffs this is like playing quake w/ an aimbot

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

No one in the markets contests the legitimacy of electronic market making or statistical arbitrage. Far more controversial are algorithms that effectively prey on other algorithms. Some algorithms, for example, can detect the electronic signature of a big VWAP, a process called ‘algo-sniffing’. This can earn its owner substantial sums: if the VWAP is programmed to buy a particular corporation’s shares, the algo-sniffing program will buy those shares faster than the VWAP, then sell them to it at a profit. Algo-sniffing often makes users of VWAPs and other execution algorithms furious: they condemn it as unfair, and there is a growing business in adding ‘anti-gaming’ features to execution algorithms to make it harder to detect and exploit them. However, a New York broker I spoke to last October defended algo-sniffing:

lol, he has a better aim-bot than you do!

god it just kills me to think about how many smart and brilliant people are spending 16 hours a day coming up with a better arbitrage algorithm.

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 11:08 (4 years ago) Permalink

as opposed to doing what? Y'know, lyfe mayne

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 15 September 2011 11:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

"I just feel incredibly lucky to be living now. What would I have been doing with my maths skills 100 years ago? Or 100 years from now? This is exactly the right time in history to have these skills. And I have them."

yah i mean the fuck use was maths in 1911?

diouf est le papa du foot galsen merde lè haters (nakhchivan), Thursday, 15 September 2011 11:50 (4 years ago) Permalink


this stuff is still my plan b : (

caek, Thursday, 15 September 2011 11:54 (4 years ago) Permalink

(Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS said a trader who had lost it around $2 billion in unauthorized deals had been arrested in London, where police were holding 31-year-old Kweku Adoboli.

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:38 (4 years ago) Permalink

The trader in question, Mr. Adoboli, who graduated with an honors degree in computer science from the University of Nottingham,

think about all the social media websites these guys could be starting

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:39 (4 years ago) Permalink

One of the few noteworthy moments in Michael Moore's last film was showing how Wall Street woos math majors.

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

haha this same conv is going on in the grad school thread

iatee, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:41 (4 years ago) Permalink

hardly surprising though. from reading books about when finance companies fuck up, this kind of thing happens every 2-3 years. bet these companies build this into their models.

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:41 (4 years ago) Permalink


caek, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:41 (4 years ago) Permalink

like "commodities market volatile this year, 23% chance... blue chips up this year, 10% chance... broken arrow rogue trader, 25% chance...oh, pizza's here! meeting adjourned"

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:42 (4 years ago) Permalink

"we model so well when we're on cocaine!" *fist bumps*

caek, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:43 (4 years ago) Permalink

sorry "I love that we can model while were on cocaine"

caek, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:43 (4 years ago) Permalink

buzza, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:51 (4 years ago) Permalink

But I don't care. I expect to make enough money to be out of this business in a few years. I think I would like to go back to university. I have become very interested in the humanities and philosophy.

my friend used to work for a company that designed materials to help assuage successful businessmen about their guilt at having made huge amounts of money

it was a bunch of pseudophilosophical tracts that, when boiled down, said "yes, you DESERVED to make all that money! don't feel bad! if you like, give some to charity!"

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

that's amazing

iatee, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:21 (4 years ago) Permalink

haha you know him! you can ask T about it sometime

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:22 (4 years ago) Permalink


how would u even find such a company? do they leave brochures lying around hotels in st moritz

diouf est le papa du foot galsen merde lè haters (nakhchivan), Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

company reps on every 35th storey ledge in new york

diouf est le papa du foot galsen merde lè haters (nakhchivan), Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

I wish I could find the article, from the NYT I think, about a Ph.D. in math from Berkeley, a logician even, who took a quant job, made gobs of cash, fucked things up so that his company lost gobs of cash, quit, & ended up doing shark fishing in the Pacific, because it had the thrills to which he'd become accustomed on Wall Street.

Euler, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

article would be from the late 1990s I think

Euler, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

haha wow yeah I'm gonna I want to hear more xp

iatee, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

I might be misremembering but I think that's the thrust

I imagine this company was probably started by a successful businessman turned professional confessional

dayo, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

pretty sure that article wasn't from the 90s cuz it would have been made into a major motion picture with cuba gooding jr in a supporting role

diouf est le papa du foot galsen merde lè haters (nakhchivan), Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:27 (4 years ago) Permalink

relevant to our interests here:

If Aristotle Ran General Motors: The New Soul of Business

written by a former Notre Dame philosophy prof who now is fantastically wealthy peddling this sorta stuff to the plutocrats

Euler, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

I've looked SO LONG for that article over the last few years (shark fishing quant I mean); I think I read a scan of it on a webpage in the 90s & now I can find nothing.

Euler, Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

the monk who sold his ferrari kinda shite

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:33 (4 years ago) Permalink

have long pondered a book of common-sense negativity, provisional title 'feel the fear and cop the fuck on'

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

Detective Superintendent Lee Neiles told the hearing: ‘Mr Birch had been redundant since September 2009 and had had difficulties in finding other means of employment, although the family were financially stable.’

god I *hate* the british use of the term 'redundant'. it's so callous.

iatee, Friday, 16 September 2011 17:41 (4 years ago) Permalink

not in the british meaning, though

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:43 (4 years ago) Permalink


talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:44 (4 years ago) Permalink

yeah I guess I didn't think of that! but from an american's perspective it just sounds evil.

iatee, Friday, 16 September 2011 17:44 (4 years ago) Permalink

here it's like 'you were bad at your job' or 'we can't afford you' but 'redundant' gives me a sense of 'you are unnecessary as a human being'

which means it probably was correctly used w/r/t to this banker, but outside of that...

iatee, Friday, 16 September 2011 17:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

nobody rly uses redundant as a synonym for unemployed and 'laid off' is more often used instead of 'made redundant' in newspapers etc

i think it's just policemen and their strangely clunky phrasing, cf 'other means of employment' instead of 'a job'

diouf est le papa du foot galsen merde lè haters (nakhchivan), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:48 (4 years ago) Permalink

'made redundant' still common terminology iirc, though there's subtle emp. law differences between the two i think

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:50 (4 years ago) Permalink

it is a shitty term tho, def

diouf est le papa du foot galsen merde lè haters (nakhchivan), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:51 (4 years ago) Permalink

eh i dunno, it's quite useful as a means of conveying the right tone of contempt society ought to feel for the wastrel layabouts tbh

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Friday, 16 September 2011 17:53 (4 years ago) Permalink

I have no problem w/redundant. It doesn't imply fault like 'fired' does. It implies that the employer doesn't have any meaningful/profitable work for you to do.

em vee equals pea queue (Michael White), Friday, 16 September 2011 18:01 (4 years ago) Permalink

that's awful

partistan (dayo), Friday, 16 September 2011 19:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

this is typical police illiterately pretentious usage though. no one except a policeman would say "he has been redundant for a year". you get made redundant, and then you are unemployed. like how only police say "i was proceeding along oxford st" or "he asked myself how to get to piccadilly circus".

caek, Saturday, 17 September 2011 07:51 (4 years ago) Permalink

If anything this is the most recent story in a long chain of 'the market is rigged' quasi revelations of the past couple decades. if you didn't know the market is rigged already you're not paying attention.

then again I've had all my money in a savings account for the last decade like a fucking asshole so what do I know

panettone for the painfully alone (mayor jingleberries), Tuesday, 1 April 2014 16:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks opened the second quarter on a higher note on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 hitting >>>a record high<<<, after data on manufacturing indicated economic growth was gaining traction after a harsh winter.

^Part of the reason for lack of traction? Market is up like 125% in 5 years.

bnw, Tuesday, 1 April 2014 16:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

This is a neat site to play with wrt the S&P

Looks like we are hitting not only a nominal but nearing a real (inflation-adjusted) high in the S&P. However, earnings are also nearing a high. BUT, P/E looks high historically -- not insane high, but like probably ready for a correction high.

james franco tur(oll)ing test (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 1 April 2014 16:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

btw you know what else is historically pretty high? Home prices:

james franco tur(oll)ing test (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 1 April 2014 16:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

the article salmon links to that he wrote earlier on HFT points to the real issues.

if it really is just skimming fractions of pennies whatever, but the problem is they do much more than that and occasionally go nuts. also when something goes wrong everything goes massively out of control quickly, and furthermore they only 'provide liquidity' when everything is already liquid. the moment there's a disruption they pull out entirely and things go massively jagged.

the problem i'd imagine for the book is that getting ppl to talk about their weird prop algos is _hard_, but getting them to talk about being "more efficient" by a fraction of a second is the sort of thing they're not afraid to play up.

wat is teh waht (s.clover), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 20:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah theyre not called black boxes for nothing

panettone for the painfully alone (mayor jingleberries), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 21:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think some of the "pro" arguments are making it sound like these company's just narrow the spreads, but my impression is that they actually inflate the price very slightly.

And yeah there is more stuff that HFTs do than just this kind of quasi-frontrunning, and I agree that the "provide liquidity" argument doesn't seem to make much sense, or if it does there's just something I'm not understanding. If 100,000 shares are already available for sale and all an HFT does is instantly buy and resell them, that might increase trading volume by a lot but it doesn't seem to truly increase liquidity in any meaningful sense.

james franco tur(oll)ing test (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 21:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

lewis is a great writer tho and the excerpts are just excerpts so i'll read the real book and see then.

(nb: i've met people at hft shops that really are pretty simple stuff, in the main [or at least rumored to be, they're not allowed to say], and also have met ppl at other more hedgefundy hft shops, and the ones at the fancier ones from what i've heard look down at the other guys as chumps who don't like to take risks. also the _exact same_ sort of not-really-frontrunning happened way before hft and electronic trading took off, because at human scale time you can still spot the pattern of a big order being chunked out in blocks and get ahead of it)

wat is teh waht (s.clover), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 22:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

Well, "could spot" is probably more accurate than "can spot" no? I mean these orders themselves move so fast now that only the HFT guys can see them in "real time" is my impression, no?

james franco tur(oll)ing test (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 22:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

More Felix Salmon (I think. I have not compared to the earlier Salmon Reuters article linked above)

But what we’re seeing, in the world of HFT, is not fraud, nor is it insider trading. Rather, HFT is a ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated mechanism for divvying up intermediation revenues between banks, exchanges, high-tech telecommunications outfits, and various algo-driven shops. Everybody is in on the game: not just the HFT guys, but also the exchanges, which optimize themselves for HFT game-playing, and the banks, which let HFTs into their dark pools, and especially the SEC, which has been cheering on the whole motley crew from the beginning. Even the big money managers are in on the act.

curmudgeon, Monday, 7 April 2014 16:21 (2 years ago) Permalink


schwantz, Monday, 7 April 2014 19:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

Nonsense. That's pretty much like saying "let's stop talking about Crimea because the real crisis is in (Syria, Palestine, ____)"

Besides, (1) I don't think we fully know the impact and/or potential impact of this stuff, and (2) in any case, the entire market has dramatically restructured itself in less than a decade, and it's something that needs to be better understood. Maybe it's not something the average person needs to care all that much about, but it's still an important topic.

ביטקוין‎ (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 14:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

Also, it seems to me like Wall Street and various trading firms feel very threatened by all this discussion. There's lots of spinning and covering and smokescreening going on. A lot of people with interests in this activity are unhappy about all the attention. That alone to me says we should look at it more closely. Goldman Sachs today announced that it's considering closing its dark pool all of a sudden. That sounds like anxious behavior to me.

ביטקוין‎ (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 14:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

nah i agree with cathy here. 'fixing' hft wouldn't fix anything about what's really wrong. to flip hurting's analogy, focusing on HFT is like complaining israeli soldiers in the occupied territories aren't getting meals with a proper nutritional balance.

wat is teh waht (s.clover), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 15:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

"the food is terrible."

"and in such small portions!"

wat is teh waht (s.clover), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 15:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

I remember leftish publications making an issue over interest rate swaps that wound up screwing over municipalities/pension funds. That was an smaller issue in terms of magnitude of impact, and the banks' conduct there was more justifiable and less egregious. Skimming off small amounts from every trade a public pension fund makes still aggregates to a good chunk of money that does wind up costing individual retirees.

ביטקוין‎ (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 15:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

if yr referring to swaps manipulation i think the "screwing pensions funds" angle on that was pretty fake too. depended what side of the swap they were on!

wat is teh waht (s.clover), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 16:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

Big money and cutthroat landlords have never been strangers to New York’s real estate market. But the descent of private equity firms on the city in the early years of this century was so striking that housing advocates dubbed the practice “predatory equity.” The name refers to the tactics these companies resorted to once it became clear that longtime tenants weren’t going to leave.


For tenants, these private equity purchases were essentially a lose-lose situation. For the deal to succeed, tenants had to be forced out. If, on the other hand, the deal failed and tenants got to stay, landlords immediately disinvested from the buildings, making the living conditions worse than ever.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 16:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ insane. gonna re-post it in the gentrification thread

hug niceman (psychgawsple), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 17:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

if yr referring to swaps manipulation i think the "screwing pensions funds" angle on that was pretty fake too. depended what side of the swap they were on!

― wat is teh waht (s.clover), Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:00 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Well yeah, and I also found it pretty unconvincing that taking the wrong side of an interest rate swap was the same as "getting screwed" -- they just bet the wrong way on rates. So maybe a bad example.

ביטקוין‎ (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 18:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

Also, in re that landlord thing -- as I said in the other thread, I lived in a building that had been bought by Black Rock. We were market rate tenants, but there were a lot of stabilized tenants left. There was definitely an effort to push them out, although I didn't get the impression that they were denying basic services -- mostly more doing "improvements" to the building and then seeking rent board increases. They had a very good management company running the place -- at least they were good to us, perhaps less so to the stabilized tenants.

What strikes me about that nation piece and about the practice described is how NAIVE it actually sounds like some of these investment funds are being about owning and managing rental properties. Their assumptions just sound totally unrealistic.

ביטקוין‎ (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 20:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

More on that, with scathing quotes from a retiring SEC attorney

The SEC has become “an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors,” Kidney said, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by Bloomberg News. “On the rare occasions when enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.”

ביטקוין‎ (Hurting 2), Friday, 11 April 2014 15:57 (2 years ago) Permalink


purposely lend impetus to my HOOS (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Friday, 11 April 2014 22:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals seems inclined to change the rules on insider trading in a way that will make it easier for professional traders to escape liability.

curmudgeon, Friday, 25 April 2014 12:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

The U.S. Justice Department is pursuing criminal investigations of financial institutions that could result in action in the coming weeks and months, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video, adding that no company was "too big to jail."

The comments, made in a video posted on the Justice Department's website on Monday, came as federal prosecutors push two banks, BNP Paribas SA and Credit Suisse AG , to plead guilty to criminal charges to resolve investigations into sanctions and tax violations, respectively, according to people familiar with the probes.

While Holder did not name any banks, he said he is personally monitoring the ongoing investigations into financial institutions and is "resolved to seeing them through."

images of war violence and historical smoking (Dr Morbius), Monday, 5 May 2014 17:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

we don't believe you you need more people

Doritos Loco Parentis (Hurting 2), Monday, 5 May 2014 18:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals seems inclined to change the rules on insider trading in a way that will make it easier for professional traders to escape liability.

― curmudgeon, Friday, April 25, 2014 8:13 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

fwiw, I think insider trading is probably the least terrible illegal thing that goes on on wall street

Doritos Loco Parentis (Hurting 2), Monday, 5 May 2014 18:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

That author is making some awfully broad claims based on some very narrow examples, and I would want to see some more data on that.

Doritos Loco Parentis (Hurting 2), Monday, 12 May 2014 21:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

everyone get ready to get fucked again

Michael S. Barr, a law professor at the University of Michigan who was an assistant Treasury secretary when the financial crisis was at its worst, is working on a book titled “Five Ways the Financial System Will Fail Next Time.”

The first of them, he says, is “amnesia, willful and otherwise,” regarding the causes and consequences of the crisis.

Let’s hope the others are not here yet. Amnesia was on full view this week when the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on “the dangers” of financial regulation. Mr. Barr, who helped write the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, was the sole witness who thought it made sense for regulators to study the asset management and insurance industries.

In his opening statement, the chairman of the committee, Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, proclaimed “it is almost inconceivable that an asset manager’s failure could cause systemic risk.” He also saw no danger to the system from insurance companies, which are “heavily regulated at the state level.”

images of war violence and historical smoking (Dr Morbius), Friday, 23 May 2014 15:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

x-post- finally skimmed that Boston review piece.

Over the first decade of the twenty-first century, about 5.8 million U.S. manufacturing jobs disappeared. The most frequent explanations for this decline are productivity gains and increased trade with low-wage economies. Both of these factors have been important, but they explain far less of the picture than is usually claimed.

Since the 1980s, financial market pressures have driven companies to hive off activities that sustained manufacturing.

curmudgeon, Friday, 23 May 2014 16:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

As someone who has been following wall street's rush into the rental housing market, I found this story interesting:
Housing Investors Settle Into a Holding Pattern
Housing investors are retrenching by becoming landlords.
Investors Turn Focus to Generating Steady Income From Tenants
With bargains less plentiful, large housing investors are slowing property purchases and turning their focus to generating steady income from tenants.

By Robbie Whelan, Conor Dougherty

After a buying binge that helped drive the housing recovery, big investors are being forced to rethink the home-rental business.

With bargains less plentiful, executives are slowing property purchases and turning their focus to generating steady income from tenants.

A spike in home prices over the past two years was quicker and more striking than many expected, squeezing returns and raising concerns about the industry’s growth prospects.

Small investors long have bought and sold homes. But two years ago when companies such as private-equity giant Blackstone Group LP got into the business, backers said it could emerge as an asset class rivaling publicly owned apartment-rental companies, which own over 600,000 units and have a stock-market value of $88 billion.

The companies jumped into distressed markets, buying foreclosed properties and other homes at depressed prices with plans to fix them up, rent them and eventually sell at a profit. But buyers have slowed their pace after acquiring roughly 140,000 homes worth about $20 billion.

The reason: the unexpectedly sharp recovery in the price of homes over the past two years. In housing markets hardest hit by the bust—places like Phoenix, Las Vegas and much of Southern California—prices have risen as much as 55% off their postcrash lows. Nationally, prices are up 11.4% in the past two years, according to Zillow Inc.

“The distressed wave has largely passed,” said Jonathan Gray, head of real estate for New York-based Blackstone, which has spent $8.6 billion on some 45,000 homes and is the biggest player in the sector.

At the peak of its buying in July 2013, Blackstone was spending about $140 million a week on homes; now it is spending roughly $30 million to $40 million. “We didn’t anticipate prices going up 20% a year,” Mr. Gray said.

Rising prices have forced many investors to accept lower returns than they originally had projected in certain markets, or to buy homes in new cities where the price appreciation has been less rapid. Two years ago, investors could buy in Sunbelt markets such as Phoenix and Las Vegas for gross yields that were in the 15% range, according to Green Street Advisors. That has fallen to around 10%, often lower.

Many investors have decided to hold onto homes for longer than they originally expected because a larger proportion of investor returns is coming from rent instead of the home’s rising value.

“The initial investment thesis was to invest in these homes, make a nice return on the way, and be positioned to sell them for a nice profit,” said Gary Beasley, co-CEO of Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, one of four public companies in the business. “As we got into it in the first year or two, it became clear that it might be more valuable to hold onto these homes in the long term, and really treat them like a scattered-site apartment building.”

A recent Morgan Stanley report found that buy-to-rent investors have bought about $400 million worth of homes a month in the first few months of 2014, down from about $520 million a month last year.

Investor demand has cooled for stock in the four rental-home companies that went public to fund their expansion. Only American Homes 4 Rent has a stock trading above its IPO price.

Paul Puryear, director of real-estate research for Raymond James & Associates, said investors have been cool to the stocks in part because home-price growth has leveled off, and because the industry still hasn’t grown to a critical mass. “There are too many skeptics in the market,” he said.

Industry executives say there is plenty of money to be made from renting. They say more households became renters after the downturn because of the high rate of foreclosure and the inability or unwillingness of many to buy.

Indeed, apartment rents have been steadily rising for 17 quarters, according to real-estate data firm Reis Inc. They are now 11% higher than they were in late 2009 when they hit their postcrash low, Reis says.

Irvine, Calif.-based American Property Group’s search for yield in the Midwest is paying off, according to its CEO, Saman Shams. Recent acquisitions include a three-bedroom house with a big front yard on North Cherry Lake Lane in Indianapolis. About a month ago, the company paid $67,000 for the home and is spending $15,000 on renovations.

The plan is to rent the house for $1,150 a month. After costs, this will produce just under $10,000 in net income, or an annual net yield of 11.2%, much higher than the 5% to 7% net yields most investors are getting in other markets. “We’re holding these homes for the long term,” Mr. Shams said.

Analysts say the growth of the industry will depend in large part on whether investors can continue to get the better of traditional buyers. Investors have had an advantage in many markets because they have been able to pay cash and close quickly.

But that could change if the economy improves and mortgages get easier to obtain. Individuals may be able to outbid investors because they can get lower interest rates and aren’t as concerned about rate of return.

Doritos Loco Parentis (Hurting 2), Friday, 23 May 2014 16:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Ugh, and that's from a 2nd Cir. panel made up of a Clinton nominee and 2 Obama nominees.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 4 June 2014 21:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

I like District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff based on that above link

curmudgeon, Thursday, 5 June 2014 16:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah that opinion was a big deal when it came out.

₴HABΔZZ ¶IZZΔ (Hurting 2), Thursday, 5 June 2014 16:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

It's still getting talked about (and criticized)

The banks are all paying with other people’s money.” And a $285 million fine for a bank the size of Citigroup, he noted, is so small that it barely qualifies as a cost of doing business.
John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School, called the ruling a “perfunctory” opinion and said it was a mystery to him why it took the court more than a year to write it. “An average law clerk could have drafted it in two days,” he said.

To my surprise, even prominent corporate defense lawyers who said they felt that Judge Rakoff had gone too far told me this week that they were troubled by the appeals court’s reasoning and its implications. (They didn’t want to be identified, since they litigate before the Second Circuit.)
So, with these comments in mind, I decided to don some imaginary judicial robes and write a dissent — the opinion that, in my view, the Second Circuit should have issued. (I’ve omitted all citations and footnotes, leaving those to my equally imaginary law clerks.)


As a matter of simple logic, Judge Rakoff’s position would seem to be unassailable. How can anyone decide a punishment is fair without knowing anything about what occurred?
That’s not to say that judges shouldn’t pay deference to the decision of the parties to settle and the terms they have agreed upon. The parties should have wide latitude to settle cases as they see fit. Courts should defer to the agencies they oversee, and shouldn’t substitute their own judgments for the agencies’. Nothing is inherently wrong with allowing defendants to settle while neither admitting nor denying the accusations, although that should never be used merely as an excuse to avoid trial and might be used too often. I note that the S.E.C. itself has since said it will try to curtail the practice in appropriate cases.
But neither should judges, as Judge Rakoff’s lawyer put it, be reduced to “potted plants.” To approve a settlement, judges need some facts. This court doesn’t have to decide how many are enough; that should be decided on a case-by-case basis. But I do note that in this instance, relatively few seem to be in dispute. The offering document prepared by Citigroup, which is at the center of the case, is a matter of record. It would seem relatively easy for Citigroup and the S.E.C. to stipulate to a set of facts sufficient to satisfy Judge Rakoff, especially since both seem eager to put this matter behind them.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 14 June 2014 13:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

Mr. Zucman estimates -- conservatively, in his view -- that $7.6 trillion -- 8 percent of the world's personal financial wealth -- is stashed in tax havens. If all of this illegally hidden money were properly recorded and taxed, global tax revenues would grow by more than $200 billion a year, he believes. And these numbers do not include much larger corporate tax avoidance, which usually follows the letter but hardly the spirit of the law.

o. nate, Monday, 16 June 2014 21:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

deregulation forever everywhere article

curmudgeon, Friday, 20 June 2014 15:37 (1 year ago) Permalink

WikiLeaked Doc Reveals Wall Street Plan for Global Financial Deregulation

curmudgeon, Friday, 20 June 2014 15:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

the correct reading of the chart is: "We have software that allows us to produce this chart."

everybody loves lana del raymond (s.clover), Monday, 30 June 2014 21:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

Latest This American Life is pretty much essential listening.

my jaw left (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 30 September 2014 03:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

heard that shit this weekend, finally this american life making me mad for other reasons than usual

owe me the shmoney (m bison), Tuesday, 30 September 2014 03:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

I found myself really upset at what sniveling, spineless wimps the people who work for the NYFed sound like. And I slightly fell in love with Carmen Segarra.

my jaw left (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 30 September 2014 04:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

Latest This American Life is pretty much essential listening.

I caught most of this while cooking supper over the weekend. I agree entirely. Was enraged by the jaw-dropping timidity of "Let's send Goldman Sachs a scolding letter; worst case is they ignore it." And the subsequent self-congratulation of "we fussed at them pretty good".

Aimless, Tuesday, 30 September 2014 05:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

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