December 18, 2008 16:49 (CET)
The Wall Street Journal reports that the bank will use $5 billion of its illiquid mortgage-backed securities to pay bonuses. Now that's one way to liquidate those assets.
It's a brilliant plan, really. On the one hand, it satisfies the need to pay bonuses while conserving cash and ridding the bank of bank assets. On the other hand, I'm guessing that those assets are probably undervalued by the market right now, and that employees will actually do quite well over time.
I've been thinking recently that if someone could create an exchange-traded fund that bought and held illiquid mortgage-backed securities, it would make an interesting option for investors. There are a lot of contrarian investors out there who think those securities are cheap. Of course, there would be huge problems with the creation/redemption mechanism, so it's likely not feasible. But it sure would be nice. Maybe a swap-based product?
As for your "ten European forecasts," Paul, I don't find much to disagree with there. I do, however, have a few questions for the New Year:
- Will we see more of an effort to integrate and encourage cross-listing and trading across borders?
- On a related note, will we see NYSE Euronext make big waves in terms of integrating cross-Atlantic listings?
- Will the European ETF options market finally catch fire?
- Will we see an increase or decrease in the number of swaps-based ETFs?
- Will trading volume increase (and spreads decrease) in Europe?
Inquiring minds want to know.