Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fed action forcing hedge funds into default?

Just hit on this analysis over at Alphaville:

…it’s arguable that the banks’ seizure of Carlyle’s $20bn-odd in assets has actually been encouraged by the Fed’s mortgages-for-Treasuries offer. Because the Fed’s new lending emergency lending facility allows the banks to swap mortgage-backed debt for Treasury Bills in a way that Carlyle could not do.

So it would be rational for the banks to take Carlyle’s assets and exchange them for top-quality, liquid US government bonds, rather than leave loans in place to a business, Carlyle, whose assets remained highly illiquid.

If this is even remotely true...

What it means is banks are pushing margin calls and forcing hedge funds to bankrupt so that they could seize their assets and exchange them at full value to the Fed, rather then let hedge funds liquidate them at fire sale prices. Talk about unintended consequences and disorderly unwind. In the coming days we shall see how much truth there is to this suspicion.

As someone said: 'Fed tried to pull a rabbit out of the hat, but got a grizzly bear instead'.

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