Get Ready for the Distressed Debt Wave (HONEST!)

As I was saying in my last commentary, it’s time to stay calm and carry on in a market that is flashing green, red and yellow signals simultaneously.  These are market conditions in which nimbleness will be rewarded.  Whether the economy is going to continue to grow, albeit in a very low gear, or whether we’re going to have a recession of one species or another, things are not soon going to return to the BEFORE. Continue Reading

My Hair Is Not on Fire…Yet

I’m back from vacation in the English countryside, away from the hurly burly of life in our capital markets.  While I tried hard not to obsess on the news whilst away, bad news has a way of slithering into your peripheral vision, doesn’t it (I stuck to the English papers which are great fun, and are way better than ours… “Emergency biscuits flow into UK due to national shortages”)? Continue Reading

It’s Not Just a Flesh Wound

I’ve been back from CREFC’s and RER’s annual meetings for a week or so, mulling what those confabs meant.  There’s been plenty of reportage on the events, the panels, the parties, the to-ing and fro-ing, but what I want to do is step back and reflect on the gestalt; the subtext, the hidden codex.  What just happened?

It’s capitulation.

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Contagion

What I know about cryptocurrency can be inscribed on a head of pin with a jackhammer.  But I know it’s a thing; I know it’s a big thing and getting bigger.  So, these past few weeks I have been reading with interest (interest, to be clear in this context, is the emotion one experiences watching a NASCAR pileup, whilst not being in one of the cars) the breathtaking collapse of Terra’s stablecoin. Having previously been entirely bereft of any knowledge of the topic, I read with considerable interest that the Terra coin was pegged to the dollar and backed by “algorithms.”  Algorithms?  The Terra peg was protected, theoretically (let’s emphasize that theoretical part) by allowing Terra’s owners to “burn” coins and buy another cryptocurrency which was designed not as something pegged to the dollar but as a repository of value which would rise and fall on market sentiment (backed by those marvelous algorithms again).  A shock absorber to protect the peg.  The companion cryptocurrency in this case was called Luna.  As Terra lost its peg, you would burn Terra and buy Luna.  And if Luna went down, you would burn Luna and buy Terra.  Apparently, this all worked as long as everyone firmly believed it worked.  Now, apparently, they don’t and it doesn’t.  Terra tanked to fractions of pennies on the dollar, as did Luna.  How’s that for a hedge?  Ouch! Continue Reading

It’s the Inflation, Stupid

We certainly have an abundance of bad bits and bobs out there right now, don’t we?  War, pestilence, chubby dictators with rockets, buff dictators without souls, miscellaneous threats to world peace.  It’s everywhere.  Nonetheless, my take remains (see my prior blog, Prognosticator’s Regret) that, at least for our economy, all that doesn’t matter so much (how stupid does that sound?).  It’s only through the transmission mechanism of monetary change that our economy is really impacted and regrettably, we’ve got that in full right now in the form of rapid, material inflation.

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SOFR:  The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships Was Photoshopped!

Why I’m bothering to write about SOFR transition at this point is a bit of a mystery.  Hasn’t this topic now finally exhausted both our energy and interest?  Oh, and a European war is being fought as I write which, to say the least, renders the kerfuffle over LIBOR somewhat less than consequential.  But irrelevancy has not stopped me before.

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The Coming Regulatory Deluge (With Apologies to Louis XV):  Smells Like Opportunity to Me

Events keep happening that really do make it clear that we are about to enter a period of enhanced regulatory intrusion into the financial services space.  Shocking!  And entirely unexpected, right?  (You’re winning, sir)  While that is in many respects troubling, it’s also the stuff of opportunity for the creative and nimble.  I’ll explain.

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Ahhh… Miami! Sun, Sand and Commercial Real Estate

CREFC January 2022 – it was supposed to be the comeback conference. Everyone was pumped to spend a few days down south, getting together with their safely vaccinated clients, colleagues and friends. Meetings, mingling and mild mayhem were on the Miami menu. But days before the conference, the dreaded COVID, or more specifically Omicron, continued to rear its ugly head and put a damper on the plans of many. Emails with “Are you still going to CREFC???” were flying as the days counted down to January 9. Although many conference attendees chose to attend virtually, hundreds took a chance and made it down to Miami to enjoy the conference in person. Luckily CREFC is now well-versed in how to put on a virtual show, and those who were unable to attend in person were able to enjoy the panels from their office (or couch…or bed…).

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Prognosticators’ Regret

Just a few weeks back, I penned a sunny and optimistic piece about the growth of the CRE CLO market in 2022 and by implication, the general amicable economic conditions on which the growth of that technology would depend.  Being your basic risk-adverse type, I, of course, conditioned and limited my happy talk by excluding bad things that might proceed from disease, dictators and the Fed.

While I’m sticking by my predictions, my carve-outs seemed both more than a tad fainthearted and capacious enough to eat the proposition.…The Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl (by the way they will), assuming they get to the game and score more points than the other team.  Not really helpful, is it?
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