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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Institutional Risk Analytics on MLEC

by Tanta on 10/16/2007 09:22:00 AM

Looks like we're going to need a bigger microwave.

Orchestrating the pooling of hundreds of billions worth of illiquid assets into a single conduit strikes us as a bad move. In analytics, we call such proposals a "difference without distinction." Instead of seeking to restore the abnormal and manic market conditions that prevailed in the world of structured finance prior to Q2 2007, we think Secretary Paulson and his Street-wise colleagues should be trying to reach a more stable formulation.

The subsidiary banks of C, for example, have about $112 billion in Tier One Risk Based Capital supporting 10x that in "on balance sheet" assets, assets which typically throw off 3x the charge offs of C's large bank peers. A modest haircut of C's total conduit exposure of $400 billion could leave that capital decimated, forcing C into the hands of the New York Fed and FDIC. Of note, looks like the ratio of Economic Capital to Tier One RBC for C at 3.75:1 calculated by the IRA Bank Monitor was not so severe as some Citibankers previously have suggested.

The fact that much of the debt issued by C-controlled SIV's was maturing in November seems to have prompted the Treasury to act, yet another example of "limited government" under President George W. Bush. Apparently there are some people at the Treasury who think that aggregating large bank conduit risk into a single subprime burrito will somehow draw foreign and domestic investors back to the structured asset trough. This notion would be laughable were the situation not so perilous.
(For you beginners, "C" is the ticker symbol for Citicorp, not 983,571,056 feet per second.)

Hat tip to Clyde!