Saturday, October 18, 2008

The financial engineering bubble!

If you have been able to convince Joe to take a 300.000 dollar mortgage at 11 percent for 30 years and if then, with a little help from the credit rating agencies, you can convince Fred that the risk structure of this mortgage is such that it merits an investment at a rate of only six percent, then you can sell him the mortgage for 510.000 dollar, and pocket a tidy profit of 210.000 dollar.

We then have Joe, with a real liability of a mortgage of 300.000 dollar guaranteed with a house that might o might not be worth it, and Fred, with a 510.000 dollar investment in the willingness of Joe to service his original mortgage at 11 percent for 30 year.

And so, when all is sliced and diced, 210.000 dollar of this 510.000 dollar toxic asset has little to do with easy money or a house bubble, and all to do with the wizardry of an immense structured-finance-endorsed-by-the-credit-rating-agencies bubble.