Category Finance

Financial regulation and the loss of sovereignty

A global phenomenon, nothing to do with Brexit

Right now in South Africa, President Zuma is being urged to refuse to sign the new Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act.

This act is part of ongoing global tightening of controls to reduce/eliminate money laundering and combat the financing of terrorism. There is plenty of freely available documentation to describe the aims – for example from the IMF and from the World Bank.

So these regulations are centrally imposed by global non-government organizations. Just like the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, right?

Err ….. no. These regulations are different because Read more

Emigration Tax

Is the Finance Ministry becoming Hotel California?

You can check out any time you want but you can never leave. So sang The Eagles in 1970. Here at Vox Sapiens we suspect that country residence could begin to resemble living at Hotel California. There may come a time when you will be unable to leave the country without paying your share of the public debt.

Let us explain a bit more about the state of public finances before returning to the pay-as-you-leave hypothesis …

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The Internet Age Emperor’s New Clothes

A Bit of a long shot

The BitCoin bubble is in full swing. But this bubble started a lot longer ago than most commentators report, and is much bigger than most commentators report.

The main reason is that most commentators give credence to BitCoin, and treat it like a respectable currency. Even laying aside the Silk Road connections, here at Vox Sapiens we have no confidence in BitCoin (or in its cousins such as LiteCoin and NameCoin). Here’s why. Read more

onlycoin – only ten years too late

PINning your hopes on an unCHIPped picture of the future

A new startup, onlycoin.com, is attempting crowdfunding for a new credit card wallet. This product, called coin, is the same size as a credit card and stores the details of up to eight other credit cards (or debit cards, or any similar card with a magnetic strip). The onlycoin.com card runs an application that allows you to select which of these eight cards the onlycoin.com card should emulate. This allows you to leave your other cards at home and carry just the onlycoin.com card.

Many people’s physical wallets are bursting with multiple cards, and the onlycoin.com card helps address this problem. But it has a major drawback. The onlycoin.com card does not Read more

Edictum De Pretiis Rerum Venalium

The rise and fall of the Roman Empire European Parliament

Diocletian, or Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus, a Roman emperor who ruled from 284 to 305, issued the edict on maximum prices (in Latin, Edictum De Pretiis Rerum Venalium) in 301.

In an outburst against a European Union cap on bankers’ bonuses, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said “the most this measure can hope to achieve is a boost for Zurich and Singapore and New York at the expense of a struggling EU. This is possibly the most deluded measure to come from Europe since Diocletian tried to fix the price of groceries across the Roman empire.”

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Bubble 2.0

Wait for the pop!

Yes it’s happened again. Our memories must last about ten years. We have a new bubble in Internet stocks.

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CFOs should put their heads in the cloud

And save some money

As I perform my day job, as a management consultant with a bias towards IT, and the alignment of IT with business, I continue to be amazed at how CFOs are ignoring cloud computing.

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Let’s Face(book) it, this time it is different

No it’s not !!!

Here we go again. Goldman Sachs drags up the mindless euphoria of the 1999 Internet bubble and makes a small investment in Facebook which indicates a valuation of USD 50bn. This is 25 times sales. When Google was valued at USD 50bn it had sales of USD 3.2bn, compared to Facebook’s USD 2bn, and a viable strategy to grow those sales rapidly.

And Facebook?

“Facebook is becoming like the telephone system,” according to a “the daily beast” commentator on Bloomberg, apparently justifying the stretched valuation.

Well here at Vox Sapiens we see this as a ridiculous overvaluation for several reasons. Read more

Back to the Future

Swapping credit

Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act, or “the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010,” threatens major capital reserve burdens on OTC derivatives traders by requiring that OTC swaps are cleared through clearinghouses that will demand a margin in addition to the capital reserve required by the Regulations.

The Act also determines that Federal support will not be provided to businesses involved in swaps (there are exceptions).

This will have major implications for the financial markets.

Read more

Still wrong on bankers’ bonuses

What is wrong with a bonus culture in banking?

The European Union parliament will vote next week on new legislation to curb bankers’ bonuses. The rules on bonuses are included within a larger proposal on capital requirements. According to the Financial Times, ‘lawmakers and EU officials welcomed the agreement and said it should help to reduce the “bonus culture” in the banking sector.’

Well here at Vox Sapiens, at risk of repeating ourselves (see Bankers’ bonuses – wrong target) we think the bonus culture should be increased, not reduced. This is because Read more

Snore and fleece

The US Financial Reform Bill is too long

The US Senate has started to debate the Financial Reform bill. This bill proposes the most sweeping changes to US (and, therefore, global) financial markets regulatory practices since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

So one might think this an extremely important bill, right? So all the Senators have Read more

Escher’s Bank

The incredible story of the Icelandic banking crisis

The Icelandic Special Investigation Committee (SIC) yesterday (April 12th, 2010) delivered its report on the collapse of the three main banks in Iceland. It makes shocking reading.

It can be downloaded here.

At Vox Sapiens, our initial vision was of a couple Escher’s masterpieces. Read more

Better risk management for banks

A new approach to punishing offenders and rewarding the best

The recent financial crisis was exacerbated by several failures, one of which was poor risk management by banks. Previous attempts to coerce management into being more responsible have failed. How about this approach? Read more

Forget Tequila, welcome the Ouzo Crisis

How to prepare for the collapse of the euro currency union.

Greece uses the same currency as Germany. But Greek government bonds yield almost four per cent more than German government bonds, an all time record for the eurozone.

This is telling us something; really telling us something. The bond market is pricing in a high possibility of default by the Greek state. Read more

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