You are here


My latest posts, articles & citations.

BusinessWeek | Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We wrote this week about retail derivatives, one of several ways banks are still playing the risk game. So just how risky are these structured products for the average investor?

Good luck figuring that out. If history is any judge, the answer is “pretty risky” — and investors won’t do a good job evaluating the risk. Research suggests you’ll probably be overpaying for what you get.

BusinessWeek | Wednesday, August 5, 2009

That didn't take long. The economy hasn't yet recovered from the implosion of risky investments that led to the worst recession in decades—and already some of the world's biggest banks are peddling a new generation of dicey products to corporations, consumers, and investors.

BusinessWeek | Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just how busy are Washington lobbyists these days? Consider this: There are nearly 1,000 fewer of them than there were at this time last year—but their clients are spending just as feverishly as they did a year ago, shelling out $1.6 billion through June 30 alone. 

Some 12,467 lobbyists registered with the federal government in the first half of this year, down 7% from 2008—putting their numbers at roughly 2006 levels, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. (Then again, federal lobbying figures may leave something to be desired.) 

BusinessWeek | Thursday, July 30, 2009

The number of lobbyists fell slightly and overall lobbying spending stayed flat compared to the first half of 2008, but some groups increased spending dramatically—especially those in health care and energy, the focus of Obama's biggest legislative initiatives. Of the 100 biggest lobbying clients, spending by these companies grew the fastest:

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

BusinessWeek | Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Despite the rhetoric of the past 18 months, few in the nation's capital really believed the Beltway lobbyist would disappear overnight just because a new President vowed to change business-as-usual in Washington and Congress heightened scrutiny. Yes, lobbyists now must heed stringent new disclosure rules; the gift-giving and golf outings have largely vanished. But the influence game rolls on in Obama's Washington.

BusinessWeek | Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The European Union’s financial regulations are shaping up to be a big deal for companies based in the U.S. and elsewhere — even beyond their European operations. For the most part, the new rules won’t kick in until 2011 or later, and as the U.S. hammers out its own regulatory revisions, policy-makers on both sides will probably iron out their differences.

BusinessWeek | Thursday, June 25, 2009

President Barack Obama's plan to overhaul financial regulation covers everything from mortgages to hedge funds. But reform efforts in Europe may prove more significant for U.S. companies. European regulators are hashing out new rules for banks, insurers, and money managers that could put U.S. firms at a disadvantage.

BusinessWeek | Thursday, June 11, 2009

Regulators, investors, and policymakers are breathing a sigh of relief about the banks. Profits are up. Bank share prices are surging. And on June 9 Uncle Sam gave 10 banks the go-ahead to pay back $70 billion in bailout funds. "These are early signs of repair and improvement," Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in a press briefing.

The Wall Street Journal | Thursday, August 7, 2008

Since Jasmine Nguyen collapsed nine years ago, apparently from a seizure, the 32-year-old has lived in a nursing home in Lodi, Calif., dependent on a ventilator to breathe and the facility's staff for her daily needs.

But since early this year, the nursing home has been seeking to evict Ms. Nguyen and a dozen other residents in similar situations, potentially replacing them with shorter-term residents likely to bring more revenue.

The Wall Street Journal | Monday, August 4, 2008

At a time when scores of companies are freezing pensions for their workers, some are quietly converting their pension plans into resources to finance their executives' retirement benefits and pay.

In recent years, companies from Intel Corp. to CenturyTel Inc. collectively have moved hundreds of millions of dollars of obligations for executive benefits into rank-and-file pension plans. This lets companies capture tax breaks intended for pensions of regular workers and use them to pay for executives' supplemental benefits and compensation.


Subscribe to TheoWire