Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Gold Price Trend Forecast, Where are the Gold Traders? - Bob_Loukas
2.Stocks Bear Market of 2017 Begins? Shorting the Dow At its Peak! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Betting on President Trump Leaving Office Early, Presidency End Date - Betfair Market - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Why Stock Market Analysts Will be Wrong About 2017 - Clif_Droke
5.Is This The Best Way For Investors To Play The Electric Car Boom - OilPrice_Com
6.Silver Price 2017 Trend Forecast Update - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Gold Price Set For Very Bullish 2017, Trend Forecast - Austin_Galt
8.10 Things I learned From Meetings With Trump’s Transition Team - - John_Mauldin
9.How Investors Can Profit From Trumps Military Ambitions - OilPrice_Com
10.Channel 4 War on 'Fake News', Forgets Own Alt Reality Propaganda Broadcasting - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Brent Crude Oil Price Technical Update: Low Volatility Leads to High Volatility - 20th Feb 17
Trump’s Tax System Could Spark The Wave Of Self-Employment - 20th Feb 17
Here’s How to Stay Ahead of Machines and AI - 20th Feb 17
Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia - 20th Feb 17
Warning: This Energy Investment Could Wreak Havoc On Your Portfolio - 20th Feb 17
The Mother of All Financial Bubbles will be Unimaginably Destructive when it Bursts - 19th Feb 17
Gold’s Fundamentals Strengthen - 18th Feb 17
The Flynn Fiascom, the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper - 18th Feb 17
Not Nearly Enough Economic Growth To Keep Growing - 18th Feb 17
SPX Stocks Bull Market Continues to make New Highs - 18th Feb 17
China Disaster to Trigger Gold Run, Trump to Appoint 5 of 7 Fed Governors - 18th Feb 17
Gold Stock Volume Divergence - 17th Feb 17
Gold, Silver, US Dollar Cycles - 17th Feb 17
Inflation Spikes in 2017, Supporting Gold Prices Despite Increased Odds of March Rate Hike - 17th Feb 17
Roses Are Red... and So's Been EURUSD's Trend - 17th Feb 17
Gold Trade Note Sighted - 17th Feb 17
Gold Is Undervalued Say Leading Fund Managers - 17th Feb 17
NSA, CIA, FBI, Media Establishment 'Deep State' War Against Emerging 'Trump State' - 16th Feb 17
Silver, Gold Stocks and Remembering the Genius of Hunter S. Thompson - 16th Feb 17
Maps That Show The US’ Strategy In Asia-Pacific - 15th Feb 17
The Trump Stock Market Rally Is Just Getting Started! - 15th Feb 17
Tesco Crisis - Fake Prices, Brexit Inflation Tsunami to Send Food Prices Soaring 10% 2017 - 15th Feb 17
Stock Market Indexes Appear Ready to Roll Over - 15th Feb 17
Gold Bull Market? Or was 2016 Just a Gold Bug Mirage? - 15th Feb 17
Here’s How Germany Buys Time From China - 15th Feb 17
The Stock Trader’s Actionable Guide to Trump - 15th Feb 17
Trump A New Jacksonian Era? The Fourth Turning (2) - 14th Feb 17
Stock Market Yet Another Wall Street 'Witch's Brew' - 14th Feb 17
This Is Why You Don’t Own A Lot Of Stocks - 14th Feb 17
Proposed Tax Reforms Face Enormous Headwinds - 14th Feb 17
BBC Inside Out Tesco Rip off Offers - Determined to Lose Big Spend Customers! - 13th Feb 17
Is the UK An Economy Built on Debt? - 13th Feb 17
Stock Market VIX Cycles set to Explode in March/April 2017 – Part 2 - 13th Feb 17
Stocks At Record Highs - Will Uptrend Accelerate? - 13th Feb 17
US Dollar: 'Rumors of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated' - 13th Feb 17
Is This The Top Commodity Play For 2017? - 13th Feb 17
Trump a New Jacksonian Era? - 13th Feb 17
Stock Market at High Tide - 13th Feb 17
Channel 4 War on 'Fake News' Ends - The New News Age - 12th Feb 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

State of Global Markets 2017 - Report

Learning from MF Global Bankruptcy

Stock-Markets / Financial Markets 2011 Dec 21, 2011 - 06:27 AM GMT

By: William_Bancroft

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIn this article we look at how the failure of MF Global might affect the financial markets and trade in general. We learn from one of the gold market’s most famous investors, Jim Sinclair, and hear how this incident might affect the gold price. Mr Sinclair’s comments are worth reading for all investors but especially those inclined toward gold and silver.

During our spare moments reading apparently ‘anoraky’ financial books, we come across the odd gem that we excitedly recommend to our friends for a week or two in a flush of enthusiasm.


One of our favourites is ‘Reminscences of a Stock Operator’ by Edwin Lefèvre, that is meant to document a series of conversations between the great trader, Jesse Livermore, and an unusually market savvy journalist.

An investment classic

Reading Reminiscences of a Stock Operator one is left with a real appreciation of the irresistible nature of speculation, perhaps gambling, for humans and our fascination with the market. We also felt an appreciation of how the casino is generally the winner, and in this case that Wall St has been piking the people for generations.

The dynamic seemed to be built upon retail cash made in the wider economy being poured into Wall St, with not as much as had been hoped returning. The system did not eat itself though.

Our thoughts returned to this issue and whether the system was becoming more in danger of risk from itself and within with the failure of MF Global.

Did anyone else watch the testimony of John Corzine and think, how did we get here?

How was a CEO of such a business unable to account for so many significant events and issues?

Where is all the client money?

What is so shameful is that such a regulated financial business was legally permitted to leverage and speculate with client funds as Harry Markopolos points out.

Learning from trading royalty

During these musings our thoughts were sharpened by an interview by King World News with one of the best known traders in the gold market, Jim Sinclair. Jim is a figure of reverence in the markets and is always worth listening to. He forecast a gold price of $1650/ounce and greater in 2000 when this was almost unthinkable and gold investors were derided as hayseeds with a wish to be parted with their capital.

Rather poetically Jim Sinclair also has a link to the aforementioned Jesse Livermore. His father Bert Seligmann was in fact business partners with Livermore.

During the interview Jim sets out how the MF collapse is totally different to the failure of a retail facing institution, and as such its implications are markedly different and potentially greater. This failure within the core of the system has burnt some of its most central participants but has crucially broken something potentially more important than this.

When quizzed about MF, Jim starts by urging that “When you see the inner workings of Wall St and finance through the eyes of MF; totally shocking”.

What MF Global will mean for the financial markets

After dealing with some technicalities with the difference between MF Global’s failure and that of REFCO and others Jim cites the Bush administration’s regulatory changes with regard to and bankruptcy law with regard to derivatives accounting and advises that:

“This puts into question whether any clearing entity, because they’re all working with these things, can or will protect your funds under the law, if segregation means anything whatsoever.

Without that what you’ve done is gone and broken the mechanism. The mechanism of the market place is clear.

In all markets without clearing there is no settlement of trade. So the question is has the mechanism of the marketplace broken down?”

We are informed that if the mechanism breaks the market cannot be brought back, because there is nothing left to bring back and that “right now there is still confidence due to rank ignorance of what’s going on”.

Investors all use a clearing house whether they are retail and playing on the side lines owning a few Mom and Pop shares or running significant sums of money. As Jim reminds us:

“If you’re investing and the items you’re holding are not in your name, be it physical metals or securities, you’re in a clearing house.

This event is so complex that I’m not sure that even the professionals reporting on it or even a good deal of the management of companies operating in it totally understand it. When MF Global went down that broke the mechanism…

…we’ve already seen that a clearing house may have been an entity set up to collect funds from all types of clients to use to speculate for its own account.

It is almost impossible to tell whether one’s clearing mechanism are not hypothecating and using client funds to create leverage for their own speculation.

In the Lehman case the banksters took out Main Street. The sharks will eat the sharks now because in the case of the clearing house what you’re taking out is the traders and investors who had confidence… that their money was safe from misuse of the management of the clearing house. You lose confidence in that, how do you settle trades?”

Has the market mechanism broken?

Has clearing and settlement been critically undermined?

Time will tell, and investors may reappraise their portfolios accordingly.

Sinclair offers that “there’s two things you’ve got to do right now, that’s be your own central bank, and be your own clearing house”.

Whatever you think of Jim’s wider world view, his analysis of the MF Global collapse is thought provoking.

Taking another look at our portfolios may be no bad thing. When we look at ours we find that:

  • The gold and silver bullion sit there free from counterparty risk and outside of the financial system achieving what we asked them to do. We don’t own ETFs we find them sub-optimal products for owning precious metals. We looked at this previously.
  • It gets more complicated with our stocks and shares covering sectors from precious metals miners to uranium miners and rare earth miners. A couple of emails and signed letters of authority later and the procedure of taking possession of our stock holdings has just begun. The process seems to work none too fast apparently. We now wait and send a reminder email every few days as we are informed by our broker that “…will come back to you shortly regarding whether or not we are able to rematerialise each of your holdings into certificated form and the costs involved”.
  • Further investments in agriculture and agricultural commodities are difficult to isolate from the system. There’s not much we can do here as futures and options are being used.

What does it mean for the gold price?

As gold and silver investors, and hopefully not suffering from what Didier Sornette calls an investor’s inescapable ‘bounded rationality’, we find the potential reaction to MF Global’s failure helpful for investment assets free from counterparty risk that are not simultaneously someone else’s liability.

The need for liquidity and to cover losses seem to be contributing to a soft gold price at the moment, where the markets main element of price discovery centres around the COMEX paper markets, but in the longer term we find this positive for gold. Any form of trend was temporarily lost during 2008 for the gold market as well.

Jim Sinclair finishes his discussion of MF with the following:

“More problems occur like this, less people trade, less life to markets, three to four hundred dollar range to gold (daily movements in the gold price), why not? The only money I can count on is the money I own. Everything else depends on the system”.

Regards and good investing,

Will Bancroft

For The Real Asset Company.

http://therealasset.co.uk

Aside from being Co-Founder and COO, Will regularly contributes to The Real Asset Company’s Research Desk. His passion for politics, philosophy and economics led him to develop a keen interest in Austrian economics, gold and silver. Will holds a BSc Econ Politics from Cardiff University.

© 2011 Copyright Will Bancroft - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife