Friday, September 05, 2008

public finance

A little north of here, but the Erie School District is suing JP Morgan for the fees it charged in setting up interest-rate swaps... What are interest rate swaps? Let's just leave it as the Erie Times does: 'highly complex unregulated financial derivatives' even though that may border on bombastic... if a muni interest rate swap is really 'highly complex' I shudder to think what the description would be for what most hedge funds are up to these days. Can anyone say "LTCM"?

Bloomberg's commentary on the situation is just a tad harsh: Magic, Mumbo-Jumbo Were Used to Sell Muniland Swaps.

Relevant? I dunno. It's international news today that JP Morgan is exiting the business of municipal interest rate swaps as was used for the Water and Sewer Authority bonds here as discussed in that article. Also if you see the last line in the Erie Times article, it says the SEC in Philly is preparing enforcement action against JP Morgan related to this. Just in terms of scale, the Erie bonds in question were for $37 million. The Water and Sewer bonds here were over a $414 million dollar deal.


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