Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Warning and the Winnings

Confidence Game is a real-world "Emperor's New Clothes," a tale of widespread delusion and one dissenting voice in the era leading up to the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. Wall Street appeared to have found the secret for turning everything from risky mortgages to credit card bills into super-safe, triple-A-rated securities. Behind the facade of safety, the financial system had become ...

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Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff

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Overview

The Warning and the Winnings

Confidence Game is a real-world "Emperor's New Clothes," a tale of widespread delusion and one dissenting voice in the era leading up to the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. Wall Street appeared to have found the secret for turning everything from risky mortgages to credit card bills into super-safe, triple-A-rated securities. Behind the facade of safety, the financial system had become dangerously fragile. Few had anything to gain from pointing out the risk.

Bill Ackman did. In 2002, the hedge fund manager issued a critical research report on MBIA Inc., the owner of a triple-A-rated bond insurer that played a central role in the financial alchemy on Wall Street. "This company will spiral downward," Ackman warned, and he placed a bet against MBIA that would earn his investors billions of dollars if it did.

The backlash was swift. Ackman was branded a fraud in the press and investigated by Eliot Spitzer and the SEC. Despite the scrutiny, he spent years telling anyone who would listen why MBIA was a catastrophe waiting to happen. With the onset of the credit crisis, the problems exposed turned out to be bigger than MBIA. An unquestioning acceptance of credit ratings, a blind eye to leverage, a dangerous reliance on financial models, and the abandonment of common sense had become part of a deeply flawed financial system. The collapse humbled nearly every large financial institution and plunged the country into recession.

Ackman's story captures an era of delusional confidence, when debt exploded yet risk appeared to vanish. Told by award-winning bond market reporter Christine Richard, Confidence Game is a behind-the-scenes look at how warnings went unheeded as Wall Street careened toward disaster.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470873304
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/25/2010
  • Series: Bloomberg, #159
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 926,534
  • File size: 603 KB

Meet the Author

Christine S. Richard is a reporter with Bloomberg News. She has covered financial markets from Washington, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York. Her work has been recognized by organizations including the New York Society of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the New York Press Club, and the Newswomen's Club of New York.
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Table of Contents

Preface.

Acknowledgments.

1. The Meeting.

2. The Short Seller.

3. The Question.

4. Backlash.

5. The Worst That Could Happen.

6. The Trouble With Triple-A.

7. Unanswered Questions.

8. Crimes and Cockroaches.

9. Turning the Tables.

10. Scrutiny.

11. The Black Hole.

12. The Court of Public Opinion.

13. The Insurance Charade.

14. When Crack Houses Become Collateral.

15. Storm Warnings.

16. An Uncertain Spring.

17. Apocalypse Now.

18. Parting the Curtain.

19. Ratings Revisited.

20. The Panic Begins.

21. Catastrophe and Revenge.

22. Time Runs Out.

23. Bailout.

24. Judgment Day.

25. The Nuclear Threat.

Epilogue.

Notes.

Index.

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