Friday, January 23, 2009

So is it insider trading?

An important point from Clusterstock:

Side note: if the government officials have been consulting with banking heads about the bad bank, and we hope they have been, does it count as insider trading when the banking chiefs buy their own stock?

This is a reference to large insider purchases by Dimon and Lewis of JPM and BoA. It's particularly interesting that both bought shares at the same time.

I have one disagreement with Clusterstock: This is not a side note. Not to say that Dimon and Lewis are necessarily guilty; but if they are this is a very big deal. This harkens back to a point I made about the Citi bailout: the connections between bank regulators and the banks are so strong that the incentives and opportunities for corruption are unbearable. Even apart from solvency issues, the banks (at least the big money center banks) have to be nationalized for governance issues while we figure out how to solve these problems.

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