Using Veritas to Construct the "Per…

29-04-2017 Hits:94620 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Using Veritas to Construct the "Perfect" Digital Investment Portfolio" & How to Value "Hard to Value" tokens, Pt 1

The golden grail of investing is to find that investable asset that provides the greatest reward with the least risk. Alas, despite how commonsensical that precept seems to be, many...

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The Veritas 2017 Token Offering Summary …

15-04-2017 Hits:85530 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

The Veritas 2017 Token Offering Summary Available For Download and Sharing

The Veritas Offering Summary is now available for download, which packs all the information about Veritas in a single page. A step by step guide to purchasing Veritas can be downloaded here.

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What Happens When the Fund Fee Fight Hit…

10-04-2017 Hits:85906 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

What Happens When the Fund Fee Fight Hits the Blockchain

A hedge fund recently made news by securitizing its LP units as Ethereum-based tokens and selling them as tradeable (thereby liquid) assets. This brings technology to the VC industry that...

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Veritaseum: The ICO That's Ushering in t…

07-04-2017 Hits:90004 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Veritaseum: The ICO That's Ushering in the Era of P2P Capital Markets

Veritaseum is in the process of building peer-to-peer capital markets that enable financial and value market participants to deal directly with each other on a counterparty risk-free basis in lieu...

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This Is Ground Zero for the 2017 Veritas…

03-04-2017 Hits:88440 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

This Is Ground Zero for the 2017 Veritas Offering. Are You Ready to Get Your Key to the P2P Capital Markets?

This is the link to the Veritas Crowdsale landing page. Here is where you will be able to buy the Veritas ICO when it is launched in mid-April. Below, please...

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What is the Value Proposition For Verita…

01-04-2017 Hits:88181 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

What is the Value Proposition For Veritas, Veritaseum's Software Token?

 A YouTube commenter asked a very good question that we will like to take some time to answer. The question was, verbatim: I've watched your video and gone through the slides. The exchange...

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This Real Estate Bubble, Like Some Relat…

28-03-2017 Hits:59319 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

This Real Estate Bubble, Like Some Relationships, Is Complicated...

CNBC reports US home prices rise 5.9 percent to 31-month high in January according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller. This puts the 20 city index close to an all time high, including...

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Bloomberg Chimes In With My Warnings As …

28-03-2017 Hits:87774 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Bloomberg Chimes In With My Warnings As Landlords Offer First Time Ever Concessions to Retail Renters

Over the last quarter I've been warning about the significant weakness in retailers and the retail real estate that most occupy (links supplied below). Now, Bloomberg reports: Manhattan Landlords Are Offering...

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Our Apple Analysis This Week - This Comp…

27-03-2017 Hits:87313 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Our Apple Analysis This Week - This Company Is Not What Most Think It IS

We will releasing our Apple forensic analysis and valuation this week for subscribers (click here to subscribe - lowest tier is the same as a Netflix subscription). As can be...

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The Country's First Newly Elected Lame D…

27-03-2017 Hits:87661 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

The Country's First Newly Elected Lame Duck President Will Cause Massive Reversal Of Speculative Gains

Note: Subscribers should reference  the paywall material here for stocks that should give a good risk/reward scenario for bearish trades. The Trump administration's legislative outlook is effectively a political desert, with...

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Sears Finally Throws In The Towel Exactl…

22-03-2017 Hits:94070 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

Sears Finally Throws In The Towel Exactly When I Predicted "has ‘substantial doubt’ about its future"

My prediction of Sears collapsing once interest rates started ticking upwards was absolutely on point.

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The Transformation of Television in Amer…

21-03-2017 Hits:91355 BoomBustBlog Reggie Middleton

The Transformation of Television in America and Worldwide

TV has changed more in the past 10 years than it has since it's inception nearly 100 years ago This change is profound, and the primary benefactors look and act...

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Decline in net income

HSBC’s net income fell 29% y-o-y to US$7.72 billion (or US$0.65 per share) in 1H 08 from US$10.9 billion (or US$0.94 per share). The bank’s profitability declined due to the rise in loan impairment charges, mainly in the US, and decrease in profit from its Hong Kong operations. The bank’s pre-tax profit declined 28% to US$10.25 billion in 1H 08 from US$14.16 billion in 1H 07. Pre-tax profit in Europe rose to US$5.18 billion from US$4 billion but fell to US$3 billion from US$3.33 billion in Hong Kong over this period. In the rest of Asia-Pacific and Latin America, pre-tax profit increased to US$3.62 billion from US$3.34 billion and US$1.27 billion from US$1 billion, respectively, during the period 1H 07 to 1H 08.


The bank's net interest income rose to US$21.18 billion in 1H 08 from US$18.23 billion in 1H 07. However, loan impairment charges grew to US$10 billion from US$6.35 billion due to rise in delinquencies in North America. HSBC set aside US$10 billion as loan-loss reserves in 1H 08 compared to US$17.2 billion in 2007 and US$10.6 billion in 2006. The bank’s core Tier 1 capital fell to 8.8% as of June 30, 2008. Company reports show that HSBC had higher capital (9.3%) at the end of 2007 compared to Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (7.3%). HSBC also raised US$2.1 billion through the issue of Perpetual Subordinated Capital Securities in April 2008.



Feeble performance in Hong Kong an unpleasant surprise

HSBC’s weak performance in Hong Kong, one of its largest markets, was a jolt from the blue. The bank’s Hong Kong operations recorded an 8% decline in operating profit due to sluggish growth compounded by a 20% increase in costs. However, Hang Seng Bank posted a 17% increase in operating profit on account of healthy growth in net interest income. Profit from Hong Kong operations (excluding Hang Seng Bank) decreased 19% y-o-y. The decline in Hong Kong Inter Bank Offer Rate (Hibor) in 1H 08 also negatively impacted the bank’s performance. HSBC’s net interest income expanded 7%, while its expenses increased 20% y-o-y, resulting in a sharp increase in the cost income ratio.

Other factors that adversely affected the bank’s performance in Hong Kong included a US$296 million decline in the valuation of strategic investments (in India and Vietnam), contracting yields and increased costs. Also, higher losses in the non-operating business (US$725 million in 1H 08 compared to US$186 million in 1H 07) proved to be a drag on the overall profitability in the Hong Kong region.


Hong Kong operations – Total Operating Income and PBT (in US$ million)


Source: Company data



Bleak outlook for Asian operations despite good performance

HSBC’s Asian operations (excluding Hong Kong) recorded strong growth in earnings mainly due to robust expansion across geographies. The main growth driver, the Global Banking and Markets business, accounted for 70% of the increase in earnings. However, considering the decline in investment banking activity and reduction in trading due to the global slowdown, earnings from this business are likely to be unsustainable. The recent spike in inflation coupled with the anticipated slowdown in growth across Asian economies is expected to result in a rise in non-performing loans. The worsening macro economic scenario could also dent the growth in commercial and personal banking activities. So far, the bank’s performance has been primarily driven by the significant growth in emerging economies such as China, India and the Middle East. However, as the economic slowdown tightens it grip on Asia and as growth in the banking industry decelerates, credit expansion may take a hit, going forward.


US operations continue to experience a difficult operating environment

HSBC, which became the biggest subprime mortgage lender in the US after buying Household International Inc. for US$15.5 billion in 2003, continued to suffer losses in its US operations due to the ongoing decline in the housing market. HSBC’s pre-tax losses in North America stood at US$2.9 billion in 1H 08 as against a pre-tax profit of US$2.4 billion in 1H 07. The bank has already reduced the number of its branches in the US by 10% to 900 and indicated that it will divest its vehicle finance operation worth US$13 billion. HSBC continues to reduce its mortgage services portfolio. The Personal Financial Services and Global Banking and Markets businesses recorded significant losses owing to continued weakness in the housing market and worsening credit market conditions. The Personal Financial Services business recorded a pre-tax loss of US$2.1 billion as loan impairment charges increased 88% due to deteriorating credit quality in the US. The Global Banking and Markets business registered a loss of US$1.6 billion in 1H 08 due to tight credit markets. HSBC recorded goodwill impairment charges of US$527 million in its North America Personal Financial Services business.


The number of delinquencies is likely to continue to increase as the unemployment rate rises, while the auto finance business is expected to face bigger problems in the light of the closure of auto finance activities and decline in the residual value of these assets. Residual values are falling at a brisk pace as reflected by the writedowns by auto majors such as General Motors, and Ford Motors. Moreover, benefits from tax rebates provided by the US government are likely to fade away in 2H 08. This factor could also result in higher delinquencies in the coming quarters.


The deterioration in credit quality is spreading to good quality prime assets, as indicated by the rise in impairment charges at HSBC USA, which deals mainly in prime and commercial loans. HSBC USA’s loan impairment charges increased to US$1.1 billion in 1H 08 from US$469 million in 1H 07. With a loan portfolio of US$91 billion, this subsidiary is likely to witness higher impairment charges in future if the markets worsen.


European operations fare better despite UK slowdown

HSBC performed well in Europe despite slowdown in the UK. The net operating income after loan impairment charges increased 12% y-o-y to US$13.4 billion. Loan impairment charges remained flat as asset quality continued to be healthy despite the worsening UK housing market and sluggish economic growth in Europe. However, going forward, as the economy witnesses a slowdown, the asset quality is likely to decline, resulting in higher impairment charges. I am bearish on both the UK and the EU in general.


Increase in loan impairment charges

The bank’s loan impairment charges have risen significantly in the last year due to the worsening credit scenario and deteriorating housing market. Loan impairment charges increased 58% y-o-y but decreased 8% h-o-h. North America continued to lead the way as credit cost rose to US$7.2 billion in 1H 08 but was lower than that in 2H 07. Delinquencies increased to 8.3% in 2Q 08 from 7.9% in 1Q 08. Net charge-offs in the US rose sharply to 7.43% in 2Q 08 from 4.96% in 4Q 07 and 6.43% in 1Q 08. Second lien mortgage charge-offs also increased to 33.5% from 17.4% over the same period in the US. HSBC USA’s non-performing loans increased 9% q-o-q.


The asset quality remained healthy in Europe, despite the popular belief that charges would rise on account of the deteriorating UK market. Decrease in non-performing loans and impairment charges in Europe helped the bank to maintain its overall asset quality and report lower charges. However, the credit quality in the UK market is likely to deteriorate as macro economic conditions continue to worsen. In Latin America, particularly Mexico, HSBC’s non-performing loans increased 25% h-o-h, while its impairment charges rose 27% due to the deterioration in credit quality.


HSBC wrote down US$3.9 billion in 1H 08 across several asset categories, including buyout loans, asset-backed securities (ABS) and bond insurance. The figure is significantly higher than the $2.1 billion writedowns in 1H 07. The bank wrote down US$1.0 billion toward subprime mortgage assets, US$1.4 billion toward non-subprime trading assets, US$1.2 billion toward monoline exposure and US$0.3 billion toward leveraged loans. The bank has written down more than $10.5 billion and has now taken approximately $15.4 billion of provisions in the past 15 months against the subprime mortgages. The rise in writedown toward monoline (financial guarantor) exposure raises concerns as HSBC is among the top players in the CDS market.


Writedowns in the Global Banking and Markets business (in US$ billion)

1H 08 writedowns

Net exposure as of June 30, 2008

2H 07 writedowns

Net exposure in Dec  2007

Subprime mortgage related assets





Non-subprime credit trading assets





Leveraged loans





Fair value of transactions with Monolines











Disclosure of HSBC’s structured credit exposure warrants caution

HSBC provided disclosure on exposure toward problem asset classes in its 1H 08 results. The carrying value of exposure to ABS, trading loans held for securitization and leverage finance declined to US$117 billion on June 30, 2008, from US$135 billion on December 31, 2007. Approximately US$25 billion of the structured credit exposure is toward ALT-A/subprime assets, which account for 22% of the exposure. The bank’s Available for Sale (AFS) reserve on asset-backed securities increased to US$6.1 billion in 1H 08 from US$2.2 billion in 2H 07.


HSBC has incurred impairment losses totaling US$55 million; this represents a meager 0.85% of total AFS reserve. We expect losses to rise significantly if market conditions and asset values deteriorate. We believe the bank will be required to make higher impairment charges related to AFS reserve on ABS in future.


HSBC structured credit exposure (in US$ billion)

 Dec 31, 2007

 Jun 30, 2008  

 % AltA/ Subprime  

 % AltA/ Subprime  






 Available for sale  





 held to maturity  





 Total ABS  





 Trading loans  





 Leverage Finance  











The rise in the fair value of AFS reserve on ABS worth US$6.1 billion reflects the deterioration in the quality of ABS. In our opinion, this rise in the AFS reserve would be passed on to the P&L account in the coming quarters.


Structured credit writedowns



(in US$ billion unless stated)

2H 07

1H 08

Write down taken to income statement



Fair value movement taken to AFS reserve on ABS in the period



Closing balance of AFS reserve relating to ABS





Global Banking and Markets available-for-sale ABS exposure  




(in US$ million)

Directly held

SIVs and SICs


 Total carrying amount of net principal exposure  




 – which includes subprime/Alt-A exposure




AFS reserve related to subprime/Alt-A exposure  




 Impairment charge   




 Impairment charge borne by capital note holders



 Impairment charge borne by HSBC



Impairment charge borne by HSBC as a % of AFS reserve







SIVs: Structured Investment Vehicles, SICs: Securities Investment Conduits

Monoline exposure

HSBC‘s notional exposure toward monolines in derivative transactions declined from US$15.4 billion in 2H 07 to US$14.5 billion in 1H 08. The monolines as counterparties could be a problem for HSBC in the event of any of the financial guarantors going bust. The notional exposure shows the potential dependence on financial guarantors in case of underlying assets depreciating in value. The increased likelihood of monolines filing for bankruptcy would seriously dent HSBC’s books. The bank wrote down US$1.2 billion toward monolines in 1H 08 after incurring a US$0.3 billion charge in 2H 07. The net exposure after credit risk adjustments increased to US$1.28 billion in 1H 08 from US$1.20 billon in 2H 07. This reflects the direct exposure of HSBC’s derivative transactions to monoline insurers.

HSBC has extended liquidity facilities totaling US$158 million to monoline insurers; of this, US$23 million was drawn as of June 30, 2008.


HSBC direct exposure to Monoline insurers through derivative transactions

Notional amount

Gross exposure

Net exposure

Monoline - BBB or above




Monoline - below BBB









SIV and conduit assets

Assets held by Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs) and new conduits and consolidated on HSBC’s balance sheet declined by US$11 billion from that at the end of 2007 to US$29 billion in 1H 08, primarily as assets were either sold or run off. HSBC has established new asset-backed conduits – Mazarin and Barion. Total assets decreased from US$33.3 billion in 2H 07 to US$23.4 billion in 1H 08 mainly due to exchanges against capital notes, amortization, and recoveries. HSBC also established the asset-backed conduit Malachite in 1H 08. Total assets fell from US$7.4 billion in December 2007 to US$5.9 billion on June 30, 2008.

HSBC’s maximum exposure toward SIVs and conduits declined from US$86.9 billion in December 2007 to US$73.9 billion in June 2008.

Structured finance - Asset class (in US$ billion)






Residential MBS






Commercial MBS






Student loan securities






Vehicle finance loans securities






Leverage loan securities






Other ABS












Exposure to subprime and Alt-A mortgage






Subprime and Alt A as % of total