That guy(s) Tyler Durden over at ZeroHedge (obviously not speaking about yours truly) is pretty sharp. He busted Morgan Stanley with the old hide the sausage game. See Exposing The Latest Eurodebt Exposure Scam Courtesy Of Morgan Stanley: Gratuitous Level 1 To Level 2 Position Transfers:
For the latest gimmick to mask PIIGS sovereign debt exposure (where we already know that the traditional fallback of "gross being irrelevant and only net being important" crashed and burned today after Jefferies offloaded precisely half of its gross exposure, while raising net, thereby confirming that gross exposure is indeed a risk), we turn yet again to Morgan Stanley. As a reminder, despite our note that the company's gross exposure (which is now a major risk factor, thank you Rich Handler for proving our "bilateral netting is flawed" thesis) to French banks alone is $39 billion, Morgan Stanley downplayed this by saying that only $2.1 billion is the actual net funded exposure to Peripherals Eurozone countries. We'll see if Jack Gorman will have to revisit his defense after today's Jefferies action. Well as it turns out, we now have gimmick number two, one which will surely delight the bearish investors out there looking to find a bank doing all it can to mask not only its gross but net exposure (and wondering why it has to resort to such shenanigans). Presenting the Level 1 to Level 2 switcheroo, courtesy of, who else, Morgan Stanley.
From the just released 10-Q:
"Financial instruments owned—Other sovereign government obligations. During the quarter ended September 30, 2011, the Company reclassified approximately $1.8 billion of other sovereign government obligations assets and approximately $2.1 billion of other sovereign government obligations liabilities from Level 1 to Level 2. These reclassifications primarily related to European peripheral government bonds as transactions in these securities did not occur with sufficient frequency and volume to constitute an active."
Uhm, are you serious? Transactions in all PIIGS securities were sufficiently active in both frequency and volume. We are delighted to present Morgan Stanley with a CUSIP list of all PIIGS bonds together with price and volume data if they so desire to confirm to them that their excuse is about to get tested substantially by the market as one not of prudent accounting (we jest: Level 2 assets are merely a legal way to get par marks for a security that is realistically trading at 35 cents on the dollar in the case of Greece and 87 in the case of Italy), but one of yet another attempt at blatant obfuscation.
I must admit, that this type investigative reporting takes very sharp minds, very witty reporting and a thirst for finding the truth. It probably can only be accomplished by tall handsome brothers with that sharp sense of humor... Know what I mean??? From the Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion (A full forensic note for professional and institutional subscribers) released in August:
Click to enlarge...
You see, this game is getting rampant, and it not just french banks and Morgan Stanley, is it Mr. Goldman of Sachs, aka the SQUIDDD!!!