Displaying items by tag: RETI

Tuesday, 08 December 2009 00:00

Reggie Middleton vs Goldman Sachs, Round 1

This is the opinion piece that I promised on Goldman Sachs research and product sales. I want it to be clear that I have absolutely nothing against Goldman Sachs, and if I worked there I would want $19 billion of bonuses too, despite the fact that I just got bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of over $50 billion and still have middle class taxpayer funded government subsidies intact. The fact of the matter is that I don't work for Goldman Sachs, and the reverence that they receive is illogical and borderline sickening, not to mention having nothing to do with the reality of the situation.

Note: I am typing this post at 3:30 in the morning, so there may be some typos and guffaws in the text, which I will try to catch and demarcate with a strikethough.

The mainstream media jumps when Goldman's sales and marketing staff analysts make a recommendation or prediction, despite the fact that no one really bothers to look back to see how profitable the GS sales and marketing staff analysts have been for their clients vs the risk-adjusted profitability for their bonus pool shareholders. One example that I have used in my previous posts was Lehman Brothers, who I became increasingly bearish on in early 2008 (if you're a regular reader, please bear with this rehash):

The esteemed Goldman Sachs did not agree with my thesis on Lehman. Reference the following graph, and click it if you need to enlarge. Notice the tone, and ultimately the outright indication of a fall in the posts from February through April 2008 above, and cross reference with the rather rosy and optimistic guidance from the esteemed Goldman (Sachs) boys during the same time period, then... Oh yeah, Lehman filed for bankruptcy!!! 


Does anybody think that Lehman was a "one off" occurrence? Or for that matter does anyone believe that only Goldman is guilty of a lack of actual performance for their clients vs. their bonus pool???

In January of 2008, who among the Wall Street bank brand name crowd had a failure warning or even a sell call on Bear Stearns? Lord knows one was definitely called for, see Is this the Breaking of the Bear?. We can go on theme-wise with:

  1. regional banks (As I see it, 32 commercial banks and thrifts may see the feces hit the fan blades).
  2. commercial real estate (The Commercial Real Estate Crash Cometh, and I know who is leading the way!),
  3. the monoline insurers (A Super Scary Halloween Tale of 104 Basis Points Pt I & II, by Reggie Middleton -11/13/2007), Ambac is Effectively Insolvent & Will See More than $8 Billion of Losses with Just a $2.26 Billion in Equity 11/29/2007), etc. I can go on for quite a while, but hopefully you see a trend here.

 As a matter of fact, many of these failed and failing companies actually managed to sell securities and raise capital at some of the worst time for any potential investor. Who do you think provided the optimistic research to lay the groundwork for said sales? More to the point, who do you think actually facilitated the sales? And the ass kicker question, "How did the buyer of said securities fare?" Looking back at two egregious examples:

Well, the Wall Street Marketing Machine AKA "sell side research" is at it again.  Just as I turn bearish on CRE for the second time (see Re: Commerical Real Estate and REITs - It's About That Time, again...), check out the "pump and dump job" from Merrill: Here's a Big Company Bailout by the Taxpayer That Even the Taxpayer's Missed!. I received emails about DDR's predicament (Diversified Development Realty Email of Interest), which makes sense, because Goldman Sachs is pushing CMBS secured by this company's malls (Reggie Middleton Personally Contragulates Goldman, but Questions How Much More Can Be Pulled Off), which of course had a AAA tranche (see more on this Goldman phenomena below). What a coincidence! If you think that is a

 In keeping with the theme of Wall Street's ability to peddle nearly anything to the Name Brand enamoring masses, I have decided to offer an addendum to the recent REIT analysis for my subscribers that provides a scenario for an additional (this would be the second in 12 months) equity offering in an attempt to close the equity gap between what the maximum practicaly LTV on assets and the extant amount of debt to be refinanced. The original update only had scenarios for distressed sale of assets, distressed debt refinancing and voluntary allowance of foreclosure of assets. Although I would consider it unlikely that an equity offereing could be pulled off, I have seen stranger things happen.

MAC Report_Consolidated_051209 equity offering addendum MAC Report_Consolidated_051209 equity offering addendum 2009-12-08 03:33:30 308.60 Kb

coincidence, just as pressure starts to turn up on in the CRE space with a bad macro outlook and an even worse fundamental outlook, Goldman upgrades the entire sector and issues a buy on Taubman (see my take. The Taubman Properties Research is Now Available). Anyone want to bet that Goldman won't help these REITs trade bad debt for more bad debt or bad equities??? Do you think they will have the gall, nerve, ability to push AAA financing for Macerich (A Granular Look Into a $6 Billion REIT: Is This the Next GGP?)?

Reference "Blog vs. Broker, whom do you trust!"  and you will be able to track the performance of all of the big banks and broker recommendations for much of the year 2008 for the companies that I covered on my blog. Since the concept of sell is rather remote to any big broker whose trading desk is not net short a particular position, it would be safe to assume that if the market turns the broker's recommendations will also turn in a similarly abysmal year as well. Just to be clear, this is not about ability, or who is the smartest. It is about marketing and conflicts of interest. Brokers do not charge for their research. Thus it should be obvious to anyone with even the slightest modicum of business savvy that the sunk costs that is freely disseminated research is most likely a loss leader (with the losses being born by the consumers of said research) otherwise known as the marketing arm for underwriting, sales and trading.

The blind following of Wall Street marketing research, and the abject worshipping of Goldman marketing, inventory dumping, sales research allows them to rake billions of dollars off of their clients backs, yet clients still come back for more pain. A fascinating, Pavlov's dog's/Stockholm Syndrome style phenomena. Have you, as a Goldman client, performed as well as their employees receiving $19 billion in bonuses? Don't get me wrong. I'm not hating Goldman, but now they are actually raping raking billions of dollars off of the tax payers backs as well. I do not do business with them, hence I do not want get my back raked - but it appears that as a US taxpayer I have no choice. A company that nearly collapsed a year ago, receives mysteriously generous government assistance (AIG full payout during its near collapse as an insolvent company) with the help of highly ranked government officials (many of which are ex-Goldman employees) and then pays out record bonuses on top of so many tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer aid with taxpayers facing high unemployment and sparse credit is not necessarily a company that should be looked upon as a scion of Wall Street. There is no operational excellence here. The only reason such an aura exists is because main street and Wall Street clients have an amazingly short memory, as I will demonstrate in the paragraphs below. This goes for the big Wall Street banks in general, and Goldman in particular.

As stated above, Goldman is now underwriting CMBS under a broad fund our $19 billion bonus pool "buy" recommendation in the CRE REIT space. Let's take a look at another big bonus development exercise, marketing push they made into MBS a few years ago...