Tuesday, November 30, 2010

UK government listens to Fintag

Its November

Christmas now spans 4 months © fintag

News comments:
So there I was ranting that the UK government should undercut Irelands tax whilst they work out what to do with their newly printed Euros.

Osborne has decided to introduce a 10% corporation tax (telegraph). That is excellent. Obviously the small print needs careful analysis because you only get it if your product is innovative and made in Britain. Well that is going to difficult to achieve but at least it is a good step.

Next. Get rid of the CFC. Please. And then reduce income tax to a flat tax. Cash in hand is back big time in over taxed Britain and we don't want to turn into Greece / Italy / Spain.

Today's shorts:
I don't want chavs in my gym (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Italy is ready to plug the Euro down (wsj)

Gossip:
David Beckham to out himself as celibate.



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikileaks is the new Spectre

Where is James Bond when you need him?

Where is James Bond when you need him? © fintag

News comments:
I don't know about you but if all this Wikileaks US information is so sensitive why weren't the people behind it taken out? Something smells wrong. Perhaps it is because it is tittle tattle and in a world of over-information it will be forgotten in a day or two (telegraph).

Today's shorts:
Goldman says something but means something else (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Ireland extends its credit facility by a few hundred billion dollars (bloomberg)

Gossip:
Wikileaks to be bought by Google.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Follow the leader: Britain is just a puppet

Follow the leader

Follow the leader © fintag

News comments:
Guilt causes lots of problems and the UK has more than most. Although it has been happy to give into any legislation thrown at from Brussels, to which many of us have turned from vibrant go getters into form fillers and Reggie Perrins, our saving grace has been never to join the Euro.

I have thought long and hard about this for many years and grown tired of the low grade analysis espoused by its supporters. The currency is dead but Ireland, Portugal, Greece et al will not leave voluntarily because while they can access a bail out fund then its worth hanging in there. They will have to be pushed because they have failed the stress tests and the various treaties and directives that state what their Debt / GDP levels should be.

Or will Germany just jump and leave the rest to it? Fascinating times indeed.

Whilst the Euro takes a plunge, tuck into some Canadians or Aussies.

Today's shorts:
Britain is just too nice says IMA (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Why Labour took History off the national curriculum (cityam)
Paint, canvas, follow this way (bloomberg)
AUM reaches 2008 levels (hfw)

Gossip:
Banks to rename bonuses "Danger Money".



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Caught up in another riot - students

I predict a riot

Trashed police van (9780) © fintag


I predict a riot

Trashed police van (canon) © fintag


News comments:
Last year I was stuck for 4 hours during the G20 riots and today I was caught up watching a few students bring Westminster to a stand still. Having had a decent lunch I found myself bemused at the sight of people I pay for burning things I pay for (police vans) complaining that I am not giving them enough money.

This first picture was taken on my new Blackberry 9780 and the camera is pretty good, don't you think?

This second picture was taken on my old Canon IXUS 100 and is pretty ropey, don't you think?

If Canon are reading this, I would like an s95. Thanks.

Today's shorts:
Eat what you kill (bloomberg)
Ireland loses the plot (bloomberg)

Today's longs:
Finbar Taggit filmed by Sky (sky)

Gossip:
Rioting to be the new black for 2011.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taxing times

The Liberty Tree © fintag

News comments:
There is a lot of debate about whether Ireland should increase its tax rate (and help pacify all those German bond holders) or keep them as they are. Tax goes up, the Americans leave, unemployment goes up, welfare costs increase, income tax falls, its one holy mess.

In the UK, whcih has the world's most complicated tax regime in the known universe, the Office of Tax Simplication has published its 1000+ tax reliefs:

hm treasury excel

Not only has this diminished my tax accountants hourly rate, it has enabled me to ask him some hard hitting questions about my own tax bill.

I have one way to simplify the tax system. Abandoned all these reliefs and have one rate of tax.

All income / capital gains over the national average salary (say GBP22,000) is taxed at 20%.

Today's shorts:
Anyone connected with SAC (nymag)
Ireland hasn't a clue how much bail out it needs (bloomberg)
Korea ready to nuke Asia (bbc)

Today's longs:
Murdoch (boo) gives Cowell (boo) an Emmy (guardian)

Gossip:
Lisbon to be twinned with Dublin and Rome and Madrid and Paris ...



Monday, November 22, 2010

Pollyfilla - Europes great fix

Plugging the gaps

Europe - plugging the gaps © fintag

News comments:
Europe. You know my views. Since the day the Euro was launched I told you it would fail. A common currency only works if all parties have similar views on fiscal and monetary policy.

Obviously a mature economy like Germany is going to view economic management differently to a country with a low grade currency wanting to ride the strong Euro. So it has been no shock when after Punts and Drachmas were replaced with Euros these countries found they were unable to print money, change interest rates or influence their own currencies. So what hope does the Euro have when waiting on the sidelines are these countries gagging to upgrade their peanuts into silver pebbles [Editor: uh?] - Estonia, Latvia, Poland? Are these countries going to replace Italy, Spain and Portugal?

Here is a history lesson:

Which countries have adopted the euro – and when?
1999-2002 (Pegging and hard currency)
Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Greece
2007
Slovenia
2008
Cyprus, Malta
2009
Slovakia
2011 (countries leaving the Euro)
Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Finland

Today's shorts:
Happiness (bloomberg)
Why I orgasm every-night over my Euro notes (europa.eu)

Today's longs:
Is the Euro set to collapse (2006 news article - moneyweek)
Labour says yes to the Euro (Feb 2010 - telegraph)

Gossip:
Bankers to be given bullet proof vests over the coming months.



PIIGS

When the sun shone in happier days

When the sun shone in happier days © fintag

News comments:
The overdraft facility is now in place. This should plug the basel 3 capital requirements and get those bond yields down. So for a short time, Europe (and we mean Germany / France) will breathe a sigh of relief as despite per capita the Irish have appeared to have blagged a larger overdraft than Greece, the Banks are the winners again.

The world is ruled by Bankers.

Us Brits are giving out a loan as a sort of reverse collateral to protect the exposure on the tax payers owned RBS (I am still struggling to get my head round this) and debt is being given to help pay off debt.

But hang on, this debt has to be paid off? When Spain and Portugal and Italy pile into this free money from those gullible Germans, Europe will end up being some huge Madoff like Ponzi scheme.

Who will be the first to ask for their money back?

Today's shorts:
80, 77, 90-100, 70 (telegraph)

Today's longs:
Poor artists hand out sleeping bags (independent)
Italian holds onto his technical role (guardian)
Managed Account Platforms (telegraph)

Gossip:
Germany to ask for a bail out fund to fund the bail out fund.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ireland: Farmers and Real Estate

The Irish Problem

The Irish Problem © fintag

News comments:
So the Irish have given up the lying. Once news came out there was a run on the Irish Banks (the guarantee is worthless) the EU crats have come from behind the shadows and are throwing money at them. With conditions. No more cheap tax. No more noddy real estate propped up banking. No more Double Dutch. No more fund administration (20% staff turnover). And a halt to the emigration.

I am Irish (the name gives it away) and I came back from Dublin at the weekend. It was the most depressing place I have been in a long time.

Farming is a crap job when it rains all the time.

Today's shorts:

Today's longs:

Gossip:



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ireland: It's all about tax.

Seeing the wood from the trees © fintag

News comments:
The Irish Problem is all about tax. Ireland has through its low corporate tax and other whizz bang keep your taxes low for the likes of Google (bloomberg) has encouraged a lot of businesses.

Many companies (allegedly HP, Dell, Microsoft, HSBC et al) are enjoying the "Double Irish" tax avoidance scheme and the Germans and French don't like this one little bit. So why not scare markets with bail out rhetoric so that the Irish will be forced to abandon their cheap tax ideology and these companies will leave and set up in Paris and Frankfurt?

So George Osborne are you reading this (telegraph)? It is yours to lose. Get those corporation taxes down, make some room for a "Double English" (Editor: steady) and hey presto the UK is back in business.

Today's shorts:
US housing (bloomberg)

Today's longs:
Target holidays to Ireland (reuters)

Gossip:
FSA to change the recorded South African voice on the call center phone menu.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reasons to be cheerful

Modern Art Empty Chair

Modern Art Empty Chair © fintag

News comments:
The timing is impeccable. 2011 a Royal Wedding (bbc). With the Olympics in 2012, Team GB is the place to be. Whilst the Irish turn back to potatoes and the Spanish turn to half built villas, we can ignore our own fest-debt problems and live the fantasy.

Today's shorts:
Euro to become the German only currency (bbc)

Today's longs:
Why people who work for Hedge Funds are the happiest people (bbc)

Gossip:
Lies to become the new truth in Europe.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Ireland: A load of blag and boloney

Ireland. Blag and Boloney

Ireland. Blag and Boloney © fintag

News comments:
So we know Ireland is bust. We know it is being bailed out. But the lies go on. You see, unlike Greece, Ireland is a friend of the Euro and the Lisbon treaty. It is a friend of the Americans, Dell and HP and all those fund administrators that look after the Hedge Fund industry. In 1970 it was poor, lame and dead. A few EU grants later and Ireland became one of the richest countries in the world pumping out U2 and Westlife and HSBC Securities Services.

The real estate bubble has truly popped and it was full of crap. Like the Irish politicians who live in their Irish estates now worth less than a Caddy's hourly pay.

Of course I am accused of being Mr Grumpy. I am nothing on Morgan Kelly (independent.ie) who makes Dr Doom look like Mr Happy.

Today's shorts:
Ireland (guardian)

Today's longs:
The Irish Punt (wikipedia)

Gossip:
Ireland to be bailed out by tea time.



Friday, November 12, 2010

The art of money laundering

The art of money laundering

The art of money laundering © fintag

Sunny day in Hong Kong

Sunny day in Hong Kong © fintag

News comments:
As most of you know, the American post war pop art madness was inspired by the CIA (gizmodo) who wanted to show those Ruskies that America was leading the world in culture.

Most pop art was a piss take. Today this art, with its bright colors and child like simplicity (give or take a few Rothco's), is a money launderers delight. It is the preserve of the anonymous super rich who buy via telephone and wire money from afar and execute deeds of ownership on behalf of nominee owned tax haven companies. So the recent art fest in New York (telegraph) was not unexpected.

Spending USD40m isn't that easy and especially on something that will appreciate in value. Yachts, women and wine are flight by night expenses and large properties and companies are dull. So why not own iconic masters that will be replicated and put in safe storage and help shift some of those slightly dodgy dollars into keeping alive a vibrant art market.

So what will the super rich be buying in 2060? How about this chap for starters:

Cartrain

Back to the real world. Did you see the Channel 4 programme last night Britains Trillion Pound Horror Story?. Upshot is we should look to Hong Kong to save Britain. I look forward to seeing live fish on tables and my lungs full of acrid pollution. That was cynical. Sorry. I love Hong Kong and I wasn't aware it came alive in the 1960s when they put in a flat tax regime. From having the GDP/head worth peanuts, Honkers now have GDP/head well exceeding most of Europe.

Alas the UK has increasingly unpayable debt (bring on rampant inflation please) and a state that is bigger than that of China. What chance that we will ever get a Tea Party revolution in the UK?

Yours

Comrade Taggit.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ireland: You thought Greece was bad

Ireland to go pop

Ireland to go pop © fintag

News comments:
Time to get serious.

Ireland is bust (businessweek). It has nothing but worthless real estate plays on its balance sheet and because its a low tax zone, its income is low. Given France and Germany want bond holders to suffer, the yields on all euro debt will rise if Ireland is bailed out. Which is a real possibility. Upshot? Rising Euro interest rates. More people on the streets.

With Sweden telling the USA (globaltimes) off for its QE Coke Fest (remember it tried and failed the same thing in the 1990s (ekonomifakta)) the US and UK are looking like IED ready to explode.

You think a few students smashing somes windows is bad. You ain't seen nothing yet.



Media suppressing anarchy in the UK

G20 versus Students

Capitalism under attack © fintag

News comments:
During the G20 riots (what riots? It was a party!) the police were organised, terrifying and out of control. Capitalism was being attacked and the state pulled out all its weapons. The news coverage went on for days and even today is still being referenced as the day the world was saved. But alas it was nothing of the sort. It was posturing by the state telling the little people that governments are too big to rock.

Yesterday on my way home on the bus, I saw some students bemoaning that the state was no longer going to fund their pub crawling lifestyle (dailymail) (enjoy it while it lasts). The G20 type police were not to be seen and a few windows were broken and lots of pictures were uploaded to flickr and facebook. Twitter had fun and the media pretty much ignored it (telegraph).

Although none of us ever condone violence (which is why thousands of onlookers from AP, reuters et al were quite happy to earn a living from the vandalism that was occurring in front of their eyes) but sometimes this is the only way governments listen. I expect we shall see a few more protests for in times of falling income and lifestyle, the anger has to be taken out somewhere.

But that is dull and illogical.

Today we are long currency pairs, oil and copper. We are short apples, pears and influenza.



Monday, November 8, 2010

Harry Potter and the early worms

Harry Potter Ticket

Harry Potter Preview Ticket © fintag

News comments:
Being the best is having information before anyone else does.

Take the new Harry Potter film - the Deathly Hallows Part 1. This isn't out on general release until later this month. Like the financial results of a S&P500 company we all have to wait.

Of course some have already seen the film; Bit torrent users mostly. If they were hedge fund managers, they would be on the grubby end of trading with multiple sim cards, instant messaging and dirty nightclubs. The information would be unreliable, probably stolen from unscrupulous employees and acting on it would be a risk in itself.

The more classy like myself blag their way into previews. This is like getting to have lunch with the CEO of BigCo who after a couple of glasses of wine tells you the forthcoming financial results.

And so I was part of the crew who saw the film on Sunday. It was full of wizz bang wizardry, adults in short trousers and machine gun wands. I had no idea what it was about but the audience reaction told me it was good.

So that means going long. Long Warner Bros.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bernanke's dirty hands

Bernanke gives out more

Bernanke gives out more © fintag

News comments:
Bernanke is at it again. Whilst Obama rambles on and gives himself some therapy and considers funding a Coffee Party to outwit the dimits of the Tea Party, the leader of the Fed is the only person doing anything to sort out that stubborn US economy.

Printing money is easy and that is what the Japanese inspired QE is all about. Bernanke will keep doing it until inflation roars its ugly head and America turns into Argentina or Zimbabwe of old, or as is looking likely the printing presses cannot stop the deflation virus and the dollar collapses into a heap of Yen.

Today's shorts:
Paloma: Looks good but is a troubled person (dailymail)

Today's longs:
BoA late to the UCITS farce (hedge fund week)

Gossip:
Obama to change his name to Bill Clinton.