Thursday, August 09, 2007

Markets headed further down ?

From Forbes : BNP Paribas Freezes Funds

One of Europe's largest banks, France's BNP Paribas, said on Thursday it had frozen three of its investment funds, citing volatility in the U.S. asset-backed securities market. The funds' exposure to risky subprime loans means the bank can no longer calculate their net value.

BNP Paribas blamed "the complete evaporation of liquidity" in certain areas of the U.S. securities market for its inability to calculate the fair value of the three funds in question
Hmm.. So any fund that has invested in these three funds will now no longer be able to accurately calculate their net value. So should they also be frozen ? That would trigger a cascading effect, which likely will result in no mutual fund any where in world being able to calculate their net value.

Here is the normal way in which this would have been handled. These funds would probably treat their entire sub prime mortgage investments as wiped out and calculate their net asset value accordingly. Investors would be allowed to redeem at this calculated net value. New investment in the funds would be stopped to allow existing investors to gain if there is any value left in the sub prime mortgage investment.

The fact that this wasn't done leaves room for speculation that losses from the sub prime part of the funds could have been unbounded i.e the entire net value of the funds could have been wiped off. A scary thought for markets already under some strain.

Disclosure : I have no short position in any markets.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

It should be noted that there is a differentiated value for subprime or stated income loans in the commercial lending market. This loan type is not entirely bad despite the abuse of some in the residential lending arena. Oftentimes, individuals that want to start or acquire a small business, purchase a gas station, acquire a motel, open an auto repair shop or any of a myriad of sole proprietor establishements, and do not have the portfolio that would make them attractive to the big box leaders. Lending companies like Ocean Capital in Rhode Island offer subprime and stated income loans by using up close and personal evaluations of the borrower and the opportunity. We need companies like this to support new business opportunities.