Monthly Archives: April 2011

H.T. Narea Radio Show Appearance

April 19, 2011: H.T. Narea was interviewed by radio host, Todd Schnick on his national radio show.  Listen to the full interview here–> Intrepid Radio Show

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Another great review, thank you!

From Diane’s Books Spring 2011 Newsletter

“DEBUT AND A GREENWICH AUTHOR! WOW! Meet a convert to radical Islam who manages a multibillion dollar hedge fund for Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in order to execute terrorist plots throughout the world.  The Fund is a new category of financial thriller – financial terrorism – and its author, H. T. Narea, has focused his entire career on the hedge-fund world in global financial markets. He brings this vast knowledge to The Fund, an explosive and timely thriller, and as Gordon quipped: “Without a doubt The Fund will be one of the top thrillers of 2011.” CONGRATULATIONS! H.T. Narea will keep you turning the pages faster and faster!”

Thank you, Diane!

Visit Diane’s Books –> www.dianesbooks.com

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H.T. Narea on Intrepid Radio Show

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New Review from Amazon’s Vine Program

Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Clancy meets “The Big Short”, March 29, 2011
This review is from: The Fund (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program

Narea in his first novel inventively blends terrorism with financial warfare – plus some not inconceivable bioterrorism – to show what might happen if someone mixed 9/11 with September 2008.

It’s not a pretty picture. As the author is a former investment banker and principal with JPMorgan Chase, you figure he knows what he’s talking about.

What you get is a plot that mixes Tom Clancy with “The Big Short”.

Muslim financier Nebibi Hasehm, controller of a multibillion fund making a well-publicized opening to Wall Street, secretly funds Islamist terrorism. He’s coordinating an attack with a major business assault on one of America’s wealthiest financiers. Hasehm also seeks a return to “Andalus”, the medieval Muslim caliphate that once ruled Spain. As events evolve, the plot leads to much more far-reaching consequences.

Defense Intelligence analyst Kate Molares uses her Wall Street background to follow money trails. She finds one she suspects is linked to a Madrid airport bombing. As she follows it, she stumbles across ties to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and then Castro’s Cuba – where some very shadowy medical research is going on.

Meanwhile Wall Street mogul Sam Coldsmith prepares to cash out his billions in a deal with Hasehm, while England and Spain prepare for a summit leading to joint sovereignty over long-disputed Gibraltar – gateway to Europe and a relic of the British empire with Britain’s shaky hold symbolic of the West’s weakening grip on world affairs.

Hasehm and his associates don’t know anyone is on to them. And Molares doesn’t realize, as she follows the trail, that it leads to Hasehm – with whom she has a past.

Narea does a fine job particularly near the end, when he sets his characters aside to examine the global consequences of such a plot. His ending has a “to-be-continued” feel to it. Could there be another book in the offing? I’ll read it.

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Library Journal – A nice mention for THE FUND

Genre Spotlight | Mystery: Dispatches from the Edge

Mysteries go highbrow, exploring dysfunctional and dystopian worlds

By M.M. Adjarian

Apr 15, 2011

One of Forge executive editor Robert Gleason’s newest finds, H.T. Narea’s The Fund (May), features “evil hedge fund managers [and] evil corporate raiders” straight out of a Wall Street nightmare. It’s one of several thrillers the Tor imprint plans to release over the next year in which “financiers are major characters.” The Fund dramatizes Warren Buffett’s chilling pronouncement that in the right hands, derivatives can become “weapons of mass destruction.” Says Narea, “The idea for the book came to me because of some dangerous trends I’ve been following on the international black market and the rise of global powers to challenge the…monolithic preeminence of the United States.”

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New Book Review of The Fund

Lynn Kimmerle of Monarch Book Reviews said some kind things about my book:

“In this race against time, Narea’s sweeping novel keeps the reader on the edge of the seat wondering if all of the pieces of this puzzle will fit together before the world is changed forever.  Intricate and exciting, THE FUND is going to be the beach read of 2011!”

Thanks, Lynn!

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Goldman Traders Tried to Manipulate Derivatives Market in ’07, Report Says

Article from Bloomberg – by Christine Harper and Joshua Gallu
Apr 13, 2011 10:09 PM ET

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) mortgage traders tried to manipulate prices of derivatives linked to subprime home loans in May 2007 for their own benefit, according to a U.S. Senate report.

Company documents show traders led by Michael J. Swenson sought to encourage a “short squeeze” by putting artificially low prices on derivatives that would gain in value as mortgage securities fell, according to the report yesterday by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The idea, abandoned after market conditions worsened, was to drive holders of such credit-default swaps to sell and help Goldman Sachs traders buy at reduced prices, according to the report.

“We began to encourage this squeeze, with plans of getting very short again,” Deeb Salem, a trader in the structured product group, said in a 2007 self-evaluation excerpted in the report. Swenson, Salem’s supervisor, sent e-mails in May 2007 urging traders to offer prices that will “cause maximum pain” and “have people totally demoralized.” In interviews with the committee, Salem and Swenson denied attempting a short squeeze, the report said.

Salem “claimed that he had wrongly worded his self- evaluation,” the report said. “He said that reading his self- evaluation as a description of an intended short squeeze put too much emphasis on ‘words.’”

The subcommittee cited the episode as an example of how Goldman Sachs traders placed the firm’s interests ahead of its clients’ as the value of mortgage-linked investments tumbled in 2007. The subcommittee, led by Senator Carl M. Levin, a Michigan Democrat and Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, has called on regulators to craft strict bans on proprietary trading and conflicts of interest to keep the problems from recurring.

‘Poor Quality Investments’

“Conflicts of interests related to proprietary investments led Goldman to conceal its adverse financial interests from potential investors, sell investors poor quality investments, and place its financial interests before those of its clients,” according to the subcommittee.

Goldman Sachs traders abandoned the short-squeeze attempt after discovering on June 7, 2007, that two Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds that specialized in subprime-mortgage investments were collapsing. Salem e-mailed Swenson and another colleague to suggest trying to buy short positions, known as “protection,” on collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, from hedge fund Magnetar Capital LLC, according to the subcommittee’s report.

“We need to go to magnetar and see if we can buy a bunch of cdo protection… Can tell them we have a protection buyer, who is looking to get into this trade now that spreads have tightened back in.”

‘Great Idea’

Swenson expressed “no concerns about the proposed deception” and responded to Salem that it was a “great idea,” according to the report.

The report comes almost a year after the committee spent more than 10 hours grilling Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs’s chairman and chief executive officer, and six current and former employees in one of the most hostile political showdowns in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

That hearing happened 12 days after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued New York-based Goldman Sachs for fraud in a case that the firm settled for $550 million in July.

In an effort to address questions raised by the SEC lawsuit and the subcommittee, Blankfein convened a committee of Goldman Sachs executives to review the firm’s practices. In January, the firm published 39 recommendations aimed at better managing conflicts and client relationships, as well as governance and employee training.

Citigroup, Merrill Lynch

Goldman Sachs disagrees with “many of the conclusions” in the report and cited the business standards committee as evidence that “we take seriously the issues explored by the subcommittee,” the firm said in a statement released by Lucas van Praag, a company spokesman.

As rivals including Citigroup Inc. (C) and Merrill Lynch & Co. posted losses on mortgage-related investments during 2007, Goldman Sachs reported record earnings that benefited from the firm’s negative view of the subprime-mortgage market.

Blankfein and other executives at the firm have said that its traders placed “short” bets, which profited when prices of mortgage-linked securities fell, to hedge against losses. He also said in last year’s hearing that Goldman Sachs was acting as a “market maker” in selling CDOs and other mortgage-backed investments to clients as the company’s own traders were betting against them.

‘Massive Short’

“We didn’t have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients,” Blankfein, 56, who received a record $67.9 million bonus for his performance in 2007, told the subcommittee last year. “Rather, we believe that we managed our risk as our shareholders and our regulators would expect.”

The subcommittee said that documents uncovered in its two- year investigation of the financial crisis show that Goldman Sachs’s mortgage traders did have a large short position during 2007 and the sales team aggressively sought clients to buy CDOs that the traders expected would decline in value.

One executive “instructed Goldman personnel not to provide written information to investors about how Goldman was valuing” a CDO called Timberwolf, according to the report, “and its sales force offered no additional assistance to potential investors trying to evaluate the 4,500 underlying assets.”

Joshua S. Birnbaum, who ran a unit called the ABX Trading Desk, said in an October 2007 internal presentation that a short position established by the structured product group after the collapse of two Bear Stearns hedge funds was “not a hedge” against CDOs and residential mortgage-backed securities, or RMBS, owned by the firm, the report said.

‘Not a Hedge’

“By June, all retained CDO and RMBS positions were identified already hedged,” the presentation said. “In other words, the shorts were not a hedge.”

The subcommittee’s report describes four CDOs that the firm created and sold in an effort to reduce Goldman Sachs’s exposure to subprime-mortgage risk. It describes Goldman Sachs as having given misleading descriptions of some of the CDOs and in some cases seeking out buyers who were inexperienced with them.

The report also says that the mortgage desk reversed its view on how it marked derivatives values based on its position in the market. Clients with short positions complained that Goldman Sachs was undervaluing those bets during the squeeze attempt. After the traders abandoned that strategy in June 2007 and increased their wagers against the mortgage market, other clients complained the firm was overvaluing the short positions.

“Once it began buying CDS shorts, the SPG Desk immediately changed its CDS short valuations and began increasing their value,” the report said. “Clients with long positions began to complain that the marks were too high, and internal Goldman business units also raised questions.”

Link to original article

 

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The Fund: Official Book Trailer

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Chairman Ben S. Bernanke on Clearinghouses, Financial Stability, and Financial Reform

Comments Delivered at the 2011 Financial Markets Conference, Stone Mountain, Georgia
April 4, 2011

Clearinghouses, Financial Stability, and Financial Reform

I am pleased to speak once again at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Financial Markets Conference. This year’s conference covers an interesting mix of topics bearing on the vital ongoing global debate on how best to prevent and respond to financial crises.

Tonight I would like to discuss post-crisis reform as it relates to a prominent part of our financial market infrastructure–namely, clearinghouses for payments, securities, and derivatives transactions. This audience, I know, recognizes the importance of what is often called the “plumbing” of the financial system–a set of institutions that very safely and efficiently handles, under most circumstances, enormous volumes of financial transactions each day. Because clearinghouses and other parts of the financial infrastructure fared relatively well during the crisis–despite moments of significant stress–the public debate on financial reform has understandably focused on the risks posed by so-called too-big-to-fail financial firms, whose dramatic failures or near failures put our financial system and economy in dire jeopardy. Nevertheless, the smooth operation and financial soundness of clearinghouses and related institutions are essential for financial stability, and we must not take them for granted.

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