We Could Use More Small Banks

Hamilton Nolan · 12/03/13 12:48PM

America now has 6,891 federally insured banking institutions. That's the fewest we've had since 1934. Though it may cause reflexive distaste, it is a fact: we could use more banks.

Here's What a Hedge Fund Profit-And-Loss Statement Looks Like

Hamilton Nolan · 10/22/13 11:49AM

Hedge funds are privately controlled and notoriously secretive investment firms with billions of dollars in assets. Here's a document listing all of the income, salaries, and spending for one hedge fund over several years.

Occupy Banking: Yes, Please

Hamilton Nolan · 10/01/13 09:07AM

A spinoff group from the Occupy movement is seeking to launch its own prepaid debit card, as a prelude to offering a more complete set of financial services. Ridiculous? Not at all. In fact, taking over some of Wall Street's business could be the most useful thing Occupy Wall Street could do.

Are Hedge Funds Detrimental to College Idealism?

Hamilton Nolan · 09/06/13 10:14AM

College endowments are much flashier than they used to be. They frequently reach into the billions of dollars; they attract top investing talent; and, most notably, the majority of their money is in "alternative" investments like private equity and hedge funds. Is this hurting students' ability to be proper idealists?

Andrew Ross Sorkin Is Such a Wall Street Bootlicker Sometimes

Hamilton Nolan · 08/20/13 10:11AM

Andrew Ross Sorkin, the whiz kid-ish New York Times Dealbook reporter, sometimes gets unfairly characterized as a bootlicking Wall Street suckup who wants only to ingratiate himself with the powerful. Other times—like today—that characterization is completely fair.

Yes, Wall Street Is Overpaid

Hamilton Nolan · 08/08/13 03:37PM

Up until the Reagan years, workers in the finance sector of the economy were paid, on average, pretty close to what workers in most other industries were paid. That's all changed over the past 30 years. Do employees of the financial sector deserve to be paid so much more than most other workers? No.

Private Equity Leeches Are Hungrier Than Ever

Hamilton Nolan · 08/06/13 09:19AM

Here is what a private equity firm does: it borrows money to buy a company; then it has the company borrow money to pay rich fees to the private equity firm, for providing the service of... sucking the company coffers dry like a voracious leech. This practice is currently bigger than ever.

At Least One Country Is Ready to Jail Some Bankers

Hamilton Nolan · 07/08/13 02:58PM

After the Great Recession struck, many "Main Street" types of Americans were mad that the entire global economy managed to melt down without resulting in any "Wall Street" types of Americans being thrown in jail. Finally, the law on this point is changing.

How to Beat the Wall Street Pros in One Easy Step

Hamilton Nolan · 06/19/13 11:48AM

Even the lucky people who have cash to invest are often cynical about the stock market. "The game is rigged. Smart money vs. dumb money. Insiders win. Efficient markets. You can't beat the pros. Why try?" Etc. Wrong! To be a successful investor, you only need to know one thing.

Kill High Frequency Trading

Hamilton Nolan · 06/13/13 12:24PM

There is currently a minor uproar over the revelation that various non-governmental groups sell early access— two seconds early—to their market-moving news releases to paying customers, who can then trade on that information before everyone else. This points to a larger problem: the entire institution of "high frequency trading" has no public benefit, and tons of risk.

Hamilton Nolan · 05/30/13 02:00PM

Financial stocks are booming, and more Ivy League grads are heading for jobs on Wall Street. Just your daily reminder that it is 2006.

Hamilton Nolan · 05/13/13 12:29PM

Wow, the city of Detroit is so fucked.

Is It Time to Invest in the Stock Market?

Hamilton Nolan · 03/06/13 11:49AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently at its highest point in history. Never before has the stock market been this valuable, uh, not taking inflation into account. As the media piles in and investors celebrate, the question of the day is: Is it now "time" to buy stocks?

It's Time to Break Up the Big Banks

Hamilton Nolan · 02/20/13 06:30PM

Everybody talks about the "Too Big to Fail" problem: financial institutions that are so huge and interconnected that, when they run into a crisis, the public will always bail them out, because the consequences of not doing so would be catastrophic for everyone. Nobody does anything about it. Maybe that's because banks have powerful lobbyists; maybe it's a human psychological flaw that causes us to stop worrying about inevitable future crises as soon as the last crisis seems to have passed.

Investing Is Simple, Don't Tell The Rich

Hamilton Nolan · 10/12/12 03:06PM

One thing you can do on Friday, at the end of the day, when you have a couple free minutes, is to pick up the phone fire all of your "financial adviser" and "investment consultants" and anyone else who takes money from you in exchange for recommending investments to you. Then just buy some low-cost index funds in a mix of stock and bonds, and then go to bed, because that is what smart people who don't like getting hustled do.