Clearing houses could be the next source of chaos — Simon Johnson

MIT Sloan Prof. Simon Johnson

From The Financial Times

Financial shadows are dangerous. Even more dangerous are interactions between poorly understood shadows and essential financial intermediation activities. And most dangerous is when officials and private sector executives encourage a class of transactions that supposedly provide modest risk mitigation, while really building a disguised form of systemic risk on a grand scale.

It was not mounting losses at Countrywide, the failure of Lehman Brothers or the imminent collapse of AIG that spelt disaster in September 2008. It was the connections between those lightly regulated businesses and Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Société Générale, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank.

Where is the next generation of systemic risk hiding in plain sight? Look carefully at central clearing counterparties, or clearing houses, which are expanding due to the post-crisis requirement that standardised swaps – derivative transactions, including credit default swaps, that have standard terms along important dimensions – be cleared centrally.

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Six whopping lies told about entrepreneurs … Sometimes by entrepreneurs themselves — Bill Aulet

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Bill Aulet

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Bill Aulet

From Forbes

As more people aspire to become entrepreneurs, it is important to dispel many of the misperceptions about this species. Here are six big ones that even some entrepreneurs believe:

1. They are the smartest and most high achieving people in the room:  They certainly weren’t growing up.  It is highly unlikely they were the valedictorians of their classes in college.  As one successful entrepreneur recently said to me, “If I had a 4.0 at graduation, it stood for the number of parties I went to the night before rather than my GPA.”   Entrepreneurs don’t typically try to please other people; rather, they find something that deeply fascinates them and then hyper-focus on that particular opportunity.  Hence, the high dropout rates.  Case study: Steve Jobs 

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A better way to evaluate investments — Eric So

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Eric So

In the wake of the economic crisis, many companies these days seem to be undervalued. The current earnings-to-price ratios are high and often market commentators argue that these ratios reflect good opportunities to invest. However, the emergence of undervalued stocks comes at a time of high market uncertainty so it’s more important than ever for investors to identify strong investment opportunities based on a company’s fundamentals. Read More »

“Dark Pools” can improve price discovery in open exchanges — Haoxiang Zhu

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Haoxiang Zhu

When big investors want to execute trades but fear the size of the transaction could move the market, they often go to dark pools—alternative trading systems where orders are not publicly displayed. These opaque trading venues, now accounting for about 12 percent of equity trading volume in the United States, have sparked concern among regulators and in the financial press. With so many transactions occurring out of public view, critics warn that price discovery, the accurate determination of asset prices, will become more difficult. Read More »

Jose-Maria Fernandez: Financial engineering for good: A New Approach to Funding Large-Scale Biomedical Innovation

MIT Sloan Researcher Jose-Maria Fernandez

There is a growing consensus that the “bench-to-bedside” process of translating biomedical research into effective therapeutics is broken. A confluence of factors explains such pessimism but among the most widespread is the sense that the current the drug development business model is flawed. The development of new therapeutics is an expensive, lengthy, and risky process that challenges traditional funding vehicles, which are limited in size, Read More »