Remember the scene in A few Good Men where Colonel Jessup (Jack Nicholson) and Lieutenant Kaffee (Tom Cruise) trade insults? Following some pretty intense questioning, Kaffee yells at Jessup: “I want the truth”. With the deadly glare that only Jack Nicholson can muster, Jessop retorts: “You can’t handle the truth”. I was reminded of this rather famous moment in film history when a long time reader of the Absolute Return Letter asked me recently: Why don’t you tell the truth about the UK economy? Why don’t you tell it as it is – that the situation in the UK is worse than it is in the eurozone? I decided to take up the challenge from the reader. I am not sure that I actually agree that the UK is in a worse position than most eurozone countries; it is worse in some respects but better in others. More about this in a moment.
As Eurocrats dissemble, ratios that quantify U.S. financial system exposure to European insolvency are dated, even as they are published.
The downfall of MF Global has exposed yet another patch of the underbelly of the brokerage industry. Practices that are routine and legal – and hitherto largely unknown to most investors – can leave a company vulnerable when abused.