I’m a huge fan of not attending interesting-looking conferences, but encouraging other smart people to go and report back — especially in abbreviated form. Here is Mike Panzer doing exactly that from The Economist magazine’s inaugural Buttonwood event this week in New York:
Secretary Tim Geithner, United States Department of the Treasury:
"Generally, we did not do enough." (Referring to the failure to address growing concerns over excessive risk-taking in the period leading up to the financial crisis.) [Editor’s note: understatement of the year?]
Stephen Roach, Chairman, Morgan Stanley Asia:
Those who are looking for a "V"-shaped recovery are in for "a rude awakening."
"The imbalances going into the crisis were large to begin with. Now, they are bigger than ever."
George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management:
"Bankers have too much power." (Referring to the hold that Wall Street has over Washington.)
The "globalization of financial markets is built on false premises: namely, that markets can be left to their own devices."
Sheila C. Bair, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation:
"Insured deposits are being used in ways that I don’t like to see."
Wilbur L. Ross Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, WL Ross & Co.:
People were focused on "risk-ignoring rates of return." (Describing one of the things that went helped bring about the financial crisis.)
If regulators had taken the time to visit a Countrywide Lending office, they would have seen something akin to "a Wall Street boiler room," rather than a bank branch. (Referring to regulator’s unwillingness to go out into the field and see what was really going on during the housing boom.)
"Government is its own systemic risk in the mortgage market."