Sunday, December 12, 2010
Secret Elite Rules Derivative Trading - What, There's Gambling Going on Here!
The controversial, multitrillion-dollar corner of Wall Street known as the derivatives market is run by a nine-member cabal that meets in secret and hides the identities of its members, according to The New York Times. The men come from giant banks like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and fight to keep other banks out of the market and information about prices and fees secret. They also exert powerful control over derivative clearinghouses, where many of the financial products will be traded after the financial reform law Congress passed earlier this year. But Republican lawmakers who receive campaign cash from the banks plan to fight the implementation of the law, thus allowing the elite group to stifle disclosure and competition. The Justice Department's antitrust division is investigating derivatives, and says the market looks like the Nasdaq of the 1990s. "When you limit participation in the governance of an entity to a few like-minded institutions or individuals who have an interest in keeping competitors out, you have the potential for bad things to happen. It’s antitrust 101," said Robert Litan, who led the Justice Department's Nasdaq investigation.