The degree of insider trading in this market is getting ridiculous. And the strangest thing is those who are executing on blatantly obvious material, non-public insider information, are no longer concerned the least bit about getting caught as they realize that the “mighty” SEC will do nothing against them, courtesy of the example the SEC has set by finding absolutely nobody “responsible” (except, of course, the regulator’s own future employers who thus get immunity from prosecution) for the greatest market heist in history in which over $5 trillion has been transferred from the middle class to the Wall Street oligarchy (future providers of paychecks for SEC staffers).
Today’s grotesque example of the SEC’s futility to act as even a modest deterrent to insider trading activity: New York Community Bancorp (which, just so happens, is a $602 million recipient of TLGP debt), whose stock surged in the final minutes of trading for reasons (then) unknown. As reader QevolveQ pointed out at 5:30 pm, the activity in both the stock and the calls of the company was many standard deviations away from average and raised major red flags. Those questions were quickly put to rest when it became known at 6:33 pm that NYB would in fact receive FDIC subsidies to acquire newly failed AmTrust Bank in a transaction that would be “immediately accretive to earnings.” And how wouldn’t it be:
Under the terms of the agreement, the Community Bank did not acquire any
of AmTrust Bank’s non-performing loans serviced by AmTrust Bank or any
other real estate owned; construction, land, or development loans;
private-label securities, or mortgage servicing rights, nor did it
acquire any of the assets or assume any of the obligations of the
No, those would conveniently be funded by Ms. Bair herself. The cost to the FDIC, and US taxpayers, to make NYB a richer enterprise: $2 billion. This is value that will go straight to the bank’s bottom line. As a result of this middle-class subsidy it was a certainty that its shares would spike.
The smoking gun here comes straight from a quick observation of NYB’s intraday P/V chart: the jump at 3:24pm on statistically significant volume is a clear signal that someone was fully aware of the soon to be announced transaction:
Furthermore, as QeQ highlights, “8,933 of the Dec 12 calls traded vs. 2,244 OI, finishing +300% on the day.” A very solid return for a few hours of trading. The block trades are visible below: one set of 2,500 Dec $12 calls bought at $0.20, followed promptly by two more 2,500 blocks around $0.25. With the stock poised to open much higher than its closing price, someone is sure to make a killing.
It is practically certain that the NYB stock and option transactions came courtesy of a insider tip. And as NYB is both a ward of the state, courtesy of its TLGP umbilical cord, and as the bank would soon become $2 billion richer as a result of some more middle class-to-Wall Street fund flows, it is very likely that the FDIC itself is the source of such leak. We truly hope that one of D.C.’s most ineffective and useless females (if grossly, grossly overpaid for her “work” in 2008) will analyze whether the agency headed by another such female has been responsible for yet more illegal insider trading activity. That the government is only capable of promoting unpunished criminal activity would not surprise anyone at this point. And as this will be one of those cases when everything is handed to the SEC on a silver platter, we don’t doubt that some minor scapegoat will be put away to make it seem like the most worthless organization in the world earns its $1 billion annual budget fair and square. What is chilling is the complete disdain that insider traders now flaunt when it comes to fear of retribution by the “regulators.” And when Ms. Mary “$3.3 Million” Schapiro is done catching any and all masterminds behind this dastardly deed, we would all be very grateful if she could leave her keys, her chauffeur, and her masseuse as she packs her banker box full of Wall Street indulgences on the way out of public office once and for all – Ms. Schapiro, the public does not want you betraying its trust any longer. Now please go work for Goldman Sachs where your continued betrayal of U.S. interests will be welcome and compensated much better than the meager $3.3 million you made at Finra. The sooner you get into a job that requires efforts more consummate with your diminished capacity, the sooner you can continue counting the $5-$25 million in cash payouts you slurped up from FINRA’s defined benefit plans.