Obama Taps CitiGroup Economist For Treasury Spot
Since team Obama is so good at the vetting process, do you think they noticed that the Global Marketing Division, that Alexander heads up, was just fined $2 million by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) for trade-reporting violations, including publishing flawed quotations. No, team Obama probably missed this one, since they’re still figuring out the whole “do you owe taxes” thingy.
Obviously Alexander is all about transparency and honesty.
- Finra said Citigroup’s “system failures” led to “the erroneous publication” of about 6,800 non-bona fide transactions in more than 170 securities. That indirectly caused other firms to execute transactions at prices unrelated to the market value of the securities, forcing the firms to seek cancellation of more than 1,400 trades.
- Finra also found Citigroup didn’t report about 6 million orders to Finra’s Order Audit Trail System, between Aug. 1, 1999 and July 10, 2006. The regulator also found that from July 2002 through September 2006, Citigroup inaccurately reported or failed to report over 300,000 transactions to Finra’s Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine and inaccurately reported or failed to report more than 480,000 transactions to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.
So here’s the breaking news that got lost in all the AIG crap.
- SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Citigroup Inc.’s Chief Economist Lewis Alexander is leaving to work for the U.S. Treasury, The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday on its Web site, citing a company memo. The memo said Alexander is leaving to “to work on domestic financial issues,” and an unnamed government official said Alexander will serve as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, according to the Journal.
Oh, did I mention, Alexander has a solid grip on the world economic crisis?
In a February 28, 2009, interview with Susie Gharib of PBS, Alexander made some unbelievable statements about our current economic situation. Alexander obviously lives in a different world.
- GHARIB: The sell-off yesterday was a global event. When you look at the global economy, is it at risk?
- ALEXANDER: Well, if there were a major slowdown in the U.S., there would be effects internationally. But the rest of the world looks pretty good. The most recent data we got out of Japan was quite strong. There has been a modest slowdown in China, but a very modest slowdown. Europe is actually looking a little better than we expected. If you look at the sources of domestic demand outside the United States, they look pretty solid. So I think, look, if the U.S. slows down, the world economy is going to have an issue, but I think it`s not one that looks particularly troublesome at this point. There`s been a lot of focus on China because the selling in the market started in China. Are there downside economic risks in China?
Let’s take a brief reality check concerning China and Japan, versus Alexander’s rosy statement above.
BBC March 12, 2009; China:
- Following the announcement that China’s exports have fallen by more than 25% since last year, Robert Peston travels across China to see how the country is coping.
- Down south in the region of Guangdong – whose economy is about a quarter of the size of the UK’s – well the story there is a bit different. It is of industrial devastation caused by collapse in international trade.
- This should not be a surprise, in that a plunge in exports has wreaked havoc at other great manufacturing nations, in an arc of prosperity from Japan though Asia to Eastern Europe and Germany.
- But the mile after mile of deserted factories I encountered in southern China were profoundly shocking, as were the mobs of unemployed young people scrambling at job markets to secure what little employment is still available.
- Those laid off told me they were really gloomy about their prospects.
CNN Money Feb. 16, 2009; Japan
- TOKYO (CNN) — Japan is grappling with its worst economic crisis since the end of World War II, the nation’s economic and fiscal policy minister said Monday.
- The comments from Kaoru Yosano followed news of Japan’s gross domestic product falling at a 12.7% annual rate in the fourth quarter in 2008.
Guardian UK February 25, 2009; Japan
- Japan’s economic crisis deepened today after figures showed exports fell by a record 46% in January from a year earlier, leaving the country with a record trade deficit.
- The dramatic fall widened Japan’s trade deficit to ¥952.6bn (£6.75bn), the fourth deficit in as many months, and the biggest since records began in 1979.
- The world’s second biggest economy now finds itself in the unusual position of pleading with trading partners to resist protectionism, in a reversal of the “Japan-bashing” 1980s, when its vast trade surpluses sparked calls to boycott the country’s products in the US.
Now, don’t you feel better that Obama has picked the right guy to help Treasury Secretary Geithner?