Thursday, September 25, 2008
Bill Gross describes how the bailout plan would make the U.S. government oodles of money and offers to work for free to help manage the procss.
From the original op-ed piece in the Washington Post:
I estimate the average price of distressed mortgages that pass from "troubled financial institutions" to the Treasury at auction will be 65 cents on the dollar, representing a loss of one-third of the original purchase price to the seller, and a prospective yield of 10 to 15 percent to the Treasury. Financed at 3 to 4 percent via the sale of Treasury bonds, the Treasury will therefore be in a position to earn a positive carry or yield spread of at least 7 to 8 percent.This yield spread would purportedly earn the U.S. government $25 billion a year.
And from a follow-up story in the New York Times:
William H. Gross, the manager of the country’s largest bond mutual fund, has a solution: he is offering to sort through the toxic assets — free.Why doesn't Pimco just buy the distressed assets themselves like they did earlier this year when the meltdown in muni bonds presented the buying opportunity of a lifetime?
“We have a large and brilliant staff that can analyze and has analyzed subprime mortgages that can help the Treasury out,” Mr. Gross, the co-chief investment officer for the Pacific Investment Management Company, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters here.
Despite his proposal to offer his talents, gratis, some investment managers say the government should be wary of giving authority for the auction of mortgage securities to anyone in the private sector, particularly someone with as dominant a position in the bond market as Mr. Gross.
For more than a year, Mr. Gross, whose investment expertise has earned him a net worth estimated at more than $1 billion, according to Forbes, has indeed played the role of the financial markets’ Cassandra. Beginning in July 2007, he warned that the subprime mortgage crisis would become far worse before it would improve.
Other sectors of the financial markets, he predicted, also could seize up if the Federal Reserve and the Treasury did not do something to help keep the markets liquid.
But Mr. Gross and Pimco also attracted criticism when it became clear that the Pimco Total Return fund earned more than $1.7 billion on the day the federal government bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.