As Yogi Berra might say: It's déjà vu all over again.
Wall Street's hustlers are back and chasing investor dollars like they did in the good old days of the credit bubble, before the big boom went bust and investors lost trillions while club members made millions in fees and bonuses.
Among the club members are Jay Levine, Chris Ricciardi, and Stanford Kurland, writes Steven Pearlstein in The Washington Post. These are some of the guys who concocted and traded the convoluted security packages which sank in value like a lead brick, he writes.
"And now," says Pearlstein, they are “out there again hustling for investors and hoping to make another score buying and trading the same securities."
The return of the big money managers comes as money market funds, once considered a safe place to park cash, could become moderately risky again when the government program hastily initiated last year to guarantee money fund deposits expires on Sept. 18.
In 2008 the colossal Reserve Primary Fund, with $62.5 billion in its portfolio "broke the buck" when Lehman Brothers defaulted on $785 million in bonds which the fund held. Investor redemptions skyrocketed.
This prompted then Treasury secretary Henry Paulson's unprecedented intervention to protect all money market assets, approximately $3.5 trillion, and thus avert a panic, writes Joe Nocera in The New York Times.
"Here we are a year later and the money market fund business seems back to normal," Nocera writes.
"No other money funds have broken the buck."
But now the safety net is gone.
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