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January 16 2018

moneymetals

Swamp Lives On: Crooked Banks and Captured Regulators

If officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are bothered by allegations of incompetence and capture by Wall Street’s bankers, it is hard to tell. The Commission recently hired Brett Redfearn to serve as Director of the Division of Trading and Markets. Redfearn left a 13 year stint at JP Morgan to assume a key role in regulating banks, investors and traders.

The SEC, and other regulators such as the CFTC and the Federal Reserve, aren’t worried about appearances. Redfearn looks like yet another fox being sent to guard the henhouse. His appointment undermines confidence even if he intends to serve with integrity.

Instilling confidence ought to be a priority at the SEC. The past decade has been a disaster when it comes to the agency’s credibility.

U.S. securities and exchange commission seal

To date, not one high level bank executive, has been prosecuted for misdeeds related to the 2008 Financial Crisis. This despite plenty of the shareholders SEC officials are supposed to be protecting having lost their shirts. SEC bureaucrats either bungled or turned a blind eye to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

To cap it off, a high-profile story which broke in 2010 uncovered agency staff and contractors spending an inordinate amount of time watching pornography on the job.

Continue reading (source)

November 30 2017

moneymetals

How to Choose a Firm to Set Up Your Precious Metals IRA

Self directed IRAs are increasingly popular as investors discover they can use them to escape the ring fence represented by traditional IRA accounts.

Banks and brokerages successfully cultivated the idea that IRAs should contain only conventional securities – stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The truth is that they get paid handsomely for selling those paper assets, so that is all they put on the menu.

But word is getting out that it is perfectly legal and easy to own tangible assets, including real estate and precious metals, in an IRA. Investors just have to leave Wall Street and find a custodian which specializes in self-directed IRA plans. Today, there are a number of firms offering this sort of plan, so it is worth covering how an investor might go about choosing one.

Secure Your Retirement with a Precious Metals IRA | Learn More  />

You’ll want to start by evaluating the basics. Choose a firm with a reputation for providing great service at competitive fees. You might give extra points for a firm which is well established in the industry. There has been a fair bit of consolidation and changes in the space recently.

We would not recommend custodians charging more than $150 in annual fees or those charging more than $50 for each transaction. There are some very good firms with fees significantly below those levels.

The capability to enroll, view and manage transactions online should be a big consideration if you prefer the convenience of managing affairs electronically. Those people who prefer to deal in person should inquire by phone to see if you can reach a service rep easily and get good care.

Continue to the full article (source

November 13 2017

moneymetals

October 30 2017

moneymetals

Bad News Banksters Double Cross Their Customers

Crooked bankers are all over the headlines again.

The world’s largest metals hedge fund, Red Kite Management, Ltd., is suing Barclays for rigging copper prices. Federal prosecutors launched an investigation of Wells Fargo bankers working on its foreign exchange desk Friday. And on October 23rd, a jury in New York convicted an HSBC trader of fraud.

Bank fraud

The HSBC trader, Mark Johnson, said he “thought we got away with it” to his coworkers after cheating their client in a massive foreign exchange transaction. But he was wrong. The jury found him guilty for his involvement in a 2011 exchange in which the Cairn Energy Plc converted $3.5 billion dollars to British pounds.

Johnson had taken Cairn’s order and promptly turned around to provide the details of the upcoming transaction to other HSBC traders. They front ran the client’s order by buying pounds which they then resold to the client for approximately $8 million in profit. When Cairn complained about the high price at which their trade was executed, Johnson blamed the “Russians.”

The investigation of Wells Fargo also involves foreign exchange. Federal agents got involved shortly after news that Wells Fargo had fired four traders and re-assigned a senior executive. Sources said the bank took this action after completion of an internal investigation. Details as to which client was involved and how they were cheated are not yet public.

Few will be shocked if it turns out that Wells Fargo was swindling another customer. Over the past year, the bank admitted employees had created as many as 3.5 million phony accounts and charged related fees. We also know the bank has been overcharging clients for auto insurance and mortgage related products.

The allegations at Barclays Bank on behalf of Red Kite are a variation on the same theme: abuse the customer’s trust. The complaint indicates that bankers used knowledge of the firm’s open copper trades to profit at their client’s expense.

Continue to the full article (source).

August 07 2017

moneymetals

Insider's Take on the Political Situation from former Ron Paul Aide

Well now, without further delay, let's get right to this week's exclusive interview.

Paul-Martin foss

Mike Gleason:It is my privilege now to welcome in Paul-Martin Foss, founder and president of The Carl Menger Center for the Study of Money and Banking, an organization whose mission is to educate the American people on the importance of sound monetary policy. Prior to starting The Carl Menger Center, Paul-Martin worked on Capitol Hill for seven years, including a six year stint with none other than Congressman Ron Paul. As Paul's legislative assistant, he worked closely with Dr. Paul on his Audit the Fed and End the Fed bills.

Paul-Martin has a Master's degree from both the London School of Economics and Georgetown University, and has dedicated much of his professional life to the cause of sound money and the values of Austrian economics. So it's a real pleasure to have him on with us today. Paul-Martin, thanks so much for joining us and welcome.

Paul-Martin Foss: Well, thank you very much for having me on.

Mike Gleason: Well, I guess we'll start at the beginning here, and I'll ask you to explain why you've made it a goal and a mission to spread the ideals of sound money and sound banking. So first off, what does sound money and sound banking mean, and why should the average American citizen even concern themselves with these causes in the first place?

Paul-Martin Foss: Sound money basically is money that the government cannot debase and devalue. It's money that allows civilization and commerce to flourish. It protects savers. It protects consumers. It allows individuals to save and invest and plan for the future. What we're seeing is for the past century since the Federal Reserve was created is basically unsound money. It's money that is constantly being devalued. It favors debtors, especially the biggest debtor of all, the Federal government. It's silently taking money out of the pockets of savers and the average individual and putting that money in the pockets of Wall Street. The average American person doesn't really understand or see... who was it, I think Keynes quotes Lenin as saying that “the surest way to debase a civilization is to debase its currency.” This is basically what's happening in our country today, so I'm trying to make it an important issue and make people realize just how important sound money and sound banking is in the United States.

Mike Gleason: Furthering the point here, you wrote a great article about how the government essentially funds itself through three methods, taxation, borrowing, and inflation, and you explained how sound money is essential to keeping spending in check. Talk more about that, and then also explain more about the role that gold and silver can serve to rein in government spending.

Paul-Martin Foss: Yeah, it's like you said, you have taxation, you have borrowing, and you have inflation. Those are the three methods that the government can use to fund itself. Taxation is kind of self-limiting because once you get the tax rates high enough, people are going to stop paying taxes and the government's not going to take in as much money. Borrowing, eventually people… if you are spendthrift and not paying back your debts, they're going to stop lending you money or they're going to lend you money at higher interest rates, so there's kind of a self-limiting factor there too.

So inflation ends up being their preferred method of funding themselves, again because it's very subtle. The Fed says 2% inflation rate every year, that's their definition of stable prices. Well, that's devaluing government debt by 2% every year. Over the course of a decade, you devalue your debt by 25%, and you can pay back your debts in devalued dollars, so it's a win-win for the government all around, basically spending a lot more money than it actually has.

Gold and silver have always been great checks against the government because there's just a limited supply of it, and the government doesn't have a monopoly on the possession of gold and silver, the use of gold and silver. It can't print gold and silver. It's an item. If it wants to issue bank notes and spend money that way, it's limited by the amount of gold and silver that is physically in its possession. So it's always been a great check on government spending, and that's why governments around the world for the past 100 years have done everything they can to demonetize gold and silver, keep people from being able to use because they don't want gold and silver to be money because it limits their power.

June 16 2017

moneymetals
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