by Golem XIV
A horrid thought has been incubating for the last few days.
I don’t know how many of you know much about Vulture Funds, what they do and how they do it, but it forms the basis of my horrid thought.
Nations issue debt. After it is bought, it often gets re-sold on what is called the secondary market. The price of debt on the secondary market changes much as stock prices change. The market is big.
When a nation looks like it might default the price of its debt begins to sink. What was bought for full price is offered for sale at a reduced price – say 60 cents on the dollar. Buyers and sellers have to decide if they think the nation will proceed to default or avoid it. The decision is, sell now and accept a loss but avoid a potentially larger loss later, or buy now at a discount and if the nation avoids default, profit as the value of that cheaply bought debt recovers its original value.
But then there are the vulture funds. They follow a quite different path. They are creatures of the law not of finance and there are not many. One of the biggest, most notorious and best connected is Elliot Associates of Manhattan. They have very close links with the Republican Party and to Mitt Romney in particular ( They are large donors to his campaign). Another is FG Capital management. These companies are financial companies all founded and largely owned by Wall Street lawyers. FG Capital Management was founded by a former Morgan Stanley consultant.
Vulture funds buy the bonds others have given up on. They buy what is often referred to as ‘distressed debt’. That is debt that has been defaulted upon and is, for the ordinary bond manager, worthless. The vulture buys it and then sues the defaulting nation. It is a very specialized area of the law and of finance. As an IMF study from 2003 said of vulture funds,
“Investors in this market posses specialized knowledge of bankruptcy law and international litigation and are willing to hold out for many years before seeing any recovery”
full article at source: http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/author/golem-xiv/