The ABCP Crusades

ABCP is an abbreviation for Asset Backed Commercial Paper, a supposedly very safe short term investment certificate that paid a little more interest than a standard bank account. It all went toxic in Canada back in August 2007, one of the first signals of a world economic calamity that was about to unfurl.

purdy2 (3K)

A friend of mine had a load of this crap in his RRSP. The big banks formed a committee. Brian started a Facebook group. I did up a web page blog in support of the cause.

The crusade had begun. It lasted over 18 months, involved cross country tours, investor uprisings, parliamentary committees, trusts, bankruptcies, votes for money, Supreme Court challenges, financial collapse and government guarantees.

A final deal was struck on Dec 24, 2008, on xmas eve. It was drama at its best.

It's all history now. I did a total of 16 blogs on the subject, on one of the most boring topics imaginable. I guess that says something about me.

Diogenes's picture

Point & counterpoint

Do we need a national regulator?

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach

The government of Alberta has stated that it will oppose the establishment of national securities regulator. They argue that it is a provincial responsibility, accorded to it by the constitution. They have offered few other reasons why this should be an exclusive right.

Canada has had many expert panels and commissions over the years that have consistently recommended replacing Canada's patchwork of 13 regional regulators with a single national regulator. The latest panel was chaired by Tom Hockin, the one before that by Purdy Crawford, architect of Canada's recent ABCP restructuring.

Purdy Crawford

Economists and other experts on these matters have almost all agreed that a single regulator in Canada would be a good idea, both for investment and protection of investors.

Why then, the resistance?

Diogenes's picture

Mad as hell, again

purdy2 (3K)

I'm mad, mad as hell, over Alberta's resistance to a national security regulator.

I have rejoined Facebook under a new name and rejoined their group "Canaccord and Other ABCP Clients". An internet activist is reborn.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach

The ABCP fiasco is coming to a close after 18 months but retail investors will not be celebrating until the money is in a mattress, so low is the trust in lawyers, committees and banks.

Diogenes's picture

Never say never

purdy2 (3K)

Back in June 2008, I wrote what I said would be my last blog on a ABCP.

Until then, I had been an active and vocal member of the Facebook group Canaccord and other ABCP clients. I had written blogs about the group and the topic, posted links to news articles and sent e-mails to a whole gaggle of MP's. I was consuming every story I could find on Goggle News.

I was a Facebook ABCP group junkie. Worse yet, I didn't even own any of toxic paper or live in Canada at the time. It was a vicarious life.

Why would I care, you ask? Because I am Canadian! This curious connection to home was my nirvana. Does that make sense? Take off eh?

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Asshole Backed Commercial Paper

purdy2 (3K)

financial analyst This blog will (hopefully) mark the end of the series on Asset Backed Commercial Paper. It all started on March 4 with a blog file named Asshole Backed Commercial Paper, intended as a spoof on the ABCP fiasco.

That version started off with the words "Today's rant is about the Canadian Financial Establishment."

Diogenes's picture

ATM Bank Fees in Canada

Bank machine

Maybe I shouldn't complain. I don't own any ABCP, or a Blackberry, or even a car or a house. I travel light. But I do have a Canadian bank account. And I have used bank machines around the world.

We live in Holland now (and we ride bikes). We have lived in London, where everything costs more than it should; and we have travelled a bit - India, Equador, Norway, South Africa, Germany, France and more.

In all of these places we almost always succeed in obtaining money from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at one of the local banks. This is not a big challenge in most places.

Diogenes's picture

The cost of being Canadian

porsche-boxster-2007 (9K)

My good friend Brian applies this phrase to all things that cost more than they should for no other reason except that this is Canada.

Cell phone services was the first item on the list. He bought a Blackberry a couple of years ago, that wonderful device made by an equally wonderful Canadian company called Research In Motion (RIM). He wanted a plan and technology that would work from wherever he happened to be in the world.

The best service plans (technology and price) are offered in the USA. This has little to do with RIM, and much to do with a peculiar canadian market oligopoly.

Diogenes's picture

An ABCP legal conundrum


I have reprinted this column because I believe it to be one of the best. Jim Middlemiss was the reporter who first wrote about this curious Facebook group back in February. I was disappointed with the article because I thought it missed the point. But it definitely started the ball rolling. Maybe I missed the point?

This article was published before Justice Campbell gave his reasons for postponing approval of a plan that gave the banks blanket immunity to fraud. Mr. Middlemiss demonstrates here the same level of insight and nuance that Justice Campbell will need to stick handle this case to a reasonable conclusion.

An ABCP legal conundrum

fpLogo (3K) by Jim Middlemiss,
Financial Post
Published: Friday, May 16, 2008
Diogenes's picture

Hunter and the Hunted

purdy2 (3K) hunter2a (4K) A historical perspective
on the Facebook group

Canaccord and other ABCP Clients

This article appeared online today. Because online articles have a habit of disappearing with time, I have reprinted it here for posterity. The images here are from my archive, the text from Canadian Business online.

There were many media stories that appeared over the last two months, but this is one of the most detailed and lengthy reviews.

CanadianBusinessLogo (5K)

ABCP: Hunter and the hunted

by Thomas Watson
From the Summer 2008 issue of Canadian Business magazine
Diogenes's picture

Strength in numbers

brian (6K)

Congratulations to all of you for your accomplishment. Canaccord Capital has done what should have been done in the first place! Alone you were nothing, but together you are a force to be reckoned with.

The media heard from you, the politicians started listening, and ALL of those who are handsomely paid to ensure things work properly have reached a pivotal point in their careers.

The job is not done. You have not been paid yet. And trust is in short supply, just like the liquidity all the experts talk about.

This thing, this whole steaming pile of excuses financial taxonomists have labeled 'canadian non-bank asset backed commercial paper', will hopefully become a historical footnote.

Diogenes's picture

The Road Show is over

purdy2 (3K)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Purdy Crawford has left the building.

It's Love, Brother Love
Say Brother Love's Travellin' Salvation Show-ow (halle-halle)
Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies
And everyone goes, 'cause everyone knows, brother Love's show

from Brother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show by Neil Diamond



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