Saturday, April 24, 2010

Levitt's "Decade of Transparency" Won't Apply to The Carlyle Group

Former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt spoke to Bloomberg on looming financial regulations. Levitt envisions "a decade of transparency." Only that transparency doesn't apply to private equity underwriters (PEU's).

Levitt should know that, as Senior Advisor for The Carlyle Group, a politically connected PEU with a Pennsylvania Avenue address. The Dodd bill doesn't define private equity, which has been around under various names since the 1970's. The Senate's robust regulations call for a study of private equity "self regulation." President Obama omitted many shadow bankers in his early call for reform. They remain conspicuously absent.

As for credit derivatives, naked credit defaults swaps aren't going away. They could be traded on an exchange, a house that may or may not allow the bet. Like Vegas, it comes with bouncers. However, nonstandard derivatives can still be traded in the same manner as their Wild West days i.e. non-transparently.

Funny, Levitt's decade of transparency has lots of darkness, where the shadow boys hide.