The Milken Institute is working to give policymakers, media, and the academic community a deeper base of knowledge when it comes to global banking issues. The Institute’s recent launch of GlobalBanking.org offers users a new and unique way of accessing information on banking systems worldwide and their regulatory environment. The site aggregates World Bank data from 180 countries in addition to its own independent research and analysis on an open platform that is accessible to anyone.

“Never before has this kind of information been collected and presented in such an easy-to-use way,” said Staci Warden, executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets. “We are confident that it will be a tremendous resource for anyone working in this area.”

The aim of GlobalBanking.org is to build a database of international banking facts and figures, increasing transparency regarding the worldwide banking environment. Key features include ease of use and the ability to incorporate data into independent research by users; interactive charts and maps; up-to-date news and expert commentary, and global banking reports. (read more…)

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s book Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises hits bookstores on Monday. Ahead of the release, Geithner sat down for some yummy food and friendly conversation with Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times. Here is a dissection of the puff piece that ensued.

  • “When the housing bubble burst in 2008, Geithner was the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Along with Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Henry M. Paulson, the Treasury secretary at the time, Geithner was charged with essentially saving the economy from sliding into the abyss.” — Let’s just skip the part about how if those same three guys had kinda, maybe, sorta been doing their jobs all along, they probably wouldn’t have found themselves staring into such a daunting “abyss.”
  • “The perception that he was overmatched for the position was strengthened when he responded to a congressman’s question at a second hearing by saying: “I just want to correct one thing.
  • (read more…)

A collection of sage investment executives gathered at the Milken Institute Global Conference this week to discuss the state of financial markets. Here is some of the insight shared by panelists during the Reading the Tea Leaves: Where are Markets Headed? session.

Michael Cembalest, Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Cembalest says he is watching four issues closely: two market issues and two policy issues. Citing the remarkable correlation between manufacturing surveys and corporate profits that follow three to six months later, Cembalest said, “The next couple quarters of business surveys and corporate-profits growth are probably more important than they have been in a while.”

On the policy side, Cembalest shared insight on brewing energy and housing matters. “It would be a huge mistake to accelerate the pace of [liquefied natural gas] exports. … There is a huge multiplier-effect benefit from the U.S. having electricity prices for homes and businesses that are 50% to 60% of what the rest of the world pays. (read more…)

A roundup of financial news from Day Two of the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Trouble brewing in the credit markets?: “All the danger signs are there of a future crisis.” That is how Apollo Global Management co-founder Marc Rowan summed up his view of the credit markets during the Credit Markets: What’s Next? panel. “We’re back to doing exactly the same things that were done in the credit markets during the crisis. Our job is to step wisely and try to avoid that.” However, David Warren, chief investment officer at Brevan Howard Credit Funds, sees things quite differently. Because of reforms like Dodd-Frank and Basel III are pushing the big banks out of some sectors, Warren says the next 10 years will be a “golden era” for credit investing.

Cybersecurity is the next global battlefield, said former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during the lunch panel. (read more…)

A roundup of financial news from Day One of the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Central banks still run the show: The past, present and future actions of the world’s central banks drew scrutiny during a panel about prospects for the global economy. Alan Howard, co-founder of Brevan Howard, said the increased regulatory powers of the European Central Bank will be a game-changer as will the size and targeting of the quantitative easing he expects the ECB to manage. Alexander Friedman, Global Chief Investment Officer at UBS said the untold story of last five years is how the policies of the Federal Reserve have contributed to income inequality politicians and others have taken to lamenting.

Dodd dishes on Dodd-Frank fails: Former Sen. Christopher Dodd says one of his big regrets about the architecture of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is that it didn’t call for self-funding of the Securities & Exchange Commission. (read more…)