whc_new logo
September 30, 2008
Market Commentary from WH Cornerstone Investments

History is repeating itself!

Lehman was the largest bankruptcy in our country's history. It was larger than the previous nine largest combined; it was just a few weeks ago, now it's a passing thought.

The news keeps coming out faster than Wall Street can digest it. Wall Street doesn't like uncertainty. We are feeling the effects of that now.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s there was plenty of scandalous news. You might remember some of these stories.

  • The crisis of the Savings and Loans (S&L) industry.
  • Ivan Boesky-prosecuted for insider trading.
  • Salomon Brothers-caught submitting false bids to the U.S. Treasury. Their story is documented in Michael Lewis' book-Liar's Poker.
  • Drexel Burnham Lambert-driven into bankruptcy in the 1980s by its involvement in illegal activities in the junk bond market, driven by Drexel employee Michael Milken.
  • Michel Milken a.k.a. "Junk Bond King"-Drexel employee who was sent to prison on finance-related charges.

These stories dominated the crisis of that day. This current mess is a re-occurring nightmare from the past. The names might have changed, but the greed hasn't.

From 1986 to 1995, the number of US federally insured S&L in the United States declined from 3,234 to 1,645-a 50% decline. Ironically, it was due to unsound real estate lending. Many other banks failed for other reasons.

Between 1980 and 1994 more than 1,600 banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) were closed or received FDIC financial assistance.

During the S&L crisis, the government created the Resolution Trust Corp. Now, they want to form the "Resolution Trust Bank". A structure that will buy illiquid assets, mainly mortgage related, to create liquidity within the system.

We are fortunate to have Ben Bernanke, a scholar of the 1930s and the Great Depression, as well as Henry Paulson, one of Wall Street's most respected leaders, at the helm of this crisis. Even though the politics of the day voted down yesterday's plan, we'll eventually see a workable plan.

Even through all of this, our nation, economy and capital markets have survived. Even thrived!

We have seen a breakdown of this magnitude before. We will get through this one.

Please advise us promptly if there are ever any changes in your financial situation or investment objectives. Feel free to give us a call if you want to discuss anything further.

Sincerely, Paula and Bill Harris, CFP

phone: 888.797.9009

"Pessimism never won any battle." -Dwight D. Eisenhower

Email Marketing by