Diogenes's picture

Mad as Hell!


Excerpts from a member email and a YouTube link, appropos for the occasion.

Everything that I am seeing shows me that Purdy et al are going to try to get the CCAA restructuring approved by scaring enough of the retail holders to vote for it or at least refrain from voting against the plan. If they have to deal with some bad press, so be it.

Peter Brown would obviously prefer to preserve the value of his Canaccord shares than pay anything of substance to ABCP holders, so he will support the CCAA plan while paying lip service to the sufferiing of the Canaccord clients that Canaccord put into the paper.

I think that we need to make it 100% clear that we definately intend to blow up their CCAA plan and sue if there is not a settlement offered, and a good one at that.

I am still interested in starting a website called "I'm mad as hell.ca".

Diogenes's picture

The chips are down

So, Purdy Crawford, prominent Bay street lawyer, and chairman of the Pan-Canadian committee, is now conducting a whirlwind, cross-country, dog-and-pony show selling The Proposal.

If the plan fails to get the go-ahead, retail investors "get damn little," Mr. Crawford said yesterday. "That's not a threat. It's a reality."

Mr. Crawford calls this the 'art of the possible'.

Diogenes's picture

Media Mania

Getty Images

Now the media coverage of ABCP retail investors has become a bit of a frenzy.

It has become hard to keep up with it all. Some respected (or at least widely syndicated) columnists have have even started to write columns and offer opinions on the topic.

There has been a remarkable twist to the story. Each noteholder has a vote on the bankruptcy. By most accounts, there are some 1400 retail noteholders that 'own' only $270 million of this paper, out of $33 billion that is frozen. Each of these noteholders has a vote. Most of this bad ABCP debt is held by big players in Canada's financial community. The retail investors outnumber the big guys 15:1.

Collectively, this means creditors that are owed less than 1% of the debt could scupper the $33 billion Pan-Canadian barge. The banks will not like this. The country's largest pension fund will not like this. Certain investment dealers across the country should look for a new line of work.

The barge would sink, and the members of the committee would have to demonstrate that they know how to swim.

Diogenes's picture

The Proposal

purdy2 (3K)

Things have changed but remain the same. Accounts are still frozen and no one knows what they are worth BUT the Committee has come up with a proposal.

Here is a suggested introductory letter that the committee might consider sending to ABCP retail investors, in the spirit of full disclosure and transparency.

(Warning - the following paragraphs contain examples of extreme sarcasm or satire, reader discretion is advised.)

Diogenes's picture

Finally, some attention

There has been an explosion of news in recent days on the ABCP issue, at least compared to what we are used to.

Another deadline was missed by the committee, but they have promised to file something in court on Monday. In essence, it's a bankruptcy proceeding.

They are proposing to swap the short term notes, most of which have matured at least 5 months ago, into long term notes that will mature in 8 years. After fees are deducted, noteholders may get all their principal back.

The Big Banks provide a credit facility. It is not a guarantee, but a way of limiting their losses. One of the reasons that there is no deal do date is that some of Canada's Banks have been reluctant to sign on.

We have also got the attention of the federal politicians. The Federal Finance Committee appears set to hold at least 12 hours of hearings on the ABCP crisis and intends to hear from 'severely affected Canadians'.

Diogenes's picture

How Safe is Your RRSP?

I have a friend who has an RRSP. He is self employed. This RRSP is his pension.

financial analyst

Last July he sold the remaining stocks in the plan and directed all funds be placed in a safe, short term, money market fund like T-Bills

His full service broker at Canaccord Capital purchased a 30 day note that paid a competitive rate of interest.

It's highly rated AAA paper, as good as cash

Not long after, and much to his surprise, he discovered he had purchased Asset Backed Commercial Paper (ABCP). The markets froze Aug 13, 2007.

More than 7 months later he has not seen a dime. There is a chance he never will. The account is frozen. He cannot cash it in, he cannot borrow against it. At the present time, it is worthless.

Diogenes's picture

Up and Running again

It has been almost two months since the last update and I apologize. I was ill, among other distractions, and the hardest thing to do when you are ill is to be creative.

Flowers (44K) The picture on the left was actually taken on Feb 12th, in a little park on a boulevard not far from where we live. It was a beautiful day, 13°C. In Calgary, just a few days earlier, the high for the day was -23, the low was -29.

There are a number of new pages here.

Antwerp is a beautiful town in Belgium known for its diamond trade and ornate guild houses. So we did up picture page with a little story of our trip there.

Diogenes's picture

Home from the holidays


I stayed at my Mom's for Christmas this year, which was kind of weird because the last time that happened was almost 35 years ago. I remember why. There was not enough room for me. There is still not enough room for me.

It's her castle and the rules are love it or leave it. A simple and effective strategy that has worked, for the most part.

Mom claims that she watches hardly any TV even though the TV is almost always on. She likes news, weather, and shows like Wheel of Fortune; programs with no time commitment or plot. After all, she has a busy retirement.

The favorite over the holidays was channel 106, which I shall call The Fireplace channel because it featured a crackling fire set in a cozy 32 inch fireplace. Every now and then, a poker appears to stoke the fire.

Diogenes's picture

Please, bear with me!

My brother bought a new computer recently and I offered to help set it up. It came preinstalled with Windows Vista, which is the only Microsoft choice available in about 90% of computer stores in Calgary.

If you find yourself buying to a Windows Vista system, and you have files on your old system that you would like to see on the Vista system, use a memory stick, an MP3 player, or even a digital camera to transfer the files.

Only a masochist would do it with Microsoft networking. Please, bear with me.

Diogenes's picture

Merry xmas from WAL-MART

In the days leading up to Christmas I saw a lot of xmas news, which are stories of interest, served up in the absence of real news.

In Calgary, these were features on how much shoppers spend at christmas and how Calgary leads the nation in per-capita gift-buying. Wal-mart stores were open 24 hours in the week leading up to Christmas to serve the demand.

On Christmas Day, Walmart issued a press release that outlined plans to have stores open 24 hours a day for boxing week.

I'm not quite sure how their employees greeted this news or how many knew of it before Christmas. It's not hard to imagine a few Walmart people being called on Christmas day and informed of a change in plans, of a new night shift slot that needs to be staffed.

Walmart is clearly the leader on this. Other stores will blindly follow suit, for fear of being crushed by the competition.



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