" ... Ackman’s pursuit of MBIA spanned the two major crises of capitalism of the last decade, from the earlier era of corporate fraud prosecutions epitomized by Enron and its off-balance-sheet special purpose vehicles (SPVs), to the late credit debacle stemming from the collapse of the CDO house of cards."
—The Hedge Fund Law Report, May 2010
Confidence Game is a real-world "Emperor's New Clothes," a tale of widespread delusion and one dissenting voice in the era leading up to the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. Wall Street appeared to have found the secret for turning everything from risky mortgages to credit card bills into super-safe, triple-A-rated securities. Behind the facade of safety, the financial system had become dangerously fragile. Few had anything to gain from pointing out the risk.
Bill Ackman did. In 2002, the hedge fund manager issued a critical research report on MBIA Inc., the owner of a triple-A-rated bond insurer that played a central role in the financial alchemy on Wall Street. "This company will spiral downward," Ackman warned, and he placed a bet against MBIA that would earn his investors billions of dollars if it did.
The backlash was swift. Ackman was branded a fraud in the press and investigated by Eliot Spitzer and the SEC. Despite the scrutiny, he spent years telling anyone who would listen why MBIA was a catastrophe waiting to happen. With the onset of the credit crisis, the problems exposed turned out to be bigger than MBIA. An unquestioning acceptance of credit ratings, a blind eye to leverage, a dangerous reliance on financial models, and the abandonment of common sense had become part of a deeply flawed financial system. The collapse humbled nearly every large financial institution and plunged the country into recession.
Ackman's story captures an era of delusional confidence, when debt exploded yet risk appeared to vanish. Told by award-winning bond market reporter Christine Richard, Confidence Game is a behind-the-scenes look at how warnings went unheeded as Wall Street careened toward disaster.
The author's ability to explain the technical complex terms in vivid layman language is surprising. Although there is pretty clear position taken ithrough the lines, the authors... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Catdog
Very interesting book, very informative and very inspiring. It is very complete but also very well explained so that someone with little knowledge of finance can understand it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. Meis
The book arrived in great condition and very timely. The storyline of the book is excellent. Recommend the book for those interested in a financial crisis story.Published 2 months ago by Sal Russo
Written by an author who later went on to a hedge fund research outfit and continued to work with/for Ackman, the book does give plenty of insight in both the financial crises but... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Erik
one of the best books i've read in a long time. good insight into how Ackman thinks, how the industry works, and why he's probably right about Herbalife...Published 13 months ago by GPN
Confidence Game is an excellent and detailed account of how Bill Ackman had the courage and determination to stick with his belief that the bond insurers were bad businesses that... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Hal
"Calling Wall Street's Bluff" is the perfect subtitle. This is the true story of one guy (not the traditional underdog but a very smart, very rich hedge fund manager) who saw... Read morePublished 14 months ago by David M. Freedman