一个给人启发的失误

作者:未知 来源:经济学人 2013-04-09 我要评论( )

    Finance and Economics;Short-selling litigation;An enlightening mistake;
    财经;卖空交易诉讼;一个给人启发的失误;

    Defence lawyers reveal more than they meant to in a closely watched legal case;
    在一个备受关注的法律官司中,辩方律师所公开的消息比原本打算的更多;

    A rare slip-up by lawyers has helped shed some light on a high-profile legal battle, the details of which some of the largest Wall Street firms have been fighting to keep under wraps. The case concerns allegations of illegal “naked” short selling, where the rules have been tightened several times over the past seven years.
    由律师造成的一个罕见疏漏帮助(人们)对一起备受瞩目的法律官司有所了解,华尔街的企业巨头们想方设法让当中一些细节得以保密。该案针对的指控是非法的裸卖空,涉及的法规在过去7年已被一次次收紧。

    In 2007 Overstock sued 11 brokers, alleging that they had caused its share price to fall by helping their clients to naked-short the Utah-based retailer. In a normal short sale, shares are borrowed (or at least “located”) with a broker’s help before being sold. In the naked version, there is no attempt to borrow or locate the stock. This can create “fails to deliver”, where the trade is not settled when it should be, and messes with the laws of supply and demand, allowing shorting to take place beyond the natural limits set by the number of borrowable shares.
    2007年,Overstock公司起诉过11位经纪人,声称他们此前通过帮助客户裸卖空这家位于犹他州的零售商(的股票)而导致该公司股价下跌。在一项普通做空当中,股票先是在经纪人的帮助下被借入(或至少是“标的”)然后再卖掉。在裸卖空中,无须尝试借股或者标的股票。这就能够形成“无法交割”——交易本该完成却不能完成,也扰乱了供给需求规律,突破可借股票数量这一自然限制而允许发生做空。

    As the pre-trial discovery period proceeded, Overstock narrowed its focus to two firms, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, now part of Bank of America. Before the case was set to go to trial in California, however, the judge dismissed it on jurisdictional grounds, ruling that not enough of the alleged wrongdoing had taken place in the state. Overstock appealed and pushed for all of the evidence to be unsealed. The defendants objected. Four media groups, including The Economist, opposed a motion to seal on public-interest grounds. The judge decided that some of the documents should be released but stayed his ruling, pending appeal.
    随着审前证据公开阶段的展开,Overstock把焦点锁定在两家公司上:高盛和美林,后者现在已经成为美洲银行一部分。然而,在案件即将在加州进入审判阶段前,法官基于司法权的理由不予受理,裁定在该州发生的所谓违法行为(证据)不足。Overstock提起上诉并力争公开所有证据。被告方反对。包括经济学人在内的四家传媒集团反对以公共利益为由而封存证据的动议。法官判定部分档案应当被公布,但维持原判,中止诉讼程序。

    That was how things stood until May 11th, when the defendants’ lawyers served the other parties in the case with their opposition to a plaintiff’s motion. Inadvertently included in this was an unredacted version of an earlier filing by Overstock containing excerpts of e-mails from Goldman and Merrill employees.
    (之前的)事情就是那样,直到5月11日被告方律师对原告的一项动议表示反对时却在该案上成全了对方。无意间把Overstock公司前期未修改的版本包含在当中,其中包括高盛和美林员工的电子邮件节选。

    In these they discuss deliberately failing to settle client trades. One Merrill executive suggests the firm “might want to consider allowing…customers to fail,” to which a colleague replies: “We are going to look into that.” Another asks: “How and when can we prevent the delivery [of shares]?” To a question from a large client about efforts at “cleaning up” fails, a Goldman man says that “we will let you fail.” Compliance officers questioned this behaviour, according to the filing. One at Merrill is quoted calling it “totally unacceptable—we are failing when we have over a million shares of stock available.”
    在这些(邮件)当中他们慎重讨论了客户交易无法完成一事。一位美林高层建议公司“也许想要考虑让客户(交易)失败,”一位同事则回复到:“我们将对此进行研究。”另一位问道:“我们能够何时、用怎样的方式防止股票交割?”针对一个由大客户提出的关于努力澄清(交易)失败的问题,一位高盛员工说道“我们将会让你(的股票交割)失败。”文件显示,合规性监察官员质疑这一行为。一位美林(监察员)被引述曾称此事 “绝对无法接受——我们手上有超过一百万股股票,但却不予交割。”

    The e-mails also suggest close commercial links between the two firms and at least one trading outfit that was a target of regulatory probes into shorting violations, SBA Trading. A Merrill employee forwards a sanctions order against SBA’s Scott Arenstein to a counterpart at Goldman, referring to Mr Arenstein as “our boy” and asking: “You think there will be any fallout on clearing firms?” In another e-mail, the deputy head of Goldman’s securities-lending group describes Mr Arenstein as being “the other side of a lot of our activity.”
    电子邮件中同样暗示了存在于两家公司之间紧密的商业联系,以及至少一家受法规限制的交易机构——SBA交易正在探索违规卖空。一位美林员工向高盛的同行发出了对SBA的Scott Arenstein的批准命令,提及Arenstein先生是“我们的人”并质问“你以为清算公司还会有任何附带后果吗?”在另一封电子邮件中,高盛的证券借贷部副总把Arenstein先生描述为是“我们许多业务的对应方。”

    Other missives suggest a cavalier attitude to the rules. The president of one of Merrill’s stock-clearing businesses responds to internal concerns about failed trades thus: “Fuck the compliance area—procedures, schmecedures.” He later assured the court that this statement was a joke, according to the filing.
    其他信件则暗示了对法规的轻慢态度。美林公司一项股票清算业务的主席这样回应了关于交易失败的内部关注:“去他妈的合规性部分——方案、程序。”文件显示,他后来向法院保证说这句话是在开玩笑。

    Goldman and Merrill deny that they participated in unlawful naked shorting. Their supporters argue that the legal action brought by Overstock is a crude tactic by its mercurial boss, Patrick Byrne, to divert attention from its long history of underperformance. Some question the link between failed trades and naked shorting.
    高盛和美林否认他们参与了非法的裸卖空。他们的支持者辩护说这起由Overstock挑起的官司是该公司狡猾多端的老板Patrick Byrne的一个粗糙战术,旨在将注意力从该公司长期的欠佳表现转移开来。一些人质疑在交易失败与裸卖空之间的联系。

    Nevertheless, the release of the e-mail excerpts will have done the brokers no favours. They suggest that trades were being intentionally failed; that some of the firms’ internal policemen were unhappy with the explanations they received for the proliferation of fails; and that at least one executive had an unusual attitude towards compliance. The e-mails are just a small part of the material unearthed during the four-year discovery process. If the court of appeal unstays the partial unsealing order, there will be much more to pore over.
    虽然如此,电子邮件节选内容的曝光对经纪人来说可不是好事。它们表明了交易是被故意搅黄的;一些公司内部监管人员对收到的交易失败扩大化的解释并不满意,而且至少有一位高管对合规性持不同寻常的态度。这些电子邮件只是这四年的证据公示阶段中众多被发掘出的材料中的冰山一角。如果上诉法院对有限的开启令不予支持,那么将会有更多材料等着细读。

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