AIG CEO Ed Liddy’s much-anticipated appearance in Congress today was… not really worth all the anticipation, in our humble opinion. Questions posed by members of the House Oversight Committee included “what is the address of AIG?”, an inquiry into whether the company’s value was reflected in its stock price, and the follow up to the first question “Is that in New York City?”
But today the blog ZeroHedge wonders something we’d like to see Ed Towns bring up next time: wherefore the apparent halt in the unwind of derivatives held by the money vortex called AIG Financial Products? Back in February the company was saying it had unwound 25% of its $2.7 trillion in notional exposure, which would leave it with 2.025 trillion in outstanding swaps. By March they said they had unwound another $400 billion and change. But in the two months since then, if Liddy’s testimony today is accurate, the unit has only managed to offload $100 billion in additional exposure. What’s to explain for the sudden halt? Did someone give up “unwinding complex trades” for Lent?
ZeroHedge has a few theories, mostly going back to its own rumor — which we substantiated last week with an actual AIG executive — that the unit had “thrown in the towel” and was handing off major chunks of its portfolio to other trading desks to unwind at a huge profit:
Some potential answers: i) the banks do not need any taxpayers gifts now as much as they did in January and February; ii) the financial blogosphere (and to a much smaller extent, the mainstream media) is now fully aware of the taxpayer thuggery that AIG committed when it unwound the $1.1 trillion in no time, and iii) Andrew Cuomo is monitoring every CDS transaction at AIG-FP under a microscope now, so wholesale dumping could be a “tad” more problematic.Of course, the unit has supposedly been hemorrhaging employees — that could also be related to a slowdown in progress. In any case, we suppose it’s a positive development, although the numbers are so high we may never know for sure.