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6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 10/17/2009 6:32:03 AM EDT
...'cos he's the smartest man in the world.....he knows better than you and me........or maybe....


....not....

Harvard’s Bet on Interest Rate Rise Cost $500 Million to Exit

By John Lauerman and Michael McDonald
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aHou7iMlBMN8

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) –– Harvard University’s failed bet that interest rates would rise cost the world’s richest school at least $500 million in payments to escape derivatives that backfired.

Harvard paid $497.6 million to investment banks during the fiscal year ended June 30 to get out of $1.1 billion of interest-rate swaps intended to hedge variable-rate debt for capital projects, the report said. The university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said it also agreed to pay $425 million over 30 to 40 years to offset an additional $764 million in swaps.

The transactions began losing value last year as central banks slashed benchmark lending rates, forcing the university to post collateral with lenders, said Daniel Shore, Harvard’s chief financial officer. Some agreements require that the parties post collateral if there are significant changes in interest rates.

“When we went into the fall, we had some serious liquidity management issues we were dealing with and the collateral postings on the swaps was one,” Shore said in an interview today. “In evaluating our liquidity position, we wanted to get some stability and some safety.”

Harvard sold $2.5 billion in bonds in the fiscal year, in part to pay for the swap exit, even as the school’s endowment recorded its biggest loss in 40 years, the annual report said. This is the first time the university has detailed the cost of exiting its swaps.

Further Pressure

“Substantial losses” in Harvard’s General Operating Account, a pool of cash from which bills are paid, further put pressure on the school, the report said. The net asset value of the account fell to $3.7 billion from $6.6 billion during the fiscal year, according to the report.

Harvard has typically invested a large portion of this operating account alongside the endowment, generating “significant positive investment results,” the report said. This year, the endowment’s losses hurt Harvard’s cash, according to the report.

Swaps are a type of derivative where two parties agree to exchange payments tied to a financing, typically receiving a variable-rate for a fixed-rate payment. The terminated contracts include three tied to $431.7 million of bonds the university sold in 2005 and 2007, the annual report said.

Unwinding Swaps

From New York to San Francisco Bay, tax-exempt issuers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to unwind bond-and-swap transactions officials initially said would cut borrowing costs. The deals fell apart when municipal-bond insurers, who backed much of the underlying debt, lost their AAA ratings in 2008 and interest rates, instead of climbing, plunged to record lows in the worst credit crisis since the Great Depression.

The swaps are often pegged to Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association lending benchmarks or the three- month dollar London-Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor. Libor closed today at 0.28 percent, from a 10-year high of 6.89 percent on June 1, 2000.

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; Georgetown University in Washington and Rockefeller University in New York have reported losses related to interest-rate swaps, in some cases prompting the schools to pay termination fees to end the contracts.

Lawrence Summers

The annual report provides new details on Harvard’s derivative-related losses. Many were entered into in 2004, said Harvard spokeswoman Christine Heenan. Lawrence Summers, director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, was the university’s president at the time. White House spokesman Matthew Vogel declined to comment.

Harvard Management Co., which administers the endowment, has been run since July 2008 by Jane Mendillo, former chief investment officer of nearby Wellesley College. She took over from Mohamed El-Erian, now chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., which oversees the world’s largest bond fund from Newport Beach, California. He succeeded Jack Meyer, who ran it for 15 years, in February 2006.

Harvard’s loss “says that people don’t understand the complexity of the products they are buying and selling and that doesn’t begin and end with mortgage securities,” said Robert Doty, a municipal finance adviser at American Governmental Services in Sacramento, California.

“It shows that with these products that are so highly complex, people are a long way from knowing as much about these products as they think they do,” he said.

Financing Construction

The Harvard swaps involved bonds sold to finance a medical research building, graduate housing, parking and a Center for Government and International Studies, according to reports from Moody’s Investors Service. They were also used to lock in rates for future bond sales for an expansion of the campus across the Charles River in Boston that has since been scaled back.

Harvard had 19 swap contracts with New York-based Goldman Sachs; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Morgan Stanley; Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. and other large banks, according to a bond-ratings report by Standard & Poor’s released on Jan. 18, 2008.

Harvard paid “a large termination fee, but within the range that we’ve heard about over the last year,” Matt Fabian, the senior analyst and managing director of Municipal Market Advisors in Westport, Connecticut, said in an e-mail. “There is a reason why, regardless of the issuer’s sophistication, there should be limits to their exposure to derivatives and variable rate bonds.”

Harvard has frozen employee salaries, slowed hiring, cut staff and offered other workers early retirement as part of a cost-cutting program to compensate for losses in its endowment. The fund, which dropped to $26 billion in value over the fiscal year from $36.9 billion, paid 38 percent of the school’s bills during that time, the report said.

Alumni Request

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard’s biggest unit, which includes its undergraduate school, is asking alumni and donors for more funds that can be used immediately and without restrictions to help close a projected $110-million deficit in its 2011 budget, Dean Michael Smith said in a recent speech. Current-use gifts rose 23 percent to $291 million from $237 million in fiscal 2008, the report said.

Harvard might have paid less to escape the swaps if it held out for better terms, Fabian said.

“A lot of issuers don’t have that kind of cash, and so they waited, and relied on their dealers’ patience and largesse to hold off terminating,” Fabian said. “If Harvard had waited, the cost of terminating may well have been lower, but they weren’t willing to take that risk.”

(snip)
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 6:53:17 AM EDT
I am so glad I didn't go to that awful school.
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 7:10:25 AM EDT
Why? Didn't you want to be turned into an arrogant liberal robot, too?


Originally Posted By cableguy221:
I am so glad I didn't go to that awful school.


Link Posted: 10/17/2009 7:18:37 AM EDT
sound like tuition will be going up
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 7:22:35 AM EDT
Most of their "engineers" end up with a Bachelors of Arts. I am so tired of all this hippie fail that passes for education.

For the Engineering Sciences degree, we offer an A.B. degree option as well as an ABET-accredited S.B. that requires about four more additional technical courses than the A.B. The S.B. program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012-telephone: (410) 347-7700.


Translation: Look! Really! We are accredited! It's not part of our standard cirriculum but we can really give science degrees or something! Not that any US citizen or English speaker is interested, but we can!
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 7:52:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By bclark1:
Most of their "engineers" end up with a Bachelors of Arts. I am so tired of all this hippie fail that passes for education.

For the Engineering Sciences degree, we offer an A.B. degree option as well as an ABET-accredited S.B. that requires about four more additional technical courses than the A.B. The S.B. program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012-telephone: (410) 347-7700.


Translation: Look! Really! We are accredited! It's not part of our standard cirriculum but we can really give science degrees or something! Not that any US citizen or English speaker is interested, but we can!


You are mischaracterizing the program. The A.B. program is not a joke, and I don't know how you can say whether most students take the A.B. track over the S.B. track. I can't find that information on Harvard's website, and it wasn't available when I went there.

You don't know the differences between the programs. The S.B. course requires 4 additional classes over the A.B. program, two of which are a design lab. The A.B. program is not engineering for dummies. It is a very math driven, theoretic engineering program, and the courses are as difficult as MIT classes.

A lot of student think the design lab in the S.B. program is a waste of time. Further, with the other requirements of the college, following the S.B. course will leave you with nearly no electives. No other engineering electives on anything.

Link Posted: 10/17/2009 8:12:02 AM EDT
I interact with Harvard grads professionally nearly every day. To a man they are arrogant, leftist and think they are "in" on the joke-whatever it happens to be. Most think of themselves as elitist transanationals. They and their ilk will be an endangered species when the SHTF.
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 9:20:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2009 9:21:48 AM EDT by ckrockets]
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 9:21:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Goonpup:
I interact with Harvard grads professionally nearly every day. To a man they are arrogant, leftist and think they are "in" on the joke-whatever it happens to be. Most think of themselves as elitist transanationals. They and their ilk will be an endangered species when the SHTF.


.........so true
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:19:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By giacutter:
Why? Didn't you want to be turned into an arrogant liberal robot, too?


Originally Posted By cableguy221:
I am so glad I didn't go to that awful school.



I did a prep year at a boarding school up there and decided the cold weather and the cold bitter people weren't for me. It is so depressing up there.
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:24:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2009 11:32:26 AM EDT by raven]
My ex-brother-in-law went to Harvard. Very smart, but the biggest prick I have ever met. I hate him with a passion, he really thinks he is better than everyone else. But he never really had good things to say about Harvard, other than the social life/usual college experiences like being on the ski team and playing poker with Bill Gates. He's kind of like a working class guy with a high IQ and a degree from Harvard. The degree didn't open any doors for him working construction and fishing in Alaska (surprise), and no one ever checked or asked about it when it was on his resume.
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:28:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2009 11:28:31 AM EDT by capnrob97]
I took one online class from there in 2006, got an 'A'.

Any of those Ivy League schools are not really more demanding than a decent state school, IMHO, it is just harder to get in and expensive.
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:32:37 AM EDT
My teacher came from there.

He was stuck up, he flirted with all the upper class girls while he was married, sucked at coaching, sucked at teaching history, lazy, ect.... he got fired within 3 years of starting. He is now teaching at another school and mowing grass
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:38:20 AM EDT
The problem with experts is that they don't what it is they don't know.

I had a broker tell me once that I was just tossing away my money buying a tech stock and that it wasn't a very smart move. Two weeks after I buy it they announce their new medical gizmo the stock jumps from a buck and change to over $100. I call to sell it and the same broker is now trying to talk me out of selling it. I sell anyway. FDA announces a few days later they are not approving the new gizmo, stock drops to under a dollar. I go in to close my account and said broker is now taking credit for the brilliant advice he gave me.
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:47:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Goonpup:
I interact with Harvard grads professionally nearly every day. To a man they are arrogant, leftist and think they are "in" on the joke-whatever it happens to be. Most think of themselves as elitist transanationals. They and their ilk will be an endangered species when the SHTF.


OTOH...

my brother-in-law is a harvard grad. he's strongly conservative, completely down to earth, intellectually humble, and keeps bugging me to take him shooting again (since he just bought a shotgun). his group of friends, who are also harvard alumni, share these characteristics. he and my sister were married at the home of the bush campaign finance chair, and the joint was totally overrun with harvard conservatives.

you can apply the 10% rule to just about anything.

Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:49:28 AM EDT
Thanks for posting this from Drudge Report...
Link Posted: 10/17/2009 11:56:17 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ckrockets:
Originally Posted By Goonpup:
I interact with Harvard grads professionally nearly every day. To a man they are arrogant, leftist and think they are "in" on the joke-whatever it happens to be. Most think of themselves as elitist transanationals. They and their ilk will be an endangered species when the SHTF.


http://customkrotchrockets.com/anim-lol.gif.........so true


I've met my share of Harvard idiots, but the crew here who longs for the legendary SHTF is a special group all its own.

Some of you seem really bitter - as if you haven't succeeded in this reality, so you hope for a significant turn of events to create a new reality that will put you on top.

How is this really any different from the crazy libs out there?
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