Finding the Culprits of the Crisis

Derivatives expert Janet Tavakoli takes a hard look at what — and who — caused the financial crisis.

Janet Tavakoli calls it as she sees it — and what she often perceives isn’t a pretty picture. But for any advisor, or other investment professional, to ignore this industry veteran’s razor-sharp insights would be folly.

A gutsy critic of both Wall Street and the federal government, the Chicago-based consultant, specializing in derivatives and structured products, pulls no punches. Through her independent research into the global financial crisis, Tavakoli uncovered what she calls massive, widespread fraud committed by a network of mortgage originators, securitizers, and rating and regulatory agencies, among others.

Earlier, the founder of Tavakoli Structured Finance, 58, predicted the thrift industry blow-up and the demise of Enron. Then she foresaw that excessive leverage and structured products’ misratings would lead to a global financial crisis.

In her just-published e-book, The New Robber Barons, Tavakoli charges that the relationship between failed mortgage lenders and investment banks that securitized and sold risky loans was “the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of our capital markets … a financial Pearl Harbor,” where “investment bankers piloted many of the planes.”

Now Tavakoli sees another huge financial crisis looming.

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