Friday, November 23, 2007

ABCP: Perimeter Financial Spats With Montreal Accord Banks

Last week Perimeter Financial announced plans to allow investors to start trading the $35B frown ABCP papers in Canada. Yesterday, its CEO lashed out at the banks that instituted a trading moratorium, calling them "self-serving and paternalistic." He says the Pan-Canadian Committee is looking after their own interests and ignoring everyone else (is he surprised?).

A day earlier, committee chair Purdy Crawford criticized Perimeter's bid to kick start the trading, calling it an attempt to exploit desperate, cash-strapped investors, he suggested their motivation was to "induce panic in the market in order to acquire ABCP at distressed prices."

The Montreal Accord approach has sparked controversy among small investors who bought the paper as a short-term investment and can't afford to keep it on their books. The Montreal Accord banks want to switch this paper into longer term notes. This was clearly never the intent of the investors.

Interestingly, Perimeter's major shareholders include National Bank Financial and pension giant Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, both key backers of the Montreal proposal. Perimeter's CEO says Perimeter's owners supports its bid to bring liquidity back to the ABCP market.

There does not seem to be any angels in this company. Shark-infested waters indeed.

Source FP.

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