– It Has Started: Wall Street Is Preparing For A Doomsday Scenario (Business Insider, July 21, 2011):
If you’re simply looking at their public statements, Wall Streeters seem to be alarmed about the debt crisis, but don’t appear to be sliding into panic mode.
In fact, they’re just really good actors.
Across the financial sector, many are preparing for a debt doomsday scenario, in which the U.S does in fact default, the New York Times reports.
Firms are “taking steps to reduce the risk of holding Treasury bonds or angling for ways to make profits from any possible upheaval.”
It’s clear hedge funds have changed gears and many are in heavy de-risking mode, with billion dollar firms like Moore Capital and Soros Fund Management moving their flagships into majority cash.
This was a tactic implemented by a ton of hedge funds when the financial world imploded in 2008 — so it’s a very big statement on how bad they think things may get.
While “hedge funds are stockpiling cash so they can buy up United States debt if other investors flee,” banks are looking hard at their treasury holdings and mutual funds “are working on presentations to persuade their boards that they can hold the bonds even if the government debt is downgraded,” the NYT reported.
One of the worst possibilities that people in the financial industry… have been discussing is that scores of insurance companies, pension funds and mutual funds might be forced to dump their Treasury holdings.
But the problem with trying to prepare for default in a meaningful and specific way is best summed up by the CFO of Wells Fargo (which is stockpiling cash just in the case): “Because nobody knows what is going to happen, nobody knows how to prepare.”