Irrational Markets

不理性的市場 by巴菲特

In insurance, we think a lot more about low-probability events than most
people. We think more about big events in the financial arena than the
natural arena. Financial markets have vulnerabilities that we try to think of
and build in ways to protect us against them – and even some capabilities
where we might profit in a huge way.

在保險業,我們非常關心發生機率非常小的事件,但在投資領域我們關心的則是一些重大
的事件,金融市場有其脆弱的一面,而我們首要之務就是盡量避免受到其波動的影響,甚
至有可能因而得以大有斬獲。

Munger: The temporary collapse in junk bonds, where they got to 35-40%
yields, was just a strange thing. There was absolute chaos at the bottom
tick. Apply this behavior to stocks – it’s not hard to imagine a big crunch
coming along.

曼格:垃圾債券市場暫時性的崩盤,使得值利率飆高到35-40%的報酬率就是一個怪現象,
節拍器有時也會亂了步調,在股票市場中,暫時性的崩跌也是時有所聞。
Buffett: It’s a fascinating thing to me: in 2002, there were tens of
thousands of smart people, money was available, everyone had the desire to
make money, yet look at what happened [to the prices of junk bonds].
Extraordinary things happened. Can these be the same people [buying such
bonds yielding 6% today] who let them sink to such levels?

巴菲特:當時真是令人回味再三,回顧2002年,成千上萬的聰明人士、資金充沛,所有人
都妄想大發利市,但大家看看垃圾債券的價格,奇怪的事情發生,一直等到垃圾債券殖利
率回到6%時,同樣這群人才又回過頭來買這些債券。

Wall Street is awash in money and talent, but you get these absolutely
extraordinary swings. It doesn’t happen with apartments and other types of
assets.

華爾街的資金與人才匯集,但市場的波動也相當劇烈,不像不動產那樣價格穩定。

At the minimum, you want to protect yourself from this type of insanity from
wiping you out – and better yet, make a profit from it.

最低底限,你必須保護自己不被這類不理性的瘋狂行為所掃出場,更有甚者,還有可能從
中獲利。

Risk of Derivatives

衍生性金融商品

We don’t think that in any year the chance is very high that derivatives
will lead to or greatly accentuate a financial trauma, but we think it’s
there.

我們不確定哪一個特定年度衍生性金融商品會導致或加劇金融風暴的產生,但我們認為這
樣的危機確實存在。

It’s fascinating to look at a company like Freddie Mac: an institution that
dozens of financial analysts were looking at; that had an oversight office;
that was created by Congress with committees to oversee it; that had two
smart, exceptional board members, Marty Leiiebowitz and Henry Kauffman; and
that had auditors present – yet Freddie misstated earnings by $6 billion in
a short time. That’s big money. And a large part of it was facilitated by
derivatives. You can go back and read the footnotes, listen to the conference
calls, etc. and you wouldn’t have known. In the end, it was $6 billion, but
it could have been $12 billion if they’d wanted.

Freddie Mac這家公司相當有趣,這是一家財經分析師相當關注的一家公司,它上有一個
主管機關,並由國會立法成立並受其委員會監督,它有兩位優秀又聰明的董事Marty
Leibowitz及Henry Kaufman,同時還有會計師負責查帳,但最後Freddie Mac還是出了問
題,突然間盈餘被灌水60億美元,這可不是一筆小數目,其中大部分的虧損係衍生性金融
商品所造成,你或許可以再把過去的年報附註拿出來讀一讀、或者去參加公司記者說明會
等等,但我打包票你一定找不出問題在哪裡,就這樣60億美元飛了,若是他們敢,誰說不
可能是120億美元。

Derivatives can lead to a lot of mischief. When you have a complicated
derivative transaction, and a trader with investment house A on one side and
investment house B on the other side, and on the day the deal is done, both
record a profit, this can lead to mischief – and the scale is getting bigger
every day.

衍生性金融商品有可能招致相當多舞弊,當你進行一項相當複雜的衍生性金融商品交易,
一位營業員代表投資銀行A,另一位則代表投資銀行B,在合約敲定的當天,兩家同時都有
可能記錄獲利,這很容易導致舞弊事件發生,而且規模與日俱增。

I know the managements of many large financial institutions and they don’t
have their minds around this. We tried at Gen Re [where we had a small
derivative book] and couldn’t.

我認識很大大型投資機構的管理階層,但他們卻一點也沒有警覺,我們在Gen Re便試過(
該公司目前有小額的衍生性金融商品部位),結果沒有用。

Whatever problems there were at Salomon [during its crisis years ago], they’
re far, far worse now [systemwide].

所羅門當年發生很嚴重的問題,但我認為現在的情況比起那時又嚴重許多。

In 1991, if the government hadn’t reversed himself [in its plans to put take
actions that would have put Salomon out of business], we were preparing
documents [to file for bankruptcy. Had this happened,] We had $1.2 trillion
[notional value] of derivative contracts that others were counting on, that
would have gone bad. All sorts of securities transactions wouldn’t have
settled, accounts in Japan and the UK would have been affected, etc. For
instance, Salomon had a relationship with a bank in Germany which took large
deposits in Germany and lent the money to Salomon. All kinds of things would
have come out. You don’t need to put these strains on a system that’s
already highly leveraged.

1991年,如果政府沒有撤回吊銷所羅門業務資格的決定,我們將會遞件申請破產,一旦如
此,所羅門將有總值1.2兆美元的衍生性金融商品合約待解決,所有的證券交易將無法順
利交割,還包含日本與英國的帳戶也會跟著受到影響,舉個例來說,所羅門跟德國一家銀
行有大量的金額借貸關係,什麼事都有可能發生,事實上,在高度槓桿的系統下,任何一
點壓力都有可能變成壓垮駱駝的最後一根稻草。

When you get huge amounts of transactions, which not many people understand,
you create a huge problem that may be triggered by an exogenous event.

當你從事大量的交易不是很多能搞得懂的,這些交易就很有可能因為某些外部事件而惹出
大麻煩。

We use derivatives – we get them collateralized – and we’ve made money on
them. But I predict that sometime in the next 10 years, we will have a big
problem caused by or exaggerated by derivatives.

我們利用衍生性金融商品,並提供相關擔保,從中獲利,但我預期未來10年以內,我們將
因此爆發嚴重的金融問題。

Munger: People don’t think about the consequences of the consequences.
People start by trying to hedge against interest rate changes, which is very
difficult and complicated. Then, the hedges made the results [reported
profits] lumpy. So then they use new derivatives to smooth this. Well, now you
’ve morphed into lying. This turns into a Mad Hatter’s Party. This happens
to vast, sophisticated corporations.

曼格:人們往往知其然不知其所以然,一開始有人試著想要去規避利率變動的風險,這本
來就是相當困難且複雜的事,然而避險的結果反而讓帳面的獲利起伏不定,所以接下來他
們又利用另一種新的衍生性商品來讓獲利看起來平順一點,值此你為了圓第一個謊,就必
須編更多的謊言,到最後就演變成瘋狂的派對,這種情形在龐雜的集團公司尤為常見。

Somebody has to have to step in and say, “We’re not going to do it -- it’s
just too hard.”

我認為應該有人介入,說到:我們不應該這樣子做,這太麻煩了。

It was bonkers and the accountants sold out.

只有笨蛋及會計師會被出賣。

Buffett: If you want to have a little fun, go to the annual meeting of a big
financial company and ask for about the details of a complex transaction.
They won’t know – but you can be sure the trader who did it will be well
paid for it.

巴菲特:如果你想找點樂子,到一些大型金融機構的股東年會,然後問一些複雜的交易細
節,相信他們一定也搞不懂,但我敢保證該付給這些人的高額報酬一毛也少不了。

Any time you have situation where smart people can make money by taking risk,
you’ll get it.

只要讓這些聰明的傢伙逮到機會,他們絕對會狠狠地撈一筆。

Derivatives were supposed to spread risk, and some make that argument today.
This may be true much of the time, but what about when risk becomes highly
concentrated in a few institutions.s? Coke is better able to take currency
risk than most trading desks. Overall, there’s much more risk in the system
because of derivatives.

理論上衍生性金融商品應該是能夠分散風險,這是學者們一直強調的論點,或許通常的情
況下確實如此,但要是這些風險全部集中在少數的幾家金融機構時又如何? 可口可樂比起
這些交易商還能夠承擔匯率風險,不論如何,整個金融系統因為衍生性金融商品的存在而
使得風險大大增加。

Derivative Risk vs. Super Cat Reinsurance Risk

衍生性金融商品風險vs.超級災難再保風險

[In response to a shareholder who compared super cat reinsurance risk to
derivative risk, Buffett responded:]

[當股東問到,超級災難再保風險與衍生性金融商品風險時,巴菲特回答到:]

The derivative contracts that Gen Re wrote are not similar to the super cat
insurance we’re writing. We’re reinsuring personal or business risks others
don’t want to or are unable to bear. In our view, it made no sense to be in
the derivatives business.

Gen Re簽訂的衍生性金融商品合約與超級災難保險保單並不相同,我們承接的再保業務是
個人或企業不想或無法承擔的風險,在我們看來,衍生性金融商品業務並沒有存在的意義


Munger: They’re radically different. Derivatives are full of clauses that
say if one party’s credit gets downgraded, then they have to put up
collateral. It’s like margin – you can go broke. In attempting to protect
themselves, they’ve introduced instability. Nobody seems to have recognition
of what a disaster of a system they’ve created. It’s a demented system.

曼格:這兩者有極大的不同,衍生性金融商品有許多條款言明如果交易的一方信評等被降
級,他們就必須補提擔保品,這就好像是保證金交易,你有可能因此傾家蕩產,為了要保
護自己,他們反而使得整個系統很不穩定,似乎沒有人了解他們創造的交易系統潛藏著多
大的危機,這是一個瘋狂的系統。

Buffett: Gen Re, which had been rated AAA, hHad Berkshire not bought itGen
Re, which was rated AAA, it could have run into terrible financial difficulty
post-9/11, especially if they’d recognized their actual liabilities. They
would have been downgraded, which could have triggered things in derivative
activities which would have triggered coming up with loads of cash.

巴菲特:要不是因為Berkshire的買進使得Gen Re的信用評等因而被提升為三A等級,光是
911事件被迫承擔許多責任,就有可能導致金融危機的發生,Gen Re有可能因而被降等,
進而導致衍生性金融商品合約要求提撥大量的現金。

The system wasn’t built to last. Many CEOs at other major financial
institutions don’t really comprehend that. When you get margin calls for
huge amounts of money, it only has to be one day when you can’t meet it [and
you can be forced to file for bankruptcy]. In 1987, there was a large wire
transfer that didn’t make it towas late arriving at the a Chicago brokerage
house, and it came close to unraveling the system (the money finally showed
up).

這樣的系統禁不起任何的考驗,許多大型金融機構的總裁根本就不了解其嚴重性,但你被
要求補提大量的保證金時,往往就是你調不到頭寸的緊急時刻,結果有可能就因此導致公
司破產倒閉,回顧1987年,有一次因為系統故障使得一大筆匯款遲遲無法入帳,就差點讓
整個交割系統因而瓦解,所幸在最後一刻,資金及時到位才化解危機。
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