Defying conventional wisdom
The financial crisis started in the US led to the revelation that several of the financial institutions in the US,including AIA and investment banks, were too big to fail. When their turns came to fall, trillions of dollars were pumped in to save them. Then the wise men in the US got wiser and pronounced that the mantra of being big and strong is dangerous and these giants need to be dismantled. It is another case of putting too many eggs into a few baskets. Obama and his boys are working hard towards a new direction, the breaking up of big financial giants and regulating their activities, including manufacturing of toxic notes and products. Today there is big news that Prudential is mounting a historical take over of its Asian rival AIA to the tune of US$35.5b. It is billions, not millions, and would probably create another giant that is too big to fail. And the good news or encouraging news is that eager beavers are queueing up to have a stake in the proposed takeover. Such juicy news is always greeted with excitement than with suspicion and caution. Below is a quote from TimesOnline, ‘A number of large Asian investors are believed to be waiting in the wings to bankroll Prudential if its existing shareholders get cold feet on the deal.' Thiam is believed to have been offered personal assurances from the Singapore government that the state investment funds GIC and Temasek are willing to provide billions of pounds. I am deeply concerned that the funds lining up for a piece of the cake are Asian funds and not Western funds. Why are the Western funds shying away from such a lucrative investment? Is it that they did not have the dole, or did they know things that the Asian funds did not? When the too big to fail American institutions were in deep shit, they had the US Govt and the American public to foot the bill. In the event that an international institution like PruAIA is in deep shit, who is going to do the bail out? Asian Govts? A deal that is too good to be true must always look at with guarded skepticism. It is only a good gamble when one has a lot of money to place on the table, and can afford to lose.