The Madoff diaries…

December 15, 2008

Keeping up with the coverage of the Madoff scandal is turning into a full-time job. The FT’s Alphaville is doing a great job with its Madoff-O-Meter and there’s been lots of good stuff in both the Times and Journal, including this story which doesn’t bode well for the folks at the SEC.

But you wouldn’t know there was such a big problem by reading SEC filings. So far, only four companies — Nomura Holdings (NMR), Banco Bilbao (BBV), HSBC (HBC), and Max Capital (MXGL) — have mentioned Madoff’s name in SEC filings. And Max Capital, which filed on Friday said it had “no known exposure”. Perhaps that’s why it was first out of the gate with its filing.

Filings for the other three — all of which were made this morning after various press reports began estimating potential damages — were all pretty succinct. Nomura filed this one-sentence release as a 6K shortly after the SEC opened this morning, estimating its exposure at 27.5 billion yen. Banco Bilbao was a bit more detailed in its 6K filed shortly after 8 this morning. HSBC’s 6K came an hour later, confirming various press reports of potential exposure of around $1 billion.

We’ve yet to see filings from Man Group (MF) which issued this release earlier today or most of the others on the FT’s Madoff-O-Meter. But we’ll be keeping an eye out for those. My friend Greg Newton, whose own take on the Madoff mess is a must-read for the questions it raises, has corrected me on Man Group, which I was confusing with Man Financial (MF). Apologies for the mistake!

A bit closer to home, it looks like my alma mater, Brandeis University, will also be taking a big hit, based on this story in yesterday’s Globe. At Brandeis, the Shapiros are a big name on campus and their family foundation supports lots of different causes.

UPDATE (noon): Santander has just filed its 6K with various “material facts” related to the Madoff story.

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