What if your bank shut down, then gave 10% of your (and everyone’s) money to the government? This just happened in Cyprus.
This deposit seizure is a very serious matter and policy event that has far-reaching economic and investment implications on a number of fronts; as it sets a dangerous precedent for banks, brokerages, pensions, insurance companies and all other forms and shapes of financial concerns around the world. What happened in Cyprus, could it also occur anywhere in the world - as desperate governments are forced to take harsh illegal actions that violate all forms of commercial law, regulation, ethics and fair economic principles? Who can answer this question now?
Cyprus opens the door to a jackpot of issues that occurs when governments legitimize the outright theft of deposits and assets from bank accounts within their jurisdictions. This is theft of the worst form. For it undercuts the " Rule of International Law " and thereby all confidence in engaging in financial transactions with international bodies or their banking agents. Should this "illegitimate tactic" spread to other European jurisdictions, then the whole financial system could collapse in just a few days, as a panic moves from country to country - and therein; bank to bank.
Let's remember too, that Cyprus is not a third world country under the control of a socio-pathic despot. Its actions appear to have the tacit approval of the EU and ECB. The implications of which place the whole European banking, brokerage and commercial system in "grave jeopardy" - leading to a possible collapse in EU financial markets and systems due to fears of more deposit seizures.
The amount, extent, and rippling effects of the theft of banking deposits or assets by any government is so devastating that immediate measures, sanctions and condemnations must come forward from all world governments, financial institutions and regulatory bodies. Or else we risk seeing the beginning of a wide-spread fear that has the potential to snowball out of control.
Why? Because the question everyone will be asking is: Who's next? Italy? Spain? Greece? Ireland? Portugal? Savvy investors, banks, funds and institutions are sure to start readjusting their positions next week (many did over the weekend no doubt) before the markets open Monday and banks in Cyprus reopen on Thursday. We, hence, expect major outflows and realignments of capital out of marginal EU nations should no counter-measures be applied.
What Cyprus has done is completely unacceptable and thus harsh measures are needed to correct this violation or else the whole global financial system risks a collapse. The problem is that even if measures are taken to fix this immediately; it has created a "whole new fear or risk" in the minds of investors regarding the safety of funds in banks and institutions in Europe, - or perhaps everywhere. This is the last type of policy action one could imagine in such a fragile economic environment. Markets are sure to respond with deep concern.
This is potentially far worse than the crisis that was caused by the Lehman Bros fiasco and we have consequently issued a Market Warning to all our clients, readers and followers for this week. Of course, we will be following and commenting on events as they unfold.
So, we too say, "Be careful out there"
First Financial Insights
March 17, 2013