Published by Mark

Norway’s Hot Investments In California Turn Cold

February 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Norwegians are used to winters when the sun doesn’t rise, but three Norwegian municipalities that invested in debt securities from the United States are bitterly disappointed that the value of those securities didn’t rise. The special debt securities packages that were bought by the townships related to municipal bonds in sunny California. The market for those securities dried up, in large part due to the sub-prime mortgage real estate problems on our West Coast. The Norwegian securities broker that sold the investments has had its license revoked by Norway’s financial regulator and then went bankrupt. Meanwhile, in at least one these three tiny towns in Norway, municipal workers missed their paycheck because of the town’s loss of more than sixty four million dollars!

This incredibly sad story, which I happened to read in the New York Times last month, is no doubt just one of many. As a consumer bankruptcy specialist in Indiana, I am very far removed from the sort of multi-billion dollar deal-making that this story is about. But what this brings to my mind is how very complex our world has become, and how many challenges people face just trying to make a decent living and live their lives.

The story also reminds me how easy it is to underestimate risks and make the mistake of chasing money-making offers that are less than sound. Mostly, this story shows me how very important it is to keep providing help for people to start over even if they have made mistakes. That, in short, is the purpose to which my entire professional career is dedicated…


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