Journalism in the Public Interest


Send Us Your Questions About Our Magnetar Investigation

Last week, in partnership with Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" and NPR's "Planet Money," we published an investigation into Magnetar, a hedge fund that helped to make the financial crisis worse for the rest of us.

As our reporters Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein explain, Magnetar -- with the help of prominent investment banks -- spurred the creation of complicated mortgage-backed financial products called CDOs and also bet on their failure. When those risky products did in fact fail, Magnetar reaped hundreds of millions through credit default swaps -- the side bets that essentially functioned as "insurance."

After the report was published, many prominent financial bloggers picked up on it, and we've been culling through the comments on their pieces.

"Trying to follow this stuff makes me feel like the Dude in "The Big Lebowski" trying to figure out who kidnapped Bunny," wrote one commenter on the blog Baseline Scenario.

While many people grasped the story's main points, some posed questions about the particulars. One question that we've seen over and over is, "Who was the 'insurer' on the other side of the credit default swaps?" In other words, who had to pay Magnetar when the hedge fund won its bet?

It's a great question. And no doubt there are many others out there. So send all questions and ideas for follow-up to Jake and Jesse will take a crack at them as they continue to shed light on these dim corners of the financial world.

Why are you painting Magnetar as the bad guys? Isn’t it true that without hedge funds like Magnetar, the artificial bubbles would never deflate, making the economy even more unstable? - Arunabh Das

Ofcourse, this story makes Magnetar look fishy -

- Arunabh Das

Here’s a question: What kind of financial regulations and oversight on shadow banks (hybrid commercial and investment firms) do you feel is necessary to prevent another catastrophic recession? DO you feel CDO’s are appropriate and legal?

Has anyone investigated if there is a connection between the Magnetar CDOs and the traunches that John Paulson created that Goldman Sachs is being investigated by the SEC for? - Arunabh Das

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