NPR logo The Derivatives They Call "I-Kill-You-Later"

Developing Economies

The Derivatives They Call "I-Kill-You-Later"

Forbes' Gady Epstein writes in his latest dispatch from China about a lawsuit over an investment buyers now call "I-Kill-You-Later." Check the article for the details, but it was basically a complicated derivative with a particularly harsh provision that kicks in if things went bad, which they did.

Sellers pitched the investments as "accumulators," for what they would earn in good times.

"In Hong Kong, where most of the selling takes place, regulators estimated there were $23 billion in still outstanding accumulator positions in April of last year; add in leverage, and the real amount at risk was much higher."

Epstein writes that Citigroup and Goldman Sachs were among the banks selling these things.

At least the economy over there seems to be recovering. Or maybe not. Epstein writes that even some top officials worry they're just re-inflating the bubble.