Ralph Nader, known for successful consumer advocacy and an equally unsuccessful presidential bid, is making a habit of advocating for his own portfolio. This time it’s an open letter to new Federal Housing Finance Authority chief Mel Watts, advocating that Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Association (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC)’s profits be reinvested in the two government sponsored enterprises (GSE) or distributed to common shareholders – which happen to include Ralph Nader.
Nader says he’s being ‘used and abused’
“Due to the U.S. Treasury’s amendment in 2012 of the terms of its investment in the Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Association (OTCBB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC)’s, all future profits of Fannie and Freddie will be paid as dividends,” Nader writes. “This prevents both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from recovering and building up capital reserves. And it continues to unfairly use and abuse Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s shareholders, including me.”
Government should reverse course on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae
Of course, Nader isn’t really saying anything new here. Raffery Capital Markets Vice President Richard X. Bove has written extensively about why he believes the government should reverse course on Freddie Mac / Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTCBB:FMCC) and Fannie Mae / Federal National Mortgage Association (OTCBB:FNMA) (the current plan is to wind them down over the next few years, paying no dividends to common shareholders in the process), and Fairholme has been fighting the government in court. Bove’s assessment that the companies’ stocks will either appreciate by 500% or are worth literally nothing seems to be about right, but for now the government insists the latter is true as both parties want to exit the secondary mortgage market.
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Nader has also been plugging Sirius XM
For people who already own stock, it makes sense to ride out the lawsuit and hope for the big upside, but Nader’s public appeal, wrapped up with rhetoric about abusing shareholders, housing policy, and government deception, is a sharp contrast to the populist crusades that made him famous.
It’s also become something of a trend. Just a few days ago Nader called on Carl Icahn, who has certainly never been accused of being a populist, to help him fight for a better Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) buyout deal. There’s nothing wrong with investors asserting their rights, but hearing it from the man who portrayed himself as the savior of the Left fourteen years ago is a bit jarring.