Unless someone stops it, Wall Street is cooking up a plot to profit from your death. To be fair, Wall Street is hardly the first to think of this -- life insurance companies have been doing it for years. But Wall Street's new twist is that it wants to do what it did with sub-prime mortgages to bundle up wagers on the dates that thousands of life insurance policyholders will die.
And thanks to a new kind of ratings agency which will attest to the safety of its new product, the New York Times reports that Wall Street sees a $500 billion opportunity to convince institutions to buy this latest investment concoction. That is? securitizing life settlements -- paying a life insurance policy holder a portion of their death benefit while they're still alive.