Within the derivatives market

Within the derivatives market, the film contends that the high risks that began with subprime lending were transferred from investors to other investors who, due to questionable rating practices, falsely believed that the investments were safe. Thus, lenders were pushed to sign up mortgages without regard to risk, or even favoring higher interest rate loans, since, once these mortgages were packaged together, the risk was disguised. According to the film, the resulting products would often have AAA ratings, equal to U.S. government bonds. The products could then be used even by investors such as retirement funds who are required to limit themselves to the safest investments.

Another point is the high pay in the financial industry, and how it has grown in recent decades out of proportion to the rest of the economy. Even at the banks that failed, the film shows how bank executives were making hundreds of millions of dollars in the period immediately up to the crisis, all of which was kept, again suggesting that the risk/benefit balance has been broken.