March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Pilkington walked in to the office with a new Rado, Gucci suit and car. He’s got a wad of notes stuffed into his wallet. This guy’s an equity flow trader. Where does he GET his money? His bonus is probably less than we get in a day.
How does he do it? Swiss brokers. Pilkington’s got an intimate relationship with someone called Robin at X brokers in Lucerne, Bern, Basel (somewhere, he won’t tell me). The guy trades a lot. He will put 40% of volume through one broker. Robin’s set up an offshore account in Bermuda.
So when Robin gets his commission at the end of the year, he splits it with Pilkington. The little weasel is making more money than he did before bonuses were shrivelled away.
I called my friend Mike (at JP) today. He said he’s been doing it for years. As are most guys on the desk here. Guess who’s been left out?! Yep….
But I suppose I have a conscience, don’t I?
March 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today we had an invasion of journalists from the FT. Led by the infamous G Tate they came to ask us our opinions on the crisis, the death of manners in the City and the downfall of GS.
We all, to a man, hate journalists more than our clients. However Paul later explained that we shouldn’t be over-aggressive as this this would be a good chance to lay a slap down on certain rivals.
I was sitting at my desk after hours when Paul came around and told me that I needed to speak to Tate. I was a bit reluctant at first, since I wanted to go home, but Paul persuaded me that I had to perform my duty and talk to her.
We all know that this woman is none too bright, but she does have an extremely seductive air about her. As I walked into the conference room she was sitting there wearing a tight pencil skirt and provocatively cut blouse which– I will say it– reeked of sex. Her lips were obsessed with lust and her eyes had a deep, smoky hue which gave them a soporific power.
I could see how she has managed to co-erce so much information from bankers. I believe the phrase is called sexual manipulation. And her opening shot was aimed right at the heart.
“So Mr Green, what is it like to be a banker these days? You know, you’re not very well liked are you.”
Such a nerve. Sitting there in her tight pencil skirt. Her Laboutin hanging off the end of her foot. I stayed silent. So she started to ask me some technical questions about our EM platform. I gave her a few nondescript platitudes about markets being tough, times being not like they used to be, the world being round, ice being cold. She laughed and we flirted with each other over the water. She asked me about bonuses.
“Well if someone offered you 1.25m would you give it up?”
“Would you Miss Tate?”
We chatted about cars (she owns a Mazda apparently, but is unhappy with it). We chatted about this and that and then came the million dollar Q
“So Mr Green. What is your view on Goldman Sachs?”
“Excellent question. But to be honest I feel nothing but pity for them right now. Really I do.”
“Well we all know what they are like. But did they really deserve this treatment I ask you. Did they deserve to be stabbed in the back? If you had worked with a guy for 3, 4, 5, 6 years and he leaves and writes an article about what a shit you are how would you feel? Yeah I pity them. Despite their nefarious culture.”
“Nefarious? Like what?”
“Well you know the stuff we all know about. The deep credit discounting. The broker bribes, the hedge fund wraps and the credit anstalting. You know the things they did that were not entirely above board.”
“Well you don’t get to their level without handing out a few blue envelopes.”
“Sorry blue envelopes?”
“You know, when brown becomes bad it turns to blue. They did a lot of that. Italians. Greeks. Dutch windmills. They are not well liked in Holland. I mean I wouldn’t call it fraud as such but then again…..well it’s all stuff you already know about I’m sure.”
“Yes of course but I mean it’s nice to hear someone else’s views on it.”
“Well let’s look at the UK deficit trade. Taking one of the worst debt deficits in the world and convincing everyone that it was perfectly normal. A great piece of financial engineering, non? Though perhaps not many people understand how the derivative behind it worked. Now that would be an interesting tale.”
She lent in closer and put her hand on mine.
“Please Tim. Tell me more.”
“Gale, Gale Gale. It would be highly unprofessional of me to talk badly of my rivals. However morally inappropriate their actions were. I mean look at Bernanke.”
“What about him? Was he on the take too?”
“Oh well when a man rises to that level you would expect a bit of cheese.”
“Cheese? Bribe? Is that what you’re saying?”
“Well one man’s bribe is another man’s bonus. You know it’s quite a grey area. It would really be up to you to decide. I suppose I could try and get some stats for you…but…”
“I could but…..”
My phone rang. I had told Mike (my friend at JPM) to call me at exactly this time. It was perfect. After chatting on the phone for five minutes in what I pretended was Japanese I hung up and announced
“Oh God I’m really sorry Gale but I have to go now. Its one of my clients from Tokyo. But you know it has been a pleasure.”
“But, but, but Tim…..I mean do you have to go now? Perhaps we can meet next week?”
“Well I’ll tell you what, give me a call on the trading floor and we’ll see.”
“Couldn’t you stay just a bit longer? Stay the night? I mean it’s still early…not night yet…”
“Look Gale take this.”
I slid her my new personalised business card. She shuddered as she touched it.
“Call me next week. I’ll see what I can do.”
Mastery. This is what it means to be a banker.
March 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
Panic. Fear. Insanity. Three things that no man can interrupt. Life today seems wearisome and dull. Money is tighter than ever. Innovation halted.
The desk is struggling to adapt to the new world order. A shadow banking world where spectres move in the dark. The ghosts of great bankers crushed by the crisis. As Josh Birnbaum the once great Goldman trader said: 10m may be a lot to a steelworker but it’s nothing to a hedge fund manager.
Meanwhile, we have been told to expect a visit from some journalists tomorrow. They want to hear where we stand on the Goldman affair. To a man we are ecstatic. I hear knives being sharpened.
March 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
Story of the month, nay of the year, is the Greg Swift, Goldman letter. Now normally I wouldn’t give this piece of trivia a second thought but many of you have been clamouring for my reaction, my verdict and my counsel.
So here it is:
A man is born. A man enters school. A man is singled out as a nerd. A man has no friends and wears tight shorts and turns to table tennis for consolation. A man is no doubt bullied. A man grows. A man finds his vocation analysing mathematical equations and enters an investment bank. A man is proud. A man is boastful. A man is happy. But a man is still a nerd…and a man is still bullied.
A man earns money but has no girlfriend to spend it on. A man sees other men rise higher than him and is disgruntled. A man continues to play table tennis and can only win bronze medal. A man is broken. A man peers into the abyss and he sees looking back at him his reflection. He is still…. a nerd.
That is when he sets out to make himself into someone. He wields his mighty sword and in the most duplicitous, disloyal, cowardly way possible contacts the only men lower than him, the op-ed folk at the NYT.
A worm is made.
March 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
He was murdered!
Rating agency analyst Dorien Fassbender (sic) was found dead in a field in the aftermath of the conference. According to Swiss reports he was naked and covered in tar and feathers.
It’s a small story for those outside the industry, but for those in the know this is momentous.
This is the same analyst that REFUSED to rate deals stating because he didn’t like them! His attitude had always been pompously holier than thou. I’ve come across many a banker today rejoicing at the news.
Mike, my friend at JPM, currently in NY, says that it was probably a mafia hit or a sexual game gone wrong. Or it was Goldman. Not sure. I couldn’t speculate, that would be wrong….but it was probably Goldman…..
March 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
Rothmans conference in Berne last weekend.
They were all out at a party afterwards where Nathan copped off with some girl from the Fridays (a pop band apparently). And you know what- he had to pretend that he WASN’T a banker!
How the world changed. My young nephew has just been accepted to intern at Goldman. I told him in no uncertain terms– WIDE BERTH CHAP! He said he was going to turn it down anyway. (His actual words were “Do you think I’m a fucking moron. Of course I’m going to turn it down.” I had to have a word with my sister to teach the little prick some manners).
He knows as well as anyone that THERE IS NO FUTURE IN THIS BUSINESS. I told him to start a prop shop, its the only way to make money. Start young, get yourself a Bloomy and get out there. After all a bank won’t pay you. (His actual reply was that he wanted to become a rock star. Imbecile!)
On brighter note, Greece has fallen. Thus does the empire crumble. Markets are just waiting to rip the whole edifice down! Rome is next. See this note in 3 months time.
I return with renewed hope in the destructive efficiency of the capital markets. Flame on!