May 15, 2013 § 1 Comment
Yes I am returned. The last you heard of me I was embroiled in that fearful Nakamura saga which nearly led to my untimely demise and worse, death, some nine-and-a-half months ago.
I pick up the story in the summer of last year.
The hedge fund business had become fraught so I decided, in my insanity, to go back to the bank. Things were different there. Very different.
Compliance officers now monitored everything you did. You weren’t allowed to take the statutory three hour broker meeting. The bosses were all 22-year old Harvard Grads with poor backgrounds (it made them hungrier).
And of course, the worst of all, they cut bonuses. They said we were to live off our basic from now on. So there I was with a making 700k, the same as a fireman. It’s impossible we told them. How can we make ends meet? Several of my colleagues left.
“Hell this ain’t no charity,” shouted Duckdown, the day they announced it. He simply picked up his bowling ball and ran out of there. The last I heard he had set up a charity for native Indians in the rainforest, was making good money out of it too.*
But no, some foolish loyalty prevented me and I stayed at the bank. I stuck it out convinced that things would turn around. I increased my short position to $13bn, sold everything I could. Started hoarding gold (long $15bn). I even had a cache of gold bars in my drawer. I broke all limits. Crashed all stop systems (helped by my old friend Abdul in IT). But nothing happened. There was no break up. Some clown, a Mickey Mouse Italian, decided to backstop the Euro. (They found an honest Italian– it was a one in a billion chance).
Christmas came and went. I obviously had no money so I went home and stayed with the parents in Suffolk (they’ve had to open the place to the public to make ends meet).
I returned in January and grown men were suicidal. Our Japanese office lost 13 guys playing sushi roulette.** Then came the crises– they cut off our internet. Men, grown men, were reduced to tears. The best minds of our generation driven insane.
Finally they got me. Someone had been reading my IM chats. I got a call. The police arrived. It wasn’t so much that I’d built up a huge unauthorised position. But rather that I didn’t know what to do with it.
But the real straw that broke the camel’s back was Eddie, my broker. He grassed me up. I’d been routing all my trades through him, you see. And you know why? Because I felt sorry for him. His wife had leukemia. She’d had a double mastectomy. I felt sorry for the guy! I really did.
But the idiot went out and bought her a spectacular new pair of tits. Apparently he got her a pair of 36dders. Unheard of on a broker’s salary. That alerted the authorities. How could a mere broker like Eddie afford to buy a boob job like that? And that was it– he told them he’d been getting all his trades from me.
In the end I walked out of there with my head held high (it was quite touching really, when the police came round all the traders did that Spartacus thing, except they said “I’m not Tim Green!” So the police led me away).
Four months in chokey is what I got. (I will perhaps recount it some day).
So what have I missed? Well Queen Elizabeth’s still on the throne. Bowie is back (never know if he rhymes with “cow” or “low”). Nuclear war has not happened. And bankers are still reviled. Plus ca change really.
Except now I am returned: things will change.
* Infact the thought ran through my mind. I seriously considered joining an environmental hedge fund investing in resource efficiency. It’s a no-brainer. The returns are massive. I mean consider the shortages in the world– food and water: people are hungry, starving. With all this climate nonsense food and crop prices are only going to go one way. What you need is a niche. Loxley joined one, cornered the Ethiopian grain market. Now every time there was a drought his position went through the roof. Clever. Tells me he loves comic relief.
** Take six rolls of sushi and put a cyanide pellet in one. Men take turns to eat a roll. It’s a very noble way to die. But the Japanese have always believed in self-sacrifice/death before humiliation. Those who are left will actually manage to get a bonus. Real nobility.