Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Most Penetrating Comment I've Seen on Jerome Kerviel and Societe Generale Yet

David Weidner of Marketwatch: "Kerviel, the bad apple who was smart enough to fool a banking empire but not enough to beat the markets...."

Brilliant. No sarcasm at all intended. Smart enough to utterly defeat whatever passes for internal risk controls at an ostensibly world-class institution, but not smart enough to beat the market. Who's next for a similar story? Goldman? Some other firm? Just a matter of time. It seems these guys are given ambitious goals to meet; they are, when you get down to it, told to win or else at what is rather like a very big ongoing coin-flipping contest. So what do you think is going to happen?

A rogue ruined the financial system? Which one? - MarketWatch

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

FT: (free registration required) US pawnbrokers benefit from hard times

A sign of the times?

On Manhattan’s 47th Street, the New York block through which about 90 per cent of US diamonds are sourced, some merchants report a sharp uptick in the amount of jewellery being brought in for sale. 'Its real sad – they don’t want to sell,' said Ruben, a 52-year-old street hawker who buys jewellery from passers-by in the diamond district. They might have paid $150,000 for a necklace but they will get back $25,000 or $30,000 at most. But it’s either that or lose their house.

FT.com print article


Will be Resuming Blogging

Just to let you know, business demands have made it impossible to blog for the last few months, particularly as the blog is more of a "giving back" thing than anything else.