Friday, February 27, 2009

Is this a contest?

After hearing of this case last week, today i am greeted with another interesting story.

You have to wonder at some point if those young kids are taking part in some global stupidity contest or if they are just making fun of us?

The next logical step…

Obviously this is the next logical step in the effort of the company to save money (or make money) during their flights, but i can’t resist thinking what is next

1 GBP to be greeted by a stewardess while boarding

2 GBP to be shown the safety procedure routine

10 GBP to have an actual pilot fly the plane rather than a trainee

20 GBP to unlock the door so that you can leave the plane upon arrival

50 GBP to give you back your luggage

It's All in the Name (Part II)

Quick! What does B.M.W. stand for?

Those of you who answered Bayerische Motoren Werke, wrong, and you actually may be in for a nasty surprise if you own one without owning a private parking space.

We learn today that B.M.W. stands for Bewegung für Militante Widerstand (Movement for Militant Resistance in German), and apparently they have identified a creative way for achieving sole ownership of the brand name.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's All in the Name

When former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appointed 35-year old MBA Neel Kashkari (pronounced Cash-carry) to oversee the distribution of the $700 bln package to the various ailing financial institutions, the irony was lost to many of us.

Today we learn that according to American Express spokeperson M. Faust, the company is offfering to some of its customers $300 to leave!!

All Income Gone

It's a record setting week for AIG. The company is set to report next Monday the largest loss in US corporate history (basically burning money faster than the US government can pump it in).

On the positive side for AIG shareholders (that would be Obama), ManU is on its way to win a record 11th Premier League title...

So Say We

OK. So first this guy, who by all standards is one of the best junior analysts out there, turns around and says he was working on his excel late one night, and was a bit tired and mistyped a formula or something and the whole thing is just wrong, it doesn’t work.

“I found a flaw in my model a "mistake", i am shocked. I ‘ve been an excel monkey all my life, i’ve built hundreds of models. That was just a stupid mistake, a case of * instead of /”

and then he comes back and says its not really just the excel formula but really some basic modelling assumptions that were wrong as well.

“My boss told me not to change those assumptions so i didn’t play with them. I think now that we are gonna have to go back to the drawing board. Phuh, that’s a lot of work. I am going to have to work even on weekends to fix this.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

Take a Break

Sociologists have long established that during periods of severe economic depression, escapism thrives. Now we have the proof...

Equity Research

Having observed the consistently dismal performance of the various equity research analysts (and stock pickers in general)over the years, one has to admit that he would probably be better off relying to more eccentric techniques. On second thought, that's what most of them are using anyhow...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Where does it stop?

The courts, in the case of Madoff, ruled that client redemptions going back 6 years were considered criminal proceedings and should be returned. This logic is so sweetly ironic and at the same time so ridiculously impractical that you just have to admire its scale.

It's like saying, sorry buddy but you remember the house you bought, the tuition you paid for your kids college, well you 've got to give it back. But i am just an investor!! Well, sorry again but the money (plus capital!!! WTF!) should be returned. End of story.

If the above holds true then surely there is a case for getting back the salaries of abnormally paid employees of the ponzi companies or you know what, even just normally paid employees. And why stop there, ask to return all things they purchased while employed at Stanford.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Castles in the Sand

Here is my take on the Stanford debacle: Anyone having the poor taste to entrust his savings to somebody living in a castle, IN FLORIDA, deserves a punishment more severe than the mere wipeout of his equity. As they say, if you want to know what God thinks about money, look at the people He gives it to...

Help me Help you!

Listen guys i‘ve been telling you all along that this thing is getting out of hand and you need to let me step in and take control. Here’s a possible dialogue.

You guys need help.

No we don’t we are ok.

No you are not

Yes we are



Daaaad tell him something he is trying to devalue the zloty

No i am not dad, he is lying

Thursday, February 19, 2009


First it was Madoff. Then Stanford. Now this (you can't possibly make these things up). Warren Buffett once famously said "You don't know who's swimming naked until the tide goes out". Well, it seems that all this time we have been in a giant nudist colony...

Loss of Value(s)

I have to admit that when I wrote that the world is falling apart (immediately to your left), I didn't actually mean it; it was more of what we would call a marketing scheme (if we were in fact selling something). But with every passing day it seems to me that the initial assertion was spot on. The last straw came today when we learnt that the Swiss banking legend UBS has agreed to reveal to the US Government the names of the clients who have used the Bank's uhm... creativity in order to evade US taxes. And I am left wondering: if one cannot count on a Swiss bank to protect the privacy of one's various financial activities (tax evasion, money laundering, drug trafficing, Jewish gold teeth extraction, etc.), is there anything left intact in this world? What's next? A 150-year old private Swiss bank fronting for a Ponzi Scheme? (well it appears that this has been going on for a while, so it's clearly not next)...

UBS has lost 66% of its value in the past 12 months, but I think this pales in comparison to losing its core banking values.

Global Monopoly

Which country is Lehman Brothers *? Who will land on the get-out-of-jail card? Who’s turn is it to roll the dice?

These and other question seem to be increasingly in the minds of the big players in the old continent, who are already thinking about the quadzillions needed to save the world. But, first of all, we need to think of the entities that pose a systemic problem before we let them fail.

“I would be very reluctant to say: ‘O.K., let Ireland or Greece default, the market will sort it out, punish them for their irresponsibility of the past,’” said Thomas Mayer, co-head of global economics at Deutsche Bank AG in London. “They tried it with Lehman and realized that was not a good idea.”

Since we have learned a lesson or two from our past six months experience, I am just gonna sit and wait for the rhetoric to shift to the “good country – bad country” idea which seems to be the current solution for our headaches. I say gather up the bad citizens and ship them all of together to Russia or somewhere. I am also waiting for a wave of M&A activity across EU countries in the next few months. Go Greespanytalia!!!

* If you answered Iceland, please email The winner gets 1 trillion of Icelandic government bonds.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Designated Finance Minister

The Japanese Finance Minister apologized and resigned yesterday for appearing drunk at the recent G7 meeting. Given that the global economic situation is likely to require increasing alcohol usage in the future, and in order to avoid similar embarrassing incidents, I would like to introduce the concept of the Designated Finance Minister. The members of the G7 should take turns at the helm of the world economy while the remaining six will be able to drink freely...


My immediate reaction to today's top story was that the man urgently needs to change the mission statement of his TV station. On second thought however, I have to admit that Muslim stereotypes were indeed countered: i. the woman was not stoned to death, and ii. the beheading was not broadcasted.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What is a Ponzi scheme?

Many examples recently, exactly like this one, but in light of the new wave of fund redemptions strategies being adopted globally, one has to ask what’s the difference between a fund and a ponzi?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Averaging Down

Have you noticed how the news stories we are fed every day seem to compete in populism, simplicity, and superficiality? The benchmark was officially set during the recent Presidential campaign when we were introduced to Joe the Plumber and all public dialogue henceforth had to be conducted at a level understandable to him. So it should come as no surprise that our elected representatives and economic luminaries have yet to engage into a debate about what a $9.7 trillion bailout program would mean to a $13.8 trillion economy - given that they don't seem to have the first clue, explaining it to poor old Joe would be borderline impossible. On the other hand, K. Lewis spending 8 hours on a train to get to Washington D.C. in order to receive his public bashing, is something we can all relate to and therefore the story rightfully dominated the wires. Kenny, you have been punished enough - now you can have your bailout package.

Fight Club

Continuing with our politicians theme check out 2:20 minutes into the video. I love it when our elected puppets try to explain the just averted end of the world...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Always trust a politician

As in the past, politicians today are providing solutions for our problems. A point demonstrated in this discussion today. You can see that these guys are really thinking about true solutions for the problems we are facing, rather than just trying to score some political points. Take this example:

“These new requirements, which will be available on a new Web site,, will give the American people the transparency they deserve.”

I find it strangely comforting that if you've lost your home and/or your job, you can always pop down to the local non-as-of-yet-closed starbucks, to get that transparency hit you so richly deserve.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Maybe they should eat Pain d’Espagne

These are tough times for many people, obviously more so for the average middle class banker CEO who is asked to live on a mere 500K. An amount that everyone in the game knows that up until recently was classified under “other expenses”.

“People inherently understand that if they are going to get ahead in whatever corporate culture they are involved in, they need to take on the appurtenances of what defines that culture,”

Dare i suggest that what defines that corporate culture may also have to undergo some changes?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

It’s easier than it sounds

Who knew that it could be as easy as 1-2-3.

You guys better be reading this cause today we’ve got numbers coming out and they are expected to be mmm…not so good, so we need about half a million of you out there to get in the game.

UPDATE: OK so maybe we need juuuust a bit more of you after all

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bank of Amerillwide


What a ride? Yesterday under 5$. Today under 4$. Who knows what the future holds?

Equal opportunities employer my ass

Where do i start with this? What does someone have to do to be considered worthy applicant for a job in an island in the middle of fucking nowhere? Isn’t it enough that he has to compete with 11.000 applicants for the same job, i mean the odds are bad enough already…

The Apprentice CEO

You don't become a billionaire unless you can spot great opportunities. According to the rumors next season's winner of the Apprentice will be able to choose the CEO position of any major US Bank he prefers.

Policy Enhancement

Having been sworn-in only a couple of weeks ago, and being busy calculating the amounts of backdated taxes owed by its Officers, it should be expected by the government to overlook certain details related to the policies they introduce. We are here to help. It could play out like this: 5 Demerits were given to BofA yesterday for exceeding by $35,000,000 the compensation cap for its CEO.

Madoff the movie?

The popularisation of the financial crisis is going full steam ahead, and now Hollywood has taken over and is developing a script for the Madoff movie (based on a true story?). Details are just starting to emerge and our blog has managed to get a copy of a critical scene from the script.

Is it too much to ask to cast our new fav hot actress in some small but integral part? Maybe the role of Catherine Hooper, girlfriend of Andy The Fish Madoff, and secret Ponzi Meister.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Did somebody change the subject while i was out?

Look, i know you guys are having a bad week or something, but lets keep our eyes on the ball, right?

Hey, who stole my lunch money?

Coming from someone who is an insightful person, its a little disconcerting to realise that people still think that when the world is falling apart, they can pick and choose which things stay the same.

In the words of the new shaman of the western world Dr.Roubini… "i don't know what some people are smoking"

The Bailout Game

To all of you that the recent flurry of bailout trillions (that's with a T) seemed more like a game than actual policy making: You were right and here is the proof!

Cable malfunction?

Cable company admitted yesterday that after years of planning and secret meetings they managed to one-up the famous Janet Jackson incident. A spokesperson for the company said “we feel that we raised the bar on such incidents and that no one can match us right now, but hey, if they wanna try they can just go ahead”

Resetting Microsoft

Microsoft had some very sobering words for the state of the economy, last week, including S. Ballmer's assessment that "this is not a recession, it's a resetting". I wonder, if this is indeed the case, would it be too much to ask for a... resetting of the Windows software as well?

Ok ok, you and me, outside, now?

oh boy, we are waaaay past just naming names right now…

Who knew about headsets?

Not such an insight as other blogs but still you gotta love those niche market segments

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Don't you just want one of these?

You know your black SUV just doesn't cut it anymore, right?


Here is a little news story which could be of interst to two kinds of people:
i. those concerned with the hectic schedule of the top corporate executives and,
ii. those still wondering how we got ourselves into this mess...

On Schemes...

Some people are feeling nervous these days on the news that Gov. Cuomo is examining the bonuses paid under Merrill's bonus scheme just before the BofA deal, and may seek recovery of the payments.

I say it's a good thing they are still calling them "Bonus schemes". If the term were to change (more accurately perhaps) to "Ponzi schemes" they could actually go back up to six years, and that's when a lot of people would get really nervous.

It's the economy, girlfriend

I ‘d like to take a moment to introduce our audience to the world of dating a banker anonymous .

It’s one of those rare moments when you can look into the other side and gain some understanding…