Editor’s note: Jim Josephson has spent 15 years in banking, working across Jardine Fleming, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns. He has worked in equity derivatives sales and trading, structured products and flow derivatives. These are his tales from the trading floors.
We ought to discriminate between traders and punters or gamblers, because the distinction is huge. Traders who are successful over time are level-headed people, they have a calmness and method, humility and discipline.
They have a work ethic closer to a religion than anything else. They will not drink in the evening because someone is likely to call at midnight from another time zone.
They get up early and get in front of the screen because the static data they checked over yesterday needs to be checked again today. They don’t embrace risk, they intimately understand their risks.
There is a great analogy, albeit a little cringe-worthy for the true professionals.
(CNN) - UBS stands for the Union Bank of Switzerland. Yet this week's discovery of a $2 billion loss by an alleged rogue trader gave this most conservative of financial institutions the dubious honor of being dubbed the ‘Unauthorized’ Bank of Switzerland across many a dealing room in London.
The trader allegedly responsible has been identified. Police have made an arrest and the bank’s head of risk management will likely be engaged in some serious conversations. All the while, banking sector analysts are furiously adjusting their next earnings forecasts for the company.
In a memo to staff, UBS Chief Executive Oswald Grueber reportedly told staff that management would get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible.
However, people familiar with the matter tell me Thursday's event may lead to some profound changes for the 157-year-old finance house.
CNN's Felicia Taylor reports on the business generated by New York's Fashion Week.
Editor's note: David Buik is a veteran commentator and partner at BGC Partners.
London (CNN) - How ironic that it should be exactly three years to the day that Hank Paulson, then the U.S. Treasury Secretary, allowed Lehman Brothers to go to the wall, that an unauthorised loss of $2 billion from UBS’s investment banking operation in London should have been announced by CEO Oswald Grübel.
Paulson’s decision was inexplicable in the circumstances, having saved Bear Stearns and supported AIG, and it sent seismic tremors of fear through financial markets not seen since 1929. UBS’s loss has at least been declared, though the reason behind the alleged behaviour of 31-year-old Kweku Adoboli may take some weeks to manifest itself.
London (CNN) - Greece is almost certain to default on its debts, but the type of default – and its impact on the markets, Europe and the world – is yet to play out.
A default can come in three different forms:
A “selective default”. Under the terms of the second bail-out, some creditors can roll over their debt and take a “hair-cut”, or losses on the money they are owed. This is done to protect against the possibility of greater losses in the future. It is limited, controlled and understood. Crucially, it is expected.
The greater fear is that Greece defaults on a much greater scale. An “orderly default” would be one that is planned for, so creditors – and the markets - are prepared and have a plan to deal with losses in the value of their investments. While markets will be volatile, there will be soothing statements from eurozone leaders and it will be controlled.
The worst case scenario is that Greece defaults outright and without warning. This is what people are referring to as a "disorderly default,” and that is the big fear. This would be hugely significant because it will almost certainly lead to contagion. It will not necessarily lead to Greece being kicked out of the euro, nor the collapse thereof. It will however pose fundamental questions about the foundations of the euro project. Market reaction could be as bad as when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
London (CNN) – Endless political rhetoric and billions in bailouts have left Greece no closer to solving the dangerous dilemma it is facing today.
Should the country give up trying to pay its bills and incur the wrath of its creditors? Or leave a monetary union that has brought a decade of comparative prosperity and stability?
So, how much is at stake?
Greece has $370 billion of outstanding debt - equal to around 3% percent of the eurozone’s total obligations. Compare that with 23% percent for Italy, whose debt pile stands at a whopping $1.9 trillion - and you can see that a Greek default would be less extreme than for other, larger eurozone partners.
But Greece is grabbing the headlines because its predicament exposes potentially fatal errors in the common currency project.
(CNN) – As China once again is getting calls to bail out a European nation, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told a group of business leaders that “countries must first put their own house in order.”
While “willing to extend a helping hand,” China is working on its own woes with inflation and structural reforms, Wen told the audience at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China, on Wednesday. “Developed countries must take responsible fiscal and monetary policies. What is most important now is to prevent the further spread of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe,” said Wen, according to Bloomberg.
His comments come after reports that Rome is in talks with Beijing to buy Italian debt bonds and invest in some key Italian companies. That report sent stocks higher Tuesday, as the equity markets continued a roller-coaster ride over fears that a Greek default is imminent, sparking a debt contagion as investors lose appetite to buy other European bonds.
CNN's Maggie Lake talks to World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein about rebuilding after the 9/11 attacks.
Hong Kong (CNN) – It’s a different world when a European country, in this case Italy, can’t rely on its own neighbors to help with financial support. It’s a different world when it can’t even rely on the world’s biggest economic power, a still sluggish United States, to help prop it up. And you know it’s a different world when Europe’s third-largest economy calls out to the cash-rich People’s Republic of China for help.
But that is what appears to be happening.
Italy has basically invited China to make “significant” purchases of bonds and other assets to help the European country out of its financial debt crisis. And the interesting thing is that China could do it – if it wanted. And in fact, it’s also come to light that Chinese investors and Italian government officials have made trips to each other’s capitals for “talks” over the past few weeks.
With a population of more than 2.5 million people, Chicago is one of the largest cities in the U.S., behind New York and Los Angeles.
But the people here don't see themselves living in any city's shadow; To them, this so-called second city is first.
Chicago has always been visually distinct, and has raised its profile through film.
But the city realizes it will take more than just looks to keep the industry going.
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