20 Sep 2017

McKinsey's Spur der Verwüstung - Inside Paradeplatz

Maybe a bit exaggerated, but there is an element of truth in it. The fees charged by Management Consultants - esp. the largest ones - are out of line with the benefits they often bring. Fees are paid independent of ultimate results, if they are below par there is no chance to get reimbursed. And quite often the gruntwork is done by very junior staffers that never had any real business experience. But the fees that are charged for them do not reflect this. So why not use someone with frontline experience gained over many decades, over many market cycles and in many company cultures?

McKinsey's Spur der Verwüstung - Inside Paradeplatz

13 Sep 2017

MUFG said to pick Amsterdam for Securities Base after Brexit

The Securities Diaspora gathers pace. There is only the little problem of human 'resources' to consider. While Japanese and Expats from other countries (less so) can be shifted quite easily - how about the workforce that has its roots in London? And how easy will it be to find willing recruits in London, Paris or other centres that will consider job offers in a smaller regional centre - however brilliant some aspects or life might be there? And managing dispersed teams all over Europe will be a major challenge for management!
(Bloomberg)

30% of Bank Jobs May Disappear in Next Five Years - Former Citi CEO

Vikram Pandit, who ran Citigroup Inc. during the financial crisis, said developments in technology could see some 30 percent of banking jobs disappearing in the next five years.

8 Sep 2017

Investment Management: No limits to Size?

Talk of (inevitable?) concentration in the Investment Management universe must lead to the obvious question: is it really inevitable as many consultants and industry bigwigs are saying or is there a natural limit to ever-expanding amount of aum among the industry giants such as Vanguard, Blackrock or JP Morgan?
There may well be the result of at best matching the investment benchmarks (minus fees, costs) as the sheer size of portfolios makes any meaningful divergence from the benchmark more and more impractical. So even active management will be not much different from passive management the bigger a provider becomes.
Product differentiation may provide a (temporary)?) solution as the myriad of strategies can again try to be nimble small fish in a big pond. So effectively big investment houses become a congregation of investment boutiques under the same roof - be they separate subsidiaries (as at Natixis for example) or just different teams under the same umbrella.
Which leads to the next conclusion: if boutiques are the way to at least try to make active investment management work who is to say that free-standing boutiques or even mid-sized firms are necessarily at a disadvantage? Everybody knows where the big pools or money are and digital distribution channels will keep the costs garnering assets under control.
Largest US pension fund CalPERS in talks with BlackRock to outsource buyout business, source says

Top Execs sell stock before bad company news breaks

When well-paid (overpaid?) top executives behave like this one should not wonder that Capitalism and the Market System increasingly lose public support. It is only fortunate that the average citizen is not really able to properly put such blatant abuse of position into proper perspective. After all, how many do really understand what a million dollars (life changing amount for 99% of the population) means? The maths scores tell a story! And it will be interesting to see how regulators and the trustees of the savings of ordinary people (aka investment managers, private bankers) and the corporate and 'socially responsible' investment crowd are going to do about this.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/equifax-executives-sold-stock-after-data-breach-before-informing-public-2017-09-07?siteid=rss&rss=1

7 Sep 2017

Diamonds are Forever?

Lending ONE BILLION against some baubles supposed to be in envelopes or safes? NUTS! Did they never hear about the Great Salad Oil Swindle in the early 1960's? What do these risk managers do? Do the 'Elite' Business Schools teach them the basics?
https://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2017-09-07/how-standard-chartered-lost-400-million-on-risky-diamond-debt

30 Aug 2017

Russia To Ban Cryptocurrency Sales To "Ordinary People"

Rightly so, time our often over-reaching regulators wake up to this charade, and please don't call these 'Coins' a 'Currency', they are neither coins nor currencies but should be relegated to the game universe.
Russia Backpedals On Bitcoin - Unveils Plan To Ban Cryptocurrency Sales To "Ordinary People"

29 Aug 2017

London Job Losses - trickling rather than bleeding

One always had to wonder why Deutsche Bank needs 9000 people in London, or HSBC needs 43000 in the UK. Was that not always padded by quite a bit or over staffing? So large banks move dozens or even hundreds of jobs, dispersed in various regional centres? Given the arrival of Fintech and the plummeting cost of communicating with low-cost centres there was always the prospect of job diversion, especially in support roles. Globalization also means that other centres such as Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai etc would grow in stature and staff would be relocated closer to customers and markets.
In the opposite direction there are forces that might in the long run strengthen the role as hub and nerve centre coordinating and directing the regional centres. Higher Value-added roles might well be concentrated in the UK - if politics and regulation are creating a business-friendly environment.
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/bank-jobs-are-bleeding-out-of-london--and-brexit-hasnt-even-kicked-in-yet.html

22 Aug 2017

Bitcoin Hype - Regulators asleep or afraid

Given the thousands of pages of detailed regulation that has been produced in all major industrial countries one has to wonder why the Regulators are keeping stumm about the Bitcoin craze. Claims that thses 'coins' are Digital 'Currencies' are clearly misleading (try selling a 'Digital House', or a 'Digital' Brooklyn Bridge). Neither are they a safe haven, they are digital assets and given the way they are offered and promoted they are investments and as such should be brought under regulatory umbrellas.
(22-Aug-2017)
The price of Bitcoin and Ethereum is slipping but Bitcoin Cash is rising