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Dave Spart

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  1. On Monday in the Singapore Straits Times, Lee Kwan Yew, former PM, when asked about the prospect if gay MPs replied saying he didn't mind them "provided they performed"
  2. http://www.artemis.bm/blog/2011/01/18/lloyds-to-lobby-for-lower-solvency-ii-catastrophe-reserve/ Not directly house-price related but it is further proof (if proof were needed) that large financial organisations don't want to play ball with new regulations designed to avert catastrophe. Is greed jeopardising the financial system once more? :angry: Well, the entire insurance industry across Europe is being forced to comply with Solvency II, failure to do so can mean all manner of sanctions. Having recently finished a contract with a very large though little known life insurer in the south Birmingham region (no names) I can tell you that I have heard rumours they alone may need to raise between 3bn to 8bn pounds in the capital markets in order to comply - coming at a time when the banks' capacity to lend has been severely hampered. Solvency II consultants are being paid absolute fortunes (daily rates of 4,000 pounds per day) to address how such companies can reduce their new additional capital-requirements and avert sanction.
  3. You can see how the term "affordable" in the context of property is being twisted into a badge of shame. :angry: The repost to anyone using the term so should be "So when's your repossesion?"
  4. Isn't the plural of Nimby Nimbies? You say Nimby and I say Nimby, You say Nimby's and I'll say Numpty, Nimby, Nimby, Nimby's, Numpty, Let's call the whole thing off. You say Carmeena and I say Carmina, You say Buranna and I say Burana, Carmeena, Buranna, Carmina, Burana, Lets Carl the whole thing Orff. Copyright Dave Spart
  5. On Armando Ianucci's Charm Offensive (Series 3) Stewart Lee described how he'd (allegedly) seen Huw Edwards fertively taking 30 sachets of sugar from Starbucks on Shepherds Bush. http://www.sci-fi-online.com/2008_reviews/audio/08-06-12_iannucci-charm3.htm Does Huw know something the rest of us should?
  6. I wonder if these two were among the guests? Two ex-Landsbanki executives arrested in Iceland. I wonder how many will be joining them?
  7. I wonder how long are countries like China, Taiwan and Singapore going to continued to be referred to as 'emerging'? I suspect some Asian countries enjoy the tag as it implies excitement and dynamism but in truth many 'emerging' counties aren't merely waking up - they have surpassed many countries referred to as 'developed' and are way off in the distance, setting the international benchmark. Rather than referring to 'emerging' countries perhaps it might be more instructive to refer to the traditionally 'developed' countries as declining.
  8. He'll learn what's meant by a BumBuster, and how to kill a man with a Curly Wurly. I wonder who is cell mate will be? Killer McTuff or Non-Payment-Of-Council-Tax Dave? Does anyone know if he was ever a barrister - and if he'll be banged up with people he prosecuted or failed to defend? Was he dragged from the court kicking and screaming "It wuz Elmo Blatch, I tell ya!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFNwBA4x7ek
  9. If he was mortgage broker for Bank of America then maybe he kinda deserves it! Giving tens of thousands of poor folks homes that can't be repossessed!! Or maybe someone will sue him for the winnings - for having sold liar loans. Ha! Ha!. Karma, baby, karma! Is that like the ultimate pyrrhic victory? It could be like Brewster's Millions but with a Schadenfraude ending!!!
  10. Nicely phrased. In the early nineties I noticed that the new generation of Radio One DJs who had replaced the likes of Nicey and Smashey were exorting her young impressionable listeners to "Geh un ah ih chewed" coz yo ain't nobardy unless yo "Goh un ah ih chewed". I expressly remember Lisa I'Anson in particular doing just this, as she trimuphantly wallowed in her own Dunning-Kruger delusions of grandeur in front of the nation's youth. Well done Lisa, you encouraged a nation of kids to grow up ignoring the consequences of their actions, "Because your worth it". PS It may not surprise you to find that Lisa I'Anson is an anagram of Sin As I Loan.
  11. Happy New Year Eric, Happy New Year everyone. As someone who remembers the Money Programme Eric refers to being broadcast (and a few other similarly themed programmes at the time) I wholeheatedly agree. Earlier this week I was reading through the review of Scott Paterson's book "The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It" on Amazon and got taken aback at a scathing review posted by someone going by the moniker 'hh'. Clearly whoever 'hh' is they are very close indeed to the work of Quants. Despite what you might think about Quants, it wasn't them who encouraged people to sign up to mortgages they couldn't afford. From what I can tell, the fundamental problem with the work of Quants - forgive my ignorance here - is that risk is based on the Normal probability distribution which assumes that movements (upside and downside risks) will occur with equal probability. In an ideal world that may be true but, as we know all too well, in the real world, during a boom or a bust, that assumption is a gross over-simplication of neolithic incompetence*. Taleb has pointed out this fallacy and having rekindled my interest in the mathematics of financial engineering recently I am inclinded to agree. The madness of crowds, herd behaviour, fraud, corruption, call it what you will mean that risks become skewed during booms and busts, something the Normal distribution by itself cannot take into account. During a boom, during times of optimism, expansion and hubris, people become more inclined to take risks and the probability distribution should be calibrated to reflect this such that the probability of an investment decision posing a downside risk being generally higher that of an upside risk - relative to a bust period, thus reflecting the recklessness that the Austrian School of Economics would refer to as malinvesment. During a bust, during times of depression, contraction and fear, people become less inclined to take risks and the probability distribution should be calibrated to reflect this too, such that the probability of an investment decision posing an upside side risk being generally higher than that of an downside risk - relative to a boom period. Question is who decides what the underlying risk distribution should be at any given moment in time? Who? Well,here's an idea : How about the central banks or similar international organisations? We are already up to our eye balls in consumer and producer confidence index-surveys, so why can't they incorporate them (and other related measures) as proxies for integrity/deception/fraud for banks to take into account when they price risk? How about making the use of such officially published risk probabilities as a legally enforceable basis in all risk calculations undertaken by risk professionals in banks and such like? That way the public can choose to lie about ability to pay as much as they damn well like; their deception will automatically be reflected in the risk premium their lies pose to the world's financial system. Until the powers-that-be get together and legally enforce change like this we will continue to see further credit crunches and economic catastrophes***. There. Was that difficult? Can I have my PhD now, please? Ladies and gentlemen, enacting this sort of idea is ultimately just a matter of political will, much like putting Man on the Moon. The problem with it is this: Mark Twain once remarked that a bank is a place that will lend you an umbrella when its sunny and demand it back when its raining: my idea forces banks to do the opposite (taking the punch bowl away before the party gets too boisterous as Mervyn King once noted) but then all my idea really is is the integrity parallel to interest rates in setting Monetary Policy. Snowball, anyone? *PS It might have been a good idea for the architects of the Euro to have taken the comparative differences in confidence/integity/hubris between different nations when setting membership rules. For example: Germans - cautious and with high savings. Greeks - over-confident and with little savings. Surely these comparative risks have to taken into account when setting bank capital adequacy rules within each nation, right? I'm probably talking out my ****, but then I am hungover. Happy New Year. **PPS Its funny how human behaviour being what it is, causes people to get fixated to a convenient simplifcation or misunderstanding, such as taking (for example) some of the more preposterous Biblical stories as the literal truth. Is the Normal distribution the quant's John Frum? *** Has anyone even seen a trophy in the shape of a cat's ass? **** If I can come up with a solution as simple as this, why can't super-genuius Taleb? Perhaps he already knows the answer, but instead of enunciating, he chooses instead to prevaricate while making a fortune touring the world giving lectures slamming the use of the Normal Distribution and giving off an air of consternation that the problem can't be fixed. Normal distribution.(see how probability of upside and downside risks are equal, regardless of economic conditions) Gamma probability density function (see how probability be can skewed towards one end by tweaking the parameters - which can easily be changed at any time we like to reflect economic conditions such as integrity/deception/fraud).
  12. Believe this or not but in Singapore school children routinely can be found swatting prior to their exams in the early hours of the morning at McDonalds at Changi Airport, so all the above apply to children in Singapore too; not through any inadequacies of the system but because of the way they are over committing themselves. Having said that, one lesson children in the UK would benefit from is a visit to Asia.
  13. A bloke I knew was the beneficiary of these kinds of shenanigans thanks to his service in the Army. After his retirement he became a (distant) colleague of mine at an insurance company and told me the story: Immediately prior to retiring he got bumped up to the rank of major with the accompanying pay rise and decent pension thank you very much. You can be sure this practice is rife through the public sector and councillor in the news clip is one of many thousands. If just to prevent this kinds of abuse, if for nothing else, it's time public sector final salary schemes were scrapped. I'm all for enterprise but not of this kind.
  14. What does their TwitSpace entry say? Something about superbly appointed, deceptively spacious etc?
  15. If you remember back to the General Election, the one big reason (it was claimed at the time) we had a coalition in the first place was to settle the markets so presumably endangering the coalition now might cause a few financial fireworks. Watch this space.
  16. Where's The Big Society When You Need It? Down the pub. Watching Britain's Got X-Idols.
  17. It is in Islam and was in Christianity for 700 years. In case you didn't know the people who thought up this idea of micro-lending were awarded the Nobel Prize. http://www.google.com.sg/search?hl=en&&sa=X&ei=yhMLTbm-NonxrQezp4jnCw&ved=0CBsQBSgA&q=nobel+prize+microlending&spell=1 Usury cloaked itself in a veil of respectability. Merry Christless.
  18. Related to house prices, perhaps not, but a salutory lesson in the social cost of credit booms nonetheless. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11997571 There's never been a better time to bye.
  19. The only trouble you'll see will be on TV wool like Eastenders and Coronation Street - or trouble started by extremist groups to further their causes. The general public are not ready to be unplugged, they are so inured, so dependent, they will fight to save the very system that enslaves them.
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