Thursday, April 30, 2009

Perhaps a little Underpinning……

City bankers on course for £7bn in bonuses

City bankers are to reap nearly £7bn in bonuses this spring even though the government has been forced to pump tens of billions into the banks to prevent them collapsing. Someone has cleaned the looking glass.......so much clearer now

Posted by braindeed @ 09:09 AM (2871 views)
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145 thoughts on “Perhaps a little Underpinning……

  • The vast majority of these bonus payments will be made by firms who are not publicly owned and have not received a bailout. It’s very fashionable to rant on about city bonuses but it’s nobodies business what a non government owned company pays its employees ….unless of course, we become a Marxist state

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  • The Baldman says:

    Flashman…It does matter because it usually indicates a monopoly position that has been created by by public authorities.

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  • Marxist State?……You mean where the people own the banks? – heaven forbid.

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  • braindeed: I’m not sure I understand your point?

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  • Bless

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  • stillthinking says:

    Unfortunately New Labour tends more to fascism.

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  • …..as against the blessed freedoms that await the masses, under the Old Etonian and his fag.
    There has, indeed, been a collective myopia about state snooping cctv databases etc -mind you Brits never were much for questioning their ‘betters,’ or engaging in adult rumination of anything that couldn’t be sound bitten.
    we got the Government wot we deserved.

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  • Flashman – it’s not just the fact that taxpayers are effectively handing cash straight to the bankers – it’s the whole system that people can’t accept. The world is in this mess because of the banks reward system. People were incentivised to do deals based on how much profit they generated short term, regardless of the wider consequences outside their own business. It was immoral behaviour and not enough has been done to change this yet for people to agree with the fact that bonuses are still being paid. If you lend money to someone you know cannot pay it back, because you know you can sell the debt on and make a profit so it’s not your problem, then I think a prison sentence is more appropriate than a bonus.

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  • flashman – please show how you made your calculation. Since US and other foreign firms operate in the City I would count a bailout by any govt as a bailout. I would also count e.g the Bear Stearns – JP Morgan deal as a bailout of JP Morgan, and the AIG bailout as a bailout of Goldman Sachs. On that basis would you say there’s no govt money behind the vast majority of City bonuses?

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  • The vast majority of city workers are not involved in banking and are employed by firms that are in no need of a bailout (incidentally, many banks didn’t need a bailout either). The economic damage was done by investment banks and retail banks who wanted to be investment banks …I suppose I would have to include the London office of AIG. The fact is that London’s financial services industry is arguably the UK’s only world class industry and we need it more than ever. The populist view seems to be that city workers are all bankers and that they all needed a bailout. This is a staggeringly ignorant viewpoint from people who should (and probably do) know better. The EU is currently trying to hobble our financial industry because they have always been jealous of it and they see a once in a lifetime chance to give Frankfurt a boost. This sort of attitude will play into their hands.

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  • The smart people are still making heaps of money in this downturn.

    Bonuses can be payed for performance as in any business. If it is deserved then so be it.

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  • smart?
    It’s going to take a firing squad, methinks.
    It was ‘smart money men’ who had the genius to package steaming piles of mis-sold mortgages……

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  • icarus: I have worked in the city for more than 20 years and I am amazed at the perception that people have of what we do. Of course there is no reason why anyone should know … but the press have done us AND the population a disservice with their misinformation. Most people do not work for investment banks (from the UK or the US).

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  • I don’t know if people truly believe that the majority of the financial services industry consists of bailed out bankers and financial engineers who don’t understand their products (they do actually). I often suspect that this misconception is willful ignorance. Perhaps remaining ignorant is the only palliative that can ease people’s sense of impotency and anger? Before the hoots of derision rise up from the more excitable posters let me state the (perhaps inconvenient) truth: Most people in the city are involved in mergers and acquisitions, IPO’s, capital funding and in executing clients essential requirements for hedging and insurance and of course hedge funds. All of these operations have been hugely profitable for decades and have resulted in vast increases in GDP and tax revenue. There has been zero requirement to bailout these activities which continue to be world class and profitable

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  • flashman……do you do childrens parties?

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  • 11. braindeed,

    That was not smart, that was criminal. I am not refering to the likes. Most con men are smart.

    I am refering to people that operate within the moral code of law.

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  • I have worked in a bank. Driven by short term bonuses. I will be gone you will be gone mentality. Profits are high because of exploiting a duo/monoply position.

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  • braindeed: Comments like yours are killing this site. You must have noticed how the number of posts is dwindling? Tthe number of readers is also falling off a cliff. There are many people who are getting increasingly turned off by this type of puerile bitchiness. Come on, I KNOW you are better than that.

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  • [email protected]
    I doubt you’d win many moral arguments (viz-a-viz your working practices) if judged by a typical jury of 12.
    No doubt you truly believe that you would, and therein lies the conundrum.
    No harm meant to you personally, I meant firing squad in metaphor – we live in times where there will have to be a collective review of money markets and their purpose. The status quo can never be maintained.

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  • it_is_going_with_a_bang says:

    There is an easy answer to the question of bonuses. Regulation.
    One very good method of regulation would be that bonuses are paid over a longer period of time.
    Then if risks have been taken and don’t work out the bonus is withdrawn/shrunk appropriately.
    That is all that is needed. Some sort of accountability which lasts more than 5 minutes.

    Lump sum bonuses which people use as a salary should be restricted.

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  • What most people object to is persons earning vast amounts of money that they do not deserve on the basis of skills required to do the job or personal financial risks taken.
    They are right to object, it is a sympton of dysfunctional market mechanisms, and we are all being crucified by the consequences of creating huge great incentives to gamble with other people’s money.

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  • “Extrapolating that to the full five months of the bonus season to April means payouts will be between £6.5bn and £7bn”

    The amounts stated in the article are a complete guess. Just because Goldman paid $x in December, JP Morgan/Credit Suisse paid $y in January, you cant reliably extrapolate the data so that (say) RBS/ Lloyds/ Northern crock will pay £z in April. Maybe they will, maybe they wont.

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  • [email protected]

    The reason this site was set up,was that the founders believed that the balloon was inflating way beyond it’s capacity.
    They were proved right: ergo argument won.
    My ‘bitchiness’ is just a shorthand reply to the wordy pap you write – really, get over yourself.

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  • Flashman – you obviously know far more about the inner workings of the city than I do, but all these world-class people you talk about are essentially making money out of the stuff that other people do. “mergers and acquisitions, IPO’s, capital funding and in executing clients essential requirements for hedging and insurance and of course hedge funds”. My experience of these types of people has taught me one thing – they will charm the pants off you if they think they have a chance of making money out of you, but that is all they care about. World class or not – the city is full of self-serving parasites who make money out of making money. Their single minded focus on this has brought the world to its knees.

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  • 17. braindeed

    I did not know that being good at one’s job was so unpopular. Is that not what we all strive to acheive?

    If it were 12 losing traders then maybe! lol.

    Braindeed, you are showing a lack of distinction in your argument. May I suggest that you set a dividing line between moral and immoral.

    It comes across as just plain ranting otherwise. No harm meant to you personally!

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  • braindeed,

    Flashman has given us plenty of useful insight over the last few months into many of the workings around his profession, so no need to scoff.
    If you wish to argue over the definition of work and it’s rewards then go ahead, but I don’t think that you can classify someone working in “the city” as all akin to bankers and financial con men.

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  • need-a-crash says:

    Bonuses are still 50% of last year. So that’s 50% less to be “splurged” out on the London property market – as I remember a certain notorious estate agent proudly reporting about bonuses in 2006/7.

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  • timmy t: Perhaps there is some truth to what you say. However, most of the activities we engage in are requested. Companies and governments want us to do these things for them. Very often the pay is out of wack but I don’t see how raising money for industry startups/expansion or helping a company stay in business by hedging their currency exposure (for example) has brought the world to its knees?

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  • crunchy……you see, chances are there wouldn’t be any ‘traders’ on a jury. Try to understand that it’s not just your peers who judge you.
    You’re living in a cloistered world that is screwing everyone else’s life up.
    And ‘we’ think it sucks.

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  • People who develop drugs to cure illness should be well rewarded. People with the same technical skills who develop drugs to sell on the street, get people hooked and line their own pockets should be locked up. There are people in the city who do a valuable and worthwhile job and should be well rewarded. There are other in the city who want to make money regardless of the wider consequences – they should be locked up. I don’t doubt that some of this £7bn is well deserved and would be supported if cases were examined individually. Unfortunately that’s not possible, so the media, who also have a desire to make money with mixed consideration of the consequences, print a headline like this so they can sell papers.
    We would probably disagree on the proportion of the £7bn that is deserved. But the world would be dull if we all had one opinion!

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  • We?

    Currencies have been traded for many years please check the history. This practise has been engaged in through all economic cycles good, and bad. In fact it is the trading of currencies that keeps governments on there toes, because if they do not run the economy well the currency suffers as a result.

    Now back to me. I am an OTC trader so do not effect a currencies movement. It is banks and financial institutions that do that.

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  • Yes ‘we’

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  • 29. braindeed

    Infantile behavior does not exept you from backing a losing argument.

    Please check yourself and concede with some dignity.

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  • Cloistered – look it up.
    And a lecture about ego-centrism, from you, is laughable.

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  • Cloistered? Give me a break! LOL.

    Oh boy!

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  • Of course, you ‘earn’ your dosh…..by ‘hard work’

    Go on have the last word. it’s all your

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  • matt_the_hat says:

    13. flashman – I always think making money out of just money is wrong – the major religious writing knew it that’s why charging interest on loans is forbidden in the bible and koran.

    I would hope that mergers and acquisitions would produce efficiency savings (which is good for customers), but the large costs bankers/lawyers impose reduces the savings. IPO’s are good for raising capital for companies to grow – but again some of that capital is taken by the non-productive financial “industry”.

    I know there is a need for efficient capital resource allocation into growing and productive areas of the economy – but the city has shown its incompetence in that role for most of the last century – I once read about an experiment where the participant knew the complete cashflow of a stock and were allowed to trade that stock between themselves, the stock price should then be a reflection of the discounted cash flow, what happened was the price still showed bubble mentalities (but these guys knew the entire cashflow from start to finish) and when the experiment was repeat with the very same participants the same result. Needless to say resource was allocated on short term gains not long term maximal growth.

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  • The harder I work the luckier I get.

    Trading is hard work mentally, that’s why 95% fail because they can’t hack it. I have never worked in a sector that is more demanding.
    If you knew how many hours I put in a week it would make your head spin.

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  • *snigger*

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  • Well you certainly chose the right nick for yourself braindeed, well almost, one letter out, but nobody’s perfect eh ?

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  • it’s a subtle play on words Andrew, – now go outside and play

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  • go outside and play ??

    Are you okay ??

    The general rule is that you don’t write what you wouldn’t say to somebody face to face, there are plenty of other sites for novices such as yourself that have just discovered forum sites to go and rant on.

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  • Rant?……calm dow, calm down

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  • matt: I’m sure those dodgy biblical money lenders found ways to get their quid pro quo. The mind boggles but blowjobs for shekels and a crack at the rabbi’s daughter spring to mind.

    Of course there is good and bad in the city. Like every industry, the city is made up of people and we are all fallible. I am not sure it is entirely accurate though to say that the city is responsible for capital allocation. The city does not arbitrarily decide to raise money for a particular industry. Typically, someone in an established industry or someone with a fledgling industry comes to us for help with their funding. We then raise the money for them for a fee. The fee may be huge but it is an entirely elective process and the vast majority of our customers are repeat business. It is this elective thing that is key. We tell people what our charges are and they decide whether or not they want to pay them. The same goes for other activities like currency hedging, IPO’s and M&A’s etc.

    On a Keynesian level it is a lot better to pay a free spending city boy a wedge than to give it to a profligate government. A bit thin, but I couldn’t resist it.

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  • flashman – I think people are sensing that short-term financial engineering has gained dominance over the non-finance side of the economy and that the Atlantic (London, New York) finance system has driven globalisation, which is based on the fiat dollar/ reserve currency, the ending of capital controls and the free entry/exit to other financial systems to penetrate other countries’ labour and product markets, along with the IMF to bail out the banks which made non-performing predatory loans to those countries. None of this did any good except to the western bankers. It is this centrality of finance, not the seeking of efficiency, which drove much M&A and buyout activity. The dominance of finance has also been associated with sluggish growth in other parts of the economy, making it difficult for most of those outside finance to earn big bucks.

    It’s also difficult to separate malignant investment banks from benign other sectors of finance, since the former either created or sucked in much of the latter. Money markets and commercial paper markets were once clearing houses for short-term loans and the daily smoothing of transactions but the speculative proprietary trading by investment banks (and later commercial banks) went hand-in-hand with the development of these markets as sources of massive amounts money for that kind of trading. Pension and Mutual funds were also drawn into this speculative activity – by short-term lending to the banks and by buying their asset-backed securities. This expanded bans’ balance sheets and leverage.

    Investment bank leverage was also greatly expanded by shadow banking – which on the institutional side includes hedge funds, private equity groups, SIVs and conduits. Tranfers of funds between these and banks were managed in a way that enhance the damaging leverage. The non-institutional side of leverage expansion included OTC trading in credit derivatives, mainly in London and New York. The debt bubble was mainly in these derivatives, concentrated in the banks and their SIV/ conduit/ hedge fund satellites – when the money markets and pension funds realised these were junk the credit crunch hit. Other players included ratings agencies and insurance companies selling CDSs to insure the CDOs which also greatly enhanced leverage.

    In short, many sectors of finance were drawn into the investment banks’ scams. Furthermore the benign functions of the banks, such as broking and fund management, provided real-time information about markets that enabled the investment banks to pile in with their new-found funds and generate bubbles and other shifts in markets that enhance short-term profitability.

    People are outraged because they have to underwrite a credit system which has little to do with the public function of supplying credit and everything to do with the expansion of finance capital.

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  • contrails are not a conspiracy (formerly npnh) says:

    Flashman, Matt TH,

    I have never really understood antisemitism in any form. All the Jews I know are good people and I have never been crossed by one.

    So in the light of this swine flu (almost) pandemic and the ongoing financial collapse I can’t help but admire the Jewish culture and some of their values.

    I think they may be onto something:

    With all their constant hand washing, the pork ban and excellent financial intelligence applied to almost everything they do the Jews surely will be well placed to ride the forthcoming events out?

    Food for thought anyway…. It is almost like their elders forsaw the events of today unfolding….

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  • It’s a truism that men rarely change their inner ‘core’ beliefs.
    There are few truths, that is, inalienable truths – let’s all stay calm and play nice.
    Don’t forget……it’s all the b*llsh**t that has brought our economy to the brink.

    So in conclusion:
    Crunchy : I know you ‘believe’ that you ‘earn’ your traders pot – but others just can’t see it – they do not ‘believe’ it.
    Andrew: You feel it is your right to attack a persona that exist only in cyber, and cannot believe that I am anything other than a ranting imbecile…I don’t believe that, and others probably agree.

    Flashman : There is a fundamental review of the ‘value’ of the transactions that you describe, taking place presently – don’t be surprised if some ‘pruning’ of ‘deadwood’ or some other such euphemism takes place on a truly massive scale. I am not alone in ‘believing’ that that will, and should, take place

    Anyone who has closely viewed societies that have broken down, will realise how thin the veneer of civilisation is (trust me, it’s never pretty) – we’d all be better contemplating the notion of preventing a tear in that same veneer.
    And I’ll bet my survival skills against any pot of filthy lucre, if it does rupture.

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  • icarus: Good post. You are mostly right about investment banks. The stock market is semi-rigged and always has been.

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  • contrails are not a conspiracy (formerly npnh) says:

    Braindeed: “And I’ll bet my survival skills against any pot of filthy lucre, if it does rupture”.

    (in the voice of Harry Hill)

    Well, I like Crunchy and I like Braindeed. But which one is better? There’s only one way to find out…. Fiiiiiiiiight!

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  • contrails are not a conspiracy: I am nervous about making this point but my industry (investment banking in particular) is dominated by Jews. It’s my experience that many of them are funny, hardworking, shrewd, tough and slippery as fcck. My Jewish colleagues will not thank me for such a mild slagging. They take being slagged off as a badge of honour. Apologies to Spurs fans

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  • braindeed:”There is a fundamental review of the ‘value’ of the transactions that you describe, taking place presently – don’t be surprised if some ‘pruning’ of ‘deadwood’ or some other such euphemism takes place on a truly massive scale. I am not alone in ‘believing’ that that will, and should, take place”

    Is there????? You are making me nervous. Is there a secret government squad ready to pounce? I’ll grass up my colleagues for immunity

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  • mountain goat says:

    Must see video Bill Moyers Journal interviews William K. Black former regulator in Savings and Loans Crisis on the fraud that most bankers have committed because of bonus’ past in the housing bubble now turned economic disaster. I can’t post it here on hpc because it comes up as a duplicate posting but I can’t find it sorry.

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  • 44. braindeed

    Who do you think you are casting bad judgement on how I make a living. What do you do for a living?

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  • [email protected], an awful lot of firms that didn’t get a direct bailout would also no longer exist if the likes of HBOS and RBS had been allowed to go bust, due to the money they had tied up in them in one way or another. There certainly wouldn’t be much left over for bonuses.

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  • Neurosurgeon (palliative) ex-army (Mjr)

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  • I work for a Swedish bank that has profit sharing if the bank basically does better than the average of its main competitors – we got nothing last year – sensible approach. I wonder how many more losses/shocks are going to creep out of the wood before the year is over.

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  • flashman @ 12.17. Thanks. Getting back to your first comment: The headline was misleading because it referred to ‘city bankers’ but the article made it clear that the £7 bn figure was for the finance sector as a whole, not just banks. Nevertheless, given the linkages I mentioned between banks and other parts of the finance sector, plus the fact that a bailout of one institution can benefit another, would you still maintain that the vast majority of bonuses aren’t bailout-linked? (A question, not a challenge.)

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  • matt_the_hat says:

    43. contrails are not a conspiracy….

    If thinking that earning money from money (usury) is wrong and makes someone anti-Semitic then your completely ignorant!! My point was based on the fact that usury was prohibited hundreds of years ago for good reason and we have learnt nothing since. You need to stop introducing religious hatred into a perfectly decent viewpoint and I ask you to remove your comment and my association with it!!

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  • That’s interesting!

    So you know how it feels to have professional shortcomings, in that you can not always acheive 20/20 success.

    I am sure there are moral hazards that go hand in hand with this profession and being involved with the military, but it is not for me to judge.

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  • Crunchy, you are only adding fuel to the fire, he (braindeed) can and will go on and on…

    time to ignore, not respond and check out

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  • Have you ever had need of a Pallative NS?
    And yes – it’s not for you to judge, middleman.

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  • contrails are not a conspiracy (formerly npnh) says:

    Matt TH: Easy tiger you can back the truck up as I think you have the wrong end of the stick here. I’m not calling anyone anything. I was saying (as an aside) I don’t get anti-Semitism and that I think the Jewish philosophy seems to be serving very well at the moment…..

    Both financially and in the light of the probable pandemic.

    Consider it my thought for the day.

    Absolutely no offence intended to any one here!

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  • Andrew….did you get bullied at school?

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  • 55. andrew

    Thanks for that. Have a great day!

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  • Great thread, enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to all especially Flashman – always gets the juices flowing.

    Looked at the William K Black interview MG @ 49. This has to lead to civil disorder, doesn’t it?

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  • letthemfall says:

    Some kettles calling pans black here.

    City services play a part in the economy, just as many other services do. The difference is in incomes, which I think have far less to do with performance or value than with the huge values of transactions and the structures that allow the big rewards. It is a nonsense to claim that someone is worth millions of pounds in pay (I note that the CEO of Equitable Life garnered a total of over £1m this year, a company which is hardly a success story). Big sums are paid because the institutions paying them can get away with it, and that is all too clear when you see what certain bankers got for collapsing their institutions. It is more a case of money transferred than money earned.

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  • icarus @ 52: Perhaps if I use myself as an example it might answer your question. I have had several functions in the ‘city’ and also in Chicago and Singapore. To the best of my knowledge, I have never experienced a ‘linkage’ that could mean that if I was doing the same function now, I would be indirectly benefited by a bank bailout.

    Some examples:

    I have been involved with many currency hedges for manufacturers and retailers. It is no exaggeration to say that without these currency hedges, many would have gone out of business when currencies moved against their customers/suppliers.
    I have been involved (on the periphery) of many fuel price hedges that have protected airlines and their customers from bankruptcy and wild price swings.
    Many years ago I put some investors together for a company with a great product but who was being squashed by powerful competition. They thrived and eventually went public. I wasn’t involved with the IPO but I don’t see how selling shares to pension funds and individual investors when they went public would have been anything to do with an investment bank bailout. I could go on but you get the picture.

    Incidentally, the word trader is another misunderstood term. Many ‘traders’ in the city do not make bets on price movements for a living. They execute strategies for third parties or for a sales force. They execute large buys or sells for entities that wish to hide their intentions. Gordon should have come to us when he sold his gold for example

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  • Braindead[sic] about time you raised some mnemonic or other – spelling an expletive perhaps? To cast your inflated opinion of one or two co-contributor.a…. Or are they reserved just for yours truly sweetie pie?

    C’mon Braindead[sic] I know you need the last word, and i need a laugh…

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  • mountain goat says:

    Nomad @ 1.26 yes we might see bankers hanging from street posts again before this is over.

    I do think the bonus culture needs looking at because it clearly stimulated risk taking, which now turns out was the risk to the whole world. If a trader takes a risk and reaps a big reward that is all fine by me. But when the risk of losses is not his, but ours, then different rules need to apply, and his bonus rewards need to be reduced accordingly.

    The main explosive accusation by William K Black was that they knew these liar loans were going to go bad. I don’t know if that can be proved but it raises other issues not about risk but about fraud and crime. At some point this does need investigation and I have said before on here I think we should not be arguing about the size of bonuses but about the length of jail sentences.

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  • 69. mountain goat said…I do think the bonus culture needs looking at because it clearly stimulated risk taking, which now turns out was the risk to the whole world. If a trader takes a risk and reaps a big reward that is all fine by me. But when the risk of losses is not his, but ours, then different rules need to apply, and his bonus rewards need to be reduced accordingly.

    Now that’s what I call making sense. Thanks for the video……SPOT ON. Criminal.

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  • george monsoon says:

    I have never ever met a banker or city trader that I didn’t want to punch between those gloating eyes.

    Bottom line – you are all shallow, live in an insular world of your own making and have no regard for the hard working people of the world.

    I agree with Braindeed. It would be better for everyone if you admit that you are leeching of the good people of this country and deserve all the fury of the storm that is about to engulf your world.

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  • flashman @ 1.33pm – Good answer, but I’m still not sure how representative your experience is when set against comments such as those I made @ 9.57 and 12.11 or the one made by Sanecyclist @ 12.32.

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  • george monsoon says:

    Just to add..

    I agree that if a huge risk is taken that has been executed with hard work and excellence, then a reward is due.
    Now can we apply that reward scheme to doctors, nurses, firemen, and other people who risk everything for the good of other people.

    BTW.. the storm I speak of, will come in the way of civil unrest. Millions of people all ganging up against the banks and governemt, for what they have done.

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  • At the back of my mind – so it’s had a long way to travel – I remember, in the last two years, reading about HSBC buying a company dealing in high risk loans – the sort that I would regard as little more than spivs with baseball bats. Then I briefly wondered what was the highly respectable bank that looks after my accounts doing? All makes sense now – bundle up the loans and sell them on.

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  • mountain goat: I think this thing is too big to be defined by bankers taking silly risks and being paid silly bonuses. The problem is structural. The West bought goods from the East and the East didn’t know what to do with the money. They didn’t want to spend it domestically because that would create excess capacity and inflation. They therefore had no choice but to buy Western bonds. Once these bonds had been sold, the West had nothing to do with the money except lend it out.

    The Western and Eastern governments were complicit in perpetuating this imbalance that would one day explode. If they had legislated against excessive trade imbalances none of this would have happened.

    The argument I am making is that even without adequate control of the city, this could and should have been prevented by legislation that prevented trade imbalances. Before anyone argues for free trade, just think of the pollution and exploitation that takes place in China and the job losses in the West. Is it worth it?

    People staff banks and if a government sets up an environment which facilitates the earning of multi million salaries then not many people are above exploiting it. How many of you would have turned down a few million? Imagine what you could do with it. Mankind is a known commodity so a sensible government can easily mitigate against the worst excesses of behaviour

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  • 74. george monsoon

    We live in hope.

    Untill this happens people will never be liberated financially, or rather from the chains that warrant the need or lure to lend.

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  • Flashman – good for you. There are countless nurses that save peoples lives every day for a pittance. Teachers educating our future generations for the same. It is a sad reflection on our society that you earn many multiples of these peoples salaries by hedging currencies or fuel. You are making money because you are making (or saving) someone else money, and unfortunately people value that more than life, it seems. I think times are changing tough.

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  • Flashman,

    I’m not sure everyone lumps city workers into the same bag as the debt traders tht have grounded the good ship Britannia. However there is a feeling that if you’re not digging something out of the ground and then re-fashioning it (or its modern equivalent) then actually, you’re relying on someone who is doing that to pay your bills to do what you do.

    This fact, coupled with the quirk in banking legislation that allows retail banks to create money from nothing through the fractional reserve system means that the finance tail has, for some time, been wagging the productive economic dog.

    Just about everyone in the city is relying on someone else to pay their bills – and the value that is actually being added is very questionable. Is a lawyer really adding value to their client’s business? Or are they just a necessary evil to doing business? Is a broker adding value to the shares they are trading? Or are they simply a necessary evil to trading shares?

    Think about it.

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  • Sorry, borrow!

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  • Oh how innocent were the days when this site was named HPC.

    I am sure, had it been conceived now the name would be very different.

    Great thread by the way. Lots of info!

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  • icarus: as is always the way, my experience is not as representative as I’d like it to be but probably more representative than you might think it is.
    I have been taken by surprise by the ferocity of the attack on banks. This is not because they’ve done nothing wrong. It’s because they’ve always behaved like this. The savings and loan and the Long Term Capital Management fiascos were almost identical. There have been countless books and exposes on the subject going back more than 30 years. The Victorians called it bad paper. The truth is that the governments are complicit because they are hungry for the tax revenue. The only solution is to make governments change their attitude.
    Just for the record, I have always detested the investment banks. They are all that you think and much worse. My homespun theory is that people are so used to having it good that they have become spoilt. In the 70’s 80’s and 90’s people used to accept slumps as inevitable. This time they want blood. The government has done a brilliant job at diverting attention.

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  • matt_the_hat says:

    38. crunchy – I will let you into a little secret 95% “fail” and 5% “succeed” due to a random variable named luck. If we assume no money is created (big assumption at the moment) then investing is pretty much a zero-sum-game or as I like to say no-added-benefit-to-society.

    The only benefit-to-society comes from allocating resources to maximize economic growth and a previous comment of mine goes some way to proving that the city does not do this well.

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  • mountain goat says:

    Flashman @2.19 – I remember reading how banking used to be boring in terms of risk but also profits. Then in the past few years the profits went sky-high reflecting (not that they had got smarter) but that they were taking more risks.

    This suggests that the change was internal (more risk taking) not external (more money available from Asia). It is probable that the greater availability of money was just too tempting, as you say. They knew the money was there just waiting to buy their AAA rated securities. They just had to come up with a Ponzi scheme which was large enough to mop this money up (housing) and supposedly safe enough (safe as houses). Add to this the FBI getting focussed on the War on Terror and taking their eye off financial crime, you have many reasons why the crimes escalated. But it is still crime!

    By the way although I am advocating that we need a fraud investigation I am not saying, like some, that financial workers are inherently bad. I think the people who deal with, judge and hedge risk (like yourself?) play a very important role in the economy. For example farmers cannot guarantee regular crop production, it is always feast or famine for them. Financial markets allow the insurance and hedging required to iron out these bumps, thereby stabilising markets and making them more efficient. This stabilisation applies to all sectors of the economy so it will be very said if all financial workers get tarred with the same brush. A fraud investigation will help in this by separating the good from the bad. Without it we will eventually get lynch mobs I suspect.

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  • matt_the_hat says:

    44. flashman – sometime I think finance is a little bit like law – its a self creating industry – if lawyers acted in the sprit of the law instead of the ever increasing effort to twist the law for ones own ends then so much of people time would not be wasted on trying to shaft each other on more on doing productive work for the common good!!

    I must admit I am a bit naive though, lets carry on eating dog.

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  • 83. matt_the_hat said…38. crunchy – I will let you into a little secret 95% “fail” and 5% “succeed” due to a random variable named luck.

    Oh no not another one. Have you tried trading. So someone that is successful for ten years is lucky. Give me a break!

    Now I will let you into a big secret. You are way off the mark. I did not become profitable untill I created my own system and grew some balls. I lost a ton of money before that happened. The money was my (OWN.)

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  • paul: I often fantasise about working with my hands or tilling the soil. I think many people who do work with their hands often fantasise about a cushy well-paid desk job. C’est la vie. I agree with you that there should be more balance in society but it’s an elusive target. I think the ‘necessary evil’ part of your post is perhaps the most apposite. The truth is we all need each other. The city workers are almost certainly more useful than people instinctively think but their job will always suffer from the aesthetic stigma of not being as noble as manual work. The rough edges and social iniquities should be ironed out a bit but who can we trust to do it? For what it’s worth I think the law of the jungle will always prevail but we should soften the blow by educating people more about social responsibility. The rich and the powerful should be trained from youth to treat people more equitably and the poor should refrain from the politics of envy

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  • 83. matt_the_hat said…How very patronising.

    I will let you into a big secret now. I did not become profitable untill I created my own system and grew some balls.

    When I started I lost (MY) money big time. A trader does not become consistantly successful through luck. Try it yourself sometime and see just how tough it is.

    The harder I work the luckier I become. D’oh!

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  • flashman @ 2.35pm – maybe they want blood because it looks like being a lot worse this time around.

    flashman @ 2.19pm – China and US T- bonds is a very complex subject that can’t be pursued on a thread that’s scrolling down. One of the problems, though, is that the Chinese can’t use their dollars to buy strategic US companies. While US paper buys strategic privatised public enterprises around the world the US is very protectionist when it comes to foreigners buying anything more strategic than an ice cream parlour.(unless it’s Fannie & Freddie bonds or re-capitalising failed banks – e.g. Saudi’s purchase of Citigroup shares). The Chinese did stop Coca Cola buying a major Chinese fruit juice producer/distributor though. They didn’t want to sell in exchange for more US T-bonds that (a) couldn’t be used to buy useful US assets (b) would decline in value (c) push up the renminbi and (d) fund US military expansion in addition to US consumption.

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  • flashy – Well done, fielding so many posts. Quiet day otherwise?

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  • george monsoon says:

    flashman said “The rich and the powerful should be trained from youth to treat people more equitably and the poor should refrain from the politics of envy”

    I like your term “the politics of envy” that would make a great song title.
    I have to concede that most of the working classes are ignorant of the work that is carried out in the financial establishment, but by the same token I find it hard to believe that a 7 billion pound payout for even the sucessful financiers seems more than a little extravagant. someone mentioned earlier that it was only a few of the banks that actually “got it wrong”.. I tend to lean to towards “got found out”.. you have probably just been lucky.

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  • george monsoon: “it was only a few of the banks that actually “got it wrong”.. I tend to lean to towards “got found out”.. you have probably just been lucky”

    Are you saying that I am probably lucky to have not been found out???? Thanks a bunch…I don’t even work for a bank. That is my whole point. Not everyone in the city works for a bank.

    “I find it hard to believe that a 7 billion pound payout for even the sucessful financiers seems more than a little extravagant”

    Maybe it is a bit but most of it is not going to financiers and almost none of it is going to bankers.

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  • Flashman – you have a breakdown of who is getting what?

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  • timmy t: my information is part anecdotal (who gets what is a big conversation in these parts) and part based on knowledge. The ONS figures cover just over one million finance workers. There aren’t a million finance workers in the city so therefore regular bank and insurance employees countrywide are included in these figures. The enormous number of small bonuses paid to these employees takes a huge chunk out of the 7 billion-bonus pot. All hedge funds are paying their staff bonuses and nearly all pension funds are paying out. The bonus pot is less than half the size of last years so it doesn’t leave much for the banks. We know that the nationalised banks are finding it hard to pay out because of political pressure … and the shareholders of Barclays etc are also making things difficult. I hope I have answered your question

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  • Flashman – you have thanks. “who gets what is a big conversation in these parts” sums it up. Perhaps if some had spent more time figuring out what a f*cking mess was being created and less on what they were going to make out of the deal then we’d all be in better shape and wouldn’t have needed this thread.

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  • matt_the_hat says:

    87. crunchy – I don’t feel that LUCKY, you really must be a master of the universe

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  • 95. matt_the_hat

    That’s because you are working hard at the wrong thing. I did that daily grind for years.

    Then I got over it!

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  • Crunchy @96
    Knows
    Nothing
    Of
    Balance

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  • The ‘underpinning’ I referred to in the title hasn’t been commented upon. I really was hoping for some sagacious comment, as to whether the bonuses paid out could contribute to an earlier stabilisation of the HPC than would have otherwise been expected.

    It was a question open to Über bears and bulls alike – I’m not sure.
    Ho Hum

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  • shipbuilder says:

    Not much point in complaining about the consequences of a rubbish/corrupt system – the system needs to be tackled. In a (more) ideal world where money was not the focus, most of such financial transactions as flashman describes wouldn’t be needed. The root cause of the need for them (such as hedges against oil/food price fluctuations, if I am correct) would be addressed by technology. Unfortunately it IS the focus on the short term that causes this – not only the focus on profit but also taking the easier route to an end. The system could be set up in a way to better achieve this, but it is not and the responsibility falls on all our shoulders.
    To pick up on another point, I wonder if the ‘rich and powerful’ were to start on a truly equal footing with the ‘poor’ and not an artificial construct, what might happen?

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  • shipbuilder says:

    In the spirit of this thread, i’ll usurp the work of the majority and take number 100.

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  • shipbuilder: There is no way that we could dispense with the need for hedging on food price fluctuations. Extreme weather, disease, war sabotage and acts of god etc will always affect prices and hedging strategies are the only thing that keep producers in business. The same could be said for all sorts of other financial products. A Utopian world free from financial nasties will always bit unlikely.

    braindeed: I don’t think that the payment of these bonuses will underpin house prices. If anything it will help speed things up because the bonuses are half what they paid out last year

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  • shipbuilder says:

    101. flashman said…

    “shipbuilder: There is no way that we could dispense with the need for hedging on food price fluctuations. Extreme weather, disease, war sabotage and acts of god etc will always affect prices and hedging strategies are the only thing that keep producers in business. The same could be said for all sorts of other financial products. A Utopian world free from financial nasties will always bit unlikely.”

    What size of a company requires hedging on food price fluctuations? Could it be that many producers are too big for their own good? Even at that, extreme weather and disease are solvable with technology given the resources, which was my point – hedging is the easy solution, solving the problems more difficult.

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  • shipbuilder: Even small producers use the futures market and insurance products to hedge against disasters. A small farmer could literally starve if his crop failed or became almost worthless. You say that technology could solve disease and extreme weather. Wildly unlikely… why did you ignore war, sabotage and acts of god? The Agricultural Revolution started in 1750. Without it many millions would have starved to death. Before 1750 most farmers had strips of land. The banks of earth separating the strips were wasted land, drainage was poor and because the farmers new little about fertilisers they had to leave land fallow (unused) every four years. Without the subsequent development of machinery and large scale farming there would have been mass poverty and again starvation

    “I wonder if the ‘rich and powerful’ were to start on a truly equal footing with the ‘poor’ and not an artificial construct, what might happen?”

    If the clock could be wound back, many of the previously rich and powerful would quickly rise back to the top and some talented poor folks would rise up to gleeful join them. You would be no happier because there would still be an elite. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

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  • Braindead @ 97 – thanks – you are not an imposter after all – i was worried! Any more for any more?

    And you never did answer my question about what you thought about tax relief on school fees?!??! – Is now a good time for you to impart some wisdom?

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  • shipbuilder. The fact of hedging is just that it makes for known costs, particularly for the commercials. In theory if you get a fixed rate mortgage you have hedged against having to pay more if rates increase. Of course the quid pro quo is that you will lose out if rates decline. An importer might want to hedge his forex exposure (there is a contributor on here who bemoans the £ falling against the greenback because he didn’t hedge). That then guarantees him a fixed margin (of course subject to continued demand).

    Like a construction company using a surety bond or a bank bond, its just an extra cost of doing business. For his exposure to forex he could be willing to take a certain level of pain and only hedge an amount or use options etc.

    You shouldn’t get too hot under the collar. If “proper” (for want of a better expression) instruments based on real underlying commodities were not available some companies may no longer exist……

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  • Tetchieman @104
    Please,
    Really,
    I
    Can’t –
    Kulak

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  • 104. techieman said…Any more for any more?

    Wa,ker!

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  • That was fun, goodnight Droogs

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  • Goodnight bud.

    It’s a shame that money does not all come with snobbery.

    You can’t have it all! lol.

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  • shipbuilder says:

    flashman, techieman – i’m not criticising the financial instruments mentioned, I just think that they are a plaster for problems that could be solved by technological means were sufficient resources and brains focused in that direction – I see this allocation of resources as a symptom of the way our society is constructed. flashman – you said that technology solving disease and weather problems was wildly unlikely, yet admitted that technology (machinery) was part of the solution to problems in the past. Why not again? Same applies to war (perhaps to technological), acts of god, sabotage. Again, I think that as a society we are so commercialised that we have stopped, to an extent, looking into the future at the big problems for reasons other than money.
    As for elites – no doubt you will disagree – they exist partly because of our political and economic system, created in less enlightened times – no reason that can’t be changed. I get the impression that you see a natural hierarchy within the human race – to me that hierarchy only exists relative to what you measure it against – currently what is seen as ‘success’ in today’s society, yet measures of success have always changed.
    techieman – not getting hot under the collar, just looking at the bigger picture at possibilities – they may never happen. Companies, in my view, shouldn’t exist in their current form anyway.

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  • correction – (perhaps not technological)

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  • Hey, techie what’s it like having two faces?

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  • One observation I would make about rich people is that the quality many of them have in common is conceit. They believe they are rich because they are more talented, hard-working, loved by God, etc than everyone else. They may be, but equally they can be modestly talented, untalented (this begs the question of what is talent), plain lucky, or just highly motivated by money. Most of the rich individuals I have known are not strikingly talented. One I knew supplied fruit juice to various organisations, a useful service but not one that required an especial ability.

    Those one might traditionally call talented – musicians, scientists, engineers – are nearly all modestly paid. If they all packed in their professions to, say, work in finance, we’d be a lot poorer as a society, and you could argue we have seen that to some extent. I agree with shipbuilder on this: it is economic and social structures that allow the unequal distribution of wealth, not the existence of an aristocracy of the talents. But those who benefit will no doubt continue to rail against high taxes, threaten to leave the UK in the lurch (particularly risible that one) , and claim superiority for all they’re worth, literally.

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  • 113. krustyatemyhamster

    Flash has filled this thread with some insightful info.

    He did actually have something to say, unlike others.

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  • 114. letthemfall

    I am a talented artist/painter it did not get me anywhere. I knew it was futile to carry on after painting for over 30 years.

    Making money for me was just about applying myself to that goal. It has more to do with will or hand me downs than talent.

    I have met the type of people you are talking about. I feel your pain.

    I just got sick and tired of people treating me like a mug, so I finally did something about it.

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  • you got me there crunchy! Braindead resorts to name calling when he runs out of arguments (the politics of the playground). Which is normally quite quickly. I was referring to a thread a while back – where – quite innocently i raised a question as to whether folks thought school fees should be paid for with tax relief. The premise is that you have substituted a place at a [probably] good state school and left that open for another child to take advantage of it. So its not like medical insurance when you basically top up the state’s offering. in education you actually do end up paying twice for only one commodity. (your kid cant be omnipresent)

    I thought it reasonable then to have tax relief on the contributions.I personally wouldnt take advantage of it myself as i have no kids! Old Braindead then “adds value” to the thread by calling me a b’stard, t0sser etc, in a very amusing and clever way – using the old mnemonic method (see 68.) well i assume it amuses he of little interlect. Anyway, my reference to the 97 post was just that he has been moved to do it again (with you the – victim – i hope you are able to sleep Crunchy cause old braindead scares us all when he puts his vodoo economics curse on us all…..). He then mentioned about his mates being able to “buy me” many times then qualifies that with a “probably”… A sort of wanky version of my dads bigger than your dad! I chuckled at that one.

    I wasnt for one minute supporting him at the cost of you mate. Relax :-). Sorry if it came across that way. Believe me if i want to participate in an argument i will. However i only do that with folks that are worth arguing with – otherwise its a bit of a waste of breath really. Braindead falls into the couldn’t give a t0ss what he thinks and is not worth the sweat of my brow formulating one. In other words his views have no value, and he should only be treated as a serious figure…. of ridicule. As for you Crunchy – we are both honoured to be tarnished with the wit of old BD (you 68 me 104) . he probably had lots of sand kicked in his face as a teenager. Personally i hope it was gravel! – Wait for him – he must come back with another mnemonic .

    I think its fine to have different and divergent views but not to call people names because thats the only way you can “win” the argument and keep face. Sad individual! [BD not you!]

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  • Letthemfall – i think you have a point. However what interests me is your experience. Do you find that people that become rich become conceited ? And does that conceit manifest in different areas. Actually i think thats right for some people although i have met many people who are very humble. Funnily enough i met a lady once – a real one in the aristocratic sense – and she was extremely humble (and she really could have bought me many times over!). I think you are more likely to find that trait with “new money”, rather than old. The old know how to handle it – the nouveau riche i think arent sure whether they should be flaunting it or not. Personally i dont think i have enough to qualify and for it to be a problem, as p’doff said its all relative.

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  • Tech. I am nobody’s victim. I sleep well but sometimes have an alarm clock set for trend changes, those pesky Japs.

    Tech you really do underestimate me don’t you? : ) I speak as I find. You still did not answer my question.

    I find it amusing that some people think they are so clever. I am refering to YOU are very transparent.

    Please do not insult my intelligents next time.

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  • Crunchy are you aware that alot of creative people make good traders rather than people with more of a logic base? Im certain i have read that somewhere over the years. Most people would think the opposite – wouldn’t you say?

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  • i dont understand how i can be two faced crunchy? really i dont know what you are talking about-explain if you want me to respond.

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  • A driven individual can apply their talents to an engineering problem, for example, and solve it. The same individual can apply their talents to making money and become rich. One problem is that society values the second much higher than the first. Another problem is that we believe that being rich always represents talents other than, or in addition to, making money (sometimes it does). In a monetary and economic system that operates in the correct way, being rich should represent general success in whatever field. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

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  • That’s rubbing salt in…..best you just appologise

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  • I was stalked once when i was younger. Wouldn’t leave me alone – on the phone all the time. I argued the toss with her and then realised that even though i was telling her forcefully to leave me alone she still came back for more… and more….. and more. In the end i realised that since i gave her the recognition – even by arguing – she still thought there was something there, she thought she had some sort of control. So in the end – after i had my say – i just ignored her. Hmmm wonder who that reminds me of?

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  • Deary, deary, me

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  • 124. shipbuilder

    I personally agree with you, that’s what the Renaissance was all about.

    122. techieman Trading is reverse logic, counter intuitive.

    If you need me to explain 123 it is probably untrue or a life long burden.

    Sorry for my lack of balance, but at my age I have a firm stance.

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  • Good for you

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  • I shall look forward to debate, go to bed C
    goodnight

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  • crunchy – perhaps its late or i am being thick but nope still confused dot com. re 122. i didnt say ALL traders were from a creative background just most good ones are. Of course the BEST ones are from a logical background (like yours truly – jk).

    I was trying to put my comment on 105 in context (in 118) – i cant take offence to yours at 108 (assuming it was aimed in my direction) because I assume you misunderstood the context of 105.

    If that doesn’t do it for you then i can only apologise and say goodnight!

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  • techie It looks like a life times burden then.

    Sad.

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  • i thought you meant yours…..if you say so crunchy! Aint got the foggiest!

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  • Love it! lol.

    Laurelle & Hardly.

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  • Beware of pointless mind games Techie. Just refuse to play.

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  • techieman says:

    p doff – sighs – Agreed! It takes all sorts i suppose! have a good one.

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  • The mind games were started by braindeed then continued by tech.

    Read to thread again Idiot. I just will not have it. Bless! lol

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  • Come on braindeed.

    What else do you have to offer to your lost argument? Sore loser.

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  • techieman says:

    Hey Crunchy – ok let me try to sort this out for you. I didnt join this thread until 68. By this time BDead was already employing some non content p1ss taking – as is his way when someone produces an argument that he cannot rebut. See his 41 to andrew, 53, 60 & 61. At about this time his next ploy is to engage in name calling mnemonics see my 68.

    He doesnt dissapoint with his response to you @ 98 – “Knows Nothing Of Balance” – i.e. he is calling you a KN0B. So then i say 105 – “Braindead @ 97 – thanks – you are not an imposter after all – i was worried! Any more for any more”. Meaning does he have anyone else he wants to be the butt of his mnemonic attack. Sure enough he then “savages” yours truly at 107 – “Please, Really, I Can’t – Kulak” – i.e. Pr1ck.

    You seem to have got the wrong end of the stick from my “any more for any more” comment.

    I suppose you could be saying that i am a two-faced wan_ker if you thought i was a split personality with BD. Unlikely – i mean i am a gemini and i could have a split persona but not THAT split. So no i cant take your comment seriously because its predicated on an incorrect basis. Unless i have misunderstood you – obviously no one knows whats actually going on in someone else’s head. But it seems a bit weird to me i support you against BD and i get tarnished!

    As in real life i suppose thats what happens when you get caught in the middle of a fight trying to break it up, or help one side. And no im not being sensitive. If you cant accept what i have said then really thats your call. Same as being long Yen – your responsibility.

    In closing it seems odd – every good trader i have ever known knows when he is (and can admit) being wrong and having to cut losses. Perhaps its a different breed in Crunchy land?

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  • techieman says:

    And no not being defensive just setting the record straight re any ambiguity. And as i said if you cant accept i am telling the truth then i cant really do much to persuade you otherwise. Now i need to get on with some important positions in the energy complex so have fun.

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  • tech I have no time for your relentless misplaced piss taking. I am making money!

    Sorry to dissapoint you on your folly, but try someone else.

    That goes for you too loser.

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  • Le Crunch your vitriol is misplaced – still i’ve tried my best, and its YOUR vitriol so i can do no more. Closed minds are a terrible thing. If i were B/dead i would be pleased that i had managed to wind you up and put the cat amonsgst the pigeons. Sadly sounds like he has the last laugh with his mind f*ck because you have let him.

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  • Oh dear! And this was such a good thread.

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  • tech how does it feel to try and come across as superior taking the piss out of two people whilst trying to defend them both.

    You are a sad fu?ker indeed. The only people that were wound up were you and the loser. Trying to be too smart is always a massive drawback.

    134. crunchy said…Love it! lol.

    Laurelle & Hardly ….. Two losers in one day is not bad. The really sad thing was braindeed just let it happen in all the excitement.
    That is even more sad.

    All that effort. What a waste! Good thread otherwise and of course a brilliant victory for me.

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  • braindeed says:

    21. last_days_of_disco @21

    Ah, an idealist I see – nice sentiments, and hard to disagree with.
    There are a lot of egos in here, as you say – trouble is, most have a rather too inflated view of self and don’t seem able to deal with abstract or complicated issues that may need to be resolved by reflection, compromise, or exercising their brain cell. I read a lot of posts that are screamingly monochrome, with no concession to the complexity of the backcloth.
    Munchy still seems sore, and Tetchieman is still trying to convince our artist (closet) friend he didn’t snigger at his failure to spot (initially) the little mnemonic I slipped in – despite the fact that this represents an even greater insult to his intelligence than the initial indiscretion (do yourself a favour…….read that again, Tetchieman – a couple of times if necessary).
    Having lit the blue…..I shall retire with dignity.
    Tetchieman
    Offers
    Simplistic
    Solutions,
    Evading
    Reasonable
    Sophistry

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  • .

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