After my blog on What I Tell Young Researchers, a friend of mine suggested I add the annual shareholder letters of Warren Buffet * (Berkshire Hathaway), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan) to my recommended readings. I read their latest letters and my friend could not have been more right. This trio of leaders talk about bureaucracy, high standards and the dangers of debt: Continue reading “What Buffet, Bezos and Dimon Told Me About Being Successful”
What is the purpose of our life? We don’t often think of that question, especially when at work. Many of us will say that it is to be happy and healthy. Others may say to have a fun time. For me, it would have to be leaving the world in a better place than when I entered it. This would be at every level from family to work to community to the world. Another related question, then, is what is the biggest problem in the world? Some may say climate change, others income inequality, yet others war and terrorism. For me though, when I think about this I think is the lack trust that pervades our culture. Continue reading “How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)”
Last week I provided my reading list for developing the right character for work that I give to new members of my team. This week, I’ll give my reading list for the knowledge base they need to have in the financial industry. Some of the books are easy to read cover to cover whichever industry you are in, others are worth dipping into and out of, while some are very technical. If I’ve missed any good books let me know: Continue reading “My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 2)”
Utopia: noun uto·pia \yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə\; an imaginary and indefinitely remote place; an impractical scheme for social improvement
There is a common belief today that a coming technology utopia will solve all our problems with the financial system. This type of belief is not new – take a look at these quotes from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s:
“The hottest item in the stock market these days is not a security but an automated quotations system called NASDAQ that is speedily revolutionizing the over-the-counter market…The new electronic system gives bid and asked prices on about 2,500 counter stocks” (“The Counter Revolution: NASDAQ Bringing Competition To Wall St”, New York Times, April 4, 1971) Continue reading “Is the FinTech Utopia Just Around The Corner?”
Working in the banking sector, it’s easy to become myopic and think that everyone distrusts you, so I thought I take a look at some surveys of trust in different professions. It turns out bankers are not the least trusted profession! That honour goes to politicians in the UK and lobbyists in the US. The five least trusted professions in the UK (US in brackets) are: Continue reading “Anyone Trust A Banker?”
(excerpt from my upcoming book)
The retaliatory use of US and EU financial sanctions on Russian individuals show the importance of finance in geo-political relations. It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise as the largest increases in government debt tend to occur around wars. The financial system, then, is critical to raise these funds, and later find ways of paying it down.
Indeed, after the Second World War, most involved countries saw their government debt levels shoot higher. One way to pay the down down was to use financial repression, which is the most direct link between the state, war and the banking system. Continue reading “Banking On War And Peace (2 min read)”
(excerpt from my book)
In my experience technology has always overpromised and underdelivered. At work, the IT projects I’ve been part of have almost always over-run and not delivered the promised functionality. Outside of work, my smartphone’s battery dies too soon and voice recognition comes up with the strangest answers.
In a move reminiscent of the dot-com frenzy of the late 1990s, many bankers have left to enter the financial technology (fin-tech) sector Continue reading “FinTech Won’t Revolutionise Banking”
When it comes to hormonal behaviour, unfortunately we often think of women. Indeed, in macho environments such as trading floors, this thinking is probably more prevalent. But in a nice irony, it’s been found that in such environments, men experience major fluctuations in two naturally-occurring hormones: cortisol (stress) and testosterone.
A fascinating study published in 2015 by a team of researchers further studied these effects in a simulated trading environment. Continue reading “Watch Out For Hormonal Men On the Trading Floor! (1 min read)”
Another excerpt from my upcoming book:
Words in their various guises have been thought to be the primal force of humanity for thousands of years:
“In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (Gospel of John, 1:1)
“The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” ( Genesis 11:6)
“And He taught Adam all the names…And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam.”(Quran 2:31)
In essence, words create a reality of their own; they set the context to which all will act within. Think about how “freedom-fighter”(eg Mandela) sounds compared to “terrorist” (eg Mandela), or how “entrepreneur” sounds compared to “wheeler-dealer”. Who decides which of the pair is used sets the tone of any subsequent discussion. Continue reading “In the beginning, there was the Word…”
(excerpt from my book-in-progress)
It’s easy to separate the “real” economy from the financial world. One makes real things like cars and fridges, while the other manufactures money from money.
This has been a rich theme for authors for centuries. Take the 1900 L.Frank Baum classic the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The yellow-brick road represented something real, gold. It was the path to follow. Continue reading “Writers and Traders Are More Similar Than You Think”