16 Apr 2015

We are an Earnings Machine

Claims Steve Schwarzman (CNBC) - but is it very diplomatic to boast so openly about the profits Blackstone makes off its investors? Maybe a little bit of PR coaching might be appropriate - one still remembers a birthday he celebrated that was supposed to cost $ 1 million.

London the global Bitcoin Hub?

Pull another one would be my first and only reaction. I may be of the wrong generation but would still stake my reputation on the fact that this will end badly. In an age where Central Bankers are close to act like petty criminals and steal money from Savers all over the World it is unlikely that a Bitcoin will ever provide a reliable store of value. A gambling chip maybe, and we all know that people want the excitement of rolling the dice, even if statistically they are playing a losers game.
London stakes its claim as global bitcoin hub (Reuters)

15 Apr 2015

The 'fun' (ugly?) face of the City

The one thing that surprises me - given the amount of ever-more sophisticated technology that is available - is the survival of the voice-based interdealer brokers. As this incident demonstrates the level of sophistication needed to fulfill the role of go-between is not all that great. So may the level of 'client entertainment' have a significant role to play? Sooner or later the penny will drop and another source of generous income for many staffers will be rationalised away, or fall foul of tightening regulation.
City traders make new recruit eat 8 quarter pounders (Mail on Sunday)

9 Apr 2015

Jamie Dimon clings to outdated business model

No surprise that Dimon defends the status quo, bigger is better and the banking department store model is best (Reuters). But I wonder if he reads the trends in financial services the right way. Specialist providers may well be the way of the future, especially if they make good use of technology. Payments, Fund Management, Investment Banking Advice, Securities Trading all can easily - and cheaply - provided by standalone providers. One only has to wonder why there are still so many bank branches on the High Streets. The only - and probably the real - reason that gives JP Morgan and other super large banks an edge is the (sad) fact that customers - and unfortunately politicians and the regulatory minions - consider them too-big-too-fail. That still pushes clients their way that would otherwise consider cheaper and more nimble competitors. The growth of new product providers is therefore stunted which gives the large banks the opportunity to cling to their outdated business model.