Screaming and Shouting

Banking, computers and perpetual crisis



Not Repeating but Rhyming: Coronavirus and the Great Financial Crisis


“History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes” Mark Twain

Despite the obvious differences in cause, the current virus-triggered economic meltdown and the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 have some peculiar parallels.

Continue reading “Not Repeating but Rhyming: Coronavirus and the Great Financial Crisis”

Sic Transit… (Remembering Javid and Jennions)

It’s been a few months since I posted to this blog site; the long gap has had various causes, some of which are interesting (to me) others rather tedious.  But a couple of news items in the last week or so have prompted me to come back.

The first is yesterday‘s resignation of UK Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Continue reading “Sic Transit… (Remembering Javid and Jennions)”

DB’s last safe job


It appears that Deutsche is shutting Equities and 18,000 people will lose their jobs. But one job seems safe – the Chairman’s.   Continue reading “DB’s last safe job”

Deutsche’s Chernobyl


Deutsche is planning a ‘bad bank’: my heart goes out to the clean up workers.

Continue reading “Deutsche’s Chernobyl”

Shorts: DB Merger and the Bitcoin bounce


48 days later: let’s call the whole thing off…

A few weeks after the much touted – and long anticipated – merger talks between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank started, they have come to a sudden grinding halt

Continue reading “Shorts: DB Merger and the Bitcoin bounce”

Party time for microeconomics!


British politics is changing: there’s Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party; there’s The Independent Group. But will these nascent parties succeed?

In this long read blog piece, to attempt an answer, I use a key theory from organisational microeconomics which helps explain both the existence and success of political parties.

Short answer?  In the long term the new parties are probably doomed.

Continue reading “Party time for microeconomics!”

Strength, Credit and Gorillas on Deutsche Bank’s narrow, rocky road to recovery


An examination of the trends in market share for two of the bank’s previously most dominant business lines (FX and the German derivative securities unit) suggests how tricky it will be for Deutsche to perform the balancing act it requires in order to recover.

Continue reading “Strength, Credit and Gorillas on Deutsche Bank’s narrow, rocky road to recovery”

Fat finger forex (New! USD/JPY edition)


A couple of weeks years ago I gave a talk about my book “Why Aren’t They Shouting?” in front of a group of Belgian businessman at the Belgian embassy.  The talk had a mixed reception. One gentleman, who worked at a hedge fund specialising in foreign exchange, took exception to my claim that automation has made the FX market more fragile.

Well I hope that, last night, he did not have any GBP/USD USD/JPY positions stopped out near the lows. If he did I’m sure that now he would be more willing to agree with me.

Continue reading “Fat finger forex (New! USD/JPY edition)”

Two big; two flail: Deutsche and Commerzbank


Just over twenty years ago, Deutsche Bank bought my old employer Bankers Trust for $10 billion; now DB looks like it may well merge with Commerzbank. 

My experience of the first deal makes me fear mightily for the success of the second.

Continue reading “Two big; two flail: Deutsche and Commerzbank”

Bitcoin and Bunny Boilers


A year on from the peak of the hype, Cryptocurrencies are under the cosh.  They might have to turn back to one of their niche selling points to find a long term role:  and that’s privacy.

Continue reading “Bitcoin and Bunny Boilers”

Casino Justice


Last Friday, a US jury returned a verdict of not guilty for the three FX traders tried in the ‘Cartel’ case.   It’s another random spin of the wheel in the casino of justice – a casino where, win or lose, everyone who is forced to enter faces ruin.

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Terminated: was Lehman’s death inevitable?


On the tenth anniversary of Lehman, it’s worth asking: could it really have been avoided?

Continue reading “Terminated: was Lehman’s death inevitable?”

Birthday Nostradamus


I just booked some return flights to Malaga; if you work in financial markets it might be vital for you to know when I’m going.

Continue reading “Birthday Nostradamus”

Thing with feathers: Mark Johnson’s bail pending appeal


Mark Johnson is out of prison, at least for the time being.  It’s a small, significant step in the right direction. But it’s just a step.

There is more work to be done.
Continue reading “Thing with feathers: Mark Johnson’s bail pending appeal”

It tolls for thee: Mark Johnson’s appeal


[A version of this article originally appeared in Euromoney. It is reproduced here with the permission of the Editor]

Mark Johnson, the HSBC FX trader found guilty of wire fraud last October and sentenced to two years in jail this April, is appealing his conviction.

You should care about the outcome.

Continue reading “It tolls for thee: Mark Johnson’s appeal”

The slow and painful death of European investment banking


A number of news items and events this week have made me think about the world of investment banking again after a few relaxing weeks off for good behaviour.

They have not been happy thoughts.

Continue reading “The slow and painful death of European investment banking”

Unpicking the Sewing at Deutsche


From rumour, to leak, to background briefing, to common knowledge, to ‘absolute commitment’, to emergency weekend meetings; and from there to a summary firing and replacement – all in less than two weeks.

Cryan’s gone as CEO, Sewing is in, and a whole bunch of new problems are just starting for my old shop Deutsche Bank.
Continue reading “Unpicking the Sewing at Deutsche”

Cryan over you


The press is full of rumours and reports of a bid to get rid of Deutsche Bank’s CEO John Cryan.

It won’t solve my old employer’s problems. In fact, it might make them worse.

Continue reading “Cryan over you”

Curtains and Tigers (or why it’s bank middle managers who go to jail and why some banks might be struggling)


“How is it going?” I asked an old friend from the markets over lunch recently. “You know, Curtains and Tigers,” he replied, cryptically.

I knew what he meant.

Continue reading “Curtains and Tigers (or why it’s bank middle managers who go to jail and why some banks might be struggling)”

My 30-year bottle


Thirty years ago today I was given the little bottle you can see in the photograph. It contains crude oil and is an emblem of how the world has – and has not – changed in that time.
Continue reading “My 30-year bottle”

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