The Bankers' Plumber

Thoughts on events and developments in the Financial Services industry. Some of these posts appear in the Bankers Plumber's Handbook

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14 MarControl IV – Procedures & Checklists or why we don’t need the excitement of a TV Quiz Show

Checklists. A simple trick for a simple business. Memory. We all think we are good at memorizing things. Just like the average guy thinks he is great at driving a car. Still we’d all admit that we are a big forgetful at times. In some professions like being a pilot, forgetting is not an option […]

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06 MarControl III – The #11 Tram Problem or “We don’t need another hero”

A Goldman Sachs partner worrying about trams. Actually it’s personal and he wants to know who knows what you are doing. There is a Zurich theme to this week’s post. No bad guys, just good ones and ladies. Trams in general are a prominent feature in Zurich and the #11 is a fixture downtown at […]

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26 FebControl II – How to miss an open window, lose $2mm and survive

I once lost $2mm of Goldman Sachs’ money and lived to tell the tale. This is a post about Corporate Actions. In banking this refers to events relating to the bonds or shares of a company. At the centre is Rupert Murdoch, or rather News Corp. For once not the villain in the story and […]

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19 FebControl I – A needle in a haystack

Mistakes. We all make mistakes. Some are innocent, some are fatal and some are “near misses”. And guess what, even the great Goldman Sachs has its share of mistakes too. One, to the tune of $1B, nearly blew up a major IPO deal. Some quick thinking managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, […]

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12 FebKYC – Know your customer, not just your commission

Which customers are good customers and how you acquire them is a hot topic. There are some very nice private bankers from St. Gallen who failed to head their own advice and are now feeling the full force of the US Attorney General. The quest for a fast buck coupled with cursory due diligence is […]

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31 JanNormal III – Rogue Traders. Some tricks of the trade

Kweku Adoboli. The $2.3B dollar man. Today seems an appropriate day to look at rogue trading, as the man who brought Ossie Grübel’s second coming to an abrupt end appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London; “innocent on all counts m’lud” said the young man. Now if you are ready to believe that, I have […]

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24 JanNormal II – Traders not on the up and up. More insight into understanding what is normal in your business

Business Flow.  Flow, in the form of regular buy and sell orders, is what every trading desk is after, pretty much in any asset class or product. The greatest “flow” I have ever encountered has to be secondary FX at a Swiss bank; all those private clients buying securities in many different currencies. Manna from […]

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17 JanNormal – Do you have a feel for your business?

Banking or financial services tends to involve big numbers. Lots of zeroes; things do go wrong and often in spectacular style. Most recently, that nice Mr Corzine, Goldman Sachs alumnus and over achiever extraordinaire, came a little unstuck at MF Global. With every risk of over simplifying, the mess was what football fans call a […]

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09 JanLessons Learned – Let’s start at the beginning

Banks are amazing places. 24. Years, not the TV show with Kiefer Sutherland as the redoubtable Jack Bauer. That’s how long I have been in the investment banking business for. No guns, not even bad guys, Islamic financing but no Islamic terrorists. But still, on reflection a lot of very amazing things happened in those […]

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