Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh no; Not again

This blogger is rather vain about his English. And yet he was completely flummoxed when he spotted the headline "JP Morgan loses $2bn in egregious error" . He has to sheepishly admit that he did not know the meaning of the word "egregious" and had to look it up in a dictionary :( Trust a banker to come up with an unintelligible world - at least unintelligible to one "master" of English :). It sums up the problem neatly. The financial world has gone so bonkers in dreaming up structures of incredible and ununderstandable complexity that we cannot sit by and watch this go on anymore.

JP Morgan is a well respected bank. Its governance is top class. It should be one of the models of all that is good about the financial sector. In  Jamie Dimon, it has one of the finest Chief Executives in the world. It has superb risk management systems, strengthened even more in the wake of the financial crisis of 3 years ago. And what happens - it manages to lose $2bn in  one quarter on credit derivatives trading. An "egregious error".

This casino has gone gone berserk and has to stop. Enough is enough. Here is this blogger's remedy which is an extreme extension of the Volcker Rule.

  • Commercial banking must be made a boring business. No proprietary trading. List of what they can do is made boringly small and strictly regulated by a super Ramamritham. All bankers have to come to work wearing only a panchakacham (man) or madisar (woman) - the logic being that anybody dressed like this can't be a punter.
  • Commercial banks continue to enjoy the implicit sovereign guarantee. They are not allowed to become too big. After a certain size, they have to break up into two; somewhat like an amoeba.
  • This is a free world. So the downright crazy casino is allowed; but at only two places in the world - Las Vegas and Macau. If Europe makes too much noise, Monaco can also be let in.
  • Any idiot who enters any of these three places is required to sign a pledge that he clearly understands that he is committing suicide. Before he starts punting, he has to get a license, which will only be granted after he spends one night in the ward meant for the dangerously criminally insane.
  • No bail outs for the punters in these three cities. If they lose their shirt , or something worse, it is their funeral. The state may helpfully construct a 100 floor tower with a fast lift to the top so that those who want jump off are easily facilitated.
Period. No more discussions or engagement with the financial community.

PS : If you are still wondering what "egregious" means, defines it as " extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant"