Trading really is about survival of the fittest

September 19, 2016

A new study finds trading prowess is linked to accurate detection of one's own heartbeat, a trait common in people with lower body mass indexes. Despite its limitations, the paper implies physiology has a profound role in markets, and that humans still have an edge on machines.

How to beat the rise of the trading machines

March 9, 2016

Buyside firms are spending more on trader compensation than on technology, and the humans’ share is rising, Greenwich Associates says. It’s a glimmer of good news for bankers whose livelihood is threatened by autobots. But they’ll need a pretty unique suite of skills to survive.

Deutsche’s fat finger points in helpful direction

October 20, 2015

Germany’s biggest bank erroneously paid $6 bln to a hedge fund client in June. Howlers like this are common in trading. But this is embarrassing for Deutsche Bank given its supposed aptitude. At least co-CEO John Cryan may find it easier to pursue some much-needed trimming.

The Devil’s Dictionary of Post-Crisis Finance

October 16, 2015

Ambrose Bierce wrote “The Devil’s Dictionary” a century ago, ranging acerbically across government, commerce and life. Breakingviews’ original re-use of the form for finance – in 2007, when the crisis was barely beginning – is no longer adequate. Herewith part two of the sequel.

Hildebrand shows stark exposure of central bankers

January 10, 2012

The Swiss National Bank chief has been forced out after his wife engaged in ill-advised currency trades. Hildebrand’s policies made him a political target. It’s a reminder to central bankers around the world that, to retain their independence, they have to be whiter than white.

JPMorgan offers peek into trading magic circle

February 29, 2012

Investment bank boss Jes Staley has broken Wall Street’s code by revealing new data on how much the firm rakes in as a market-maker. It won’t quell suspicions that some of it is really prop trading. But it sheds useful light - and may whet investors’ appetite for even more info.

Botched BATS IPO at least good test of markets

March 26, 2012

Scrapping a public debut is embarrassing for any company. But it’s a potential killer for an upstart stock exchange already being investigated over high-frequency trading. The relief for investors is that the failure by BATS wasn’t the catalyst for a broader meltdown.

Libor rigging looks like victimless crime

July 2, 2012

Barclays’ deception is bad for the banking industry, but the artificial quotes probably didn’t significantly distort borrowing costs or the economy. There may have been big losers in this scandal, but they aren’t likely to be found too far afield from other banks’ trading desks.

Coffey to go

October 18, 2012

Greg Coffey can afford to retire from Moore Capital at 41. He made a fortune from his drive, personality and talent, along with luck - plus leverage and high fees. It’s a good time for him to leave. Characters are less welcome in the new era of institutionalised hedge funds.

Investment banks’ trading needs better disclosure

August 3, 2010

Investment banks offer a plethora of detail on awards and league-table credits in their quarterly results. But they provide only the broadest information on their all-important trading divisions, which generate more than two-thirds of industry revenues. Shareholders should demand greater transparency.