Felix Salmon

The law and theater of insider trading

Pull up a chair, folks, the show has already begun, complete with photographs of unidentified “law enforcement officials” in decidedly casual clothes walking cardboard boxes full of “Evidence” out of a Boston hedge fund’s offices. There’s a lot of theater here:

Counterparties

Number of Americans Ignoring Their Finances Doubled in 2010 — WalletPop

Jesse Green’s profile of Spiderman and Julie Taymor. I’ve been walking by the theater every day, now I want to go in! — NY Mag

China expert of the day, Benjamin Wey edition

In September, one Benjamin Wey, calling himself “Chinese American Financial Expert Foremost Expert On Chinese Business in U.S.”, put out a press release announcing that he’d engaged a PR company. And it wasn’t just any old PR company: it was 5WPR. Go on, look them up.

Why Wall Street won’t get shrunk

This week’s New Yorker features 8,000 words from John Cassidy on how financiers extract rents from the real economy rather than adding real value. His article features not only The Epicurean Dealmaker, star of blog and Twitter, but also Paul Woolley, a former fund manager who now runs the Woolley Centre for the Study of Market Dysfunctionality, a man who knows how to give great quote:

CDS chart of the day, Portugal edition

Many thanks to my colleague Eric Burroughs for sending over this chart, showing how Portugal’s CDS curve has evolved over the course of this year:

The user-hostile FT

John Gruber wrote the definitive article about “Tynt, the Copy/Paste Jerks,” back in May. Tynt is the company which adds what Gruber quite rightly calls “a bunch of user-hostile SEO bullshit” to your clipboard every time you copy text from a website; most of the time that text comprises a unique link back to the post in question.

WSJ vs PIN

Gartner’s Avivah Litan knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the relative safety of signature debit and PIN-based transactions. PIN is much safer — to the point at which Bonneville Bancorp recently banned signature debit altogether, despite its higher fees:

How the FBI puts researchers out of business

Remember the rather wonderfully worded e-mail sent out to clients by John Kinnucan of Broadband Research in October?

Counterparties

Is investing in small business a better bet than buying stocks? — Locklin

QE2 works much less effectively when it’s broadly criticized — WSJ

Nine out of 10 accidents involving cyclists and cars in Australia are the fault of the motorist — SMH