Private bankers still getting their ears bashed from clients enraged about massive portfolio losses now are chanting a new mantra.
Murmur along with me, those seeking inner peace and appeased clients: the word is “holistic".
Three years ago, before Lehman and Madoff shattered clients’ confidence, the soothing formula might have been "absolute returns" or "structured products". No longer.
Bankers shooting French cuffs in Super 180 suits and obsessed with spread sheets now are seizing on a word redolent of green tea, acupuncture, crystals and the New Age.
"Holistic" bubbled up at least four times at the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit as bankers and consultants in Singapore and Geneva outlined how to keep clients after the market meltdown.
But what does a word meaning that whole entities have an existence other than the sum of their parts have to do with rich people and the gnomes that mind their money?
"Holistic" in bank-speak translates as handholding, face time and hustling to assure wary clients bankers are on the job. Mass mailings are out, daily phone calls are in.
The results have yet to be seen but bankers hope their "holistic" approach will prove to be more than the sum of its parts.
Mary Schapiro, America's new top cop for the securities industry, said the current mass culling of journalists' jobs is a concern because it could reduce the number of leads that regulators get as they seek to crack down on nefarious behavior.
"It's an absolute worry for me because I think financial journalists have in many cases been the sources of some really important enforcement cases and really important discovery of practices and products that regulators should be profoundly concerned about," the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission told the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit in Washington on Tuesday.
"But for journalists having been dogged and determined and really pursuing some of these things, they might not be known to the regulators or they might not be known for a long time," she said.
But Schapiro, who was speaking a day after Conde Nast announced the closure of its glossy business magazine Portfolio only about two years after it launched, held out some hope for the business reporting trade. She said that some journalists should consider applying for jobs at the SEC.
"Investigative journalism actually would be a pretty interesting skill set for us to have. We've talked about financial analysis, we've talked about forensic accounting being skill sets that we really need -- understanding of complex trading, strategies and systems, but it's one of the things the SEC has to do. It has to really broaden its horizons and bring in people who think about things a little differently than it has historically."
But what would having Mr/Ms Investigative Journalist working there do for the SEC's tarnished media image? And how would a hard-nosed investigative journalist respond to all those agreements to let some of the bad guys off with a rap over the knuckles and a small fine (those infamous "did not admit or deny" settlements)?