Ice Dams and Slo-Mo Promo

March 20, 2015

After several weeks of chipping roof ice, emptying buckets and trash cans, and moving things out of the attic and three rooms, I can finally see the end of winter (by happenstance, just a couple of hours from now, celestially speaking).  And it’s snowing.

Saving my “stuff” and the house from the depredation of water coming in took priority these last couple of weeks.

I did get to spend part of two days giving an interview to an industry publication called “National Mortgage News.”  The reporter, Bonnie Sinnock, has been on the mortgage “beat” for nearly twenty years, so it was a pleasure to speak with her.  She also read all of Finance Monsters before the interview….

Like others who read it and know the people, Bonnie said she laughed out loud at some of the incidents that show readers how the Finance Monsters think and behave.

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The Tribes of Wall Street, pt. 1

October 19, 2009

Every business has its “tribes.” Those are the groups that form based on their job functions that compete for power in the company. Different companies in the same business can be very different based on the top leadership, and which “tribe” they come from.

A clear example is the advertising business. I’ve heard ad agencies described as being “account driven” or “creative driven” for decades. All that means is whether the individual company tends to be run by the marketing and client relationship management “account” people, or by the writers and art directors, the “creatives.”

Unless there is a major coup, the outgoing top management team nearly always replaces themselves with people from their own background, so the character of a given company can survive many generations of changes among the individuals filling the top roles.

On Wall Street, there are three main tribes that lay claim to the power at most shops, although a couple of smaller shops have succeeded with a member of one of the minor tribes at the helm. Those three tribes are the trading, banking and sales departments.

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Hello, world

October 14, 2009

Show me a cash flow, and I’ll build you a bond. That was my mantra when I was an early practitioner of the art I called “financial engineering.” Basically, I thought of ways to cut up cash flows so they could be customized for clients like banks, insurance companies and pension funds.

It all started with mortgages, and the earliest “engineered” bonds were simple sequential CMO’s (Collateralized Mortgage Obligations). We called a deal A,B,C,D when the principle from the mortgage borrowers first paid off class A, then B, then C and then D.

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