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Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Wall Street Myths: Traders' Tales by Ron Insana ウォールストリートの金融ストーリー: ロン・インサナ

Author Ron Insana, is a CNBC journalist and former hedge fund professional, who has gathered a wide assortment of great stories about how traders, act, react, and let off steam in a high stress environment. Take break, get a beer (or three) and enjoy this great collection of true (or maybe untrue) legendary stories of how traders in the markets have done well or very badly. Many men behave badly while drinking to excess, and it is very funny on many occasions.

There are wonderfully funny recalls of stories involving a $90,000 mix up on stock about Coke, not cocaine. CPR messages for help, not any listed stock, hangovers & heart attacks with the wrong victim, and of course the $2,500 cockroach challenge! It is outrageous behavior mainly by men and a few women, who have much more money than brains after drinks. It fills a guilty curious need to read about the mistakes of others. All of these tales are worth hearing in detail, and certainly worth the price of this book. 

This is not about how to make more money in finance, but more about how others in the markets have acted while trying to do that "big trade". The bunny suit story, about a night with a lady who was not his wife, stealing his wallet, and all his clothes, may give you pause for similar drunken action. Another great tale about the trader with a missing glass eye and the hundreds of super ball eyes that were bounced around the trading floor when the one eyed trade lost his glass eye is also very memorable.

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:
1) There is no limit to how badly men in finance tease and treat one another. Hazing culture increases when more cash in added.

2) There is no escape from bad habits by your colleagues. Going overboard with excessive drinking in particular, will be found out.

3) There is a great culture of acceptance of faults within finance. That does not mean you are not victimized for it. In the end, it is all fun and games after hours.

This is an easy to read guilty pleasure to read on the train home, or over a weekend at the beach. Satisfying mind candy that is very amusing and fills a need to hear about how bad it has been for some other traders out there. Every story is different, and this is a never dull or repeated. It is amazing how traders are people, and they get into trouble like everybody else. Perfect for the weekend or holiday time away.business. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 50,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業50,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください


For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki 金持ち父さん貧乏父さん: ロバート・キヨサキ ( 起業家になる方法 )

This is not just a book, it explains a clear mental attitude towards wealth and opportunity. It explains how to think in order to be an entrepreneur. Set in Hawaii in the 1950s & 60s, it is the true story of 2 influences from the author's past. His own father is a well respected teacher. A union loving man of the government system. His alter ego father is a private investor and risk taker. This long time best selling book is about the mindset needed for a comfortable future with money. It explains the entrepreneurial view needed to see opportunities all around you everyday, no matter where you are. 

An important part of the story is about how "a nobody" in Hawaii's establishment, without a university education, can save, invest and become "a player" when the timing presents itself. This is his "Rich Dad" influence, a best friend's father. His real father or "Poor Dad" is unhappy with the economic system he has been educated by. He feels cheated by his lack of wealth despite a university PhD education. He does not take risks, yet feels that he should have these risk rewards. It is a mindset that he is trapped by. The main character tries to see both as being worth understanding. They represent the many and the few, and he tries to figure out why. Ultimately, he is trying to decide which career path to take himself.

Some of the concepts that he tries to pick apart includes housing ownership. If you buy a house, is it really an investment? His Poor Dad thinks so. We then learn from Rich Dad that it can be if you pay in cash, but if you fail to pay the mortgage, it is not. He boils down many complex concepts into very simple observations. My favorite is so seemingly simple. Rich Dad states, "an asset puts money in your pocket, a debt takes some money out". With this simple definition, is a private house really an investment? If you rent it out, it puts money in your pocket, if you rent out a room, that would too. However, if you just pay your mortgage, loose your job, and then the house, how can you best view that same house? Is it really still an asset then or just a debt?

The whole book makes you question a number of assumed truths that may be worth questioning. As young kids growing up in Hawaii, any kind of entrepreneurship is rare. It needs a way of seeing opportunities sometimes right in front of you, that needs to be explored. It is a skill that needs to be learned and relearned constantly. Just because you have eyes, not mean that you can see, and in this case it means profitable opportunities are all around you. 

The two best friends like comic books, and always hang out in the local drugstore reading them. When Rich Dad tells them to keep their eyes open for opportunities, they finally "see" new business opportunities that cannot be shown by others. They discover that unsold comics get the cover ripped off, returned for a cash refund, and the rest is discarded as waste. This is the base of a new idea. A possible business.


The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:
1) There is a very easy way of figuring out an asset or a liability. An asset puts money in your pocket, a liability takes it out. By that simple definition, a home you live in, and pay a mortgage for, is not an asset. It may be more of a speculative option.

2) The education you have is only a basic starting point. Lifelong learning needs to continue. There is always something new to learn. You are never an expert forever.

3) The classic fable of the tortoise and the hare can be found in business. Long term savers and investors can build great wealth over time. Reinvesting profits and not "living the life" is what can get you rich more often than not.

To the two boys, finally they see that these coverless comics could be rented to other boys for a fee, who just want to read the stories, so they think about opening a comic lounge. By renting out space for young readers, for a fee, while using "the free inventory" of discarded comics, they create a new business opportunity. They become entrepreneurs even though both are less than 10. This way of seeing the world is what they discover. As a reader, you learn to observe and finally see business opportunities all around you. It is well written and well explained. Many ages can all benefit from this great best seller. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 50,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業50,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください


For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Ugly Americans (Ivy Leaguers Making Millions) :Ben Mezrich 東京ゴールド・ラッシュ: ベン メズリック (バブル時代の物語)

The bubble days of Japan, had both winners and losers. This is the story a winner, in fact, a very big one. Back in the mid 1990s Japan's economy was just past its peak, and a few who knew, could still make a fortune from the Nikkei. One of these new traders is our hero. John Malcolm is an Ivy League US football hero who went to Princeton free on scholarship for his athletic abilities. He made it as far as an NFL pro team try out with the New York Giants, but was too small to make the final cut. What do you do when your football dreams end? If you come from an Ivy league college, you find new dreams, as in "mounds of money" dreams only found on Wall Street. New York Times Bestseller Ben Mezrich, certainly knows how to spin a fascinating tale.

At least our hero had one real shot. It is often who you know, not what you know. As part of a special football exhibition game in Japan, he runs into a fellow Princeton alumni now working in finance, doing "derivatives" in Tokyo. "Give me a call if you football journey does not work out". A year later, after graduation, that call takes place. How is "Friday for you?" As it was Wednesday in New York, he said "fine". Great, there will be a plane ticket waiting for you at JFK airport. Just like that, no real harcore interview, he was on his way to Osaka, not Tokyo, for a career in financial derivatives. If only it were that easy for all.

Tokyo & Osaka back then, were pretty wild and fueled by bubble times money. Jason Akari, a fellow graduate from Princeton, meets John at Itami airport, and shows him the ways of Index Arbitrage for Nikkei 225. This is before high frequency trading and the cloud. If you wanted to deal, you got on the phone. Margins were "truck wide" and the biggest price differences between Osaka and Singapore which also ran Nikkei futures, were a gold mine for traders arounds the world. The futures pit however, was hardly easy, even in Osaka. He needed his athletic background to make it in the Nikkei pit, just to survive. Concentration and focus from his football days came very handy indeed.


The fun never ends after market where big deals, big bonuses, and big hangovers are all usual daily hurdles. This is the same timing of Nick Leeson, formerly of Barings Securities, made famous when the Nikkei was a major market mover and few wanted to get in the way of any major move. The first day on the job, has our hero putting on a USD4 million dollar trade on his first time out. More money than he could ever need, enough money to retire on, he thinks. That was the thought of a newcomer to the markets. 

The market continues to change and evolve. Today's traders  in 2017 may find the software changed and faster, but the basics remain the same. The story goes on to amazing opportunities in an amazing market of financial excess. All is realistic and all sounds so attractive, if you share that cowboy mentality of a young dealer willing to take on the world as it was then.The learning curve is steep and full of difficult to understand twists that make no sense to those used to a New York mind set. Such is life far away in a land called Japan. All of these stories are in large part true, with the names changed to protect the innocent or many more less so.


The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot of economic history in Japan when it comes to commerce. Osaka, not just Tokyo, has had a long history of businesses making a lot of money over time

2) The value of the Japanese yen is high for many countries. The nightlife in major cities is a large portion of the economic GNP of any nation like Japan.

3) The gangster element of Japan has many tentacles in many businesses. This was more the case in the past but still the case now. It may not be seen, but is still clearly there.

Any reader of this great novel will find it nostalgic in many ways. It is a time when yesterday's PCs had a lot less speed, just when Windows 95 was rolling out. Mobiles were just coming out and were not smart. This is even before Blackberry. The nightlife of Japan with its bars, strip clubs, massage parlors and brothels are still around, but now less vital today compared to the past. The worklife and nightlife scenes are all very authentic for its time. Tokyo & Osaka certainly had some crazy wild times in the heyday, but so did New York or London. Nothing has changed or everything has changed depending on your point of view. The hero is a real life hedge fund manager today, but what parts are true and which are less so? Many love to speculate. No matter if you lived it or not, it all rings very true and is a great relaxing fun read. Highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 50,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業50,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください


For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: The Indian Renaissance by Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal インド経済のルネッサンス: サンジーブ・サンヤル

Recent economic summit events involving the US, Europe and China dominate global news. It reminds the same reader of how much has been lost by India, that now seeks to regain ground economically. This is a deeply researched book offering that will satisfy any fan of the Economist Magazine, The History Channel or Wall Street Journal. Foolishly, I have only read about the "IT rise of India" type stories. It would be better to describe these same headlines as "the return of India' economic power". I did not know much about Indian history before British rule, and I learned very critical insight about its roots. For example, at the time of Jesus Christ 2000+ year ago, India's economy made up 33% of global GDP, China was only 26% and Europe just 21%. 

At that time, the Roman Empire was just consolidating and spreading far and wide. The world's dominant economic superpower was India. Ships and trade made up a lot of this wealth, and gold was a key currency of exchange. The power of Indian traders was extreme, and the amount of gold that it brought into India was so huge, that it worried the Roman Emperor. The outflow of gold was so high, that they had to discourage the import of many Indian luxuries in order to stem the outflow of their Roman gold! I had never read that ever before, and it opened my eyes to India's economic power in the past. I have been it seems, historically ignorant with past market economies. I should add, it is not the first time. 

I find the learning of such a currency crisis in gold, true capital flight from Rome into India over 2000 years ago, to be amazing. Economics have been around for a long time, and the author Sanjeev Sanyal, does a great job of bringing a very clear view of how strong India was, and remained so for 1000 years. He later explains how it went inward in direction, and declined for the following 1000 years. He makes a firm case that two dates in recent memory are turning points. 1947, India's independence from the British Empire and 1991, when it began long overdue and badly needed financial & economic reforms. 

The year 1991, was fortunate as it came about at the same time as the internet itself. India's entire global dominance of overseas call centres, and other outsourcing functions would never have happened if these economic reforms were not in place. It was never a case of the internet spreading freely within India, and being allowed to take off all on its own, as if something purely by chance. It was planned and fully supported once key Indian entrepreneurs were allowed to do so. They were encouraged to take risk, and build global businesses never seen before, using a new internet backbone for various new online products and services. 


The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot of economic history in India that goes back over thousands of years. The long coastline of India has been at the core of commercial trading. This has often run in parallel with China trade over centuries.

2) The value of gold in India has been greatly valued for over 3000 years. The Roman Empire was in fact in fear of the economic power of India. It caused a gold currency crisis, and suffered huge capital outflows.

3) The capital markets are always driven by innovation, and India and been both a victim and a protagonist. Political change has been open, then inward, and now more open again in recent years. The Internet boom really aided this recent renaissance style with IT outsourcing.

Any reader of this great book will be more sensitive to the current leader Prime Minister Modi's impact. Going forward, it will help any reader to anticipate many new directions. It was well worth the read, and gave me a foundation of comfort that sees a bright economic future in India's new renaissance. Perhaps it signals a new cycle of dominance for another 1000 years? Time will of course tell, as history often repeats itself. This book was very eye opening and very engaging in both economic and historic senses. Highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 50,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業50,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください


For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: The Quants by Scott Patterson (Math Geniuses) ザ・クオンツ: スコット・パタースン 世界経済を破壊した天才たち

I first thought this book would be dry, but I was very wrong. It reads like a mystery thriller in many ways. It is a great quantitative finance backgrounder for anybody wanting to know how hedge funds and investment banks moved into the quant space. Citadel, Renaissance, Morgan Stanley's PDT team or the Global Alpha team at Goldman Sachs, are all explained in great detail. You get to know who the key people have been who have driven trading to new levels. They all have unique stories and personal backgrounds, and poker seems to be a theme that is repeated that ties many of them together. Clearly numbers are a passion to many of the key quant traders. I do not think this is a learned habit, but comes to a few very naturally. 

The true titans of quant trading are real human beings and they are all driven to succeed in various ways. Edward Thorp is a key early figure who may have started this new computerised money stream. He began by playing poker and counting cards with the mathematical accuracy of odds making. While at MIT he created a poker betting system that worked and later wrote a book on it. It was called "Beat the Dealer" and has inspired many other quants who have a similar dual interest in quant mathematics and poker. Many other inspiring quant backgrounds are also profiled all throughout the book. 

They include Peter Muller, a California boy who created PDT (Process Driven Trading). This was the internal quant hedge fund team within Morgan Stanley that generated billions is P/L for the firm. Cliff Asness worked at Goldman Sachs in the Global Alpha team, but left to start his own quant firm called AQR that now runs over USD180BN in AUM. Boaz Weinstein started as a credit derivatives trader within Deutsche Bank and was blessed with being in the right place at the right time. Although he always was focused on finance and had an internship even in high school at age 17. He started young and created Saba Capital after he left Deutsche Bank. It now runs over USD1BN in AUM.

Jim Simons, the code cracker from the US government left academia and started his own firm Renaissance Technologies with a very unique style with over USD100BN in AUM. Unlike many others, he prefers PhD staffers with NO financial background. Why teach great minds to "unlearn" any financial viewpoint, just start them fresh with an open mind. Ken Griffin, wanted to learn about the stock market as a child at age 12. He traded from his dorm room at Harvard and created Citadel Investment Group straight out of college. This was due to his ability to figure out convertible bond arbitrage and the profits waiting to be made. He now runs over USD26BN in AUM. Clearly there is no shortage of variety in the personalities of these quant entrepreneurs.

There is no secret to making money in the end. The pure quant goal of finding "the truth" or ultimate money making program is like a mirage, and is forever on the horizon. A lot of work is needed to think of, conceptualize, plan, practice and test before going live. It is a never ending process that never ends. Markets themselves change, so no perfect quant program can ever exist. The individuals who started quant trading and those who continue today are driven people. They are outliers and can never be considered ordinary in attitude. They need to find the number. It is in their nature. They do not seem to compromise or just leave it until later, whenever that could be. 

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot of history to the quant space going back to the 1960s when computers first began to spread widely. There also seems to be a direct link between poker and the motivations of many of the key quant founders. 

2) The value of quant trading brings together the power of a single computer program instead of a dozen trader minds. The leverage of this potential only gets higher with every new more powerful computer. There is no limit to its improvement over time.

3) The capital markets are always driven by innovation, and quant trading has already found its place. From now on, how much of any manual trading will be left in the hands of humans, is the only real unanswered question. The power of trading algos can only refined itself.

The main point that needs to be understood is that quant trading has its place, but is imperfect by its very nature. Past behavior may repeat itself, but not always in ways that seem logical. Accepting the imperfect is needed by even the best quants. Perfect storms do exist within financial markets. Black swans are a reality. Never, is a very long time for many, but so called "one in a million events" seem to happen more frequently than may quants can sometimes accept. Two of the biggest worries that the author makes in 2010 are about the future. Would crashes happen quickly, as in within 5 minutes? Well, flash crashes and the end of Knight Ridder proved that would be true. The second was about the ETF liquidity crunch. Is this the next bubble that will pop from leverage? Time will tell. Quant finance has its place and serves its function well most of the time. Overall 99% is a pretty good number to me, even if it is not 100%. I see and fully accept any quant market P/L value, and do not worry about the missing fraction, but then again, I am not a quant. This book was very eye opening and very engaging. Highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 50,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業50,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください


For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com