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Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: “Traders, Guns and Money” Author Satyajit Das トレーダー、デリバティブ、そして金 : サティアジット・ダス

There is no holding back on any details in this book, so you really learn a lot about how finance really works. The author really opens up the kimono. It reads like a whistle blower diary of what happens inside a securities firm. I never strangely thought that an "insider" from any top investment bank would ever write such a book about what capital markets "are really like" and even educate those curious about them, and not familiar. 

This is a very eye opening account of a real derivatives professional who really understands a wide range of markets, and the true ways an investment bank functions within them. He has a realistic view of the financial world, and does not make any claim that it is perfect. Quite the opposite, in fact. It almost reads like secret notes any newcomer to finance should have from an older brother already there. That was the feeling I had when reading it anyway.

He really just tells the reader "how it really is" inside a global investment bank, and the people he worked with. The politics, the trade size realities, the profits possible, and who would push to make each trade happen, are all explained well. Off the top of my head, it is the kind of insight that anybody considering a career in finance after MBA school should use as a filter. 


In many ways, it also captures a moment in time for derivatives in general. This is before the positive pricing benefits of derivatives were totally tarnished by CDOs, and then became weapons of mass destruction in the post Lehman shock era. 

If you are a curious person and have never considered working in a global bank, but wanted to be a "fly on the wall" in order to know what could be really going on, this is for you. This book is a great first exposure and highly recommended with extremely well written detail. Ultimately, all financial products are a just a series of cashflows. The complication of any of them can be broken down into simple slices. There are no exceptions. 

Many within finance, especially those who know parts but not all aspects, try and give the impression that they are very difficult to understand. This is a weak excuse by some to cover up their own lack of clear understanding. It is a kind of offensive yet defensive style, that keeps many new to the area, from learning much of these sometime complex products that are becoming a growing part of business life.


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

1) There is a lot to learn about derivatives and how they are created, sold, and finally booked with clients. It may seem complicated, but each part, when seen alone is very understandable.

2) The integrity of derivatives has been suspect, but gets more clear when explained by an expert. The grey zone seen by outsiders can be easily removed.

3) The capital markets are always driven by many factors. Politics and personal benefits drive a lot of action. The IQ of many in global investment banks can often be overshadowed by the EQ of others taking advantage of another person's P/L.

Many people within investment banking need to be part of any economy, but morals and values certainly have a place. Markets do not always justify their prices. Market prices can actually replace difficult thinking or debate about more difficult questions. The reality of markets leaves it mark on the global economy especially with derivative products. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank 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 45,000+ 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45,000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, April 21, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: What Money Can't Buy (The Moral Limits of Markets) Michael J. Sandel それをお金で買いますか: マイケル・サンデル

Financial markets have been around for centuries, but is everything for sale? If it is, should it be? What ethics are missing from today's marketplace if any? Have we gone too far, or not far enough? If we pay US$2 per book to poor students, to encourage education in poor regions of the US nation, is that worthwhile? Is it moral and does it reflect a society's values correctly? Are we using monetary incentives in a wrong way? Does a monetary incentive help to "jumpstart" students into a good reading habit? 

Alternatively, does it corrupt the student into thinking that all effort needs to be paid for. After all, that is how the real world works, even if the reading done had no quality of learning checked in the process. There are many grey zones where financial incentives are not always productive. Many kinds of companies and consumers enjoy purchasing products and services, but are they always worthwhile to even be offered in the market? The author certainly makes you think about the mentality needed for a long term healthy market economy. Corruption and exploitation may need a market filter of some kind, but who would or should be in charge of this regulation question?

If a citizen is jailed for an offense in Santa Ana, California, nonviolent offenders can accept the prison cell, or upgrade for US$82 a night. In some US cities, to encourage energy conservation and lower traffic congestion, car pool lanes were offered. A lone driver is legally not allowed to drive in a faster car pool lane, but if he or she pays a solo driving fee for US$8 each way, that driver can then use that special lane. Many couples who want a child, can have one of their own traditionally, but there are new choices. If they use a test tube approach, a third party surrogate mother can actually carry the pregnancy for a fee. Women in India, are willing to do so for US$6,250 for the 9+ month ordeal. Is this a valid service in the market today?


How does a citizen come to terms with such choices? How exactly should we see these choices? How should a good citizen make the right choice? Is there a set of concepts that all choices must pass in order to be considered OK in any market? There is a mismatch in some markets. Many people suffer from kidney problems and need a donor kidney. Many people die every year waiting for a kidney that never comes. Should a person who really needs a kidney be allowed to buy one? What is wrong with that market if there is a clear need? Again, would the seller of this kidney be doing so freely? A portion of these sellers may be poor and lack other economic options. Would they then be just exploited? Should we protect these poor people or allow them to benefit economically?

What is human dignity? Is it worth saving? What should not be allowed in the market place? Does the market have morals? Should it have moral limits? This book asks questions that cannot easily be answered yes or no. It makes you think and confront why you think one way or another. Selling a kidney, selling prostitution or even selling the right to kill a death row prisoner for a thrill, all have moral questions. Not all of these goods or services are best exchanged in markets today for any price. There are limits to what should be bought or sold.

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

1) There is a lot to learn about how difficult inequality is in regard to economic opportunities. Is the market really about free will when make economic choices in markets? Some people are not really choosing freely when exploitation is driving sales or purchases.

2) The impact of integrity on economics is important. When does a financial incentive become a bribe? When is a bribe not appropriate in the market place? Civic responsibility has no price, and it cannot be replaced by any financial incentive.

3) The markets that we use and benefit from have limits. Markets for tangible goods may be inert, but when services or exchanges of value like education take place, then moral questions impact those markets. The love of learning has no price and cannot be bought.

Ordinary people need to be part of any economy, but morals and values have a place. Markets do not always justify their prices. Market prices can actually replace difficult thinking or debate about more difficult questions. This lack of energy to consider difficult questions, is now part of today's global politics. It may be a reason to better understand why the world is now moving into a growing populist wave. No matter what your opinions are, this book certainly makes you think is great new ways. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank 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 45,000+ 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45,000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, April 14, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Impatient Optimist Bill Gates In His Own Words by Lisa Rogak せっかちな楽観主義 ビル・ビーゲート: ライザ ロガック

This book opened my eyes to the true core drive of any great entrepreneur. I admire anyone like Bill Gates, who felt he had to leave Harvard University, because he saw that time would not wait for his software vision idea to be executed. We now know that it worked out, but what kind of person was Bill Gates in his youth?  If he told you during those early days would you have believed him? Did he make a good case? or was it something that had to be seen in order to really be believed.

I have no negative image of Microsoft being too large a monopoly in the business PC world, and never did. Unlike some of my Apple and Mac friends I never saw the two software rivals in the same way as "the Empire" and "the Rebels" like in the Star Wars films. I leave that pointless fierce rivalry to others. I just want to learn what is in Bill's head, and absorb any key ideas.

Any reader of this book really wants to know if they could have performed the same way, if the timing and opportunity were equal. However, you learn that nobody is equal to Bill Gates, in that he saw a vision that few others did in his time. His mind was already on a path towards a focus that few others really had. It is clear to read from his own words that he did not start on any such visionary path while at Harvard University, but much earlier. 

His vision of the world of technology was established in high school long before university. His mind just first blossomed in Harvard. I no longer can listen to TV reports on the debate over will Bill Gates come back to the firm he founded. He has evolved way beyond a single business like Microsoft. His drive is no longer about profits, but goals for humanity and the future health of humans world-wide.


I seriously doubt that any commentator can really think that Bill Gates would even want to go backand help Microsoft make its numbers again. He is making numbers count with the health of humanity. If his own drive towards the needs of the planet and human health were not so crystal clear, billionaires would not follow in his lead and support him with their personally earned large funds

Players at the top can often read and sense the moves of other similar players, including strengths weaknesses. You read about observations here, and about how they get applied to software or beyond. Timing aside, you learn about one thing that comes out in very black and white. He worked hard or maybe it is better to say, when he coded or learned about coded software he was always hard at work

You never get the sense that money itself ever drove him. His father already gave him all the basics of middle class life so it really remained his life's mission to code software not gather the monetary rewards from it. If there is any surprise in this enlightening compilation of quotes it is that Bill Gates was not a believer in his own software vision from day one. 

He seems to have been torn between seeing what was possible and worried that somebody else or another rival company would share a similar vision and maybe get there first, and block him or his visionary ideas out of the marketplace. Remember that he could imagine a world then dominated by IBM products. However, unlike most, he could see a PC in every office, for every office worker, with everyone using Microsoft software around the globe. It all became a clear reality for many in offices around the world



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

1) There is a lot to learn about how difficult it is to code software. Good software really takes a lot of work. Too many users today who use great software now, feel it should be easy to use from the beginning. The very hard work needed to make code all work smoothly, is now less understood today, and less appreciated.

2) The impact of wealth was never a major driver for Bill Gates in his early days. You never get a sense that he was playing any game to be the world's richest person. It all came about as a by-product of his strong drive and innovation instinct.

3) The technology vision of what Bill Gates saw, that became our current reality in offices today, is now full of PCs and laptops. It was a rare and unique vision. Few at the time agreed with this odd high school view of a future business world.

Ordinary people do not have those clear visions or pursue them, but he did, and did so in his teens. I now know a little more about why he acted, and what drove him then and drives him today. This was a worthwhile read, and not just once. Great for any reader about entrepreneurs, it is not just for technology fans. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank 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 45,000+ 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45,000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, April 7, 2017

Friday Feature Movie Review: "Le Capital" Money is the Master! Directed by Costa-Gavras お金はマスターです!面白い金融映画: 監督コスタ・ギャラス


Money, Sex and Power are big drivers in life, yet Money is the Master. What if you take a huge global bank with a cancer ill CEO, and pick his economist deputy to make him the new CEO temporarily? Gabriel Byrne, and Gad Elmaleh, make for fascinating casting choices in this curious film. Can loyalty be enough to learn the duties on the job really fast? Can investors keep him as a puppet to just increase profits by feeding him the "right short term ideas". 

Is this possible even if some of those ideas come from a powerful hedge fund with a major stake in the bank itself? Maybe, but layoffs certainly help the bottom line, so why not trim the fat, and cut to the bone. Any employees who get cut will find other jobs within the economy, it is not the bank's responsibility. Change is good, if it makes profits for the bank no matter what the "human capital" cost. That is the basic concept, and that is all you need to know. 

This is really a fable like story about money, power and temptation. Is the root of all evil due to the love of money? The main character finds out in his new role as CEO. Well-known Greek-French Director Costa-Gravras, best known for "State of Siege" in 1972 & "Z", is always looking for a deep story of human meaning, and he found a great one again, the age old theme of money and society. 

How can you not enjoy a board room of bankers enjoying themselves and mega profits. Dialogue lines like "I am the new Robin Hood; I steal from the poor and I give more to the rich!" work well. Money can be sexy, and can also be deadly. Many market and moral angles are tested, and this film stands well on its own. The script is lead by a very well played comedian/actor from France called Gad Elmaleh who switched his lines between English and French dialogue. 

This is a well-crafted financial story set in the US & Europe, about corruption, morals and humanity within a sell-side bank dancing with buy-side strings. The hedge fund manager is played by personal favorite Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, (The Usual Suspects) is far from sophisticated. He only enjoys dealing with his "French Frog Friends" if it makes him money, otherwise he drops them. This is a more classic tale of temptation, and the moral compass of any man that sometimes loses direction.

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

1) There is a lot to learn about being a CEO once inside. The politics and pressures are rarely known well by outsiders never in the seat.

2) The impact of a simple economist into a CEO role can be more than expected if given a chance at power. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely!

3) The capital market pressures of investors on financial institutions need to be better understood. Shareholders do own the company in most cases, when the shares go public. 

This was not a very widely released film in the US, Europe or Asia, but is now easily found on Netflix, HBO and Amazon services. Highly recommended for its wide appeal for the everyman, no need to worry about any financial product or model names. The lifestyle of the 1% with its personal politics, sex, wealth and luxurious lifestyle no matter how hectic, is showed in vibrant detail. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank 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 45,000+ 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45,000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