Bonus Bananas April 18, 2014

I'm on vacation for the next month, so this is the last Bonus Bananas you'll see for a few weeks. Hope you dig 'em!

1) Deutsche Bank denies report its CEOs' jobs are at risk (Reuters) - Wow. I guess you can't fail the CFA Level I when you're the CEO of Germany's largest bank. Who knew?

2) The Astounding Conspiracy Theories of Wall Street Genius Mark Gorton (Gawker) - Zoinks. Somebody's been staring at a computer screen for too long. This is a good read, guys.

3) Study: We Peak at Age 24 (Newser) - I wish to God this weren't true, but I can attest that it is. 24 is the golden age; it's all downhill from there.

4) Is Mark Zuckerberg Too Old to Run Facebook? (ValleyWag) - Case in point: at 29 years old, Zuck is over the hill and needs to hand the reins to somebody fresh out of high school if he wants his little computer company to survive.

So This Is How Wall Street Golfs

Full disclosure: I'm a sailor, not a golfer, and it's been my experience that there isn't much crossover between those two sports. But I have played golf. I even took lessons for the better part of a year. While I don't particularly enjoy the game, I do enjoy being outside having a couple drinks with friends and taking in some nice scenery. Which is why I'm a little dubious about this indoor golf facility in Midtown clearly marketed toward finance professionals. Don't get me wrong, the place looks plush and it's cool that it combines a gym with golfing right down the street from your office. But could you really imagine 18 holes of this? Am I missing something? What say you, golfers of Wall Street?

Monday @Mentions April 14, 2014

Thread of the Week:

The Thread of the Week this week was How I Lost A Million Dollars by @"Jared Dillian". His no-nonsense post on the costs of nonconformity in banking hit home for many of us (myself included) and the post brought in 8 Silver Bananas, an astounding 60 LinkedIn Shares (pretty sure that's a new record), 21 Facebook Likes, 8 Tweets, and a Google +1. Nicely done, Jared!

Comment of the Week:

@"Oreos" had the Comment of the Week this week on the thread Run Your Life Through a DCF. His observation that plastic surgery should be run under maintenance capex with the exception of breast enhancement (clearly expansionary) earned him 9 Silver Bananas. That's just good math.

Caption Contest Winner:

This week's Caption Contest winner is @"HinkleMcKrinkleberry". Bagging on Lumina Investments never gets old, but he took it up a notch and got 10 Silver Bananas for his event driven quip. Congratulations, bro. Here's your shirt.

Great Article on Day Trading

mod (Andy) note: "Blast from the past - Best of Eddie" If there's an old post from Eddie you'd like to see up again shoot me a message.

Bonus Bananas April 11, 2014

1) Best, Brightest and Rejected: Elite Colleges Turn Away Up to 95% (NY Times) - Target schools just got a little more target, I guess.

2) When the French clock off at 6pm, they really mean it (Guardian) - It is now illegal to answer your boss's email after 6pm in France. Against the law to take work home with you, too. Weekends? Fuhgedaboudit. And yes, this goes for American companies with French subsidiaries too. Is this a great country or what?

3) Swedes to give six-hour workday a go (The Local) - Not to be outdone by the French, the Swedes are set to launch the 30-hour workweek, with full pay. The thinking behind the move is that it will account for fewer sick days. Because there's no need to call in sick when you're never at work anyway.

4) JPMorgan details where it's hiring 000s. Perfect background for a career in HFT (eFinancial Careers) - Back office is the new front office.

Is Goldman Shuttering Sigma X?

We might be witnessing the first casualty of the Flash Boys backlash. Goldman Sachs is said to be considering closing its dark pool Sigma X. The question in my mind is why. There are a number of potential reasons, but here's what I think is most likely (in order of likelihood):

  • They're responding to customer complaints. - Now that the cat's out of the bag, I imagine their phones are ringing off the hook with pissed off clients whose orders have been used to enrich freq traders. Whether you think it's front running or not, the guy running the pension fund in Topeka probably does.
  • Their tech is way behind the competition. - This is something that came up in the book. If you believe Sergey Aleynikov (via Michael Lewis), Goldman's IT infrastructure is a real slapdick affair. Aleynikov likened it to constantly patching code with open source Band Aids. Rather than investing in an infrastructure likely to be squeezed by collapsing margins, Goldman might just be tapping out.
  • They're sheltering from the coming storm. - They're no dummies, and they can see the writing on the wall. Investigations are already being opened into dark pools and high frequency trading. If they have just been running an HFT rape room (whether knowing it or not), it makes sense to get out in front of it and say, "Look at us. We figured out it was crooked and shut it down."

NY Raises Estate Tax to 164%!

Congratulations, New Yorkers! It now costs you money to die. Okay, not really. But it's an eye-grabbing headline, no? There is a kernel of truth to it, and that's the ironic thing. Because, in an attempt to stem the flight of wealthy citizens to lower tax states, New York legislators actually raised the rates on some levels of the estate tax. It's pretty convoluted and definitely involves some monkey math, but the fact is some folks who die in New York over the next decade will be on the hook for more than 100% of the taxable amount of their estate. What a great place to live (and die)!!! Check it out:

Monday @Mentions April 7, 2014

Thread of the Week:

We had lots of great stuff this week, but the highest ranked post (or posts, in this case) was written by @"Rhys da Vinci". I'm referring of course to The Complete Coward's Guide to Starting a Company: Part 1 and The Complete Coward's Guide to Starting a Company: Part 2. We all dream of entrepreneurship at some point, but bankers are a risk averse bunch. Here's how to do it without betting the ranch. The combined count on the two posts is currently 20 Silver Bananas, 4 Facebook Likes, and 4 Tweets.

Comment of the Week:

Comment of the Week this week goes to @"Marcus_Halberstram" on my thread Do You Think the Market Is Rigged?. If you're wondering whether or not HFT is crushing the "little guy", check out his take on it. His comment brought in 4 Silver Bananas.

Graham & Dodd Award:

This is the first time we've given out a Graham & Dodd Award, and I hope it isn't the last because we need a lot more stuff like this. @"BlackHat" ran away with it this week with his thread Idea Generation... and Why Wall Street Sucks at It. He broke down the various processes he uses to generate investment ideas, and I'm proud to say I learned a lot from it. The post brought in 6 Silver Bananas and a Tweet (mine). If you haven't read it yet, go check it out.

Hedgies Wild About Citi

mod (Andy) note: "Blast from the past - Best of Eddie" If there's an old post from Eddie you'd like to see up again shoot me a message.

What is it about Citi that makes it attractive? I'm all about value investing, and three bucks a share is pretty cheap, but I had to say I was a little surprised by the substantial positions that have been taken in Citi by hedge funds over the past quarter.

Bonus Bananas April 4, 2014

1) Energy Future Plan Said to Almost Wipe Out Owners KKR to TPG (Bloomberg) - It's not often you see titans like KKR and Goldman Sachs take one in the seat, so I imagine there are some pretty uncomfortable conversations happening right now over this boondoggle. But you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, amirite?

2) Eich resignation as Mozilla CEO as messy as his appointment (C/NET) - The tech world has basically been ablaze for the past week over the appointment and almost-immediate resignation of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla. Three prominent board members resigned in protest to his appointment, and it eventually led to his demise. What's the beef? He donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8 back in 2008.

3) 9 Behaviors Cultivated by the Ultra-Charismatic (Inc.) - Unless you're already Swaggy McSwaggerton, it might be a good idea to check these out. A little charisma can carry you a long way, I'm living proof of it.

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