People who deal with large sums of money should be called “financiers” whether they like it or not.

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Reputation managers, public relations agents, and spinmeisters working their magic on a clueless press and a forgetful populace have re-defined words so frequently that they have lost their meaning.

“Financial engineers” used to be the “rocket scientists on Wall Street” who concocted esoteric “derivatives” but when these products went south they became “innovators” working on “alternative investments” – which were presumably alternatives to the stuff they came up with previously. Eventually the International Association of Financial Engineers changed its name to the International Association of Quantitative Finance with the goal of “advancing the field of quantitative finance.” Presumably, their members who once called themselves “financial engineers” are now “quantitative financiers.” After their next blow-up I wonder what term they will advance the art by calling themselves something else.

“Banker” used to mean someone who took deposits and made loans. There were variants: Retail Bankers, Commercial Bankers, Investment Bankers, Mortgage Bankers, and even Personal Bankers. But there are also speculators and hedge funds operating as banks, and some “bankers” are best described as “bank robbers.”

My favorite is “hedge fund manager.” The reason is that I used to be one, and I got a kick out of how many definitions people could come up with. The only one I’ve found that made any sense was, “A payout schedule in search of a strategy.”

I think everyone who deals with large sums of money be called “financiers” first and foremost. The reason is that it has the broadest possible definition. Continue reading People who deal with large sums of money should be called “financiers” whether they like it or not.

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Passion requires that something makes you angry; and what makes me angry is unethical financiers

WomanWithHairAnger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
– Mark Twain

Whenever I speak at colleges I begin by asking, “Why are you here?”

This catches the students off guard and after batting the question around for a bit someone says, “To find my passion.” The rest agree and they imagine they are done with the topic.

But I am not done with them.

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I ask them to define “passion” because if you cannot say what a word means then you are shooting the shit rather than answering a question.

So they discuss that for a while longer and eventually settle on some variant of, “I don’t know what passion is but I’ll know when I have passion for my work because I won’t have to motivate myself to do it.”

“Really?” I say, “Where I come from we have a word for that, and it is ‘like’ as in ‘I like my job.’ But I know I am passionate when I do something even though I hate every second.”

“Why would anyone do a job they hate?” someone asks. Continue reading Passion requires that something makes you angry; and what makes me angry is unethical financiers