Thursday, March 18, 2010

Barclays: do you employ these psychopaths?

Felix Salmon directs us to a blog post in which former Lehman executives (possibly safely employed by Barclays) talk about the Valukas report.

Felix rightly describes these people as psychopaths. 

I am not going to further roast these executives – I just want to know how much of this culture infected Barclays. 

It remains a source of amazement to me that Barclays came out of the crisis so well.  Sure they got a (real) bargain buying Lehman’s US Broker-Dealer.  But they were hardly Snow White and their leverage levels were way higher than Lehman.  Moreover the crash-or-crash-through attitude of Bob Diamond would not have been out of place at the most aggressive (failed) hedge fund.  [The first post on this blog that got more than 30 readers was on Barclays – and – unlike many of my early posts – it looked very good for a while – but less good in the long run.]

Barclays is here and prospering so my pre-crisis view of the investment banks (that Lehman and Barclays would be the troubled ones) did not turn out precisely right.



PS.  Sorry for the absence of posts – but I was busy walking from Mallacoota to Wonboyn and there were no people, phones, internet or stock quotes.


CrocodileChuck said...

Barclays: they'll be heaps BIGGER if they acquire the "National City" franchise...

Scott said...

So a 25km walkabout is an excuse for not writing?

John Hempton said...

Scott - closer 60km...


Quinn said...

Completely off topic: There has been a lot of noise in the media and out of Washington lately on the value of the Chinese Yuan. Krugman took on the topic recently, calling for a significant appreciate of the yuan.

Mr Hempton: any comments? Possible topic for a future blog post?

If you do tackle the issue, would you kindly mention your inflationary outlook on such a move? If Chinese goods became more expensive, it seems like we would be importing inflation, not deflation like we do now. And Krugman mentions if interest rates rise, the Fed could just buy long dated treasuries to hold rates down. But wouldn't this be akin to printing money and add further to inflation?

Many thanks.

Unknown said...

See Zombie love section of crocodile chucks link

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