The Pained Trader: showing you where it hurts

The unbearable circles of political conversation can sap morale and vitality — much like job searching in the City.

  • By The Pained Trader
  • 23 Mar 2017
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I’m done with Twitter. My foray into the BBC Radio 2 of social media lasted barely a week. In retrospect, just mainlining unadulterated Donald Trump was a mistake and being relentlessly subjected to the ramblings of a diseased mind took its toll.

It was akin to taking daily a guided tour of a lunatic asylum and I realised that if I didn’t cut myself off with immediate effect that the brainwashing process would gradually take effect. Looking in the bathroom mirror, I became convinced that constant exposure to that stuff was starting to turn my skin a mild shade of orange.

However, lessening that part of one’s life which is unavoidably occupied by the American president, merely frees up more time for it to be besieged by that other tedious and unending controversy of the modern era: Brexit.

I triggered my own Article 50 by passing this milestone birthday recently and that was also a long time in the planning and execution and not wholly enjoyable but it was a one-off, it passed and I moved on. What Theresa May is about to launch will have no such finite quality and promises to consume us all for the foreseeable future.

In the dinner party debates leading up to last summer’s referendum on EU membership, my main argument as a Remaineur was that would put an end to the dispute for at least a generation and we would no longer have all our conversations monopolised by an unwinnable debate. 

If we had voted Remain the subject would join previous obsessions like Y2K and the GFC in the mind’s museum. It might also have denied Trump’s campaign a boost in momentum at a critical juncture and just imagine, gentle reader, how refreshing and agreeable would suppers in Islington and coffees on the King’s Road be if deprived of such disputation?

Well, I say it would have silenced the quarrel for a generation but we said much the same thing about Scotland’s first independence vote. It appears, though, that owing to poor diet, a propensity to eat, drink and smoke too many noxious and unhealthy substances, Scotland’s low life expectancy makes a generation there a much shorter cycle than elsewhere.

Maybe we are just destined to endure the ceilingless tedium and endless revolutions around the wash and spin cycle of Brexit, Trump and the vote for self-determination north of the border.

One can understand the allure of fake news when the real stuff is so unvarying and depressing.


Shares broked, turds polished

The Pained Trader is currently on gardening leave and pursuing other opportunities after outstaying his welcome at his previous employers of three years… by about three years.

I’m not quite walking the streets of the City, touting my wares, with a sandwich board advertising, “Broking Services, Turd Polishing, Piano Tuning and so on” but at times it does not feel dissimilar to that, so degrading is the practice of trying to find salaried work.

The problem is that employers — past and prospective — sense in me (quite rightly) a denial of their values. 

Everyone’s tolerance for corporate cheerleading, the practice of ethical capitalism and delivering solid returns for stakeholders is finite, and mine was mined into exhaustion many years and several firms ago. The challenge for anyone doing the rounds of interviews is disguising that moral fatigue, and somehow conveying eager-beaver enthusiasm quite at odds with the internalised despondency.

I have narrowed down my potential openings to the final two contenders. I could also phrase this as “after a lot of rejection I have just two long shots remaining” but they don’t know this, nor, that if they spurn my advances, it will be hang up the headset and head-in-the-oven time.

One of these institutions is a household name but the other is not even a household name in the homes of its employees, so low is its profile and standing. There are no prizes for guessing which of these is the more likely runner, but since there is an almost perfect correlation between the size of the firm and the level of bullshit and political intrigue, then it often pays to steer clear of (or be swerved by) the big, bulge-bracket boys.

Infested with rodents

I can play the dating game in interviews like everyone else. One discusses strategy, something mysterious referred to as “the platform”, the inevitable stakeholder returns, alignment of interest, the quality of service provided to customers and so on, but really, at this stage in my career, I know it comes down to luck, timing, whether the air-conditioning functions, if the elevators take forever, the character of the person beside whom one chances to sit (so much of life just comes down to who happens to show up on the night), and a whole load of unpredictables and intangibles.

Half of the City’s trading floors are infested with rodents and I know from first-hand experience that this can be wholly detrimental to one’s wellbeing if you spend 50 hours a week stuck in the same seat but only the most murophobic or downright eccentric would actually enquire about that during an interview. 

If you’re wondering, yes, I did.

One thing that’s flummoxed me in several of my exploratory chats has been enquiries about my interpretation of the likely consequences of MiFID II. It’s not like I haven’t heard of it. All conversational roads tend to lead there.

I mean, I know it’s not Welsh and it’s an acronym and it’s been coming forever and it will change everything irrevocably and for the worse but I’ve no idea what it actually entails. All developments in the City tend to be adverse from my perspective, and no good will come of this one for sure, but everyone seems sketchy on the details and very few know for sure what the acronym stands for.

My standard response is that it will be delayed or never implemented because of complications arising out of Brexit. I have no idea if this is true or not but few want to dwell on the subject and most people seem happy that the conversation moves on. Even if it’s only back to Brexit.

  • By The Pained Trader
  • 23 Mar 2017

All International Bonds

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 Citi 317,691.74 1201 8.90%
2 JPMorgan 291,227.96 1326 8.16%
3 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 285,088.11 991 7.99%
4 Goldman Sachs 217,749.25 714 6.10%
5 Barclays 209,291.80 811 5.87%

Bookrunners of All Syndicated Loans EMEA

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 HSBC 32,320.82 147 6.67%
2 Deutsche Bank 32,259.50 104 6.66%
3 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 28,890.43 85 5.96%
4 BNP Paribas 25,663.29 144 5.30%
5 Credit Agricole CIB 22,617.86 130 4.67%

Bookrunners of all EMEA ECM Issuance

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 JPMorgan 18,160.85 71 9.15%
2 Morgan Stanley 15,215.44 76 7.67%
3 UBS 14,195.29 55 7.15%
4 Citi 14,014.57 86 7.06%
5 Goldman Sachs 12,113.98 67 6.10%