April 1 double-whammy: governments may issue guns, abolish money to win battle with banks

Governments around the world are refusing to rule out arming their civilian populations as the only way to stamp out the persistent menace of investment banking, an industry that many commentators say has lost its legitimacy.

  • 01 Apr 2011
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Other speculation circulating on trading floors indicated that a coalition of increasingly frustrated policymakers was preparing to lobby the United Nations security council to pass a resolution abolishing all money everywhere.

Market rumours suggested that the first concrete moves to support uprisings against the industry could come as soon as April 1.

The threat of military conflict with bankers would be an escalation of the behind-the-scenes diplomatic moves and controversial attempts to enforce a no-pay zone across the industry. It also throws into doubt reports this week of a likely "truce" between governments and financial institutions.

Almost four years on from the start of unrest, politicians are still finding it difficult to resist calls from increasingly rebellious groups of civilians and media commentators targeting the financial industry.

"The truth is that we’ve been happy to support bankers in the past when we’ve had a lot of stuff to sell or we’ve wanted their money," said a source. "But the wind’s changed direction and it’s time for us to follow others in leading the way."

Some in the market expressed surprise at the plans, arguing that they were untrue. "I’ve never heard such rubbish since my last comp review," said one banker with no knowledge of the situation.

Academics warned that taking up arms against the industry might indicate that politicians’ rhetoric had gone a step too far. They welcomed talk of the abolition of money, however.

"Abolishing money makes much of what banks do academic, which can only benefit people like me," said Professor Hugh V Been-Fuld, emeritus professor of professorship at an institution that issues MBAs in return for manual labour. "I’ve not had any prospect of being wealthy since daddy’s ill-timed bet with the family money on the future of rates in late 2007."

For some bankers, the move has attractions over the prospect of war as it would still leave a need for intermediaries in transactions, especially to warehouse assets ahead of distribution.

"Over the last 10 years or so we’ve become pretty good at warehousing," said one head of ABS. "Some would say too good."

Policymakers hope that the abolition of money would also remove much of the incentive to pay outsized bonuses, as star bankers would find it less convenient to receive a million flat screen TVs for their advisory work for a consumer electronics company.

Others remained defiant, however. "I’m floating an arms manufacturer next month and if money gets abolished our 7% fee will give us Kalashnikovs for the whole syndicate desk plus a couple of RPGs," said one ECM banker. "Bring it on."

Mark Baker

  • 01 Apr 2011

All International Bonds

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 Citi 29,333.03 101 7.94%
2 JPMorgan 27,208.83 91 7.37%
3 Barclays 23,714.00 55 6.42%
4 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 20,332.10 65 5.50%
5 Goldman Sachs 20,005.21 49 5.42%

Bookrunners of All Syndicated Loans EMEA

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 Mizuho 299.85 1 21.73%
1 ING 299.85 1 21.73%
1 Commerzbank Group 299.85 1 21.73%
1 BNP Paribas 299.85 1 21.73%
5 UBS 60.22 1 4.36%

Bookrunners of all EMEA ECM Issuance

Rank Lead Manager Amount $m No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 Goldman Sachs 1,607.28 5 23.03%
2 Credit Suisse 1,301.65 4 18.65%
3 UBS 970.80 3 13.91%
4 BNP Paribas 522.35 4 7.49%
5 SG Corporate & Investment Banking 444.17 3 6.37%