04 July 2012

Bob Diamond is a Liar

  • Sitting through 3 hours'+ of grilling on CNBC.
  • Bob Diamond "I was physically sick when I saw" the LIBOR emails. He said he had no idea of such reprehensible behavior by his traders. This is absolute nonsense coming from someone of a Fixed Income background and having also worked on a Money Markets Desk (or so he said at the beginning of the testimony).
  • In most banks, LIBOR settings are made by the MM desk traders. In 90% of the cases, these same traders also run proprietary risk positions whose value depends on where LIBORs are fixed.
  • It is ACCEPTED INDUSTRY CULTURE that the LIBOR fixers have a vested interest to skew fixings to benefit the P&L of their own proprietary positions. It follows naturally from this that colleagues/friends in other banks with big trading positions would also try to "influence" LIBOR fixers. This was true in 1988 when I first joined the markets, may still be true today, and certainly was true in 2005-07 which is the period under discussion.
  • This is no different from fund managers ramping share prices on last trading day of reporting periods to "window dress" their performance numbers. Or stock traders pushing a particular share where they have an underlying warrant expiry. Or DB or BNP SGD trader calling out at 11 am to push SGD forward swap rates to influence SOR fixings. Routine industry practice. 
  • System is designed to allow traders to have a say in the outcome of their own bet. Won't you game the system so your bet pays off in your favor?
  • Everyone has been doing the wrong thing for so long they have forgotten it is morally wrong. For Bob Diamond to repeatedly claim that he has zero knowledge of the corrupted LIBOR fixing process throughout his testimony (until the FSA investigation report came out recently) is simply not credible. Maybe he meant he was physically sick because Barclays was caught, not because of his people's bad behaviour. That would be more believable.
  • Made me physically sick to hear him profess his love of Barclays like once every 15-20 minutes since 9:15 pm (now 11:45 pm).

1 comment:

Taichiseal said...

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