Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Was it worth the sweat, sleep, and stocks?

Dec 14th, the day when I ended my MBA, atleast from my side. I completed my last presentation of my last project and there by ending a roller-coaster ride of 16 months. Looking back was it one of my best decisions? Who knows, opportunity cost cannot be measured ? Really ? NO

Here are some positives
- A psychopathic (not Psychological) relief of being away from Infosys and its politics (onsite, offshore, hierarchy, blah blah blah)
- Alienating myself for IT (application development), which my colleagues used to treat
as a matter of life and death (may be thats what is required to excel, which I never could
- A new world of fuzzy knowledge - I love this , this is my domain, there is no single
correct answer. Anything and everything is dependent on perspectives. This models real life.
This is where the action is. Returns are correlated to risk and you chose your path in
decision making
- Analytics and problem solving are key
- Socializing is a bane though, which I have avoided to the maximum so far
- Traveling to different countries was fun, will do more of it in the future
- An opportunity wide open to explore Asia fully, North, east, south and west
- A possible travel to different continents (africa-egypt, Aus -nZ, South America-Chile, NA- Canada Trinidad and Tobago)
- High expectations, hope they get delivered
- A lot on personal front - its personal more explanations

From Jan 14th it shall be a new day, a new life.
Until then holidays.. ( just one more week of erratic sleep and stock selling)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Taare Zameen Par

One line advice - Don't miss it.


Phewww, just incredible.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Are bankers paid to bring down the Economy

In the earlier years of this century, there was a dramatic shift in the finance industry. Actually the pre-cursor was set in the 1990s. Prestigious banks started to face competition from boutique companies and independent financial firms, many of which were established by ex-employees of these big banks. The innovation in products in the big banks were slowing down, and these smaller firms were creating newer attractive products. The big banks had the customers and smaller guys had the most creative products.

So an era of "open innovation" started, where the big banks started adopting the creation of the smaller banks, by distributing the products from these smaller guys. Previously the industry used to be rewarded based on the %age of returns they generated. But now, this could not be done anymore with the big banks having no rights on the products returns. This probably gave rise to the new way of compensating managers - %age of assets managed.

With this new compensation structure, bankers were pushed to sell more and more, and accumulate assets rather than concentrating on returns. The amalgamation of different industry players left customers with few choices of going elsewhere and look for people who had a different structure of operations. Almost all banks issued 3rd party products.

Well bankers kept on innovating products by wrapping up different layers of structured financial methods. One such product is the CDO - collateralized debt obligations. With the compensation structure tied to assets, all it mattered was raising money. The process of due diligence took a back seat. Evaluations were left to third parties. Bad debts were projected as AAA securities and sold to investors. The frenzy caught on, and no banks could resist such an opportunity.

It is estimated that in the $15 trillion US debt industry (this itself is a staggering number) 20% is subprime (not only mortgage it includes everything from credit card, car loans, student loans etc) and in this 90% is bad debt, which will be written down mostly. That mean nearly $2.5 trillion. Till now the total write down is around $100 billion probably. So there is still a lot to come. Embrace bankers embrace. The numbers might be wrong, but it is still huge.

The question is are bankers paid to bring down the Economy?
- the Internet bubble, where the banks issues so many overhyped IPOs
- Now the housing market

History repeats for sure in the banking industry, and mistakes are soon forgotten. Whats the next frenzy wave boys?

disclaimer - this is totally out of my ignorance. I might be grossly wrong