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28 octobre 2007 7 28 /10 /octobre /2007 20:03

    Par Jean-Gabriel
bird-fortune.jpgUne fois n'est pas coutume, cet article est dans la langue de Shakespeare.
    J'ai l'honneur de vous présenter Mrs. John Bird et John Fortune, dont le style typiquement britannique devrait ravir les amateurs. Leur sketch met en scène un journaliste interrogeant un banquier de la City, M. George Parr, au sujet de la crise financière, de la crise des subprime et des Véhicules d'Investissement Structurés (Qu'est-ce que c'est ? Ils vont vous le dire.)

    Le texte complet en anglais est à votre disposition sous la vidéo. La traduction est en cours et sera rajoutée bientôt.




- [...] And they are about to perform one of their trademark 200 interviews here, in the ITV studio exclusively, for the ???. Ladies and gentlemen, John Bird and John Fortune !

- George Parr, you are an investment banker.

- I am, yes.

- Yes. And as such, you have your fingers right on the pulse of the financial markets.

- Yeah, very much so yes, hrmm, hrmm...

- And during this summer there's been a great deal of turbulence -

- Volatility -

- Volatility and -

- Volatility in the markets, yes, tremendous, yes, tremendous...yes...

- Yeah, what, what has caused that ?

- Well, hah, you have to remember two things about the markets : one is that they are made by very sharp and sophisticated people who, haah, who, these are the greatest brains in the world ; and the second thing you have to remember is that the financial markets, to use a common phrase, are driven by sentiment.

- What does that mean ?

- What does that mean... Well, the thing is, let's say that it's just going along in the markets, and then, suddenly out of the blue, one of these sharp and sophisticated people says "MY GOD, ????, WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN ? WE LOST EVERYTHING ! OOOH MY GOD WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ?"

- Haah, "SHALL I JUMP OUT OF THE WINDOW ?"

- "SHALL I JUMP OUT OF THE WINDOW ?", exactly ! "LET'S ALL JUMP OUT OF THE WINDOW ! AAAH WE'VE LOST-"

- "SELL !"-

- "SELL!"

- "SELL, SELL, SELL!", yes.

- Precisely.

- Yes.

- Precisely...[pause] And then, a few days later they say, one of these sophisticated persons says :"You know, I think things are going rather well !". And everybody says :"Aye, Sir, I agree with you, I think we're rich, we're rich !"

- We're rich, yeah. By, by, by !!!

- By, by, by, yes. and that, that's what we call market sentiment.

- Hahh, but, errr, wha???... Er, yes. Surely we are exagerating just a bit, aren't we ?

- Yeahwell, I don't, I don't know, I mean, in August, in the middle of August this year, when the markets absolutely plunge in London, the well known City firm, State Street Global Markets, issued a statement in which it said, and there I quote :" Markets participants stood no better to buy on the rumor and sell on the news, do the opposite, do both, or do neither, depending on which way the wind is blowing", unquote.

- Yes, and this is the kind of rigorous analysis that come with, we pay huge salaries for -

- Huge , yes, exactly ; and, a few days later, when the markets were going up a little bit, the senior executive adviser on ABM AMRO says, and I quote :" We're back to happy days again !"

- Well, the price is too high-

- Haah, no-

- for that kind of mature wisdom.

- Certainly, these sorts of people are paid millions of pounds in bonuses.

- Yes, of course.

[break]

- Haah, during this summer, there have been actuel causes behind the volatility in the markets-

- Yes-

- Yes, and specifically and especially in America, granting vast numbers of mortgages to people who can't afford them-

- Yes-

- On properties which are diminishing in value-

- Yeah, this is the so-called subprime situation, eeer yes, the subprime market, yes-

- The subprime, yes. How does that work, in fact ?

- Well, imagine, haah, if you can, haah, let's say, haah, hah, an unemployed black man sitting on a crumbling porch, somewhere in Alabama if you need to invest, andandand a chap comes along and says "Would you like to buy this house before it falls down ?" and, hmmm, " Why don't you let me lend you the money ?"

- And is this chap who says this, is he a banker ?

- Oh no, no, no, he's a mortgage salesman, he depends, his income depends entirely on the number of mortgage he can arrange.

- So his jugement to arrange mortgage is completely objective !?

- Completely objective, yes, of course !

- Yes.

- Yes.

- And, and, and what happened next ?

- Well then, these debts, these mortgages, these, these debts, it's, it's, it's taken, bought by banks and packaged together, on ??? with a lot of other, similar debts...

- Without going into much details about what is actually-

- Without going into any details, it's far too worry ! And so, this is put into a package of debts, and so, and then it's moved onto Wall Street and then, this, this, surely what happened then, this package of dodgy debts stops being a package of dodgy debts and starts being a Structured Investment Vehicle.

- An, aaah, SIV ?

- An SIV, exactly, yes.

- Yes, I see, and then, someone like you comes along and, andandand, and buys it ?

- I buy it, yes, and, and then I would ring up, I don't know, somebody in Tokyo and say "Look, I've got this package, do you want to buy it ?", and they say "What's in it ?" and I say "I haven't got the faintest idea", and they say "How much do you want for it ?" and I say "A hundred millions dollars" and they say "Fine, that's it", and that's, that's the market.

- And presumably, this package, I mean that kind of thing can happen several times-

- Oh yes it is-

- For the same package-

- It could possibly, yes-

- And, and and every time it does, of course, humm, then, you, or someone like you, will get a fee, and a mark-up-

- And a profit, yes, yes-

- And, and, and so-

- You can't expect us to do it for nothing, it' so much work to do, it's, it's...

[break]

- In view of the fact that in these packages, there is a lot of dodgy debts-

- Mmmh-

- What is it about it that attract the financial, you know, risk-takers ?

- Yes, well, because, these firms, these hedge-funds as they're called, which specialises in these debts, hamm, they all have very good names.

- You mean they are responsible companies.

- No, no, I don't, it's, it's nothing to do with reputation, they have actually very very good names, the names, to think of, are very good. I'll give you an example : there's a very well known american Wall Street firm called Bear Stern's-

- Mmhm-

- Who have two of these hedge funds which specialises in these mortgage debts, and, aaah, they lost so much money, well, lost so much of it's value, that Bear Stern's announced that they would have to put in 3.2 billions dollars, into one of the funds, to try to keep it afloat-

- 3.2 billions dollars !?!

- 3.2 billions, yes, yes, and even then they say that the investors couldn't get any money out of it and they were gonna let the other fund go, BUT, one of these funds was called High Grade Structured Credit Strategies Fund, and the other one was called the High Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Leverage Fund.

- Well that sounds very good, yes-

- Does it, isn't it ?-

- Very trustworthy-

- Actually, this is the magic of the market, what started of in lending a few thousand to an unemployed black man in the street to invest, has become a High Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Leverage Fund.

- I like the sound of it.

- It, it's, it's good, it's sounds very trustworthy, I mean, it's got good words in it, it 's got words like, haa, eeerh, High ?

- High is good.

- High is good !

- Yes.

- Better than Low anyway !

- Sure !

- Yes.

- Absolutely !

- And Structured is not a good word ?

- Very good !

- Enhanced ?

- I love Enhanced !

- Enhanced is very, yes-

- I'd buy anything if it says Enhanced !

- Absolutely, yes. It might have been different if it's said The Unemployed Black Man In The Street Invest Fund, but, but, but, it, it-

- Yes, because then alarm bell might start to ring. But despise these very applausable names, surely the reality is that the people that lent all this money are being incredibly stupid !

- Oh no, no. No, in reality, one was stupid, is for, at some point somebody asked "How much money these houses are actually worth ?". I mean, if he hadn't bother to ask that question, then everything would have gone on perfectly as normal, but then, but unfortunately he did.

- I see, but now, you see, people are saying the crise is likely to turn into a financial meltdown, I mean, can't that be avoided ?

- It can be avoided, provided that governments and central banks give us, the financial speculators, back the money we've lost.

- But isn't that rewarding greed and stupidity ?

- No, no, it's rewarding what Prime Minister Gordon Brown called "the ingenuity of the market".

- I see, and, and-

- And we don't want, we don't want this money to spend on ourselves, we want this money just to go into the market so that we can carry on borrowing and lending money as if nothing had happened, without thinking too much about it.

- Yes, but, if the worst came to the worst, and you didn't get this money, what then ?

- Well then there would be another market crash, and then I would say to you what people like me always say, that's it's not us that will suffer, it's your pension fund.

- Thank you very much, George Parr.

- My pleasure.

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