The morning of September 5, 1995, I was reading the Chinese paper in my kitchen in Hong Kong. This was the second day of the Fourth Annual Conference of Women in Beijing. The opening events were front page news. And this was not unusual for the Chinese press, to be giving extensive coverage of a global event staged for the first time in Beijing.
But, I was stunned.
I am responding to Susan Saulny‘s article about homelessness and joblessness, a topic very close to my heart.
R&R Consulting is willing to teach any jobless college graduate how to do structured finance the right way (ie, to grow jobs and avoid another Crisis) who is willing to put in the time and accept the self-discipline required to learn it, and to understand that this training is “extra-curricular” for us. Unfortunately, most of our time goes to paying the bills and we currently don’t have the resources to hire anyone. That will be true until the financial markets get over their reluctance to learn from past mistakes and embrace change. But the skills underlying structured finance are marketable. Credit is one of the keys to economic revival and job creation. Moreover, if you understand how credit works, your understanding of how the world works may change in ways that empower you.
So, if you think learning what we teach can help you, please leave a comment with your name and email. And, if you want to help us put the people we train to work, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the end of October, 2012, executive recruiter Emerson Nagel and I were emailing each other about her current risk management job openings when she casually let it drop she’d be putting on a Halloween party (she lives in Mexico) for 250 kids in the neighborhood.
I was stunned, not to mention impressed, and said so. She wrote back with a description so charming, so filled with generosity and imagination, that I asked her permission to blog it:
“These are all kids from our neighborhood, mostly from families that have very little, and they really seem to have fun with it, though it’s quite chaotic. Over the years we’ve made 9 fair-type games: piranha tank grab-bag, pumpkin toss, that kind of thing….
In my presentation to NYSSA last Friday, I posed the question:
- Are you playing Wall Street’s game
- Or is it playing yours?
The bittersweet truth is, Wall Street is itself a kind of infinite game but many games played on the Street are high stakes, finite games that turn people into unemployment statistics.
To have success on Wall Street or anywhere else, it is important to stay in the game, no matter what. This is one of the first lessons I learned as a card-counter on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade….
This morning I talked to a group of about 50 early risers in finance at an NYSSA Friday career breakfast on the theme of “How to Succeed on Wall Street without Selling Out”! Polling the attendees, about half came to hear how to succeed on Wall Street and the other half, how not to sell out!
Caveat that I am not a paragon of Wall Street success. Still having managed to reinvent myself professionally several times, I continue to set new goals as a financial expert and (mostly) achieving them. Which leads me to further caveat about your success. You have the right to define success in your own terms. But not to expect automatic fulfillment by your choices. Fulfillment finds you.
To be successful on your terms and fulfilled, you need to be clear about whether you’re playing a finite or an infinite game. If you’ve read the definitive book by James Carse, you know finite games are linear: they have a beginning and an end, and are played with a goal of winning. The game outcome is resolved based on rules.
Infinite games are nonlinear. They do not have definite beginnings or endings, and are played with a goal of keeping it going and bringing in more players. Let me share with you R&R’s vision of how to transform credit in the 21C into a true infinite game that enhances our quality of life:
No doubt Romney and Obama each sincerely believe the other has the wrong idea of how to restore America to economic health. But, most of the narrative about the economy (is better, is worse) is sheer nonsense. We voters know it, and they know we know it.
The true cause of our economic woes is the decoupling of the real economy from the financial system. It has been nearly 40 years since the commercial banks morphed into investment banks, ceding their credit function to the credit rating agencies; and nearly 10 years since the credit rating agencies switched allegiances from the buy side to the sell side.
Today, neither government investment nor QE can put the asset and liability sides of our private sector balance sheet (a.k.a. the economy) back together again.
Dear Students, past, present and future:
At this very moment, many of you are probably struggling with decisions that will affect your career over the next twenty years and beyond. The capital markets are in total disarray while most investment bankers have been reduced to glorified Maytag repairmen at best. Most of them have no choice but to believe that the future will look very much like the past, and in so doing are not completely wrong. Yes, the past is still the best predictor of the future, but this only means that somehow, deals will be done next year or the following. That’s true, but how will they be done, and by whom? This is no mere speculation. The rest of your life may hang in the balance.
The fate of American finance, the one we know and love, depends on finding solutions to such seemingly unsolvable riddles.
Everyone I know is anxious.
Those who are employed are worried about how long their jobs will last. My entrepreneur-friends are all anxious that they are not making enough money, not getting enough recognition, not realizing their goals fast enough, etc. Of course those who are neither working nor “entrepreneuring” are also anxious.
If we are going to eradicate the root of our economic problem, we must embrace the possibility that these three propositions are true:
- Balance sheet realities largely determine economic reality.
Ever wonder what it’d be like to steer a portfolio through today’s turbulent credit market? Now you can!
“The Accidental Trader”, an online game developed by New York-based structured finance consultancy R&R Consulting simulates the real-life experience of a risk manager managing the credit risks of a large portfolio. Feel the thrills and chills as your credits are bombarded by rating actions! Curse out your teammates over the built-in Skype system as your portfolio careens out of control!
The Accidental Trader was designed to give users a more intuitive feel for risk management. “Instead of just learning formulas, you can see right away what results your actions have,” said Max Rumyantsev, the game’s developer.
Rumyantsev recently added virtual opponentsto battle as you struggle to stay in business.
Click here to access the Accidental Trader Game
From TOTAL SECURITIZATION, August 6, 2007