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While You Were Working – July 11

How really bored bond traders pass the time, teeny-tiny bank fines, and should policymakers be Tweeting more?

3 min read

Modern Money

Kids playing football

Youth sports ... the cure for the bored bond trader. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

We learned what REALLY bored bond trader do to pass the time

This is easily my favorite story of the day/week/month. The lede is pure magic:

“One bond trader says he’s been slipping out early to watch his kids play sports. A fund manager says his office just staged a golf retreat. A trading supervisor at another bank confides he’s swiping through a lot of profiles on Tinder, the dating app.”

Yes, times are slow on Wall Street. So incredibly, mind-numbingly slow that one trader has resorted to spending more time with his kids.

Pretty soon we will be talking about a lot of money

I have written in this space before about how silly the breathless reporting about firms moving employees out of London in the aftermath of Brexit. If thousands of employees are set to move, that is news. But when firm XYZ announces it is moving 12 programmers to Dublin, it really ain’t news.

Well, the same principle applies to bank fines. I am old enough to remember the day the Milken Institute Global Conference stood still as a $550 million fine was slapped on Goldman Sachs. Back then, that was a big fine. Now, if the fine doesn’t start with a B, then it really isn’t news.

That is why this story is so quaint. HSBC and UBS are each going to pay a whopping $14 million to settle litigation about rigging an interest rate benchmark.

Presumably, HSBC will pay the fine with “bricks” of cash from one of its Swiss offices.

Christine Lagarde made a point about Twitter, sort of

So the head of the International Monetary Fund thinks policymakers should engage more on social media in an effort to simplify the messages they are trying to impart on the rest of the world. Lagarde is correct in that some of the vernacular thrown around places like the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank undoubtedly sails right over the head of mere “commoners.” So simplifying the message is a decent goal, but one that should be implemented with extreme caution. I mean, if the world isn’t careful, then we might one day see a policymaker leverage Twitter as their primary platform for making policy arguments.

Then again…

Maybe the ECB is doing just-fine-thank-you-very-much when it comes to articulating its intentions to the wider world.

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