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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/28/10

Was there ever any doubt...that the financial pirates would hijack the "overhaul bill"?

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Follow Me on Twitter     Message Monica Davis

Unless things radically change in the nation's capital, nothing on Wall Street will ever change. The underground, hidden alliances between those whom we 'voted in to office' and the pirates and fiancial criminals on Wall Street remain a powerful alliance.

Many have deep tentacles inside the financial industry, having either worked in the industry, gone to the university with the movers and shakers, or sharing bloodlines and kinship ties. These people speak the same language: money and power, and their minions and agents in our legislatures do their bidding, or manipulate professional relationships to advance their own agendas--that is, setting up scenarios to enrich themselves.

The gnashing of teeth and wailing and moaning over the "tough questions" presented to Wall Street's mavens by Coongress belies the actual intent to investigate, legislate and incarcerate. We have laws on the books, which, if they were enforced, would stop this progression of pirates. Unfortunately, we have too many legislators with their snouts in the trough to have a real interest in changing the system and sewing up the loopholes which allow "financial engineers" to pull rabid rabbits out of their behinds and call them financial instruments.

In 2009, at the highpoint of cynicism, I wrote:

One would think that with war drums humming, angry investors simmering and unemployed millions looking to land on someone as a scapegoat, that the field of financial engineering would be in disgrace, and its practitioners looking for a safe place to find a new batch of identity papers, but such is not the case. If anything, the field has become more exciting and alluring. Employers in insurance, banking, engineering and other statistics-driven businesses continue to advertise for financial engineers, or "quants." (

If anything has happened, the field remains a highly lucrative one, still viable in today's melted market.This snip from a "help wanted ad" on a quant website proves that the field is still viable, although perhaps not as much as it was "pre-Crash."

The right applicant must have industry experiences from the top financial institutions with deep knowledge of financial derivatives, and the industry standard valuation models used for security valuation and portfolio risk analysis. Valuation will rely heavily on the appropriate choice and use of pricing models and therefore the applicant must have sufficient understanding and intuitive skills to assess if model results are reasonable. The right applicant will be working with external clients (traders, sales, buy side, institutional investors), and internal sales specialists, as well as with developers and quants.

Base salary for this field is around $97,000 annually, pre-bonus, with a Masters of Financial Engineering. Many positions in London and New York float round the $250,000 range. While the Congress and the rest of the world bemoan the damage to the world economy wrought by faulty models and exotic financial instruments, the financial wizards and their arcane tools are in no danger of extinction.

There is still a market for derivative evaluators, quant analysts and traders. While Congress throws the regulatory process under the bus, the magicians continue to ply their trade. While the AP reports that a Senate investigation found that Goldman Sachs allegedly, 'developed a strategy to profit from the housing meltdown and reaped billions at the expense of clients,' the investment industry appears to view financial engineering as an essential element of modern investment.

Many pirates made millions betting against the market--while advising clients to hold on to what the companies knew to be toxic, worthless investments. As in the case of many corporate emails, Goldman Sachs is in the middle of an email-generated legal and public relations nightmare.

The subcommittee, which is investigating Goldman's role in the financial crisis, provided excerpts of e-mails showing a progression from late 2006 through the full-blown mortgage crisis a year later. Levin said they show Goldman shifted in early 2007 from neutral to a short position, betting that the mortgage market was likely to collapse. (AP)

Three votes shy of a win, Wall Street reformers in Congress remain on the hot seet with voters. According to polls, Americans remain angry and unemployed, as politicians twist in the wind, trying to find a happy medium between obeying their masters and satisfying angry voters.

Some are clamoring for a return of the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibits merchant and commercial banking in the same institution. Whatever the future holds for the American investment industry, the gloves are off in Congress. With mid-term elections coming up, one wonders how long voters' memories will be.

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Monica Davis is an Indiana-based marketing specialist, author, radio personality, columnist and public speaker. She specializes in economic, history and public policy issues and has written articles on land loss, bank failure, institutional (more...)
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Was there ever any doubt...that the financial pirates would hijack the "overhaul bill"?

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