Friday, October 9, 2020

The Powerful Banker

A light hearted satrical this time. A work of fiction. Any resemblance to a living person is purely coincidental. 

Pessimism is logical, cold and calculating. Optimism is warm and uplifting, a leap of faith. Pragmatism is nuanced. Choose well.

Now lets get to business. This powerful banker. Lets call him Mr U. You think of him when you think of investments. The complete man. The consummate relationship guy. Everyone who knows him knows that he knows everything. Even he knows that he knows everything. That has made him the richest banker not only in the milky way, but the entire universe.

Bankers are conservative. He is a super banker. So that makes him super conservative. We all know the story of the bunny that kept telling everyone that the sky is falling. Well Mr U can play that role very well, but he will be the lion in this story and not the bunny, as he is the king of this jungle. The lord of the rings.

He is called upon to fix broken things. He is tasked with fixing a big problem but has made little progress in over two years. Maybe there is too much on his plate. Maybe things are so broken that they cannot be fixed. Maybe the longer things remain broken the better for him. The one eyed king in the kingdom of the blind is still a king.

He can take on the regulator and emerge victorious. His investor calls start with a grim reminder of how bad the situation in his home country is and how his empire is the shining example of exemplary work. Either he believes only he has the foresight to see these things, or only he has the guts to say these things, or only he can say publicly what others say privately. Anyways he has been saying all this for so long that he is hoping all these come true. You see the longer you keep repeating yourself the more you reinforce your own beliefs.

The last time he was so confident was in 2008 after the Lehman collapse. All his PMS were on record cash and did magnificently while the markets melted. The strategies remained liquid (reference stock market meltdown) and missed the big rally of 2009 so badly that the schemes had to be wound down. In 2008 you were driving a car. Now you are driving a bus. Your organisation size and stature have changed and you need to change as well.

In Dangal before the final bout the encouraging words of Mr Phogat to his daughter were “if you win tomorrow, you will become an example (misaal). And examples are never forgotten, they are always given as a reference”

JP Morgan became JP Morgan when he displayed his grit and character in tough times, standing up to deliver when times were the toughest. That is why he is still considered the greatest. Otherwise all bankers think they are the centre of the universe and are forgotten as soon as they retire. Hope is a good thing. Don’t take it away from people, if you can’t give it to them. You are in a country which is marching towards its “tryst with destiny.” Do not make fools of people who have taken risks by starting a business or taking a mortgage or any other loan. Everyone does well if the country prospers. We should keep our worst fears to ourselves and not make grand business plans around the possibilities of the nightmares coming true. Maybe the sky will fall. Maybe the world will come to an end. After all, we are all dead in the long run. But when that time comes, you may not be happy to say “I told you so”.

Mr U is also a gifted cricketer. When destiny gave him a full toss, he ducked as if it was a hand grenade. Not everyone is lucky to have a second chance. There are still some balls to go and the innings are in your hands. So play well. And if you can’t let others come and steady the innings.

There is still time to become a misaal. Grab it with both hands, while destiny is still kind. There is a big difference between intelligence and wisdom. Choose well.

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