10 September 2018 FT — Articles to Read

10 September 2018


List-Serve Experience: Just a quick commentary on US Banks and high house prices noted below:


  1. I live on the south shore of ——————–  New York.  It is the middle of the middle class.
  2. Houses on my street currently go for $450K – $550K (outrageous but that’s a different discussion).
  3. After years of low construction/renovation activity, several neighbors have built up and out.
  4. An example – A young family down the street have recently demolished their house to the first floor studs, added a big room to the back, and constructed a full second story.  Effectively a new house with 50% more SF.
  5. Their old house was worth at least $450K as it was, and they just spent another $250K (minimum) on the “new” house.  So this young family just “paid” $700K for a new house, on a block that has never had a house sell for more than $550K.
  6. The last time we saw this kind of residential “investment” activity – 2006.


Question: According to MSN:Lifestyle, what are 7 ways you can help a loved one with depression, according to experts?


Bank scandals spur EU to ramp up fight against cross-border crime – Pg. 1

–          Brussels will seek to toughen the powers of EU agencies to crack down on money laundering and terrorist financing after high-profile scandals shone a light on Europe’s deficiencies in tackling criminal cross-border money flows

–          Many of the EU’s largest banks are directly supervised by the ECB but the policing of antimony laundering rules is not covered by that system

–          Instead, the responsibility for making sure that banks carry out customer background checks and other measures required by EU law lies largely with national watchdogs

–          (Prof Note: Watch ‘Ozark’ on Netflix.  If Breaking Bad did not have you cooking Meth, Ozark will have you laundering funds.)


Policymakers call for more firepower to fight next recession – Pg. 2

–          In particular, they stepped up calls to increase the resilience of the banking sector – which helped spawn the crisis a decade ago – amid fears that institutions and individuals could enter the next downturn in a financially vulnerable state

–          …many economists claim central bankers around the world will have to cut borrowing costs back down to near-zero levels when growth eventually stalls

–          Some Fed officials argue that the property involved may be valued too high, raising questions about the quality of the banks’ collateral

–          Mr Summers, now a Harvard University professor, lambasted recent stress tests by the Fed as “comically absurd” for concluding that no big banks would be deficit in capital when tested for their resilience against a brutal slump


Why the Fed should care about finance – Pg. 9

–          Central banks can create asset bubbles, of course, but they cannot change the wage-suppressing effects of globalization, technology-driven deflation, and an increasing concentration of corporate power that makes it impossible for workers in rich countries to have any real bargaining power

–          When 10% of the US population owns 84% of the shares, asset price increases do not create inflation, but inequality

–          “Inflation may no longer be the first or best indicator of a tight labour market”…

–          …academic research shows that most recessions since the second world war followed stock market collapses

–          What metrics might the Fed and other central banks look at? I suggest three.  First, the pace of run-up in debt, always the biggest predictor of market trouble.  It has been growing more rapidly than GDP for a number of years.  The growth of financial assets relative to GDP is also near record levels.  Margin debt, ditto


Lessons from the bankers who worked at Lehman Brothers – Pg. 10

–          (Prof Note: Read the article especially if younger!  Talks about young people at Lehman and what the collapse meant for their career.  What I will say is that I only work with people with whom I believe.  I am blessed that I am able to pick and choose but am careful that I must believe in the individuals.)


Wall Street cuts profit outlook for US retailers – Pg. 16

–          Projected profits for the current quarter have been reduced for 52 – almost three-fifths – of the 89 companies in S&P’s retail index over the past three months, …

–          After months of store closures, job losses and bankruptcies, several listed retailers are now producing some of their best financial results in a decade, spurring hopes that well-run, bricks-and-mortar chains can succeed in the age of Amazon (Prof Note: I have found that if you do not know what you want Amazon is overwhelming.  I then order directly from a merchant out of frustration)

–          The steepest cuts have been endured by companies that are seen to be struggling, such as department store operator JC Penny and Victoria’s Secret- owner L Brands


Answer: (1) Remember four important, undeniable facts, i.e. (a) Your loved one’s illness is not your fault (or your loved one’s fault), (b) You can’t make your loved one well, but you can offer support, understanding, and hope, (c) Each person experiences a mood disorder differently, with different symptoms, and (d) the best way to find out what your loved one needs from you is by asking direct questions; (2) Don’t try to fix your loved one’s problem on your own; (3) Don’t ask them to “snap out of it”; (4) Learn the symptoms of depression; (5) Practice the following sayings: (a) “I’m here for you.”, (b) “I care”, (c) “I may not understand your pain, but I can offer my support”, (d) You are a worthwhile person and you mean a lot to me”, (e) “Your brain mislaying to you right now, and tha tis part of your illness”, (f) “Don’t give up.  You can get through this.”; (6) Encourage treatment; (7) Take care of yourself (Prof Note: I have ZERO training in this area so the following are just my life experiences…Location matters with happiness.  The warm sun on one’s cheek is happiness.  Also, this is just my advice, NEVER say you understand another’s pain.  Let them own it.  You can understand they are struggling and you are there to offer support.  I remember an RBC bank rep telling me they understood my pain, as they were being combative with regard to my family situation, and I am still amazed at the fury I unleashed.  Words matter.  One of my favourite expressions, “Words are like bullets, you cannot call them back.”  Be careful.)