The ugly honesty of a financial trader

We revel in your misery – should that be the official slogan of financial traders? (Could double up for journalists too I suppose – suffering makes news.)

Trader Alessio Rastani was interviewed on BBC News recently. He was frank. Honest. Too honest?

And the truth was ugly. “I go to bed every night and I dream of a recession.” He wants it. Have a watch.

How do you feel now? Scared? Angry? Grateful to him for his transparency?

Reaction has fallen into two categories: Horror at the naked single-minded greed. And suspicion that the guy is a hoaxer – because surely no real trader would be so foolish to speak with such candour and perhaps it would be comforting to have a fig leaf behind which to hide the truth.

What do you think? Calm down. Don’t punch your computer screen.

Which camp do you fall into? Horrified? Or suspicious?

Apparently it is definitely not a hoax. There were suspicions that the interviewee belonged to the Yes Men pranksters. And there has been mixed panic and delight within the BBC since the broadcast. Fear that another broadcast has not been what it purported to be – and delight that another department could have cocked up so royally.

The old phrase comes to mind. It’s not enough that you succeed, but that your friends fail. It’s not my approach to life. But I’d be lying if I denied encountering it. And I’ll admit to enjoying the time an applicant for a cleaning job (the decent and resilient Guy Goma) for whom English was not his first language was mistakenly interviewed on live TV as an expert on information technology. (See clip. Hee hee. His face at the start when he’s introduced with the wrong name on live TV. Classic.)

But more seriously. There’s no point presuming that guys like Alessio Rastani will act against their own interests for the more general good. And that applies to most of us the rest of us too when it comes to doing what is right and what is convenient. But there’s also no point in surrendering policy making to the financiers on the assumption that they’ll have social good as their prime consideration.

Is there?

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “The ugly honesty of a financial trader

  1. I watched this a couple of days ago, and my first reaction was that it couldn’t be true. It was simply too honest, or more to the point, more in line with my perspective of financial traders. But now I simply feel sick. I don’t pretend to be a saint, nor do I delude myself into thinking that anyone else is. That is why we have laws. But a certain political philosophy here in the U.S. would have us believe that corporations, and financiers, operate in the best interests of others, when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Wake up, everyone!

  2. Also residing in the states, I resonate with what ExileImaging said, “But a certain political philosophy here in the U.S. would have us believe that corporations, and financiers, operate in the best interests of others, when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

    And the news blunder YouTube clip of the ASTONISHED face of the gentleman being interviewed was priceless 🙂

  3. Back in the dim and distant past my father used to say “Paper won’t refuse ink” and “You cannot believe all you read or half you see”! Taking that forward into the world of today: we have photoshop and the ‘setting up’ and splicing of videos etc. We have all seen and laughed at these efforts on TV and throughout the webbie world. Can we believe anything any more?

    As for the the other clip, it does not surprise me since modern day journalists and ‘front’ people of these programmes depend on every word being on auto cue, and seem unable to survive without it, or ad-lib when it stops working.

  4. Rastani reminds me of how George Soros made a $1 billion profit in one day, when he bet against the British pound on “Black Wednesday” (September 16, 1992).

    • blackwatertown

      Hi Ronald – Good to hear from you. Yes Soros won so big as to become a political player.
      Perhaps when you reach the White House you can change things.

  5. Asssuming it is legit, I know if this guy worked for the company I work for, he wouldn’t be working there anymore. I really reaked of infomercial, like a big build up to the way he is going to teach you his secrets (for a modest fee, of course) I don’t think many have confidence in the economy, at least here in the US. The other video was priceless. If I had not been tipped off, I might not have even noticed.

    • blackwatertown

      Apparently it is legit – though the guy is an independent operator – so feer to speak his mind.
      You’re right though – it did reek of an informerical come-on.

  6. Oooooo. Nasty. Thanks, I needed a little adrenaline to get going today.

  7. It’s always about the money.

  8. The man’s an arrogant, self-absorbed, unprincipled little shit. I hope he ends up sleeping in a shop doorway, ignored by passers-by just as self-absorbed as he is.

  9. I have to say that in my family, the story rings true. Out of a job and with a family to feed, my grandfather on my father’s side started buying up stocks with the little cash he had left. He made enough to care for the family and, in the case of my late father, to care for him in his 18 year illness.

    Remember, until recently, the vast majority of people in the market were small-time people sitting at their computers and learning the ins and outs of day trading, etc. It hasn’t always been about Goldman Sachs.

    There are two sides to every story. While this one is most definitely true, the good part is that not so much today but years ago, the market was just another financial tool to invest in and try to make a profit. The important thing to remember is that in large, ANYONE who plays the market is subjecting themselves to risk and because that is true, the reward some reap is justified. They are taking a risk in American business and that is no small thing.

    It isn’t always about greed. It is also about survival in tough times. The big question is can the market ever again be opened up to the small investor?

    • blackwatertown

      Very timely and apt counterpoint. Thanks for adding it.
      Always interested to hear your perspective here or over at your own place.

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  11. cool review

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    But you tend to have a lot of text for only one or two pictures. Maybe less text and more pictures would be better?

  12. blackwatertown

    @kinziblogs – my pleasure.
    @Maxi – Indeed. Sex is often a distraction when winkling out motivation.
    @Noreen – thanks
    @Nick – it could happen, but should his comeuppance be worse just because he’s transparent?
    @Cool Review – thanks, been a bit running too much to find good pics.

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