What goes on in the minds of bankers? – 12767

29th June 2012


Ken has spent time with oil traders from the New York Mercantile Exchange, analysing how they work, compete and think, in a bid to make them perform better.

He found people with brains suited to the fast pace of their work but often suffering from attention deficit disorder, and more at home in a trading pit than in their own homes.

We bring you Ken's detailed analysis here, to help you understand what is going through the heads of those driving the markets.

Is this your experience and do you agree with Ken's analysis? Please let us know …


The Ordinary Madness of Markets: Inside the minds of traders

INTRODUCTION: "I'm losing it Big time!": Why Traders cry out for psychotherapeutic help

CHAPTER 1: The Pit & The Pack: How I came to understand the social world of the trader

CHAPTER 2: Attention deficit disorder and arrested adolescence: Understanding the mind  of the trader

CHAPTER 3: How traders can lose millions: their biggest fears and self-help mechanisms

CHAPTER 4: Mindfulness Training for traders: Naming and Taming their 'Inner Demons'

CHAPTER 5: The Self-Sabotaging Trader Who Couldn't Control His Demons

CHAPTER 6: The Ghost in the Machine: How the digitisation of the stock market created new demons we can't control

11 thoughts on “What goes on in the minds of bankers? – 12767”

  1. realfinney says:

    How are the trade figures affected by the trafficking of underage girls? Bunga Bunga!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Andrew
      I do not know although as he has not won an outright victory Silvio Berlusconi must still be in danger of prosecution. As for Bunga Bunga the restaurant/pub not far from me with that name must be grateful for the turn in his fortunes.

  2. Andy Zarse says:

    I beg to differ with your last sentence Shaun; yes they are both discredited but surely they both seem to plough on regardless!
    Incidentally, have you seen Paul Tucker’s comments today? He’s suggesting we try negative interest rates; that’s the subject for tomorrow’s blog sorted then…

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Andy
      I know what you mean as I didnt get the nuance quite right there did I? As to the testimonies today by MPC members there was indeed some odd talk -hardly a surprise as an odd bunch were in the room- including Tucker’s mention of negative interest rates.
      You will not be surprised to learn that I have been offering some analysis of this on twitter and am not a fan.

  3. Justathought says:

    Hi Shaun,

    Brilliant analyses, however one point to notice is the fact that in Belgium, we do not have any federal government (just the name) we rather have a national caretaker body which one answers blindly to any dictates from the EU and ZeroZone. Not surprise to see “Bunga”‘s return, I frankly though he would score higher. It is a bit too early to pronounce a judgement about the actual political situation of Italy… I already hear some comments suggesting another election might be on the table. .. Sure the Elite from Brussels might not have pleasant and peaceful sleep…What is about the financial market? Who cares it is rigged! What is about the Italian’s economy? It is in free fall!

    Leave a message…

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Justathought
      I would reply that this concept of a caretaker government might catch on but in fact the truth is that it has in some many places. For example it was plain that the current UK Chancellor made a mistake in emphasising the AAA rating of the UK but I wonder if say the opposition was in power how different things would be….
      I was a child in the 1970s but I believe that until Mrs Thatcher arrived governments then were considered pretty much interchangeable.

  4. Rods says:

    Hi Shaun,

    Another excellent blog and piece of analysis.

    It looks like the Euro and the Eurozone have come to the Pounds rescue. A sentence I never thought I would be writing!

    With the normal front loaded taxes, back loaded cuts that European politicians (including the UK) seem to so like, which we know from the OECD is a toxic mix which will hit economic growth. Is it any surprise that the populous have largely voted against it. IMHO Mario Monti has created an unnecessary recession, where he should have used spending cuts alone over several years to reduce the Government’s deficit as it was not that far short of the 3% EU requirement. Silvio Berlusconi’s party have exploited this situation and pulled a blinder with their pledge to repeal their hated house (mansion) tax and refund what has already been paid.

    I suspect the EU’s response will be to accelerate their integration to get rid of national parliaments as the continued thorn of votes by untrustworthy electorates who don’t vote the right (EU) way and provide the right result must be eliminated as soon as possible.

    Just dusting off my Supertramp CD as it must be time to play ‘Crisis What Crisis’!

    Where the Euro fundamentals and crisis has never gone away, I think the best way to describe the Eurozone is as a gunpowder factory with a multitude of smoldering fuses! We are never quite sure where the firefighters will be required next!

    I think this has also acted as a timely reminder to the complacency of the markets and the recent herd instincts of investors, although I’m sure there are many that have profited from this market volatility, equally there will be losers.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Rods
      I saw Supertramp a decade or so ago at the Albert Hall and they put on a good concert. They also dealt with UK weather “It’s Raining Again”..
      The Eurocrats have been on the wires telling the electorate in essence that they got it wrong so no change there! But I note they are getting plenty of replies saying your man (Mario Monti) lost.
      Meanwhile the ten-year bond yield closed at 4.9%…..

  5. forbin says:

    hello shaun,

    it does make me question the economic reports of the UK, arent we supposed to be up to our collective eyeballs in debt ?

    but when compared with Italy we seem quite ok . and the fact the Italians have been struggling for decades now and well, are they dead yet ?

    no not really , not vibrant yes, but not sunk like the Titanic either…


    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Forbin
      There is an issue here of where the debt is.
      Italy has a dreadful public debt position but a better private sector position whereas we have a still okayish but weakening public debt but private debt is worse.

  6. Midge says:

    Hi Shaun Thanks again for another good post.Just a minute Ronaldo has scored again.Italy as you have pointed out is and been struggling for years.
    So much going on little mentioned this side of the pond on sequestration,Also China’s February HSBC flash PMI which stil shows growth but at a slower rate didn’t get to much coverage as far as I can tell.Gilt prices have risen so far perhaps still seen as a “safe haven”.The big figure to me is the value of GBP against USD.Although the price of oil and some softs have fallen a rise in prices for our shopping bills in the near future seems certain.This comes at a time when we are having a colder winter than last and I believe some people will really struggle with higher energy bills,food and petrel unless as Baldrick would say the chancellor has a cunning plan for his March budget.

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