The funds these individuals were able to devote to these insider trades were insignificant to the global markets. However this new agreement, called the 'Market Assistance Directive' [MAD] will allow the Central Banks to use their unlimited resources to trade and profit based on inside information on an almost unimaginable scale.
Ask yourself one question
"Poppycock!" you say. "Balderdash!" you exclaim. Dear reader, I too shared your cynicism and disbelief regarding the possibility of such an agreement existing until I spoke with my good friend and trusted confidante Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, Global Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB].
Dear reader, before you click away in an indignant fit of outrage at the mere suggestion of this preposterous reality. I would encourage you to ask yourself one question. Would you or any of your trusted friends and honorable family members, if given access to inside information that would allow one to guarantee oneself untold wealth, without fear of legal reprisal, by trading in the stock market based on this inside information, would you or they turn the opportunity down? Dear reader, I thought so. Please continue reading.
Prior to the unique MAD agreement only the thousands of employees of the NSA and other security agencies, their friends and family, their political masters, paramours and twitter followers, have had the ability to use the PRISM surveillance capability to know every grain of inside information that exists in the world.
Massive profits on their personal trading accounts are inevitable. It is a denial of human nature to believe that this activity is not only prevalent, it is the norm.
But I digress; my conversation with Gustavo would enlighten me as to the New World Order that now permeates our capital markets and our global economy. For those of you not familiar with Gustavo, my friendship with such a highly placed member of the ECB executive traced its roots back to my days on Wall Street and to his days in New York when he was my bookie.
His fortunes changed dramatically one day when a senior member of the ECB on a junket to New York placed an astonishingly large, incorrect and foolish bet on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. The only way the debt could be settled was for the senior member of the ECB to offer Gustavo an obscenely highly paid sinecure at the ECB.
Gustavo traded Brooklyn and Fulton Street for Paris and the Champs-Élysées. He became the ECB's Global Director of Statistical Creation. His notional job was to make up statistics that would support whatever lunatic policies were being proposed by central banks around the world. Gustavo's complete lack of moral fiber coupled with his gift for numbers allowed him to excel at his job.
I was in Rome on business, [well truthfully I had left my home in New York to avoid some rather inconvenient lawsuits from my banks and other sundry creditors relating to my inability to make payments on my credit cards, lines of credit, loans, mortgages, and overdraft fees.]
In any event, imagine my surprise as I strolled down the Via Veneto when I spied Gustavo [I surmised that he was in town visiting one of his mistresses] exiting the Gucci store, laden with what appeared to be their entire inventory.
We strolled to the uber-chic Rome Cavalieri Hotel
I greeted him with a smile and suggested we repair to the nearest bistro for a lunch and libation. I helped with his bags and we strolled to the uber-chic Rome Cavalieri Hotel on Via Alberto so that we might feast at la Pergola, perhaps the finest restaurant in Europe.
Dear reader, I had dined with Gustavo before. I knew that the meal would be charged to his expense account at the ECB. Today my empty wallet and penury would not prevent me from enjoying a culinary delight. We were seated at a prestigious seat by the window that offered us a magnificent view of St. Peter's Basilica. Gustavo's legendary expense account ensured that we received premium service.
Have you won the lottery?
Gustavo, I enquired, "Have you won the lottery? You must have $50,000 of Gucci accessories in these bags?" "David" he giggled, "It is better than that", he continued. "The central banks, thanks to an agreement with the world's spy agencies, [this would be the aforementioned MAD agreement] we bankers are now privy to not only the emails and phone calls of all the world's politicians, business leaders, journalists, accountants, lawyers but to the innermost thoughts of every citizen who uses an electronic device for communication".
"With this information we can use our resources to control the global markets. Now there is no trade, no event, no market information that we bankers do not know in advance. We can literally make as much money as we want. At the same time we relegate to destitution any soul who dares to challenge us. All we had to do to finalize the agreement was to promise to kick back 20% of our profits to the senior members of the spy agencies and 10% of our profits to their political masters."
I almost choked on my Remy Martin Black Pearl Luis XIII Cognac as I digested Gustavo's statement. Little did I know that this particular brand of Cognac that Gustavo had requested, was worth $30,000/bottle. [Oh, how glorious it must be to be a banker with an expense account.] However, as a frequent beneficiary of Gustavo's largesse I guess I should not complain.]
"Gustavo" I exclaimed, "Do the words insider trading, market manipulation, extortion, thievery, invasion of privacy, immoral, illegal and just plain wrong not mean anything to you bankers?" "Don't you read the papers David?" He replied.
"Bankers have been given immunity from prosecution for any misdeed or imperfection no matter how damaging it is to the markets, the global economy and society. HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, European banks, the list goes on. Banks are fined but no individual banker goes to jail. How many times do bankers need to skate on corruption charges before you get it through your thick skull that you can fine the bank but you cannot put bankers in jail?" Gustavo postulated.
He continued, "We central bankers will share the data gathering efforts with the world's commercial or retail banks for a [big] fee. Our prudence will ensure that the inside information is shared fairly."
The profits the banks will make on these trades will guarantee their survival. Furthermore it will ensure the bank executives become richer than King Midas. It is truly a win-win situation." I poked at the remainder of my appetizer, 'scampi carpaccio with two caviars', and eagerly awaited the first course, 'liquorice consommé with sweet pepper cream and squid salad'.
Gustavo had come a long way from his days making book from his car outside Madison Square Garden, I thought to myself. His notion of win-win was certainly unique.
"Gustavo", I replied, "I don't know where to begin. How does any of this help Main Street and the masses? This sounds like a conspiracy by the 1% to own the entire universe". "I am glad you brought that up David" he slurred. [The effects of his overindulgence of the Cognac was starting to have the usual impact]
"That whole silly Occupy movement and its childish 99% versus the 1% was our creation. The 1% is a phrase we coined to give us cover as we filled our pockets. You see David; there are two types of wealth in this world. The first is wealth created by innovators, creators, entrepreneurs, risk-takers, hard workers, savers: diligent, honest, principled, prudent, responsible men and woman", Gustavo pontificated.
"These remarkable people, as they created wealth also created jobs and enhanced their community. The world rightfully respects, celebrates, admires, encourages and emulates their efforts. The other type of wealth is created by creatures like me who scam, suck, pillage and plunder the public purse and Main Street's wallets. We create nothing. We central bankers and our commercial and retail cousins contribute nothing. We take what we can while convincing the masses that we 'have got their backs.' Can you believe that bankers are still able to pay themselves tens of millions of dollars a year after the damage they have done to the global economy?" Gustavo opined.
His sermon continued, "If the public ever thought about it for a moment, their anger would not be focused on the notional 1% who accumulated their wealth the old fashioned way [They earned it] Rather the anger would be focused on the '10%.' The scoundrels like myself: bankers, consultants, lobbyists and other assorted leeches who drain the public's purse while adding to their own personal fortune". I was quite taken aback. Candor, honesty and critical self analysis were not attributes I usually expected from Gustavo. I smiled at the waiter as he delivered my main course, a very appealing 'soya poached fillet of beef with garlic dandelion and wasabi puree'.
I continued my conversation with Gustavo by asking him why he was sharing all this information with me. Was he not concerned that I might publish some of this, clearly confidential, information? "David, have you heard nothing I have said, Bankers are immune from prosecution". He said sardonically.
He looked sternly in my eyes as he said, "Furthermore, unless you write your commentary in crayon and pass it out on street corners, either we or the NSA will become aware your attempt to undermine our dominance. We will simply disable your computer and delete your files. If you persist in inconveniencing us we will turn your file over to our 'Blackmail' department who will examine your life with a fine tooth comb, discover your secrets and threaten you with exposure unless you cease and desist."
Dear reader, like you, based on Gustavo's insights, I could not help thinking that the players in our global capital markets were more reminiscent of James Bond's nemesis, SPECTRE [SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion] than a functioning system for the free and fair exchange of goods and capital.
I said as much to Gustavo as I had the first bite of my Caciocavallo Podolico. This cheese is the pride of Italy. At $500/lb, it has the same value by weight as silver. I would strongly recommend this taste sensation should you ever be dining with a banker and their expense account.
As I waited for his response, [he was busy talking to his broker], I gazed out the window at the Vatican and wondered if there might be spiritual salvation to guide us through the financial quagmire we had entered. I then remembered that the Vatican Bank scandals indicated that there would be no guidance from that direction. [Oh please dear reader, curtail your disapproval. Just Google 'Vatican Bank scandals' and see for yourself.]
Gustavo smiled at me as he hung up his phone. "I just made a million dollars in two hours based on information this new MAD Agreement' provided me", he boasted. "The best part is that because I have set up Trusts in tax havens around the world I will not have to pay any taxes. Isn't life grand?" I sighed as gazed through the window and watched a beggar appealing for donations from shoppers on the Via Veneto.
I guess this is what 'la Dolce Vita' is all about?
David can be reached at email@example.com
David has divided his time unequally for the last 30 years between the financial services, education, writing and comedy. He has spent time in financial services as an investment adviser, financial planner, sales trainer, corporate entertainer, and as a teacher of investment courses. He has also taught numerous financial courses. His work in comedy includes numerous corporate events and performances at comedy clubs. His background allows him to seamlessly move between the business world, higher education and the world of comedy and sometimes, to bring the two worlds together.
© 2013 Copyright David Hague - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.
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NSA Inks Landmark Deal to Share Information With Central Banks