Blog Post

Holiday Cheer from Broker Joe

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Last week a friend in finance sent us a fun holiday rant that was quickly making the rounds across trading desks. In the spirit and “cantor” of Dr. Suess, it’s a lovely riff on the mortgage crisis that is making everyone on Wall Street (who doesn’t work at Goldman Sachs, anyway) weep. It’s also a nice reminder to be wary of any ‘Broker Joe’ pushing “green eggs and ham” — in this case, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and structured investment vehicles (SIVs).

You have a Broker Joe in your industry, too… he just might be a VC.  The piece made it to the Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Econmics blog its author was eventually revealed to be a London-based American currency investor named Cameron Crise, with Fortis Investments. And today, on Christmas Eve, the WSJ’s Dan Cimilluca has published a nice story about Cameron, and other of Wall Street’s satirist poets (turns out it’s a tradition), featured on Page 1.

For an updated version of Cameron’s piece, complete with Seuss illustrations click here: Broker Joe, by Cameron Crise. Without further ado, here is Cameron’s holiday cheer, enjoy:

Broker Joe!
Show me some flow
I need the dough!
I’m Broker Joe!
That Broker Joe!
That Broker Joe!
I do not like
That Broker Joe!
Would you buy my CDO?

I do not like them, Broker Joe
I do not like your CDO!
Would you like it here or there?
I would not like it here or there
I would not like it anywhere
I do not like your CDO
I do not like it, Broker Joe
Would you like to sell some yen?
I do not want to sell the yen
The big fat tail just kills my zen
If you don’t sell now, then when?
I will not sell it here or there
I will not sell it anywhere
I do not like your CDO
I do not like it, Broker Joe
Our SIV has had a few rough knocks
Get in now, you sly old fox!
I am slyer than a fox
And I don’t think you have the docs
That you must have if you foreclose
And so a judge will thumb his nose
At you, your SIV, and CDO
Who owns the mortgage?
I don’t know
And you don’t either, Broker Joe
I would not know it here or there
I would not know it anywhere
I will not buy your CDO
I will not buy it, Broker Joe!
We have some hedge funds who are long
Those guys are smart! They can’t be wrong!
Some funds are long and some are not
The ones who are, are feeling caught
The short ones make a lot of sense
And they are up lots of percents
No SIV, no yen
Not now, not then
Not here, not there
I would not touch it anywhere
I will not buy your CDO
I will not buy it, Broker Joe!
But you can trust the agencies
They’ve rated this stuff Triple-B!
This tranche is still investment grade
You buy it here, your year is made!
The agencies have been asleep
Their ratings are just like ‘Bo Peep
That is, they’re from a fairy tale
As fiction goes, they’re off the scale
And I do not believe them, Joe
And so your tranche is a no-go
You think at 50 it’s a do
Until it falls to twenty-two
I do not like your CDO,
I will not buy it, Broker Joe!
Have you met our in-house quant?
He’ll model anything you want!
Except, that is, transactions costs
No thanks, I do not want the loss
From any quant’s sexy black box
Or mortgages unbacked by docs
Or mindless buys of kiwi-yen
Or ABX headed to 10
Or any other credit turd
I’ve spoken, Joe, so hear the word
I do not like your CDO,
I will not buy it, Broker Joe!
What must I do, What must I do
What must I do to trade with you?
Perhaps you should avoid the drink
And use your brain sometimes to think
And not assume what’s gone before
Will follow on, and thus ignore
That circumstances sometimes change
And things that once seemed awfully strange
Can swiftly become commonplace
And then vanish once more, sans trace.
In short, you’ll have to look ahead
To win your future daily bread
In your head you have two eyes,
Use them, please, to analyze
And then you’ll see your business grow
I see! I see! I start to think
That all of my ideas stink
That CDO is mark-to-myth
The model’s written by a Sith
I’ll call my custies on the phone
And say “hey leave the yen alone!”
I’ll leave it to the black-box nerds
To buy up all the subprime turds!
I’ll say “you’re welcome”, “thanks”, and “please”
And just ignore the agencies
And as for our beleaguered SIV
The guy who runs it is a spiv
I’d stay away if I were you
Yes, that’s the wisest thing to do!
It’s been a quite eventful year
Weak hands have been found out, I fear
At bonus time they’ll feel the pinch
And find they’re working for the Grinch
(that begs the question: which is worse?
That bonus cheque, or all this verse?)
But now, at last, the race is run
Both year and verse are almost done
I hope your holidays are great
I’ll see you in 2008!