Lincoln Book Festival

Lincoln Book Festival
2017 Festival Programme

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Dot com - remember that?

Amid the really astonishing events surrounding the banks comes a thread of memory of quite why it was the FTSE last reached the 6,000's. The context is relevant and might well age me. Dear old Phillips and Drew, a massively respected name, stuck to the principle of value investment; you know, actually looking at what a company does and assessing the quality of its earnings. They fell in the league talbes whilst the flash boys all went for momentum investment; my favourite image of the round tray filled with water which sloshes to the side to which the trays is tipping at any one time; and the more it sloshes the more it tips until...you've guessed.
Well, dot com was quintessential momentum, money piled in after money and values (what an odd use of a word) rose and rose. This is so like the other metaphor of the roundabout which spins for ever faster until some one blows the whistle and, another metaphor, the king is seen to have no clothes.
What strikes immediately as odd is how the banking sector seems to have taken the mantle of the dot coms. It is odd until we look more closely at what banking had become. Profits it seems came from clever financial instruments which defied gravity. So that they fell should be no surprise. The problem is that they were in the same banks which have serious job to do in any economy.

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