Friday, March 21, 2014

March Productivity Madness

Economists show the proclivity
NCAA March Madness Bracket Dr. GooseToward lamenting the lost productivity
When Americans cling,
From the first day of Spring,
To basketball bracket activity. 

At work we may go to extremes
Of collegiate basketball dreams,
And glance in our laps 
At websites and apps
With brackets and video streams. 

Consultants engaged by the boss
To reckon the March Madness cost
Deduce from the gauges
Of hours and wages
That 1.2 billion are lost.

But a national payroll statistic
As a measure is much too simplistic,
As workers are apt
In March to adapt
In a manner that's deft and holistic.

Despite how the experts may warn
That brackets are worthy of scorn,
It's easy to see
For office esprit,
They're better than downloading porn. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guinness Taps Out

Guinness could not find a way
Of sponsoring St. Patrick's Day,
Having failed to have swayed
Those who run the parade
To authorize floats that are gay. 

It's a green of a diff'rent complexion
That causes the brewer's objection,
As the times, they have changed
And hence rearranged
The sponsorship fiscal projection. 

It's not that they don't see the profit
In St. Paddy's, and what they make off it;
It's how they appraise
The changing mores
Of the many straight drinkers who quaff it. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day to those who wear the green, as well as all the other colors of the rainbow. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Financial Fraud Trilogy

There once was a fellow named Chubley
Who mortgaged collateral doubly.
"It's a trick," he confessed,
"I effectuate best
When markets are frothy and bubbly."

It's fruitless to place one's reliance
On oneself in defrauding one's clients;
Much better to work
With the back-office clerk
And ideally, the head of compliance. 

A credit swap trader named Moore
Keeps tickets of trades in his drawer.
Though transactions all post
By an e-trading host,
It's a throwback to dealing room lore. 


Today's idle limerick musings, unlike most of the verses in this space, do not describe any particular incident or people.  However, I was prompted to reflect on financial fraud by events at the Citigroup subsidiary Banamex, which has just suffered a $400 million loss from nefarious goings-on at one of its customers. The Mexican oil field services company Oceanografía, a supplier to the national oil company Pemex, had been selling their Pemex receivables to Banamex to raise funds - a routine trade finance transaction - and apparently were so pleased at their funding success that they decided to sell another $400 million of receivables that they didn't have. 

It's another reminder that financial fraud may be detectable and even, in our too-big-to-jail era, punishable; in the hands of a determined practitioner, however, it is rarely preventable. 

Here is a link to the latest background on this case from the Wall Street Journal:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ukraine & Putin's Reign, Explained

Said Putin, regarding Crimea:
"Don't get the mistaken idea.
I may not contain
The western Ukraine,
But the east is a part of my spheah."

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