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Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: My Billion Dollar Education by Toshihide Iguchi 告白 (大和10億ドルの損失) : 井口 俊英

This is a true tell all "Rogue Trader" confession story, with no detail left out. In the beginning, I expected another trader story where things go well, a wild lifestyle is had, a mistake is made, and then it snow balls. I was only half right. Things never went well, a simple US$70,000 mistake was made early, back when the trader was making only US$45,000 a year in salary. He worried about keeping his job, and pushed the limits to cover it up at first. It proved to be a very slippery slope, with nowhere to go but down, not just for one career, but for a whole bank.

There are no excesses in his life style, no glitz and no glamour. When things go wrong, it really does so in size. A loss in the end, of over US$1billion is the biggest single little snowball that I have ever come across. It was not overnight, and did take 12 years to grow. It was a slow motion train wreck, not any crisis that popped up over a few days. In many ways it is just a classic style tragedy, with no happy ending or savior event near the end. There is no "feel good factor" after the first few chapters. It reads more as a kind of personal documentary recall of events.

In many ways, you could say that the main character is a wonderful multi-cultural ideal. The Japanese kid who goes to the US at a young age. He learns English, stays to study at university, marries a college sweetheart, and all starts off well. He becomes a father, moves to the big city, and lands a job with Daiwa, a Japanese bank in New York. He begins his financial career there, but it is not long after before reality hits.  Financial markets like life, go up and down.

You realize several things while reading this tale. Culturally, the trader does not know what cultural value systems to choose daily. He finds it difficult to balance the two, and his private life suffers. The second is that with double cultural wiring, he had a lot more ways to look at a problem, and gets creative. Sadly, this creativity is about how to cover up a mistake and hide a huge loss. In many ways, you wish he could have used his talent for a much better use within the bank. 

What do you learn from this book? You certainly learn many aspects of Japanese banking and jail life in New York City. These are things you really are glad to learn second hand. The politics around finding a big target like Daiwa bank, and bringing it down has some very unfortunate casualties. The bank is now known as Resona Bank, and is independent.


The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about how to be successful within any bank. You have to learn how management think.

2) The best traders know how to make money and keep doing what they do best. You need to be consistent and keep a constant ability to adapt to trends and changes.

3) Becoming a successful trader, a true long-term moneymaker is never fast or easy, but can sometimes appear to be to outsiders. Mistakes are made, and you have to fix them fast.

As somebody who has worked with Japanese, all of the personality types ring very true. There are patterns of behavior within a Japanese corporate that seem very realistic. Sadly, with so many millions gone. You almost wish he stored a little for himself, as a hedge. He clearly had talent, but not enough to see the bigger picture that he was in. You certainly gain a worthwhile perspective.  Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, conferences and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 45,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター45,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

Tokyo                                          Tokyo


      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891

Friday, September 7, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: "Gods of Greenwich" : Norb Vonnegut (Finance Mystery!) グリニッジの金融神々 (ヘッジファンドのミステリー!) ノーブ ヴォネガット

Money & murder work well together in this hedge fund mix. I am always looking for a good fast-paced financial thriller and this was it. When possible,  I also prefer to read about finance, but rarely expect direct exposure to the hedge fund world or its High Net Worth lifestyle trappings. There is plenty of luxury eye candy woven into this story. I get the feeling that Norb is able to bring to finance, what John Grisham, has brought to many lawyers and the legal profession.

America's hedge fund center "Hedgistan" is the main location in Greenwich, Connecticut. It is just outside New York, and this book did not disappoint. It is fiction, but reads like a very realistic documentary. You very much get a sense that Wall Street can be seen in two very complimentary locations, Manhattan and Greenwich. You can even see them as 2 sides of the same coin. One buy side and one sell side perhaps. Every detail rings true, and nothing seems fake.

Cy Leeser, the hedge fund manager with the "secret sauce" has everything including Bianca Santiago, the beautiful Brazilian trophy wife. Picasso paintings, and a vast sprawling Greenwich estate. It is so large in size that I would not want to clean it. The plot is based around hero Jimmy Cusack, the hero and underdog taking on the buy side's big time players. 

He is caught in a post-Lehman & pre-Iceland crisis, that many can relate to. Coming from the Boston area, not New York, he still made it into Goldman Sachs. No easy task as it was the pinnacle of investment banking at that time, and then moves on to his own hedge fund, sweet. However, every good deed does not go unpunished, as we learn in this book, such is life in finance.

Jimmy is somebody who has one financial strike against him and brothers in the military who did not share his financial career path. There were so many bells and whistles that were spot on, I lost count. In fact, it was the details that the author Norb Vonnegut (yes related to Kurt), uses that click everything in place. Everything seems believable are very realistic when I think of similar hedge fund types I know in the area.

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about how to succeed within a hedge fund. At the very core though, it is about making money. Those who figure out the "secret sauce" survive long term or die trying.

2) The more of this book you read, the more you wonder how much the world of finance can cover. Where does it end? and how much wider does it cover in ways you do not see today.

3) Becoming successful in a hedge fund is never easy, but can sometimes appear to be to outsiders. There is often a reason, and that reason is often a key rare talent that is hard to replicate.

Norb does have a Harvard MBA, and did work at top investment banks. This is key to what makes this story work, because it feels so real. These insights are used so well, in the right amount, that he kept me engaged for much longer than I should have ever been. Annuities are about people's lives, but only for their lifetime. There is a blood thirsty innovation on this theme that I certainly have never seen. I could not put it down and that is always a good sign. If you like money, art and "killer sex", you will be changed with this read. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, conferences and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 45,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター45,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

Tokyo                                          Tokyo


      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891

Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: “How to Become a Rainmaker” by Jeffrey J. Fox めざせ!レインメーカー! : ジェフリー・J・フォックス

 Many can open, but few can close. Are you a closer? If not, do you want to be? If you want to perform in any business at a higher level, this book will help. How do Investment Bankers find M&A deals? How do FinTech investors keep finding start-up winners? Why do top tier Asset Managers continually find strong returns? You will increase your business relationship skills with top client prospects no matter what the area. Results count in a "show me the money" world today. Luckily, this book show the way to bigger better P/L results very clearly.

If continuous self-driven improvement is what drives you, then you will also understand that you never know enough for very long. There is always something new, and always something to adapt to. That seems to be a key point for more profits in a fast moving business world. If you are not growing and getting better, you are slowing down, and maybe shrinking.

Being a Rainmaker is a mindset. You wake up and go to sleep 6+ days a week thinking about revenue for clients. This is not a curse, it is a vocation. How to find new clients, how to help old ones, and how to increase revenues from existing clients is a constant sub channel of your mind. Client thoughts are always going on in the background. How can a Rainmaker think of ways to improve a client's businesses, and ultimately one's own? This is what drives a Rainmaker every day. 

This way or living & working often requires long term thinking and perspective, but needs to made clear in a short term results environment. Sadly, it confirms that you are only as good as your last deal, your last close, your last impact on a client's business in added value. You have to keep reinventing what you see in any market. Give before you take. If you do not plant many seeds constantly, you will not benefit from the few deals that may come about as a result.

If you share this "long term greedy" outlook, and are driven to review solid productive business habits, then this book is for you. Rainmaking closers want to add to a bottom line everyday, and this is a worthwhile investment of time for that. Anybody successful will recognize some of the habits inside right away, but never all of them. Even if you find one new tip to improve your performance, it is time and money well spent. This book is a true investment in your career. It is a great review and client skill reminder for any level in your career. 


The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about how to be successful with clients. It is about giving first, and taking second. Rainmakers are often "long-term greedy".

2) The best Rainmakers know how to close yet evolve. They keep doing what they do best, but keep a constant ability to adapt to new trends and changes in their market.

3) Becoming a successful closer, a true Rainmaker is never fast or easy, but can sometimes appear to be, to outsiders. There is often a reason, and that reason is often a key rare talent, mixed with hard work that is never easy to replicate.


This book is for any closer to keep a profitable career going strong. In fact, it is this discovery of something new or forgotten, that may spark a new angle on a deal or opportunity, and makes this book worthwhile. Perfect for a short flight, but make sure a note pad is ready for the new ideas that this creates! Highly recommended for any level in your business career. In January 2015, a re-release of this great book came out with even better updated material. It is available in Japanese and other languages. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, conferences and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 45,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター45,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

Tokyo                                          Tokyo


      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Feature CEO Q&A Seth Friedman & Dieter Schwaller Shiroyama Consulting 金融インタビュー : セス・フリードマン&ディーター・シュヴァーラー: 白山コンサルティング

Today, we interview Seth Friedman & Dieter Schwaller, the Co-Founders of Shiroyama Consulting in Tokyo. It is a Financial Services Technology, Consulting, and Representative Agent Services firm. Their clients are primarily overseas based DMA algo & high frequency trading within the equities space as well as sell-side firms in Japan and overseas.  It is also working on some exciting Fintech applications utilizing Blockchain, customized hardware, and custom configurable integrated circuits for global trading IT systems. This is a follow up interview. We first profiled them on May 12, 2017. See link here. Both co-founders can be contacted directly on LinkedIn.

1) What does the new 2018 HST law mean in Japan, for the High Frequency Trading hedge funds? What choices do they have to make soon as a result?

(Seth Friedman) The laws which were promulgated in May 2017 became effective on April 1, 2018. The new laws mandate that a firm implementing High-Speed-Trading (“HST Operator”) must be registered with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (“FSA”) prior to commencement of HST operations.

The law stipulates that an HST Operator must establish and maintain an onshore presence in Japan. This is the most immediate and important decision facing an HST Operator. The onshore requirement can be met by 1. establishing a representative office; or 2. contracting an Agent in Japan act as the HST Operator’s representative.    

Registration is obtained by approval of an application to the Financial Services Agency by way of the Kanto Local Finance Bureau (“KFB”). The FSA and KFB will review the application for adherence to basic requirements and evidence demonstrating sufficient personnel and business structure. 

It is important to consider that registration is not obtained by notification but through an application in which the HST Operator must demonstrate a number of attributes, including that its business is not found to be contrary to the public interest, that it has sufficient personnel and business structure to perform HST operations and that it meets a minimum capitalization requirement of JPY 10 million.

There is a six-month exemption for HST Operators who were active prior to April 1, 2018. Those organizations must submit an application no later than September 30, 2018 or they will be barred from continuing HST operations from October 1, 2018. Those organizations who submit an application prior to September 30 may continue HST operations beyond September 30 until a final disposition of their application if made by the FSA/KFB. There is currently no known avenue of appeal if an application is rejected. If rejected an organization must immediately cease HST operations.

2) How many hedge funds are impacted by the new law, and how many are based overseas and not in Japan?

(Dieter Schwaller) We have identified no fewer than 83 individual buy-side firms who would be considered HST Operators. The burden of determining whether a firm is or is not an HST Operator is largely placed on sell-side firms.

Unfortunately there has been some misunderstanding over exactly what does and does not qualify.

The law is quite clear, an HST Operator 1.implements automated order generation; 2. where information communication technology is utilized to reduce latency in the order submission process by way of a) installation of  the trading system in, near, or in proximity to, the venue data center; and b) a venue interconnect method where a technical or procedural mechanism to avoid communication conflicts has been implemented.

At least two sell-side firms were informing buy-side firms that an interconnect method using FIX did not constitute HST and therefore utilization of FIX would mean it would not be necessary to seek registration. This position is not correct.

The law is silent as to message/communication protocol and the FSA has confirmed that protocol type is no influence on determining whether a firm is conducting HST operations.  




3) How many of these hedge funds have been able to register properly with the FSA or KFB so far? How many have so far failed to do so?

So far, 6 firms have been registered, all in June. Put another way, we suspect there are 75+ firms  whose application is currently under review or has yet to be submitted. There is no information available as to whether, or how many, firms have to date seen their applications rejected or have decided to change their investment methodology and forego attempting to register.

No applications have been approved since June 22. We believe there is a correlation between some of these early approvals and a TSE ETF market making initiative which went live on July 2. Of the 6 approved HST Operators 3 were listed by the TSE as ETF market makers at the time of the program launch.

4) What deadline is now realistic to target, if any HFT firm does not want to be barred from trading Japan in future?

The deadline to submit an application for firms who were active prior to April 1 remains September 1 while new entrants cannot commence HST operations until an application is submitted and approved. Given the long queue, we strongly recommend any organization which seeks to newly commence HST operations to submit an application as soon as possible.

5) How have you helped current clients with Shiroyama Consulting so far this year? What do you charge?

We work with organizations in a number of ways, helping to ensure understanding of requirements, reviewing exiting processes, procedures, and documentation and recommending modifications to ensure compliance with requirements in Japan, drafting application documents and representing our clients in front of the FSA and KFB.

We charge US $20,000 to work with a firm though the ultimate disposition of their application and then US $20,000 annually to represent a firm as their Agent in Japan.

6) Do you have any ability to help other HFT firms this year, that have not found the right professional assistance to far?

We currently work with more than one dozen firms but we do have some remaining capacity.

Recently, we have helped numerous HST firms who have expressed frustration with their current providers and these providers inability to adequately represent the HST firm in front of the FSA/KFB. We’ve even heard that some HST firms have called the FSA/KFB directly in an effort to explain a particular point or topic.

We’re certain these situations are frustrating for all sides but especially for the FSA/KFB.

7) What do you feel will take place to HFT firms in the months to come? What scenarios do you expect?

Due to the number of HST firms not yet approved there is already a great deal of anxiety in the environment. This anxiety will only increase as August gives way to September and the September 30 deadline approaches.

Unfortunately, the anxiety level is being exacerbated by some sell-side firms, These sell-side firms are making uninformed comments to their HST clients which are absolutely contrary to reality. We have heard of sell-side firms describing FSA/KFB procedures or “receipts” which are in fact non-existent or even communicating that the September 30 deadline is a deadline for approval of the application rather than submittal of the application.

We applaud the TSE for their efforts to undo these comments and the FSA/KFB for patiently shepherding the various constituents through the process.

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, conferences and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 45,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター45,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

Tokyo                                          Tokyo


      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene 権力に翻弄されないための48の法則 上 : ロバート グリーン

Without question, The 48 laws of Power reads like a secret list of tips on "how to be an MD in an investment bank, a PM in a hedge fund, or a top performer in any other financial firm". It is really good meaty stuff, rock solid in fact. The kind of stuff so valuable, only a close friend or family member would ever share it with you.

In many ways, I would describe these modern rules as very Machiavellian and perfect for the world of finance today. These are timeless markers for any career path. They seem both practical and essential for any young or mid-level executive's future high powered career. If you have ambition, then this is your secret road map for the "insider rules of success". Learn them all well. 

I have many favorites, but the first of note is #1 never outshine the master. I cannot tell you how many times, some new junior dealer tries to impress the MD, with his new higher level skills. Within a short time, he is transferred to another desk or fired with no understanding as to why.

Another great one touches on the truth, and how useless it may be. Again young people feel that if they are right, they can get ahead. However rule #9 Win through your actions, never through argument, is worth noting. If some MD says you cannot make money from that client, do not argue.  Just focus, book the P/L, show the P/L and explain that "something has changed", so now the firm is able to deal with the client again. No blame or argument takes place, only an adjustment of the situation.

I was very impressed with one VP who soon became an MD. He valued rule #18 Do not build Fortresses to protect Yourself- Isolation is Dangerous. He told me that even though he did not smoke, he took smoking breaks, and chatted with other senior in the smoking room. In fact, one of the biggest deals he ever closed was a result of one of those conversations. He heard something he never would have heard before, and he acted on it and closed a major deal for the firm. Information only flows when it is shared. A person alone shares very little and does not often succeed.

If you are smart and know the answer, never give it out too early. Rule #37 Master the Art of Timing, is key. When inside any tough situation, if you know how to exit or source a solution, let others around you or above you feel the pressure. Once you sense that an end is near or the firm may need to give up on any opportunity, that is the best time to offer the solution everyone needs. Two impressions will be made, not only that you could find the solution, but that you could find it "just in time". The fact that you had it ready previously would have been wasted when bonus time arrives.

I am surprised by some in finance who discredit "politicians" as useless in a firm. Rule #43 Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others, is very important. Any bonus often needs to be decided on my a number of people, never one, if it is big. All of those who would determine your bonus need to be understood and appealed to. There is no such thing as "the right amount" for anybody, no bonus number is "fair". The more you can be approved by those around you, who value your contribution, the more likely that bonus your will be larger. 

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about how to succeed within any organization, financial or otherwise. IQ is not EQ, and this book underlines many of the "soft skill points" too many promising people overlook, that hold them back.

2) The more of these rules you read, the more you think that a better title for this book may be, "how not to waste your time on things that do not help your career, only hurt it, and keep your high compensation delayed."

3) Becoming successful is not simple or quick. There is no easy action that can save your career instantly. The road is long and takes time, and is full of possible dangers. It is best to be cautious with your career.


A final note that ensures a fat bonus from your MD or senior management is #46, Never appear too perfect. Envy from others is to be avoided. It is best to create a foolish vice or weakness, even if it is not true. It make others who judge you to relax. It can be anything such as disco music from the 1970s, or being a Superman comic book fan. Having something, anything even minor and superficial, that others around you can be aware of, allows you to be accepted as human, and worth the big bucks! Highly recommended, without question.

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, conferences and anything else with a financial theme. Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance! 

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Linkedin Instagram or TwitterWe are the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, with over 45,000+ followers globally! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズLinkedin Instagram またはTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位リクルーター45,000以上のフォロワー既に持っています!クリックしてください

For more Buy-Side and Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team.

Tokyo                                          Tokyo


      Mark  Pink                               Shinichi Nagasawa
Direct + 81 3 3505 3891              Direct + 81 3 3505 3891