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Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: The Oracle Speaks: Warren Buffett in his Own Words by David Andrews ウォーレン・バフェット: 億万長者の助言の言葉

This book is a great insight into the man, and to the point. Unlike SnowballWarren Buffett's authorized biography published in 2008, this is a set of highlights. This book is just core hard facts, thoughts and observations by the great investor himself. It comes across not so much as a book, but a collection of important financial notes or guides from the world's richest man. They just serve as a great reminder to stick to the core basics, and maintain your investment principles no matter how much markets change in front of you.

I really enjoyed the very simple text, and it's very easy to read writing style. In fact, I liked it almost as much as the pearls of wisdom shared on each page. In many ways, it is a collection of "the best of Buffett" quotes or observations. If you respect the "Oracle of Omaha", also known as the "Sage of Omaha" or the "Wizard of Omaha", then this is for you. You may also wonder if his personal code of conduct is also a core element to his investment success and proven time intensive process. 

He often seems to be judged by the masses on what he has said in public. Many of the quotes read like a list of insights into how to be a better investor. You wonder if without the great Oracle's frame of mind, perhaps the same trade would not be seen, or recognized, or valued in the same way by non-Oracles like him. He was born on August 30, 1930, and will turn 87 this summer. He was a newspaper delivery boy and started investing when he was 11, in 1941. Think about that date and what it means for the kind of mindset he grew up with. 

He started investing after seeing the great depression all around him, and just when the military spending of World War Two kicked in. He is known for his frugality, and ability to deeply read all about the kinds of companies that he invests in. He has been able to see, via investments, the entire post war economic recovery of the US in global markets. He has also been able to pick winners around these developments and make a very comfortable living. Many other people in theory "could" have done the same, but few took the chance to do so at an early age. Time can be a solid friend with long term investments, and the older Warren gets, the more impressive his results do seem.

There are too many quotes to pass on, but one of the most enduring is not easy to figure out. It is so contrarian, and almost unnatural in Wall Street, where herd mentality rule. Keeping your head focused when others are swept up with market momentum is no easy task. His insight, "be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy" is quite profound. It is not the observation of a teenager, nor a day trading investor. It is the fully matured view of a long term player who has seen many cycles, will see many more, and profit from many of them. 

Thoughts in this book are not just on investment or markets, but about life itself. This may be why the more quotes you read, the more you suspect that it is this rare grounded mindset that is what it takes to make winning investments. 


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

1) There is a lot to learn about investment and there are no short cuts that will bring any investor returns long term quickly or easily.

2) The impact of Benjamin Graham, his first financial teacher and influencer, was deep and very long lasting. It makes you want to read about the original inspiration for value investing as a result.

3) The amount of deep research constantly needed to make a profitable investment decision cannot be overlooked. It is not that Warren Buffet is brilliantly quick, and can see opportunities faster than others. It is more that once he reads all there is, it is more clear to him what should be invested in.

This is not a book to read once. You feel as if it is to be absorbed, not just read. It needs frequent reviews to make sure that you do incorporate all of the key points into any financial investment view. A very long term habit similar to the man himself, this book certainly satisfies the reader.  It is well written, smoothly edited, and a wonderful read for anyone in finance or not. Good solid sage advice. Highly recommended!

Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank 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 Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 40,000+ followers already have! 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Twitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業40,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください




For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Flash Boys by Michael Lewis フラッシュ・ボーイズ: 10億分の1秒の男たち: マイケル ルイス

Michael Lewis knows how to tell an entertaining story to anybody, and "Flash Boys" is no different. Curiously, on March 3, 2017, the Japanese Diet released a Bill called FIEA (Financial Instruments Exchange Act). The aim is to help control high frequency trading by overseas hedge funds. You could argue that this is a direct result of this book in many ways. No previous interest in finance or trading is actually needed to enjoy this book. The author tells a very compelling story about people involved, and never gets lost in trading terms or jargon.

In this book, the focus is on the professional education and financial coming of age, of a Canadian trader in New York City, Brad Katsuyama, the lead character. It is a David and Goliath style story, but also an emotional roller coaster of truth, ethics and the moral choices made in any financial market. Just like his many other enjoyable reads like "Moneyball" and "The Blind Side", his latest book could easily be a movie as well. It is non-fiction and packs a punch. 

We learn about 2 main sub-stories that collide and learn so much from the destruction. Brad is sent from Toronto, where he works for a Canadian Bank, RBC, to increase trading profits in New York. At the same time, there is a investment banking driven technology plot to lay down fast fiber for a growing high frequency trading industry. The two stories develop in parallel until they collide, dramatically. However, what we observe is a test of character and the system that tries to crush that type of person.

The people described in both of these stories are written about very well, and given just the right amount of detail. We are given a case to consider, and left to wonder if the stock market is indeed fair or rigged by fast technology driven investment banks. It stimulates the reader when the case is made. There are rules but they can or they should be re-written sometimes. 

However, it is the unfolding of a trading mystery to prices and what later happens to trading markets, that hooks you in. It is not financial markets, but the technology behind it, that opens your eyes, and sucks you into the story fully. In many ways, it has very wide appeal, and is not just for people working in finance. You can see this as a detective story with a financial theme, not the other way around. The story described has mass appeal and is not just for people familiar with the markets.

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

1) There is a lot to learn about how the retail investor often gets a price that is "gamed" by market traders with very high speed.

2) The impact of high frequency trading is not so much the trading charge that retail investors pay, but the institutions that runs pension funds, and ultimately the retail investor who draws on them. 

3) The top investment banks have always been at the cutting edge of many new trading technologies, and this is no different. It is certainly legal to focus on, but hardly beneficial to the retail investor's accounts overall.

The book has certainly made an impact to markets, and does make an interesting case. Time will tell how much will change as a result of this "shining sunlight on a dark secret" within finance. UK and US banks have since come under fire soon afterwards with dark pool doings, so it is a story that will continue to evolve. It is well written, even more easily explained, and a wonderful read for anyone in finance or not.  Highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank 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 Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 40,000+ followers already have! 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Twitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業40,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner 超ヤバい経済学:y スティーヴン・D・レヴィット + スティーヴン・ダブナー

The economics of any Fed rise is one thing, but it's hardly exciting to the man on the street. This book is full of great economic observations and head scratching ideas. This amazing series continues on, and keeps investigating economic questions that many want to know, but few can or are willing to investigate, despite clear economic impact. The team continues to ask economic questions few would consider like "How is a street prostitute like a department store Santa?". It is a very curious comparison that rings true once revealed. If a job is a job, then a temporary part-time job is still that, a temporary part-time job. It does not always lead to a full-time career.

Christmas is only once a year, and temporary short term jobs pop up around that season like Santa Claus roles as part-time jobs in department stores. However it turns out that during holiday season with family gatherings like July 4th or independence day, not everybody wants to stay home and talk to grandma. As a result this is when ordinary women notice that the price for prostitution from men bored, and from out of town, but in the big city of Chicago, peaks. It provides a perfect tax free opportunity to make money for a short period of time often with a temporary client base who do not even live in the city, hence no long term repeat business, just a short term windfall of cash. 

We know about health and cleanliness but "Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?". It turns out that in many US hospitals, the standards were lower than the perceptions by even the doctors themselves. Most doctors when honest admitted to washing regularly 70% of the time. This contrasted with the nurses who observed them washing less than 20% of the time! Until a meeting where doctors present touched their hands in a petri dish and observed over weeks the bacteria growth, that things changed. The use of these petri dishes in the form of a screen saver later used in the hospital, proved popular as a clear visual reminder. In fact, other hospitals started to use the same screen saver in order to help spread the message. The benefits to the patients has been medically and economically extraordinary.


One personal favorite question asked was "Which adds more value: a Pimp or a Realtor?". Again data on such a comparison is difficult to find, but when focused can be created organically by coordinating on the ground with the prostitutes and home sellers themselves. One is clearly more difficult than the other. Some of the data points found though were not expected, like how much revenue from any prostitute is given up in "free" services to police officers, in order to avoid prosecution. We discover what is literally her "cost" of doing business! 

It turns out that a pimp does have a direct impact on higher earnings, as he typically acts as a marketer within high-end markets for his prostitute who usually relies on lower end street traffic. It brings a higher paying customers base to a low cost service zone, very much an economic development. This helps bring a better margin for the worker, who can then work less often, but at a higher rate of pay. This is contrasted in time value with a realtor who often encourages a homeowner to sell at the first price offered. Even though if it were their own home, they would wait longer for a higher offer, it is a pattern. It comes down to how much any extra commission is worth for the extra weeks in time spent. The breakdown of this incentive system is very well explained. It turns out to be a very solid case.

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

1) There is a lot to learn about the real economy around prostitution. I was very surprised to learn that 7% of transactions are free services to police officers in order to avoid arrest. 

2) The impact of pimps for prostitutes is often positive economically. A pimp can often act as a marketer and find high end customers. This increases wage income and hours worked compared to independent prostitutes. 

3) Input from global warming or global cooling needs another point of view. Can can we cool the planet quickly if we really needed to fast? Quick solutions are possible but not very attractive. However, they are a start.

There are many more questions that are fascinating reading. They include "What's the best way to catch a terrorist?" or "Did TV cause a rise in crime?". Another is "Can eating kangaroo save the planet?" As safety and the car industry interests me, one question really got my attention, and that was "How much good do cars seats do?" Installing them correctly is more difficult than many parents can handle. This kind of product needs better execution clearly, despite the positive intentions of the parents themselves. No matter what the question posed is, this team makes me want to read the answer they find every time time. Highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank 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 Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 40,000+ followers already have! 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Twitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業40,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Straight to Hell! GS Elevator Twitter Account! by John Lefevre 10億ドルの取引! (Twitterのゴールドマン・サックス・エレベーター) ジョン・ルフェーブル

There was a time when capital markets were wild, and this is a collection of very true tales across the US, UK and Asia. The greatest strength of this book is the mindset needed to be a winner within a top investment bank. The author John Lefevre is a product of his time. He reveals all, and was shaped by a life experience. Would he be a success in today's era, unlikely, but times were different, and the rules have changed.

It starts at the beginning, in boarding school. Humans test each other, and the hazing culture that you survive and figure out, is repeated in work years later. Rules are a mere guide, mainly for suckers to follow in the author's view. Real investment bankers know where to bend these rules of behavior and seem to do so often, very often. It is a clear pattern and a well worn path to success come bonus time.

Goldmans Sachs is an investment banking firm at the top, and elevator chat gossip, now banned at the firm, moved to Twitter, instead. This is the hugely successful GS Elevator famed account. If a crazy racy story needed to be told from Wall Street somewhere, that was the place to send your story. In this account, you could spill the beans on what really happened on any deal or in any investment bank. Only the names of the guilty were often left out to protect their bonuses. 

We learn how grey zones of deal behaviour can creep into the workplace. The author runs the syndicate desk, and is the center of many a deal flow in Europe, then Asia. Back then, mobile phones were not recorded lines, so when a client asks to call you on your cell, it means A) he is about to bend a rule on a deal, or B) tell you about an X-rated story by a colleague that should never be recorded.

What can you say except that so many of the actions involving real people in the markets seem out of reach. It is not just the money, the power, the influence or the self-centered attitude, it is the whole. Men behaving badly, would be another worthwhile title as almost nothing is left sacred. Cocaine, prostitutes, gold diggers and client service in a rigged game are explained in eye-popping detail. If you want to believe that everything in finance is clean and done above board, this is not the book for you.

Given the scandals we are now seeing within LIBOR, FX and flash crash charges, this tell all almost makes you want to "throw everybody in jail" and throw away the key. Sadly, life is never that simple. With various ways of communicating today, people will talk online. It can be on Glass Doors or and any other online way to share the gossip that is just too good not to pass on.

What have I learned in this book that can help my career? Mainly that extreme personality types are attracted to investment banking. I also learned that a core minority are willing to take more action, professional and otherwise, than the majority. Many would never want to do what a tough deal close "really takes". Getting ahead is not about being smart, it is about being aware of all options. Better to close for less money than to not close. All client requests may or may not be fair, but are asked for, and still can work to close a deal. Always be closing, are very familiar words.


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

1) There is a lot to learn about working in an investment bank. Politics is often equally important to revenue or productivity. There are no shortcuts to success, you must do everything you can all the time.

2) The timing of deals is never on time. The more willing you are to do whatever it takes, the more willing deal makers are, to doing more deals with you in future. 

3) There is value everywhere if you learn how to look for it and how to value it properly. Hard work and persistence from constant effort are important, but not valued, unless both are made clear to management. Bonuses always reflect "how" that message is communicated, not if.

I will admit that you do not feel clean after reading this book, and almost feel a mental need to "wash off" afterwards, but that is the point. It is not a nice book about nice people who played fair and did well. Sadly, such a book, would never sell as much. This is very much a long group of unbelievable true stories that keep you in awe. It may also confirm that these guilty parties, will follow the title of this book and ultimately go "Straight to Hell". They will not pass go, and will not get to use their money to change that final destination. Highly amusing and best read with too many bottles of beer or wine of your choice!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank 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 Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 40,000+ followers already have! 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Twitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業40,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: You Can Be A Stock Market Genius: Joel Greenblatt ジョエル・グリーンブラット投資法 M&A、企業分割、倒産、リストラは宝の山

This is an industry bible about stocks that explains how to find value, in any investment. Stocks bonds, real estate, commodities, or even art, it does not matter. Recognizing the value in any investment can be learned at any age. The author Joel Greenblatt, is the founder of Gotham Capital, one of the best and most consistent long term fund investors in the USA. He was known for being able to pick winners over time. Winning choices over time makes any system worth investigating. Hard core P/L results that beat any market average are undeniable. That is his track record at Gotham Capital.

He makes a pretty good case about how any average person can find value and benefit financially. Basically, he explains the weaknesses of Wall Street, and how you can minimize mistakes by understanding the weaknesses of the whole system. Understanding the bigger picture and how is can be seen with value driven eyes, is a skill that can be learned. That may sound difficult, but this is a very easy to read book. Any average investor with discipline will learn and benefit, plain and simple. 

One favorite easy to understand example is with art. If you go to a garage sale or second hand store and see a painting, where is the value? Some would only look at the price of the painting and say the artist is not known and not worth the price, but what about the frame? If the frame was carved wood and worth US$500 but the price of the painting in its frame was selling for US$100, there is great value there. That is the mindset, that the author explains in so many other ways so well.

He fills his book with very solid simple investment guidelines that help you make higher than average returns. In many ways, he is teaching basic investing, but also how to filter out the market noise that lowers basic returns. In regard to portfolio diversification, he makes an interesting case for the need for only 8 stocks. He gives good evidence that shows how more stock picks, 9, 10 or more does not really help diversify your portfolio at an equal cost to the upside lost. Diversification mainly helps investors without the time to do proper research of their own. Too often investors worry about how much they may lose with the total value of their portfolio. The author makes a good case about how much an investor can lose out in upside performance with too many mediocre positions that limit total value performance in any portfolio. It becomes very clear quickly how less is more, and more profitable too.


The great billionaire investor Warren Buffett, has many overlapping views with Joel Greenblatt. Both think that success is better found with 5-8 great ideas are better than 15-20 mediocre ideas overall. One of the best points explained is how size both helps and hinders performance. If you have a large amount of capital, great choices that are small in size do not help your total performance very much. Both Warren and Joel, feel that it is better to invest with smaller amounts more actively, than a huge amount in size less often.


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

1) There is a lot to learn about picking stocks. You are better off with 8 great ideas than 20 mediocre ones. There are no shortcuts to success, you must do your research.

2) The timing of stock investments can be in your favor as a true investor over time, unlike short a short term day trader. These are different skill sets that need different kinds of stocks.

3) Input from direct research cannot be replaced. There is value everywhere if you learn how to look for it and how to value it properly. Hard work, quality experience and persistence from constant never ending research always finds value over time.

There are many great examples of great investment lessons to learn that apply not only to stocks, but real estate, bonds or any other asset. The goal of the book is to help you have a solid nose for value, and recognize it when in front of you. His point is you can find great investments on your own and do not have to "pay experts" to tell you what to buy or when. There is no special secret that an average investor cannot learn. It is a skill that can be learned by many. The market tries to keep the basic rules private, but this book reveals all of the best basics that any investor really needs. A very thought provoking book, highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, and anything else with a financial theme.  Thank 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 Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 40,000+ followers already have! 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Twitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業40,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com