Bankers are like feral hogs, says Richard Fisher, a former hedge fund manager and president of the Dallas Federal Reserve. It’s not that they’re ferocious and breed rampantly outside captivity, says Fisher: it’s more that banks tend to organize themselves like wild pigs and to go after any kind of ‘weakness or bad scent.’
The bad scent attracting wild porcine bankers now is the smell of uncertainty in the U.S. Treasury bond market. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he planned to taper the Federal Reserve’s $85bn per month bond purchases. Over the past week, yields on U.S Treasury bonds have risen 27% and the U.S S&P 500 index has fallen 1.6%. Feral bankers are trying to force the Fed into maintaining its bond purchases.
Fisher’s comments have coincided with the release of more outrageous comments from senior bankers at Anglo Irish Bank. Yesterday, the Irish Independent published a recorded conversation in which John Bowe, the ex-head of capital markets at Anglo Irish Bank, said he’d picked the €7bn figure which Anglo said it needed for a bailout from his ‘ar*e’ and that once the Irish government had ‘skin in the game’, it would feel compelled to keep investing to protect its initial stake. Today, further recordings have emerged, in which Anglo Executives exchange profanities about the need to raise bailout money and sing ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’ to celebrate their extraction of money from Germany.
Bowe and colleagues are also heard celebrating their future as civil servants. They may not fit Fisher’s definition of feral hogs, but the category should probably be extended to admit them.
Are you a feral hog too? We’ve devised the following, non-intrusive, genetically ambivalent test, to find out.
Mostly As: You share 99% of DNA with sus scrofa and are particularly at home in the City of London or Wall Street. You are to be found lurking in urban thickets from which you assault unarmed central bankers with your rampant liquidity, or manipulate taxpayers into paying your school fees.
Mostly Bs: You’re partially domesticated, but can cause serious damage if not placated with a large pay package.
Mostly Cs: You’re extremely placid. You would like treasury bond yields to remain constant, the stock market to rise, and everyone to live happily ever after.