Monthly Archives: January 2008

John Gapper

There is an interesting piece in the FT this morning about the growing pressure on Marcel Ospel, chairman of UBS, over the bank’s cumulative $18bn write-down on US mortgage securities.

The article refers to his "reputation as a cold-blooded power broker". I have no inside knowledge of that but I do know that he has remarkable staying power.

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John Gapper

My column in the Financial Times this week compares Jérôme Kerviel of Société Générale with Tom Cruise. Yes, seriously. You can read it here and comment below.

John Gapper

Thebourneultimatumpic16

On the plane on the way back from Davos to New York, I caught up with The Bourne Ultimatum, the Paul Greengrass-directed action thriller, starring Matt Damon.

Like many Hollywood films these days, it was a travelogue of countries as well as a drama. Madrid, Tangiers, Manhattan, Waterloo Station . . . it went to all the most glamorous spots.

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John Gapper

Further to my admiration for the supermarket in Davos that did not offer me a plastic bag, I note that it is only part of Switzerland’s green credentials.

Yale University’s environmental performance index, which was released at Davos, places Switzerland top of the league on factors including air pollution, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions per head etc. The study notes that wealth correlates closely with environmental performance: the richer you are the more you tend to care about such things.

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John Gapper

One further thought on le rogue trader, Jerome Kerviel of Societe Generale (further apologies for the lack of accents).

As I wrote before, there are striking similarities between him and Nick Leeson, the Barings rogue trader. The biggest relates to his motivation. Read more

John Gapper

I am afraid I have been a bit distracted from my blogging duties in Davos by Jerome Kerviel, the rogue trader at Societe Generale (forgive me, but I do not know how to insert the many French accents required here in Typepad, which is our blog publishing tool).

Anyway, here is a column I wrote for Saturday’s FT to sum up the week at Davos. I hope to post some more things that emerged from the week over the next few days.

John Gapper

Here is a column I wrote for today’s Financial Times on the Societe Generale rogue trader. It brings back a few memories, since I wrote a book about the collapse of Barings with Nick Denton, who has since gone on to greater, or at least other, things.

John Gapper

I was looking forward to a somewhat more relaxed afternoon at the World Economic Forum this afternoon and popping in to listen to a couple of debates. Well, so much for that. Societe Generale’s rogue trader has grabbed all the attention and pinned me down in the media centre.

Here is a piece I have just written about the comparisons between this fraud and the one at Barings in 1995 which led to the bank’s collapse. It brings back old memories.