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February 13, 2012

Financial Geniuses Can't Tell Prop Trading From Customer Market Making?

Gotta love this.  The very same people who claim to be the smartest and most sophisticated financial geniuses in the world also claim that they can’t tell the difference between prop trading and market making, i.e., between trading for themselves and trading for customers.

Weird.

Market making has been around for a hundred or so years and it seems like all sorts of dopes have figured it out and at the same time made a lot of money. 

But the highest paid traders in the history of the world who now occupy Wall Street can’t tell the difference.  Maybe they aren’t so smart or shouldn’t be paid so much.

More troubling, if they can’t distinguish between prop trading for their own pocket and trading for their customers, then it seems like a very thorough investigation of their businesses is required and quickly.  Isn’t that what happened at MF Global?  Is Wall Street really saying that their trading books are like MF Global’s?  That is the logic of the principal argument being made against the Volcker Rule.

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