This account of a Citigroup conference call with Ireland’s finance minister made me laugh:
Mr Lenihan had been speaking for less than two minutes on Friday before a mistake by Citigroup meant that the bank’s clients were all able to be heard on the line.
Between 200 and 500 investors are understood to have been on the call, and as they realized their lines were not muted many began to heckle Mr Lenihan.
Some traders began making what one banker on the call described as “chimp sounds”, while another cried out “dive, dive”. A third man said “short Ireland” before adding “why not short Citi too?”
Felix Salmon adds:
I think it also says something about the way in which even rich and sophisticated investors feel as though they don’t have a voice and aren’t being heard. Remember that the Tea Party started with a rant on CNBC. This is a sign of the times, I think: this kind of fiasco wouldn’t have taken place pre-crisis.
Felix Salmon is one of my favorite commentators (I would link more if I knew more about economics), but he’s wrong here: during the Thai currency crisis, a friend of mine saw traders wearing “I fucked the Baht” tee-shirts. Contra John, that’s just what frat boys are like, in general if not in every case.