Daniel Tabbush, who for many years was CLSA's head of regional banking research, has published a why-I-quit-the-rat-race book. Titled Quit & Run - My Wake Up Call on Wall Street, the book describes how he got into the finance industry, his thoughts about his work and why he left.
His introduction starts: "I was a highly rated bank analyst, at the number one stockbroker in Asia for nearly 20 years, and I decided to give it all up."
Like many others, he became concerned about his work-life balance and decided the continual cycle of endless travelling, dreaming up new stock ideas and the frustrations of trying to say something of value while dealing with competing interests within the firm all got too much.
It's never easy to give up a big pay cheque, but that's what Tabbush did in early 2012. But having taken a holiday and written his book, he has opened his own firm, which issues The Tabbush Report, with the aim of providing an independent voice on Asia's banks. We've not read the book but note one of the chapters is headed The Ego, with the subtitle: "Three words you will never hear from a stock analyst: I don't know".
Citic jumps to No 1
In an interesting sign of the times, Citic Securities has been catapulted into the No 1 spot as Asia's top M&A adviser for the first quarter of 2013, compared with 18th for the comparable period last year, according to Thomson Reuters. In so doing, Citic dislodged Morgan Stanley and ranked ahead of Goldman Sachs, of which Citic Securities chairman Wang Dongming is a keen admirer. He was so impressed, reports Reuters, by the bestseller The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs that he had the book translated into Chinese and urged his employees to read it. Wang is modelling the firm on Goldman. It remains to be seen whether in a few years this means that Citic types will be swaggering around in sharp suits referring to their clients as muppets.
As safe as houses
It is one of the curiosities of the modern era that for every bear that says the economic dominance of the United States is over, there are many others who move in the opposite direction. According to data released by the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis on Tuesday, US companies and citizens had invested US$20.7 trillion overseas at the end of 2012.
But even this whopping figure was eclipsed by the money the rest of the world had invested in the US, which totalled US$25.2 trillion - the highest it's ever been. Only about one-fifth of this is other governments buying US treasury bonds.
This situation has prompted the website Quartz to observe: "People love the American economy! Well, maybe not love it. But with other advanced economies in the doldrums (looking at you, Europe), sending your money to the US is a safe bet." Hmm - just like that old adage, "it's as safe as houses", or another, "it's money in the bank".
Tighten up on illegal parking
We commend the police for their zealousness in encouraging the passengers of public light buses to wear seat belts. A citywide campaign on Tuesday, we are told, resulted in five verbal warnings, 128 summonses to passengers, one fixed-penalty ticket and one summons to bus drivers for failing to wear seat belts.
The police justify this action by noting that last year there were a total of 1,031 traffic accidents involving light buses, resulting in 1,705 casualties, which represented a 5 per cent decline in accidents and a 6 per cent reduction in casualties. But to quibble ever so slightly, it's hard to imagine that the wearing of seat belts would have resulted in the lower number of accidents. But since there were fewer accidents, you would assume - although it's not necessarily the case - that there would be fewer casualties.
It is a pity that the police cannot act with the same degree of enthusiasm for illegal parking, which is rampant and is an immense source of annoyance to the general public. If anything, it appears to be getting worse. No senior police officers appear to take this issue seriously, for if they did, their subordinates would leap into action. It should by now have occurred to the people who deal with these matters that fairly drastic action is required, like clamping or bumping up the fines.
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