Welcome to the first of what may be many fly-on-the-wall (FOTW) reports of internal bank management matters.
In this first FOTW report, we sent Marty, our Scottish fly, into the monthly management meeting of one of the world’s largest banks, Megabank (stock ticker: MGB).
Here’s how it went.
10:00, FTSE at 5450.49, MGB share price at £0.5614p
Chief Executive Robin Money opens the meeting.
“Good morning everyone, and welcome to our monthly management meeting.”
Smell of coffee, sly looks, tired eye rubbing and general lack of alertness abounds.
“First on the agenda, the Eurozone.”
Groans, harumphs, exasperated air venting and general feeling of depression abounds.
“As a result of the issues in the Eurozone, we have decided to layoff 50,000 peoples, retract all operations across the Continental European theatre, sell all of our assets there and become a purely UK-centric bank.”
A quiet whoop in the corner, followed by a shriek in the other. CEO Money suspects that was the Head of Risk and the CIO respectively.
“Sorry guys, but we cannot continue to pursue our European ambitions when the regulators are asking for 9% in risk-weighted assets as core capital under Basel III so soon.”
A black cloud appears over the room and gently lets a little trickle of rain come down whilst the news is absorbed by all.
10:05, FTSE rises 20 points to 5470. 46, MGB share price at £0.5208p
“Having said that, we are going to invest more in our UK operations and will be embarking upon a major new marketing campaign incorporating all the latest social media stuff in a Google Wallet.”
Quiet whispering takes place as the Head of Marketing whispers in Money’s ear.
“Sorry, I understand from Lemmy” – Lemmy Roe-Bewe, CMO – “that this is actually a leveraged marketing strategy using Web 2.0 techniques in mobile channels.”
Tsk-tsk is heard from the opposite side of the room, no doubt being Will D’Axe, Chief Finance Officer.
“Look Will, we need to have some investment for growth here and, as the late great Steve Jobs said, ‘the cure is not cost-cutting. The cure is to innovate out of the current predicament.'”
Will still looked peeved.
10:10, the FTSE drops 65 points to 5405.14, MGB share price at £0.4563p
“OK, we need to do some cost cutting too and so, on top of all of the jobs we’re shedding across Europe, we have to close 500 branches here in the UK too.”
More shrieks from Clint E. Grater, the CIO.
“Look Clint, what’s wrong?”
Clint’s high-pitched, nervous, geeky voice shrilled across the room: “every time you sell, divest, close or change something, it means massive costs in our technology structures Robin.”
“That’s why Clint”, said Robin with a schadenfreude grin, “you’re the first of our job leavers. Goodbye.”
With which Robin gives Clint a large brown envelope as the security guards appear in the boardroom to escort him away.
Everyone’s now a bit nervous but Lemmy pipes up: “it’s no problem losing these branches when we have a leveraged marketing strategy using Web 2.0 techniques.”
And Will adds: “plus we’re moving all our compute power into the cloud, so who needs Clint anyway?”
10:15, the FTSE rises 216 points to 5621.98, MGB share price at £0.3356p
“Now to the real core of our future strategy”, says Robin.
Everyone looks up expectantly.
“After a lot of time and consideration over the past few months …”
A tension fills the room that could be cut like a knife.
“… and discussions with each of you …”
Sweat trickles down the forehead of most of the execs except Fallon O’Cliff, the Head of Risk, who is literally dripping.
“… any ideas?”
Everyone looks a bit perplexed.
Lemmy says: “I thought we were going with the leveraged Web 2.0 techniques?”
Will throws in: “What about the liquidity risk instruments strategy that Fallon and I agreed?”
Fallon is now sitting in a small pool of sweat.
Robin turns a beady eye his way.
“Fallon … what strategy was that?”
Drip, drip, drip.
“Well”, he says.
The room has a pregnant pause with a bated breath.
“I thought we could …”
The bated breath becomes a vacuum of expectation.
“… offset our intraday liquidity and securitisation issues …”
The vacuum of expectation becomes an atmosphere of anticipation.
“… by getting the Bank (of England) to …”
The atmosphere of anticipation becomes a galaxy of hope.
“… quantitative ease us out of this mess.”
The galaxy of hope explodes into a universe of belief until Robin says, “we’ve tried that one.”
The expectation, anticipation, hope and belief implodes (again).
10:20, the FTSE falls 621 points to 5000.00, MGB share price at £0.0356p
Karen Falstaff raises her hand.
Karen is the Head of Human Resources.
She never normally speaks in the alpha filled boardroom meetings.
Robin is surprised.
Lemmy smirks, Will has a frown and Fallon has melted.
“Yes Karen”, Robin smurmurs, “what is it?”
“Well, you asked for ideas on strategy”, she asserts, and everyone is surprised to find that she actually has a voice.
“Yes Karen”, Robin smooches, “what is it?”
“Well, I saw an article this week where someone managed to create their own Quantitative Easing”, she mandates, and everyone is surprised to find themselves nodding.
“Are you saying Karen”, Robin flirts, “we could do this?”
“I believe so”, says Karen, ignoring the way in which Robin’s mouth is moving.
“Well”, he tongues, “let’s give this a go then.”
10:25, the FTSE falls 2222 points to 2778.00, MGB share price at £0.0018p
The boardroom meeting is called to a close and Robin grabs Karen’s arm, pulling her into a tight embrace from which she finds herself hard to extract.
“Where is this wonderful article you found on Quantitative Easing”, he licks.
“You’ll find it on your desk Robin”, she responds, quietly placing her knee against his crotch in order to avoid any further intrusion into her space.
Robin gets the message and returns to his office, to find the article in question:
A man from Northern Ireland has been jailed after an experiment in which he attempted to turn his own faeces into gold went wrong and started a fire in a block of flats.