Mystic Macaskill: 2021 – SoftBank’s 300 years of day trading begin
Euromoney’s futurologist Mystic Maca gets on a Zoom call with next year, when markets return to a version of normality.
SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son announces an important new hire.
“I’m thrilled to bring in Dave ‘Davey Day Trader’ Portnoy from Barstool Sports to run my new hedge fund ‘Northstar Unending Trading Singularity’ (Nuts). Dave shares my vision of 300 years of day trading and understands that markets can only go up, possibly even faster as we approach the singularity and happiness for everyone,” says Son.
“Rajeev Misra will stay at the Vision Fund, but his main role will be lending out our Alibaba shares so that Dave and I can buy other tech stocks that begin with A; like Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and maybe Aramco – I don’t want Saudi Crown Prince MBS to think I’ve moved on to my next scheme and forgotten all about him,” Son adds. “I might be crazy, but I’m not that crazy!”
A ‘Cancel Schwarzman’ campaign gathers pace after details emerge of Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman’s role in encouraging president Donald Trump to refuse to concede the 2020 election.
Blackstone reacts quickly as big pension fund investors threaten to withdraw money.
“I want to wish Steve all the best as he transitions to his new role as project manager for the Trump presidential library in Mar-a-Lago,” says Jon Gray, the new Blackstone chairman and chief executive. “Sadly, we won’t be able to contribute any funds, however, as I am concentrating on building our new ESG product line and rebranding our firm as Greenstone.”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vows to keep up the pressure on Trump’s chief cheerleader on Wall Street.
“We need to also take Schwarzman’s name off the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue,” she says. “He can stick it on Trump’s Taj Ma Lago library with no books, if he wants.”
Citigroup’s new chief executive Jane Fraser ruffles feathers by appointing convicted Libor manipulator Tom Hayes as head of operational risk management.
“Tom didn’t get to showcase his full skill set when he was a Yen swap trader for us, but now that he is out of prison, he’ll have a chance to rehabilitate himself by overhauling our risk management,” says Fraser.
“Say what you want about Tom, but at least he never wired $900 million to Revlon creditors by mistake. In fact, he actually made us some money before we gave it all back in Libor rigging fines, so you could argue he did a better job than his successors, who were fined $400 million just last year because they didn’t know how to turn on the AI compliance turbine,” Fraser continues. “I’m told Tom finished a course in IT while he was in jail, so that puts him way ahead of our current guys.”
Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon announces that Andrea Orcel has been hired as head of investment banking.
“There’s been something missing since Gregg Lemkau took his floppy hair and unbuttoned white shirts off to his new job running Michael Dell’s farm-to-table family office,” says Solomon.
I’m just glad I gave all $4 billion of my Spac money to Moneyball’s Billy Beane to buy lots of sporty stuff
“Let’s face it – most of the rest of us here are mean old guys with shaved heads, and no amount of bandanna wearing or DJ-ing in the Hamptons is going to change that. Andrea will bring a much-needed injection of European sartorial flair.
“He also has great personal connections that should help us tap into the coming wave of European bank M&A, unless we want to do any deals in Spain, Switzerland, the UK or the Netherlands, of course,” adds Solomon.
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley steps down, just as European bank mergers pick up pace.
“There is a place for Barclays in the current consolidation, Brexit notwithstanding, but retail banking isn’t for me,” says Staley. “I realized my dream of creating a Brigadoon version of JPMorgan right here in Canary Wharf, where we pretend we work for an investment bank in 2006 and hope the equity option traders stay on a winning streak.
“But the weather in London can get you down,” Staley adds. “That’s why I’m moving to run Leon Black’s family office now that he has been pushed out of Apollo. We’re planning to set up shop on Epstein Island in the Caribbean, where we can reminisce in the sun along with Prince Andrew, who is coming onboard as company secretary and chief investment officer.”
The post-pandemic summer of sport gets underway, to spectacular online viewing figures as well as renewed in-person attendance.
“I’m just glad I gave all $4 billion of my Spac money to Moneyball’s Billy Beane to buy lots of sporty stuff,” says billionaire investor Bill Ackman. “I think he bought Liverpool United and the New York Red Sox and David Beckham’s good leg and some other things. But, anyway, we’re up at least another $4 billion, maybe more. Did I tell you I once tried out as a kicker for the Yankees? Billy says I could have been a winner in any sport I wanted.”
HSBC replaces its AGM with a plenary session and announces that chief executive Noel Quinn will now be known as general secretary of the central banking committee.
Secretary Quinn’s five-year plan entitled: ‘The age of great banking – socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics’ is poorly received by Western stock analysts, but HSBC shares rise after Beijing approves a special ‘people’s dividend’ for retail investors in Hong Kong.
“You know, if you keep your head down, you can make a surprising amount of money in Asian finance,” says secretary Quinn. “Xi Jinping thought has opened my eyes to the correct lane on the road to prosperity.”
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak turns a potential scandal over profits from Covid-19 vaccine producers’ shares for his former hedge fund to his political advantage by personally donating £100 to every British national health service worker.
Prime minister Boris Johnson plots to replace the increasingly popular Sunak with leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg but withdraws the plan after a damaging governance report is released about Rees-Mogg’s own hedge fund, Somerset Capital.
If Liz Warren thinks I give a crap about any of this, she’s been handing out A grades in Harvard for too long
Rees-Mogg is characteristically dismissive about the allegations.
“I fail to see how ‘children for chimney cleaning’ is anything other than an investment in employment for our friends in the north and their tracksuit-clad offspring, who I daresay would otherwise busy themselves chiefly in throwing pies at police officers,” he says. “Somerset Capital is a bastion of 18th-century investing values, to be cherished rather than disparaged.”
Johnson hatches another plan to undermine Sunak by appointing billionaire broker Michael Spencer to review the UK’s Debt Management Office.
“Michael, or Baron Alresford of Moolah as he is more correctly styled nowadays, taught me everything I know about money,” says Johnson. “To wit, a chap needs a chum with oodles of the stuff if he’s to have any chance of keeping the wolf from the door with respect to ex-wives and the like. Plus, Michael is universally acknowledged as the cynosure of hospitality, if that’s the word I’m looking for. I never thought that white truffles would work with sausages on sticks until I attended his unforgettable House of Lords ermine and leopardskin ball, and the Chateau Arriviste from Michael’s personal vineyard washed everything down rather wonderfully.”
President Joe Biden’s progressive allies become increasingly dissatisfied with the slow pace of reform under his administration. “Not only do we want a green new deal with real teeth, but I personally want Larry Fink and Jamie Dimon to admit that they are complete hypocrites for espousing ESG principles without making any meaningful changes whatsoever to their own business practices,” says senator Elizabeth Warren.
Fink unveils a new ‘green hairshirt’ policy for all BlackRock employees, and is rewarded with a quick recovery in the value of his own share options.
Dimon proves less adaptable.
“If Liz Warren thinks I give a crap about any of this, she’s been handing out A grades in Harvard for too long,” he says. “If you want me out just say the word, I’ll be happy to go, believe me.”
Soon afterwards JPMorgan announces that Dimon will take a specially created chairman emeritus role and be succeeded as chief executive by Jennifer Piepszak.
Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio announces that his proprietary psycho-historical trading model signals that a market melt-up is about to begin.
“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain,” says Dalio. “But enough about the return of Burning Man, the important thing for my fellow students of history to grasp is that there is always an equity market melt-up exactly six months after the beginning of the end of a pandemic. That’s why I am abandoning this boring 60/40 risk parity stuff and going all in on the Nasdaq.”
Dalio’s 900-page e-book ‘Principles for melting up’ becomes required reading on Wall Street but does nothing to halt a 30% slump in global stock indices at the end of the month.
SoftBank’s Masa Son announces another shift in strategy.
“Alibaba was largely unaffected by last month’s market crash because its single-day online sales hit a new high in China. In fact, our Alibaba stake is worth $200 billion again, despite all of Rajeev’s weird convertible and reversible collar trades to fund my bets,” says Son. “That is why I am moving on from tech stocks beginning with A to the letter B – for bitcoin. I can reveal today that not only am I the bitcoin whale, but also the founder of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto! This news will bring forward the onset of the singularity and should also close SoftBank’s record 95% discount to our nominal asset value.”
Public investors seem unconvinced, and SoftBank stock falls further after the resignation of Dave ‘Davey Day Trader’ Portnoy.
“I thought my investing style was crazy, but this guy is on another level,” says Portnoy. “It’s time for me to get back to sports betting from my puffy chair with a few brewskis and a slice – at least the odds in Vegas make some sense.”