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Off the record

"We have spent the last 12 months focused on advising and executing clients"
We were a bit worried when a bank that has radically reduced the number of core clients it covers told us how it was achieving its strategy

"It was one of those countries in Africa, I can’t quite remember which one. Some African country..."

An American banker on a global awards pitch flounders as he tries to recall an M&A deal that took place in that well known African country: Mongolia...

"Remember when we all used to gather round the screens to hear what Greenspan had to say about the US economy every quarter? Well, now it’s every day, with a bunch of people we never knew existed, and we still don’t really know who they are or what they do"

A trader remembers a more simple time of excessive exuberance, before the eurozone storm brought a new and expanded cast of characters to the global markets stage

"It sucks"

The most succinct, and accurate, description of the market environment we heard during the awards process, from one global head of markets who should know

"These markets are killing banks"

An investment bank chief uses a few more words, but offers a similar message

"Nothing has changed. It’s still crap"

A Hong Kong banker responds to a particularly long-winded question about the state of the ECM markets in Asia in terms everyone can understand

" Well we don’t do correlation trading any more. I can’t say any of our clients miss it"

Are banks exiting businesses or being exited from them? This head of markets seems unsure

"As soon as I heard about JPMorgan’s trading blunder I thought: ‘Oh great. That’s a double colonoscopy for all of us then’"

One head of a US investment bank shows that one bank’s problems cause pain for the whole of Wall Street

"We’re not best-in-class on risk. But we’re a whole lot better in class than we were"

The CEO of one bank that suffered badly in the financial crisis sees improvement, but room for some more

"Humans are 98% chimpanzee, but it’s the 2% that makes the difference. And it’s the same with banks..."

We know bankers like to waffle on about the DNA of their institutions, but...

"Oh you’re from Euromoney? I’m pitching to you for best global ECM house later. Well, that and best emerging markets ECM house. But I don’t really care about that"

The head of ECM for EMEA at a big bank reveals where his priorities lie

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