Tim Price of ‘The Price of Everything’ blog fame has written a good column in FT. Sample these two paragraphs:
And an analysis of the Altman Z Score, which assesses the likelihood of corporate insolvency by comparing various balance sheet measures, shows that the frankly flakiest companies have seen their shares hugely outperform the rest of the market even as their capital strength deteriorates. In short, this has been a rally driven by junk.
But then what should we expect, when governments and their nominally independent central bank associates have conspired to manipulate prices throughout the capital asset structure, primarily to bail out banks that are conspicuously unfit for purpose? We are now trapped within a global parody of free markets. [More here]
Similarly, on a somewhat related topic, John Kay talks of the application of the Peter’s principle to the financial industry. He finds financial industry is apt for the application of Peter’s principle:
The financial services industry is particularly vulnerable to hubris because sections of it are not very competitive, and randomness plays a large role in the outcome of speculative transactions. It is therefore particularly easy for those who work in financial institutions to make the mistake of believing that their success is the result of exceptional skill rather than good fortune. What more natural to believe than that extraordinary talent will find pots of gold under other rainbows? Until vanity is vanquished, I anticipate that diversification to the level of incompetence will continue to be a powerful element in business behaviour. [More here]
I would add ‘acquisition’ to the comment about ‘diversification to the level of incompetence’.