This looks like it will be a cracking read!
London `Cityboy' Unmasks World of Analysts Pushing `Gibberish'
2008-06-19 20:25 (New York)
By Sarah Thompson
June 20 (Bloomberg) -- As a utilities analyst at Dresdner
Kleinwort, Geraint Anderson was advising clients how to invest. At
the same time, through an anonymous London newspaper column, he
was telling readers how analysts wrote ``utter gibberish.''
Anderson, 35, announced on June 2 in his Cityboy column in
TheLondonPaper that he'd quit and ended a 12-year stockbroking
career: ``I've been wasting my precious time for far too long,
working my sweet a** off in a rat race with no end in sight.'' He
revealed his identity in the newspaper this week.
While for 22 months he used his column, the newspaper's most
popular, to describe colleagues as ``degenerate'' and himself as
``boring the pants off clients,'' Anderson also was writing a book
about London's financial workers. ``Cityboy: Beer and Loathing in
the Square Mile'' will be published next week, and scourges
brokers through composite characters and banks.
``We didn't invent greed, us City boys, but we have certainly
become its finest exponents,'' Anderson said in an interview. He
was ranked the No. 1 stock picker in the U.K. and Ireland for
utilities by StarMine Corp. in 2005.
Dresdner Kleinwort spokesman Michael Goodbody said the
London-based investment bank had no comment on Anderson's book or
columns, published in a newspaper with a circulation of 500,000.
``We wish him every success,'' Goodbody said.
Anderson started writing the book, produced by Headline
Publishing, after a scooter accident last August that almost
killed him. He said he wanted to tell people in a ``dramatic'' way
about the lives of people who work in the City through the
experiences of a broker progressing through the industry.
``You're quite busy when you're a stockbroker, even when
you're a lazy degenerate like me,'' he said. The three-week break
after the accident gave him the time to write the book.
Anderson makes a mockery of himself as much as colleagues.
The book's narrator is ``Steve Jones,'' who goes to work for Bank
Inutile. ``There are quite a few similarities between us,'' said
At one point, Jones, who's been negotiating to switch firms,
gets a phone call with an offer: basic pay of 100,000 pounds
($197,000) and two guaranteed bonuses of 250,000 pounds.
``What a total buffoon!'' Jones says of the person making the
offer. ``These total losers think that I'm worth almost 700,000
pounds over the next year-and-a-half. Don't they realize I'm just
a stoner hippy who got lucky?''
Anderson himself took a year's break after graduating with a
BA in history from Cambridge University. He grew a goatee, hair
that fell to his shoulders, and wore earrings.
`Cover Your Back'
His brother convinced him to join London's financial-services
industry, and Anderson bought his first suit second-hand, for six
pounds, from a school friend.
His alter ego, Jones, tells readers in the book of the six
key pieces of advice he received at the outset of his career and
which stood him in ``good stead'' for more than a decade:
* ``Press the Flesh.'' Take clients out for expensive
meals, often. ``My later success at this aspect of the job was
aided by the fact that most of my competitors were deeply tedious
individuals,'' Jones says.
* ``Publish or Perish.'' Write research notes. ``All you
needed to do was spin a vaguely plausible yarn that was difficult
to disprove, write it down, and the suckers would bite.''
* ``Blow Your Own Trumpet.'' Boast a lot. ``It is a given
in this business that if someone can steal your thunder and take
credit for your achievement then they will do so.''
`Steal His Clients'
* ``Cover Your Back.'' Avoid taking a stand. ``Bold
statements like, `These shares will go up because . . .' make you
a hostage to fortune. If you know what's good for you, bung in a
* ``Ride on a Successful Analyst's Coat Tails.'' And once
everything has been learned from this person, ``form your own
team, stealing his clients and ideas.''
* ``None of This S*** Matters.'' The job ``is just the
best legal means of making vast amounts of cash.''
The book is an expansion of many of the anecdotes featured in
TheLondonPaper, published by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and
distributed free to commuters, wanted someone to write an
``insidery column about the City,'' Associate Editor Dominic
Midgley said. Anderson was ``prepared to tell it like it is'' and
became ``the most popular columnist we had.''
Jones, the book's protagonist, has observations on all manner
of brokers' behavior.
`Destroyed His Personality'
``Cityboys (and occasionally Citygirls) become arrogant
because their job often requires them to do so,'' he tells the
reader. ``Every day a trader or fund manager buys or sells a
share, they're implicitly saying that the market (e.g. someone
else) has GOT IT WRONG and mispriced the asset.''
He also has warnings for people who meet brokers.
``Next time you're at a dinner party and you find yourself
sat next to some dreadful tosser from the City braying on about
how fantastic he is, remember two things,'' says Jones. ``Firstly,
it's probably not the poor chap's fault, but rather his job that's
destroyed his personality. Secondly, be aware that he needs to be
an arrogant buffoon in order to carry out his job properly.''
Anderson said he has enough money never to have to work.
``I'm going to be living the life of Riley but I also have
plans,'' he said in the interview. ``I want to do some good, give
something back.'' He's not sure what, just yet.