Simmons TOBS offensive

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The Devil’s Advocate

Look out! Squibs!


In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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Each time ESMA updates MiFID, dear old Simmons & Simmons kicks off a really hilarious[1] game where they gee their institutional asset manager clients up into a frenzy about how outrageous their brokersterms of business are, and present them with a nineteen-page generic letter of rebuttal. This precipitates a 9 month attritional paper war which is redolent of — and about as much of a waste of time, effort and young lives as — the Belgian trenches in World War I.

In fairness, many brokers don’t help themselves with their completely absurd terms of business. The longer ones check in at something like 80 pages. Revolut once proudly reduced theirs to a level twenty-seven. But the shortest, best ones, are three or four.

As we discuss elsewhere, providing a standard-form rebuttal is quite a novel and creative way of short-circuiting a tedious and wasteful process, in theory, but one’s lofty aspirations can be properly snookered by poor execution, and Simmons rebuttal letter, clocking in at 19 pages and therefore some four times as long as some of the contractual terms it seeks to rebuff, is as sorry a piece of execution as you might expect from someone committed to prolonging, and not circumventing, a process: to paraphrase Blackadder, by the time this execution is finished you don’t so much need a spike as a toast rack.

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  1. Like really hilarious. I can’t tell you how fun it is.