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The Jolly Contrarian’s Glossary

The snippy guide to financial services lingo.™
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A queer fish with an odd relationship with the legal department, from whose bosom the very idea of a “structurer” originated. Structurers, and legal structurers, are some kind of odd hybrid between Sales and Trading, hired onto the desk in the dog days of 2005 (when anyone actually didstructuring”) to salt away the fiddly details of a complex derivative trade that Trading can’t model and Sales has no hope of understanding, let alone giving the merest toss about. Structurers are essentially lawyers that have got a bit giddy about working in an investment bank.

Whether she is a legal übermensch who has overcome her basic nature to become something greater, or just a runt who, having proven unable to hack the rigours of unadulterated legal practice, has succumbed to her own mortal weakness, is a matter of conjecture. Opinions are divided: structurers will tell you it’s the former; unreconstructed in-house lawyers will swear it’s the latter — each talks her own book, in other words — though the irony is that private practice lawyers will say exactly the same thing about those who have gone in-house.

In any case, structurers tend to obsess about legal details, to the exasperation of those in legal whose job it actually is to obsess about this. Observe the effect this has on legal product: when two factions in the same camp are trying to outdo each other’s pedantry before the other side has even had a look, there is scant hope that the document will avoid disaster: it was this kind of internal arms race, after all, that led to the CDO cubed.

There are fewer structurers around these days, and they’re a chastened lot.

See also

Dramatis personae: CEO | CFO | Client | Employees: Divers · Excuse pre-loaders · Survivors · Contractors · The Muppet Show | Middle management: COO · Consultant · MBA | Controllers: Financial reporting | Risk | Credit | Operations | IT | Legal: GC · Inhouse counsel · Docs unit · Litigator · Tax lawyer · US attorney Lawyer | Front office: Trading | Structuring | Sales |