Crack drafting squad

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People Anatomy™
A spotter’s guide to the men and women of finance.
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An AI rendering of the crack drafting squad, yesterday
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Amongst the jobsworths, the slouches, the vain contrarians and jouneypersons, there are some ninjas. It is as well to recognise them when you see them. These are the crack drafting squads — paramilitary-trained professional vocabulary marksmen and markswomen of the financial services industry. They will stop at nothing to convolute the simple and, by heroic over-description, render the mundane impenetrable.

The best are those in the employ of ISDA. They came up with the quintuple negative in the definition of Indemnifiable Taxes after all. The JC will never tire of marvelling at how comprehensively ISDA’s crack drafting squad™ can, through its sheer, collected, anxiety, render basic concepts as vast, undulating tracts of unintelligible text: a grand, entropic, soggy nothingness.

Actually, we can and do tire of it. But the mental effort of feigning respect and affection for the squad’s quaint syntactical idioms — learning to love the monster, so to speak; a form of self-inflicted Stockholm syndrome — has its benefits. For if you can’t laugh, all hope is lost.

But for sheer weight of volume and multi-lingual capability, the European Commission’s vicious mercenary wordsmiths — they who contrived “and, as the case may be, or”, after all — run the derivatives guys pretty close.


In our pages you will read much of the “will to live,” and more particularly one’s loss of it when perusing the verbiage with which derivatives lawyers document their business. It rather raises the presumption that those who would set the semantic boundaries on capital markets documentation do not have a will to live. They can’t. That, allied with a strangely nocturnal lifestyle, is behind the persistent rumours that ISDA is a disguised coven of vampires.

The crack drafting squads, listed

See also