A spotter’s guide to the men and women of finance.
Readers may detect some animus — a peculiar aversion — on the Jolly Contrarian’s part to attorneys of a North American disposition, but really he is quite fond of them, one on one. Individually, US attorneys are uncommonly good, decent people, and as long as you don’t get them onto the subject of US Securities Regulation or market practice, perfectly agreeable company, especially as the evening draws on. Only when taken as a collective does the prospect pall.
For they — and the institutions that have shaped them and which they comprise — have come up with some of the most confounded gouts of articulated of nonsense ever to don a pair of stilts.
- Rehypothecation: The art of giving away something you do not have;
- The impossibility of netting ERISA funds.
- Gross negligence
- Equitable indemnity
Now we Brits are hardly ones to throw stones — even we from the former colonies of the antipodes — but US attorneys tend to suppose everyone knows about their jurisdiction, cares about it, is in awe of it, and will have no objection to submitting to it. Every now and then you come across a counterparty in some far-flung backwater (continental Europe, for example) who expresses bafflement or even affrontery at the thought of subjugating itself to the law of the Americans. That this might happen takes some Americans by surprise. Then again, the fact it takes some Americans by surprise, takes everyone else by surprise. It is a fruitless task trying to get the bottom of who is most justifiably surprised but, for the record, it’s us.