01 November 2008

Ass-Backward Securities

I could not have drawn the Halloween 2008 cartoon without the help of This American Life. In episodes 355 (The Giant Pool of Money) and 365 (Another Frightening Show About the Economy), Ira Glass explained as simply as possible all the financial terms like asset-backed securities and default credit swaps. Working in a the computer support department of a financial firm, I come across these terms all the time. To me they are just a bunch of abstract terms. I think of them in terms of what resources on the network they use, not how they affect the lives of people. I know the asset-backed securities group was the first to migrate off those ailing qtrees, onto a share created at the volume, with 3 qtrees under the share. Default credit swaps still hasn't made their move, although I might have already Robocopied their data for them. Commercial paper? Those people are outside the Investment Bank umbrella and have their own, way better organized shared drives. Just a J: drive and at most an M: or K: drive, not the alphabet soup that the IB people drag around from legacy domain to strategic.

I still don't fully understand all the terms that Ira Glass mentioned, but I have a less vague idea of what they are. Give This American Life a try if you have never listened to it. For me it is hard to catch it on the radio so I subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

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