Sunday Musings: Balance Migration

When I wrote last Sunday’s piece on the newly created term “Market Dislocations” and the possibility that we might be introduced to more BS terminology relating to the Subprime fallout, I did not realize how quickly new terminology might appear.

MarketWatch had a blurb titled “Bear CFO: some prime brokerage clients moved money to rivals,” in which he explained that “we did see some balance migration going to other prime brokers.”

Hmm, balance migration? I wonder who thinks up that terminology. If you haven’t read the article, you may be trying to figure out what he is talking about. While all businesses, at one time or another, “lose” clients, customers or patients, that would be too ordinary of a statement for a Wall Street firm. They don’t ‘lose’ customers, they simply experience ‘balance migration.’

The CFO went on to say that “what we really saw were clients trying to be more defensive and moving balances in many cases into the hands of the banks where they felt there was a stronger hand, if you will.”

Ouch; does someone actually get paid to write this garbage?

The company has lost billions of dollars of clients’ money and still can’t get off their high horse. Wouldn’t this be the time to eat some humble pie and use a different tone to re-connect with lost customers?

On the other hand, BS (not Bear Stearns) terminology permeates every part of American business in good times and bad. If you’re in sales and have recently lost some customers, you might consider going to your boss (or write an e-mail) and explain that there is nothing to worry about; you simply have experienced some balance migration to your competitor. See what he says; maybe that will qualify you to move up in the company food chain.

About Ulli Niemann

Ulli Niemann is the publisher of "The ETF Bully" and is a Registered Investment Advisor. Learn more
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