Thursday, 30 July 2009

Cash & Burn: a skeptics' guide to finance

The millennium's first decade saw the largest boom in credit ever known. Throughout these years I was a baffled and frequently bemused specialist journalist, learning my trade and finding out about the looking glass world of debt finance.

I started in Eurobonds, moved into bank loans, then ratings and structured finance. After that, I set up an information service covering lending to Central and Eastern Europe. I now work for one of the world's largest media organisations, still writing about debt.

Sometime during my career I realised how fortunate I was to be writing about this world. Others might wonder why. Sticking to a largely desk-bound job in the town where I was born hardly sounds glamorous, or exciting.

Many financial journalists spend much of their time plotting to escape this world and land up in the heady territory of political reporting, or highly paid public relations work. I've never been tempted. Well, never seriously.

The reason why I stay is because of the stories. There are always great stories. I sit down at my desk in the morning and my trouble is always one of having too many things to write; my list of story ideas is never short.

So what are these stories? And why haven't you heard about them before?

That's what I aim to explain here. And if these words go on, and people like them, I'll try to turn it into something else. A book maybe. Or a website. We'll see (let's not get ahead of ourselves).

In the meantime, if there's anything you want to know about this weird world, please ask and see if I can find out about it for you.

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