Comment: Why bankers need to be mathematicians
"When he returns to Swiss Bank, Mr Bogni will be one of that rare breed - a senior banker who actually knows what he is talking about"
Wednesday 17 May 1995
Mr Bogni is, after all, the man most closely associated with Swiss Bank's aggressive and sometimes controversial push into the London investment banking scene. Often, he was seen to be warring with more traditional and conservatively run houses and with Warburg in particular in his push for new business. To have left him in a position of authority and control during the difficult and painful merger process would have been seen as undiplomatic, to put it at its mildest. The statesman-like figure of Mr Ospel, on the other hand, allows the Warburg people to salvage at least some pride from the wreckage.
People will think what they will and not be told otherwise, but in fact what Mr Bogni is doing is what most senior bankers probably need to do at least once in their career - take a break and go back to college. Banking executives are often accused these days of understanding little or nothing about the activities of the teenage traders and "rocket scientists" who drive their fast-growing derivatives activities. By all accounts, you would not have required a PhD in advanced mathematics to have spotted that what Nick Leeson was up to couldn't possibly have made money. The Barings collapse made the point nonetheless; banking is increasingly being run by people who do not understand fully the business they operate in.
Swiss Bank is a leading world player in all three main derivative areas - interest rate swops, equity options and foreign exchange options. Mr Bogni would probably claim to know something of how they all work, but the mathematical theory behind them is something else. When he returns to Swiss Bank, Mr Bogni will be one of that rare breed - a senior banker who actually knows what he is talking about.
The world is full of sceptics, however. Even though he will not be starting his studies until the end of the year and will therefore play a key role in the early stages of the merger, few will believe that the advancement of technical knowledge is the real explanation for his going. Whatever the truth, Mr Bogni is probably wise to be away from the infighting that is bound to occur in the early stages of this awkward marriage. By the time he returns, it will be to a once-more stable and self-confident organisation. The new SBC Warburg combine deserves to work, despite the forced circumstances under which it is coming about.
In pictures: Saturn images from Cassini probe as it prepares to turn lens towards Earth
Serena Williams apologises after comment that rape victim 'shouldn't have put herself in that position'
FBI finds possible human remains at former home of late gangster James Burke - the man who inspired Goodfellas
'Theres something quite unpleasant going on': Nigel Farage confronted for second time on visit to Scotland
World news in pictures
- 1 Bankers could face jail after report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 2 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 3 Richard Nieuwenhuizen death: Six teenagers and 50-year-old father convicted of manslaughter in shocking case of referee killed over a game of football
- 4 Exclusive: Newcastle's star talent-spotter on brink as Joe Kinnear sparks walkout
- 5 Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats
iJobs Money & Business
£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: FX Options Front Office Java / C# Developer - Ba...
£600 - £700 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager - Front Office - Regulatory IT C...
£600 - £750 per day: Orgtel: FATCA Project Manager - Banking - London - £600-...
£550 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Fidessa Analyst / PM - Banking - London - Up to £...