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And Another Thing…

I was going to start this year’s Irrationals in this column – and I will come to that later, but I can’t let this column pass without a quick mention of the passing of former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. To many readers he was probably best known thanks to the regulation that bears his name but those of us of a (ahem) certain generation, he was the first Fed chair we can remember.

A friend has sent me a copy of a speech Volcker gave to Forex Association USA (that’s ACI in modern parlance), in which, perhaps surprisingly for one so senior, especially when viewed through the prism of the modern world, he spoke openly about exchange rates and not without criticism of FX traders’ activities – because that was the way it was back then. More recently FX traders have come under fire for conduct-related issues; back in the 1980s they were assaulted for having the gall to actually reflect fundamentals and trade! The big problem was volatility and FX traders were widely seen by the authorities as exacerbating that.

So now that youngsters understand why the rule effectively banning risk taking in banks has the name of the Fed chair from the 1980s, let’s quickly move on, by popular demand (I think one person asked me about them anyway), to the 2019 Irrationals. For those of you with short attention spans these are my personal selections – both positive and negative – of what made markets interesting this year.

Before we do that, however, there is another tradition (this is the second year) which has to be observed – the voting for this year’s P&L Socks Award. Last year I observed that by awarding an Irrational to the best pair of socks might ratchet up interest for this industry is nothing if not competitive, and I was right. There were so many for P&L’s editor-in-chief and sock fetish Julie Ros to snap on her camera that I have had to cut it down to a short list of eight.

All you need to do is go to and rank the socks in your order of preference and the winner will be revealed later this month.

Here are the contenders…

There’s a lot going on here, let’s call them “Bright”

You’ve heard of the Stars and Stripes – here’s the Spots and Stripes

All together now…”We all live in a yellow submarine…”

Where’s Waldo?

Whoever it is, they’re on message – Profit & Loss Socks!

For the Doctor Who fans out there – Daleks!

One for the traditionalists out there – simple stripes

No idea what’s going on here but let’s call it “crazy”!

So, go to and have your say in this very important poll!

Colin Lambert

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