SWAPS TRADER: “I LOVE YOU.” …

by on 12 July 2012

By JEFFREY CANE

The Things Traders Say


How do traders talk?

The popular image, formed by the “Wall Street” movies and other popular depictions, is a crowded room of men yelling into phones or at their screens. There is a heated atmosphere of testosterone and thinly veiled hostility. But some of the communications released on Wednesday as part of the settlements with Barclays reveal something unexpected: tenderness. The e-mails were disclosed as part of the deal with Barclays, which agreed to pay more than $450 million to resolve accusations that it tried to manipulate crucial interest rates. In these e-mail exchanges, the traders are asking favors of other Barclays employees. Everyone is usually polite, as a senior euro swaps trader asked on Aug. 14, 2006:


“We have some big fixings today. Is it possible to have a very low 1m and high 3m and 6m? Thx a lot for your help.”


 “Sure, will do,” responded the Barclays employee who helped submit the rates for the Euro interbank offered rate, or Euribor.

Well, that was easy.

And indeed those Euribor submitters could be almost


affectionate to the traders. Among their e-mail responses were: “For you, anything,” and “Done…for you big boy.”

The traders for their part were certainly grateful. As one wrote: “Dude. I owe you big time! Come over one day after work and I’m opening a bottle of Bollinger.”

In other instances, special pleading was required. On Friday, March 10, 2006, two dollar-derivatives traders asked for help:

Trader C: “We have an unbelievably large set on Monday (the IMM). We need a really low 3m fix, it could potentially cost a fortune. Would really appreciate any help”

Trader B: “I really need a very very low 3m fixing on Monday – preferably we get kicked out. We have about 80 yards [billion] fixing for the desk and each 0.1 [one basis point] lower in the fix is a huge help for us. So 4.90 or lower would be fantastic”.

The following Monday, the traders got their wish:

Trader C: “The big day [has] arrived… My NYK are screaming at me about an unchanged 3m libor. As always, any help wd be greatly appreciated. What do you think you’ll go for 3m?”

Submitter: “I am going 90 altho 91 is what I should be posting”.

Trader C: “When I retire and write a book about this business your name will be written in golden letters”.

Submitter: “I would prefer this not be in any book!”

At times, the traders appeared to be wooing the rate submitters, like this Nov. 13, 2006, exchange:

Swaps trader: “Sorry to be a pain but just to remind you the importance of a low fixing for us today.”

Barclays’ senior Euribor submitter: “No problem, I had not forgotten. The brokers are going for 3.372, we will put in 36 for our contribution.”

Swaps trader: “I love you.”