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Financial Quotes

Finance Quotes

  • "We need to move beyond the demonisation of overpaid traders … In finance and economics, ill-designed policy is a more powerful force for harm than individual greed or error."
    Adair, Lord Turner (1955–), British chairman of the Financial Services Authority
    Source: Speech, City of London (September 21, 2010)
  • "When you work in bank trading you are trading other people’s money; you learn a lot of bad habits. Some of the worst traders I know are bank traders … There’s nothing better than being able to dump your worst positions on your customers. We don’t have that ability."
    Yra Harris, US bond trader and blogger
    On the difference between bank trading and bond trading
    Source: Quoted in the Independent (London) (June 7, 2010)
  • "There is an angry mob out there. Its shape is dimly perceived, but the terrifying shadows cast by its flaming torches are clear enough. This is the bond market in full cry. Its most aggressive participants even call themselves the “bond vigilantes.”"
    Stephen Foley, British journalist
    On the bond market’s hostile reaction to rising government deficits
    Source: Independent (London) (June 7, 2010)
  • "In Las Vegas, people know that the odds are stacked against them. On Wall Street, they manipulate the odds while you are playing the game."
    John Ensign (1958–), US senator
    Source: Speaking at a congressional hearing into the trading practices of Goldman Sachs (April 27, 2010)
  • "An elected government making huge changes with the consent of its people, is being undermined by concentrated powers in unregulated markets—powers which go beyond those of any individual government."
    George Papandreou (1952–), Greek prime minister
    Referring to the role of financial markets in the Greek debt crisis of 2010
    Source: Speech, Washington, DC (March 2010)
  • "I’ve always been sceptical about the notion that the market is a person you can engage in an argument with, and that that person is an intelligent, rational, well-intentioned person: it is fantasy. We know that … the market is subject to irrational optimism and pessimism, and is vindictive … You’re dealing with a crazy man … Having got what he wants he will still kill you."
    Joseph Stiglitz (1943–), US economist
    On government attempts to placate financial markets
    Source: Interview, Independent (London) (February 9, 2010)
  • "If we are really serious about preventing another crisis like the 2008 meltdown we should simply ban complex financial instruments, unless they can be unambiguously shown to benefit society in the long run. This is what we do all the time with other products—drugs, cars, electrical products and many others."
    Ha-Joon Chang (1963–), South Korean economist and author
    Source: 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (2010)
  • "It sounds to me like selling a car with faulty brakes, and then buying an insurance policy on those cars."
    Phil Angelides (1953–), US politician
    On Goldman Sachs’s policy of selling high-risk mortgage-linked derivatives while simultaneously betting against them in the market
    Source: Remark made when chairing the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (2010)
  • "It’s as if people used the invention of seat belts as an opportunity to take up drunk driving."
    John Lanchester (1962–), British journalist and novelist
    On the changing use of credit derivatives in the years leading up to the crisis of 2008–09
    Source: I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and Noone Can Pay (2010)
  • "I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth—one shred of evidence."
    Paul A. Volcker (1927–), US economist and former chairman of the Federal Reserve
    Source: Speaking at a conference of senior bankers (December 8, 2009)
  • "I want them poor and they deserve to be poor. You can't have capitalism without punishment."
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb (1960–), Lebanese-born US academic and writer, former derivatives trader
    Comments made at the World Economic Forum, January 2009.
    Source: Quoted in James Saft's Reuters blog (January 30, 2009)
  • "Private equity has absolutely no reason to exist. The private equity holder has all the upside and the banks all the downside."
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb (1960–), Lebanese-born US academic and writer, former derivatives trader
    Comments made at the World Economic Forum, January 2009.
    Source: Quoted in James Saft's Reuters blog (January 30, 2009)
  • "We should probably stop trading derivatives, anything more complex than regular options … I am an options trader, and I don't understand options. How do you want a regulator to understand them?"
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb (1960–), Lebanese-born US academic and writer, former derivatives trader
    Source: Interview on Bloomberg TV (January 29, 2009)
  • "Blaming the hedge funds for the crisis is like blaming the passengers in a bus crash."
    Paul Marshall (1959–), British hedge fund manager
    Source: Speaking to a Treasury Committee inquiry (January 28, 2009)
  • "I don't think there is a sound UK bank now, at least, if there is one I don't know about it. The City of London is finished, the financial centre of the world is moving east. All the money is in Asia. Why would it go back to the West? You don't need London."
    Jim Rogers (1942–), US investor and author
    Source: Speaking on Bloomberg TV (January 20, 2009)
  • "What kind of monster has been created here? It's like you raised a cute kid who then grew up and committed a horrible crime."
    Anonymous
    Comment by a financier at JP Morgan Stern on complex derivatives.
    Source: Quoted in Fool's Gold (Gillian Tett, 2009)
  • "Financial hydrogen bombs built on personal computers by 26-year-olds with MBAs."
    Felix Rohatyn (1928–), US investment company executive
    On complex derivatives.
    Source: Quoted in Fool's Gold (Gillian Tett, 2009)
  • "When car crashes happen, people don't blame cars or stop driving them, they blame the drivers! Derivatives are the same."
    Terri Duhon, US financier
    Source: Quoted in Fool's Gold (Gillian Tett, 2009)
  • "Remember this crisis began in regulated entities. This happened right under our noses."
    Paul S. Atkins (1958–), US former member of the Securities and Exchange Commission
    Source: Quoted in the Washington Post (December 16, 2008)
  • "The arrangement bore the same relation to actual finance as fantasy football bears to the NFL."
    Michael Lewis (1960–), US writer and former financial trader
    On credit default swaps.
    Source: Condé Nast Portfolio (December 2008)
  • "The really scary part is that we don't have a clue. This has become essentially the dark matter of the financial universe."
    Chris Wolf, US hedge fund manager
    On the risk posed by credit default swaps.
    Source: Quoted in Fortune (Nicholas Varchaver and Katie Benner, September 30, 2008)
  • "The Treasury's plan has little for those outside of the financial industry. It is aimed at rescuing the same financial institutions that created this crisis with the sloppy underwriting and reckless disregard for the risk they were creating, taking or passing on to others."
    Richard Shelby (1934–), US senator
    Source: Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Paulson Plan (September 29, 2008)
  • "In the past six months, our federal government has devised a dozen strategies to save America's financial markets. Each plan has been more costly, more risky, and less aligned with the principles of our country's free market economy than the last. I am disappointed to say that this latest plan puts all the rest of them to shame."
    Mike Enzi (1944–), US senator
    Source: Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Paulson Plan (September 29, 2008)
  • "Henry Paulson is to finance what Donald Rumsfeld was to military strategy, Dick Cheney to geopolitics and Michael Chertoff to flood defence."
    Anatole Kaletsky (1952–), British journalist and economist
    On the US Treasury Secretary's Wall Street bailout plan.
    Source: The Times (London) (September 25, 2008)
  • "Wall Street got drunk and now it's got a hangover. And the question is, how long will it sober up and not try to do those fancy financial instruments?"
    George W. Bush (1946–), US former president
    Source: Speech (July 2008)
  • "In an ideal world, one populated by vegetarians and Esperanto speakers, derivatives would be used for one thing only: reducing levels of risk. The list of individual traders who have lost more than a billion dollars at a time betting on derivatives is not short."
    John Lanchester (1962–), British journalist and novelist
    Source: London Review of Books (January 3, 2008)
  • "The City is, in terms of its basic functioning, a far-off country of which we know little."
    John Lanchester (1962–), British journalist and novelist
    Source: London Review of Books (January 3, 2008)
  • "It is hard for us … to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing one dollar in any of those transactions."
    Joseph J. Cassano (1955?–), US former executive of AIG insurance
    On trading in credit derivatives. AIG received a federal bailout of $85 billion in September 2008.
    Source: Comment (August 2007)
  • "It seems superfluous to constrain trading in some of the newer derivatives and other innovative financial contracts of the past decade. The worst have failed; investors no longer fund them and are not likely to in the future."
    Alan Greenspan (1926–), US economist, former chairman of Federal Reserve
    Source: The Age of Turbulence (2007)
  • "Usually God favours the people who try to do good. So, when you find that the crowd is desperately trying to sell, help them and buy. When you find that the crowd is overenthusiastically trying to buy, help them and sell. It usually works out."
    Sir John Templeton (19122008), American-born British investor and philanthropist
    Source: Interview on Nightly Business Review (February 2004)
  • "Never ask a trader if he is profitable: you can easily see it in his gesture and gait."
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb (1960–), Lebanese-born US academic and writer, former derivatives trader
    Source: Fooled by Randomness (2004)
  • "Finance is the art of passing currency from hand to hand until it finally disappears."
    Robert W. Sarnoff (19181997), US media executive
    Source: Quoted in An Introduction to International Political Economy (Alison M. S. Watson, 2004)
  • "Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."
    John Maynard Keynes (18831946), British economist
    Source: Quoted in Straight Talk on Investing (Jack Brennan, 2004)
  • "What we have found over the years in the marketplace is that derivatives have been an extraordinarily useful vehicle to transfer risk from those who shouldn't be taking it to those who are willing to and are capable of doing so."
    Alan Greenspan (1926–), US economist, former chairman of Federal Reserve
    Source: Addressing the Senate Banking Committee (2003)
  • "In our view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction carrying dangers that, while latent, are potentially lethal."
    Warren Buffett (1930–), US entrepreneur and financier
    Source: Letter to shareholders (2003)
  • "The range of derivatives contracts is limited only by the imagination of man (or sometimes, so it seems, madmen). Say you want to write a contract speculating on the number of twins to be born in Nebraska in 2020. No problem—at a price, you will easily find an obliging counterparty."
    Warren Buffett (1930–), US entrepreneur and financier
    Source: Letter to shareholders (2003)
  • "Reversion to the mean is the iron rule of the financial markets."
    John Clifton Bogle (1929–), US investment analyst, founder and CEO of the Vanguard Group
    Source: Speech, University of Missouri (October 22, 2002)
  • "Trading has been, and always will be, a hard way to make an easy living."
    Jeffrey Silverman (1946–), US former director of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
    Source: Quoted in 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic, and Erudite Things Ever Said About Money (philip Jenks, 2002)
  • "Remember, the price that people agree to in the pit is not the price that people think is going to exist in the future. It's the price that both sides vehemently agree won't be there."
    Jeffrey Silverman (1946–), US former director of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
    Source: Quoted in 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic, and Erudite Things Ever Said About Money (Philip Jenks, 2002)
  • "Discipline allows you to trade effectively. You can take your ego out of it. You can go wrong 60, 70% of the time and still make a lot of money. If you ignore the discipline of managing risk, you have to be right 80% of the time or more, and I don't know anyone who's that good."
    Larry Rosenberg, US financial trader
    Source: Quoted in 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic and Erudite Things Ever Said About Money (Philip Jenks, 2002)
  • "There is time to go long, time to go short and time to go fishing."
    Jesse Livermore (18771940), US stock trader
    Source: Quoted in Come Into My Trading Room (Alexander Elder, 2002)
  • "Amateurs look for challenges; professionals look for easy trades. Losers get high from the action; the pros look for the best odds."
    Alexander Elder, Estonian-born US financial trader and psychiatrist
    Source: Come Into My Trading Room (2002)
  • "You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out."
    Warren Buffett (1930–), US entrepreneur and financier
    Source: Letter to shareholders (2001)
  • "I made my money by selling too soon."
    Bernard Baruch (18701965), US financier and economist
    Source: Quoted in The Global Trader (Barbara Rockefeller, 2001)
  • "We should never lose sight of the underlying essence of a market—a place where buyers and sellers come together. Every other feature—whether crafted by tradition or technology—exists only to serve that primary purpose."
    Arthur Levitt, Jr (1931–), US author and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
    Speech to the Columbia Law School, New York.
    Source: “Dynamic Markets, Timeless Principles” (September 23, 1999)
  • "The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell."
    Sir John Templeton (19122008), American-born British investor and philanthropist
    Source: Quoted in The Book of Investing Wisdom (Peter Krass, 1999)
  • "Nobody beats the market, they say. Except for those of those of us who do."
    David N. Dreman (1937–), US investor
    Source: Contrarian Investment Strategies (1999)
  • "A group of lemmings looks like a pack of individuals compared with Wall Street when it gets a concept in its teeth."
    Warren Buffett (1930–), US entrepreneur and financier
    Source: Quoted in Treasury of Investment Wisdom (Bernice Cohen, 1999)
  • "Financial markets … resent any kind of government interference but they hold a belief deep down that if conditions get really rough the authorities will step in."
    George Soros (1930–), Hungarian-born US financier, entrepreneur, and philanthropist
    Source: The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998)
  • "To suppose that the value of a common stock is determined purely by a corporation's earnings discounted by the relevant interest rates and adjusted for the marginal tax rate is to forget that people have burned witches, gone to war on a whim, risen to the defense of Joseph Stalin and believed Orson Welles when he told them over the radio that the Martians had landed."
    Jim Grant, US investor and financial commentator
    Source: Quoted in Value Investing Made Easy (Janet Lowe, 1997)
  • "There is no human feeling to the US securities markets and sometimes no discernible evidence of human intelligence either. But they work."
    Robert J. Eaton (1940–), US automobile industry executive and engineer
    Source: Speech (March 18, 1996)
  • "A market that slowly grinds higher is a good buy. A market that soars is usually a good sell."
    Neal Weintraub, US financial trader and author
    Source: Tricks of the Floor Trader (1995)
  • "If you spend more than 14 minutes a year worrying about the market, you've wasted 12 minutes."
    Peter Lynch (1944–), US fund manager
    Source: Quoted in Barron's Guide to Making Investment Decisions (Donald R. Sease and John Prestbo, 1994)
  • "The world of finance hails the invention of the wheel over and over again, often in a slightly more unstable form."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: A Short History of Financial Euphoria (1993)
  • "Investing in the market without knowing what stage it is in is like selling life insurance to 20 year olds and 80 year olds at the same premium."
    Victor Sperandeo (1945–), US financial trader and author
    Source: Quoted in The New Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1992)
  • "You can picture price fluctuations around an equilibrium level as a rubber band being stretched—if it gets pulled too far, eventually it will snap back. As a short-term trader, I try to wait until the rubber band is stretched to its extreme point."
    Linda Bradford Raschke, US financial trader
    Source: Quoted in The New Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1992)
  • "Don't think about what the market's going to do; you have absolutely no control over that. Think about what you're going to do if it gets there."
    William Eckhardt, US mathematician and financial trader
    Source: Quoted in The New Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1992)
  • "It is not whether you are right or wrong that's important, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong."
    Stanley Druckenmiller (1953–), US financier
    Source: Quoted in The New Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1992)
  • "One market paradigm that I take exception to is: Buy low and sell high. I believe far more money is made by buying high and selling at even higher prices."
    Richard Driehaus (1942–), US fund manager
    Source: Quoted in The New Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1992)
  • "Patience is the hardest part of trading and investing, but also the most important, for it is in the waiting that we make bigger profits."
    William F. Eng, US financial trader and author
    Source: Trading Rules: Strategies for Success (1990)
  • "Twenty years in this business convinces me that any normal person using the customary 3% of the brain can pick stocks as well as, if not better than, the average Wall Street expert."
    Peter Lynch (1944–), US fund manager
    Source: One Up On Wall Street (1990)
  • "Although it's easy to forget sometimes, a share is not a lottery ticket. It's part-ownership of a business."
    Peter Lynch (1944–), US fund manager
    Source: One Up On Wall Street (1990)
  • "I have noticed that everyone who has ever tried to tell me that markets are efficient is poor."
    Larry Hite, US investment manager
    Source: Quoted in Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1989)
  • "Anybody who plays the stock market not as an insider is like a man buying cows in the moonlight."
    Daniel Drew (17971879), US financier
    Source: Quoted in Boom and Bust (Christopher Woo, 1989)
  • "The best traders have no ego. You cannot let ego get in the way of a trade that is a loser; you have to swallow your pride and get out."
    Tom Baldwin, US financial trader
    Source: Quoted in Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1989)
  • "The biggest public fallacy is that the market is always right. The market is nearly always wrong. I can assure you of that."
    Jim Rogers (1942–), US investor and author
    Source: Quoted in Market Wizards (John D. Schwager, 1989)
  • "On Wall Street he and a few others—how many?—three hundred, four hundred, five hundred?—had become precisely that … Masters of the Universe."
    Tom Wolfe (1931–), US novelist and journalist
    Source: The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), ch. 1
  • "I have probably purchased fifty “hot tips” in my career, maybe even more. When I put them all together, I know I am a net loser."
    Charles Schwab (1937–), US investment broker
    Source: How To Be Your Own Stockbroker (1986)
  • "The little I know of it has not served to raise my opinion of what is vulgarly called the Monied Interest; I mean, that blood-sucker, that muckworm, that calls itself the friend of government."
    William Pitt the Elder (Earl of Chatham) (17081778), British prime minister
    Source: Speech, House of Lords (November 22, 1970)
  • "A speculator is a man who observes the future, and acts before it occurs."
    Bernard Baruch (18701965), US financier and economist
    Source: Baruch: My Own Story (1957)
  • "All these financiers, all the little gnomes of Zürich and the other financial centres, about whom we keep on hearing."
    Harold, Lord Wilson (19161995), British prime minister
    Source: Speech, House of Commons (November 12, 1956)
  • "In the short-run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, the market is a weighing machine."
    Benjamin Graham (18941976), US economist and investor
    Source: The Intelligent Investor (1949)
  • "Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on."
    Robert Frost (18741963), US poet
    Source: “The Ingenuities of Debt” (1946)
  • "A successful trader studies human nature and does the opposite of what the general public does."
    W. D. Gann (18781955), US trader and financial forecaster
    Source: How to Make Profits Trading in Commodities (1942)
  • "The game of speculation is the most uniformly fascinating game in the world. But it is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance, or the get-rich-quick adventurer. They will die poor."
    Jesse Livermore (18771940), US stock trader
    Source: How To Trade in Stocks (1940)
  • "Wall Street, runs the sinister old gag, is a street with a river at one end and a graveyard at the other. This is striking, but incomplete. It omits the kindergarten in the middle."
    Fred Schwed (19011966), US author
    Source: Where Are The Customers' Yachts? (1940)
  • "Investing is an activity of forecasting the yield over the life of the asset; speculation is the activity of forecasting the psychology of the market."
    John Maynard Keynes (18831946), British economist
    Source: Attributed (1938?)
  • "If human nature felt no temptation to take a chance there might not be much investment merely as a result of cold calculation."
    John Maynard Keynes (18831946), British economist
    Source: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936)
  • "Market values are fixed only in part by balance sheets and income statements; much more by the hopes and fears of humanity; by greed, ambition, acts of God, invention, financial stress and strain, weather, discovery, fashion and numberless other causes impossible to be listed without omission."
    Gerald M. Loeb (18991975), US investor, author
    Source: The Battle for Investment Survival (1935)
  • "The City is a machine miraculously organized for extracting gold from the seas, airs, clouds, from barren lands, holds of ships, mines, plantations, cottage hearth-stones, trees and rock."
    Christina Stead (19021983), Australian writer
    Source: “The Sensitive Goldfish,” The Salzburg Tales (1934)
  • "There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate: when he can't afford it and when he can."
    Mark Twain (18351910), US writer
    Source: Following the Equator (1899)
  • "A good technician gets it right maybe 60% of the time. And a great technician, maybe 61% of the time."
    Gary B. Smith, US financial analyst and trader
    On technical analysis of financial markets
    Source: Attributed
  • "A market is the combined behaviour of thousands of people responding to information, misinformation and whim."
    Kenneth Chang, US journalist
    Source: Attributed
  • "I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the President or the Pope or as a .400 baseball hitter, but now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody."
    James Carville (1944–), US political consultant, presidential campaign manager to Bill Clinton
    Source: Attributed
  • "What is high finance? It's knowing the difference between one and ten, multiplying, subtracting and adding. You just add noughts. It's no more than that."
    John Bentley (1940–), British entrepreneur
    Source: Attributed
  • "If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time."
    Anonymous
    Chinese proverb

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