I admire the boldness and openness of Richard Jory, Editor of Structured Products Magazine, for asking the serious and under-answered question whether it is a problem or not that the likes of the equity derivatives division of BNP Paribas lose 1.5 billion Euro in one quarter after making around 15 billion over the past five years? Certainly there is an automatic rush to condemn such losses given their size and the current context of the global financial crisis.
The first sentence of Richard's article should be framed as an excellent and apt piece of prose – I am not sure he is behind the times or predicting a future return to investment banking normality:
"Losing a lot of money in one year, or one quarter after making a whole truckload of money in the preceding five years is, frankly, what investment banking is all about."
Not sure he will find many regulators backing his view, but let's see…