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Matt Levine

Barclays Sold Too Many Notes

Also block-trade fades, Tesla share caps and expense policies.

If you are a high-powered trader at a big investment bank, two things that might happen are:

Neither is very likely, particularly not in this more boring post-crisis world, but either is possible. If you make $600 million that’s good and you’ll get a huge bonus. If you lose $600 million that’s bad and you’ll probably get fired, though it depends, and anyway you’ll have a cool war story that will quickly get you another big job somewhere else. There is a widespread view that traders have asymmetric upside, that they have a call option on their trading: They benefit a lot from trading well but don’t lose that much from trading badly.