This morning I began studying for the CFA designation (Chartered Financial Analyst) and ironically it started with the topic of ethics. I say ironic because after the studying I watched the movie Margin Call, a movie that represents people who would have utterly failed any and all ethics courses.
Margin Call takes place at a high profile investment bank at the precipice of the financial crisis of 2008. After a mass layoff, a rocket scientist who works for the firm discovers that the firm has loaded up on mortgages that are about to implode. The rest of the movie is about how the executives decide to deal with the problem (let’s just say ethics becomes a four letter word).
While a movie loosely based on actual events (CEO was named Tuld – ryhmes with…Lehman’s Dick Fuld) the writer(s) did a great job of avoiding a lot of jargon. Sure, there was a couple VaR’s and Standard Deviations tossed around – but other than that it was more about the ethical decisions and the consequences.
I enjoyed the movie and expect it to grow in popularity – after all it has a star studded cast, is set in New York and has a good plot. It may not be the most exciting movie, but in light of the Occupy Wall Street movement it is hugely relevant to the times.
I can recommend Margin Call, especially if your last name is Corzine.
Scott Dauenhauer CFP, MSFP, AIF