the li-bros

Li-Bros Continue to Say Dumb Things Over E-mail

Men at a Party
Photo: Radius Images/Corbis

It’s a shame that most people will never see or care about the hilarious e-mails and IMs written by and to the Li-Bros — the group of back-slapping, butt-patting, testosterone-overloaded interest-rate submitters and traders at big banks who for years colluded to rig Libor and other global benchmark interest rates. Because they really are fantastic — at once profound and infantile, with remedial-level spelling and criminal-level lack of self-awareness.

First there was “Done … for you big boy,” and bottles of Bollinger at Barclays. Then there was “captain caos [sic]” and “HIGH 6M SUPERMANBE A HERO TODAY” at UBS. And now, courtesy of the geniuses at the Royal Bank of Scotland, we have maybe the best crop yet.

You don’t want to wade through the FSA or CFTC’s complaints against RBS, so I’ll just point you to this exchange involving RBS’s primary Yen Libor submitter and a trader who was alternating between asking for higher fixings and lower fixings:

Yen Trader 1: can we lower our fixings today please [Primary Submitter]

Primary Submitter: make your mind up[,] haha , yes no probs

Yen Trader 1: im like a whores drawers

Then there’s this bit of romantic poetry, which approaches Pablo Neruda in elegance:

Swiss Franc Trader: [Primary Submitter] pls can we get super high 3m[,] super low 6m

Swiss Franc Trader: PRETTY PLEASE!

Primary Submitter: 41 & 51

Swiss Franc Trader: if u did that[,] i would lvoe [sic] u forever

Primary Submitter: 41 & 55 then 

Swiss Franc Trader: if u did that i would come over there and make love to you[,] your choice

There are some emoticons:

Former Sterling Cash Trader: u see 3m jpy libor going anywhere btween now and imm?

Primary Submitter: looks fairly static to be honest , poss more pressure on upside , but not alot

Former Sterling Cash Trader: oh[,] we hve a mutual friend who’d love to see it go down, no chance at all?

Primary Submitter: haha [former UBS Yen Trader at Bank C] by chance

Former Sterling Cash Trader: shhh

Primary Submitter: hehehe , mine should remain flat , always suits me if anything to go lower as i rcve funds

Former Sterling Cash Trader: gotcha, thanks, and, if u cud see ur way to a small drop there might be a steak in it for ya, haha

Primary Submitter: noted ;-)

Former Sterling Cash Trader: 8-)

There’s also, as Matt Levine notes, an incredible exchange between a Libor submitter and his trader, which will ring true for anyone who’s ever had a bugaboo co-worker:

Swiss Franc Trader: high 3m libors pls!!!!!!

Primary Submitter: 0.50??

Primary Submitter: 0.51

Primary Submitter: 0.52

Primary Submitter: 0.53

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.54

Swiss Franc Trader: and low 6m

Primary Submitter: Ok i get ya

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.65

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.65

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.65

Swiss Franc Trader: 0.65

Primary Submitter: ok

We’ll have a lot more e-mails like this as all the other banks involved in Libor-rigging (there are at least six) take their turns at the CFTC’s woodshed. And then, I dunno, we’ll compile them all into a book? And send it to every college economics classroom in America as a warning shot, with a foreword that says, “This is what your life will be like if you take that fancy bank job”? Would that work? No, it would probably attract more people. Honestly, rigging Libor sounds kind of fun.

Li-Bros Continue to E-mail Dumb Things