A quick message from the letter M

The Magnificent M

Are you having trouble with choosing the right letter of the alphabet for your economic forecast? Did you know in 2008 that M was the most frequently used letter in economic forecasts? Why use L, U or the cliche V? M is the one letter in the alphabet that will make heads nod in agreement: these conditions are impossible to model.

The following are just a few benefits of the letter M:

Phonetically Superior

M is a sound that you hear or make after a delicious treat. mmmmmmm What sound or word is…


Act One — The Great Epiphany

A colleague of mine at Bloomberg L.P. blessed me with the term Vendor-Puke after a long afternoon of writing enhancement requests for the programming team (A.K.A. DRQS & FYI Bloomberg customers, reps are very diligent about capturing customer feedback).

“At the end of the day were just Vendor-Puke with some of these users”

I laughed really hard and then thought about my experiences as a TOMS representative. I identified as Vendor-Puke and also knew why. I puked functionality at TOMS users during a majority of my training sessions. …

Ron Burgundy BIO<GO> profile trending

This is a true story. I couldn’t believe it happened but it really happened. Dates are sketchy but it happened in March or April of 2013. All names used in this story were generated from a fake name generator.
This is also a story about the need for a page traffic tracking and conversion tools (aka Google Analytics) for fixed income market participants.

Me: “Hey dude if this is going to be a test login, then lets have a few giggles with the name on the account. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to see Ron Burgundy coming over your Bloomberg?” …

This is not a recommendation of ETF’s, MKTX, TW or ICE. I am not a licensed security representative. This is my opinion.

Whenever I hear the word automation, the above clip from the Simpsons pops into my head. Homer decides to go to the movies while working from home and uses a toy bird to automate his role.

Automation for the fixed income market is happening much faster than I ever thought it would. It reminds me of the Rudiger Dornbush quote that Larry Summers popularized:

Things take longer to happen than you think they will and then they…


I think the hardest part was that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. The last time that we spoke was the night before the 2016 US presidential election. “Catfish, I think Trump is going to win this one. Didn’t you say that you could place a bet on anything in London. See if you can put 50 bucks on Trump to win”.
I never placed that bet.
I was in a different world (living in London with a two year old and a pregnant wife) and communication with my family was limited. …

Locks on a bridge

Congratulations! You finally got the data analyst job for the debt capital markets (DCM) group. You impressed all of your interviewers with your knowledge of the fixed income trading venues and your online degree in data science. Your first project is to create a database that aggregates all of the historical fixed income trades and inquiries from the banks back-office system, Bloomberg TOMS and every trading venue that is used by the DCM group.
It is a tall order but you got this.

Middle Finger
Middle Finger

I used to get this question all the time from traders at banks.

From 2014 to 2018, I was on a team at Algomi that implemented the an integrated database for European Banks. It was fun to sell but a nightmare to deliver.
First we aggregated all of the content from a fixed income desk into one database then normalized the data and applied an algorithm to the data.

A typical project would have the following datasets:

  1. Axes from a pricing engine or order management system (ION usually)
  2. Trade history from an internal backoffice system or TOMS.
  3. Inquiry feeds from…

John Shelburne

Founder of CatFIX Technology.

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