Just in time for Halloween, the rather spooky term ‘shadow banking’ – used to describe investment companies that borrow and lend, but aren’t regulated in the same way as banks – is to be replaced with the far less frightening ‘market-based finance’.
Mindful of just how squeamish the investment world can be, the US Treasury has made the change because of the slightly sinister (yet unintended) implications to ‘shadow banking.’
As it’s the season to be frightful, here’s a look at some other spine-chilling financial terms.
Dark pools of liquidity – no, these are not places where you might find Macbeth’s three witches hunting for eye of newt and toe of frog. In fact, these are trades happening away from traditional exchanges, usually so that institutional investors can make large-scale buys or sells anonymously, to avoid affecting the share price.
Dead cat bounce – if a market, or an individual stock, recovers temporarily from a decline, but then goes on to fall again, this is known as the dead cat bounce effect. The rationale is that even a dead cat dropped from high enough will bounce.
Voodoo economics – a disparaging term coined by President George HW Bush to discredit President Reagan’s economic policies. In particular, it refers to the argument that cutting taxes will encourage economic activity and, in turn, grow tax revenues. The phrase is back in use as President Trump is also proposing tax cuts.
Zombie bank – a bank that has a net worth of less than zero, often many millions less than zero, but continues to trade because its debt repayments are shored up by the government. Did voodoo economics lead to zombie banks? We’ll leave that to the economists to decide.
Ghostwriters – here at Copylab, we are used to being the invisible hands at the keyboard, creating articles, commentaries, blogs, brochures and all manner of financial communications material for our esteemed clients. No white sheets or spooky sound effects required.
Spectres – while we’re on the subject of ghosts, we did notice this quarter end that there were spectres, spectres everywhere: the spectre of inflation, the spectre of tightening liquidity, the spectre of rising interest rates. None are quite as catchy as the ghost of Christmas past or Christmas present, but we can probably expect to see a lot more of them, with or without a Ouija board.