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Another Trader Goes Wild. Big Whoop?

UBS announced that an employee in its investment bank lost $2 billion / Getty Images

UBS’s announcement today that an employee in its investment bank lost $2 billion generated plenty of headlines and outrage from regulators. But beyond the titillating details of another Wall Street trader allegedly gone wild, does the story mean much for the average investor?

Probably not. The market’s reaction to the scandal was a swift and immediate hit to shares of the Swiss bank, which dropped about 11%, even as American and European stocks indexes rose. But even for UBS shareholders, the damage may be limited. The actual loss to UBS, while big for most businesses, isn’t much for a well-capitalized bank like this one, says Erin Davis, an equity analyst with Morningstar. In other words, this shouldn’t do lasting damage to the company – or its shares.

But outside of Wall Street, most people aren’t affiliated with the bank at all. They don’t own shares, and they aren’t clients or customers. To them, the trading scandal is simply a juicy Wall Street incident with little impact on their portfolios or financial decisions. Some savvy investors may even see a chance to snap up shares of the bank on the cheap. After all, UBS is one of the few large European banks with little exposure to the sovereign debt crisis there.

So why is it getting so much attention? A $2 billion loss from what the bank described as unauthorized trades by 31-year-old Kweku Adoboli is certainly big enough to raise eyebrows. (Not the biggest, though: Last year, Societe Generale trader Jérôme Kerviel was found guilty of making unauthorized trades that resulted in $6.5 billion in losses at the French bank.) But for many market watchers it’s not just the size that counts: These  trading scandals raise questions about the less-than-perfect controls and risk management operations at major financial institutions, as well as lax oversight by industry regulators.

And while these stories capture a lot of media attention, they often steal the spotlight from even bigger problems in the financial system, says Karl Mills, the president of Jurika, Mills & Keifer. “The biggest rogue trades are things like the housing bubble, which was a rogue trade that everybody was participating in,” he says. “The big rogue trade is actually this systemic debt issue in Europe and the fact that our economies are built on this fiction that bad debts are good.”


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      icon library: the iconshock blog: More than 260 icon collections in this huge icon library blog
      Iconshock Interview: Icon Artist Paddy Donnelly ! ! Icon Library
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      15/10/2009 – Blogger.Iconshock
      Iconshock Interview: Icon Artist Paddy Donnelly
      This week we are bringing to Iconshock the origami icon guy himself…ladies and gentlemen, Here it is… Mr Paddy Donnelly!Just about anyone in the internet interested in icons has seen his work. His origami icon set has been featured in tons of blogs and design magazines throughout the world, but this guy doesn’t stop there. He sure caught our attention with his icons, which I must say are one of the most original we’ve seen, but when we dug in his work, we found out that his designs go further. His “RedBurma” project uses clever visualization to bring to attention the atrocities that the military junta has casted upon their people. His other projects like “Shake hands with a stranger” and “Faces I see” deal with humanity and socialization in a new era where we seem to spend more time staring at a cold monitor than to somebody’s eyes. We are huge fans of his work, and that’s why we stalked him for weeks to get this interview. Enjoy the thoughts of a great artist, but overall a great guy. 1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How old are you? Where did you study? I’m a 24 year old Irishman living in Belgium. I’m a web designer, illustrator, blogger and peanut addict who studied at the University of Ulster where I got a degree in Interactive Multimedia Design and a Masters in Multi-Disciplinary Design. 2. What was your motivation behind the “Red Burma” project? Are you planning something different after the John Yettaw incident and the “upcoming” 2010 elections? The RedBurma was actually a mini project for my Masters, where one of my lecturers Chris Murphy challenged me to spread the word about the situation in Burma, using only the colour red. An interesting way to approach a political topic and my first foray into visualisation. I have plans for some future projects but I may revisit the RedBurma project soon and update it. 3. Do you have any special song stuck in your head these days? What music do you usually listen to while you work? I’ve been listening to a lot of The Who and The Rolling Stones recently, but while I’m working I listen to a range of music from Daft Punk to the Stereophonics. Anything to keep me motivated! 4. Do you recommend freelance work for an aspiring designer/illustrator? I think there is a lot to learn in the freelance world, however I would recommend working first in an agency to get to know the market, learn how to deal with clients and make deadlines before diving straight into freelance. I work for Nascom here in Belgium and the experience I have gained here is priceless and has dramatically improved my work from my student days. 5. How the hell did you come up with the origami icons idea? Did you expect it would be such a gigantic success? I was looking to promote my blog while I was studying to gain more awareness about my projects. Everyone loves something for free, so I thought about giving away an icon set. I wanted to bridge the gap between online, digitally perfect work and offline, more traditional creations and making the icons out of origami just came to me after some intense sketching. I still get so many links to my blog now, almost a year later, from other blogs which include them in lists of inspiring icons. I never thought they would still be floating around now, but that’s the way of the Internet. You never know what will catch on. 6. If you had a million dollars to invest on the internet. What would you do? Hmm, tough one. I don’t think I would use it to invest in an already operational product/site but I would invest it in setting up a project of my own. I have an idea for each one of those dollars rattling around in my head but currently don’t have the time to work on them. The thing is, and we learned this with The Big Word Project you don’t need a penny to make a project successful on the web. There’s endless possibilities out there and all you need is an insane amount of effort, not $1M. I’d buy a trip to Greenland with the money though, always wanted to go there. They’ve got Narwhals! 7. What could be the highest point of your life? Having kids? Fly to the moon? Win an oscar?:) At the minute? Probably seeing a Narwhal :) Come one, it’s a cross between a whale and a unicorn! 8. Do you think we will tweet in 5 years? I think Twitter will still be around, yes, but probably not in the same form as it is now. We will most likely not have to type in our message anymore. It will know where we are, who we’re with, what we’re doing so it can do it automatically for us. There will be a million new things on the Internet to play with in the next 6 months though, never mind 5 years, but the idea of microblogging is here to stay for a while, I think. 9. Which application is your weapon of choice for icon creation? Adobe Illustrator, no alternative. 10. Any advice to any aspiring artists out there? Always invest so much time in growing your own ideas and projects. Don’t just settle for going to work every day, sitting in your cubicle and dealing with clients. Work on something your passionate about and make it a success. Life’s too short! Iconshock has featured Paddy’s work here: 50 strikingly original (and free) Icon sets. and here: The definitive list of the best 100 free social media and web 2.0 icon sets. Follow Paddy on Twitter And of course, If you like this interview please tell the world! Retweet!
      11 Responses to “Iconshock Interview: Icon Artist Paddy Donnelly”
      Paddy October 15th
      Thanks for interviewing me. Much appreciated
      Martha October 16th
      Great interview. His work for the redburma project is simply impressive. He’s kind of cute too. Thanks Iconshock for the interview!
      Zandor October 16th
      Very impressive interview G. I kinda like the idea of seeing some Narwhals myself. From the perspective of the other icon designers out there it seems the Illustrator is the choice when it comes to design. That is also so very true about doing a job that you love or are passionate about because that will reflect back on your work.
      Mario Zabaleta October 16th
      Paddy Donelly is a great artist indeed. I too would want to see a Narwhal like Zandor said. Great blog G. The interview series is just incredible. You are just bringing celebrities and each one is bigger than the previous one. Where will you stop?
      Jjay October 19th
      peanut addict! I love it, lol. I appreciate ur humor and ur advice to learn what you can where you can before building on those foundations. You dont know what your missing until you learn the tools. n of course we LOVE ur set.
      Blogger.Iconshock October 21st
      So glad you people liked the interview. Thank you Paddy.
      Superman October 22nd
      His Origami Icons are the best icons in the whole world!
      Sofy October 23rd
      Love his origami icons!
      papandopolo October 31st
      Incredible interview. This designer rocks!. Iconshock should pay attention to his suggestions.
      Emily November 7th
      I’m really thrilled about all the interviews you guys are making. I love Paddy’s work and it’s fantastic you asked him about other things beside the origami icons.
      Jenny November 9th
      I’m new to the icon world and never have seen the famous origami icons before. I think Paddy is a very good human being and that shows throughout his designs. Love him!
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    • They don’t do good controls. The great job is that of the traders. The banks consider controls like a job less important than the traders job.
      The banks have to understand that controls and trading are important in the same way.

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