May 05, 2009

Just pay for what you want and you have a slightly better chance of getting it.

Sir John Coates makes quite a disservice by giving a way too simplistic version on the problems with rewarding the much needed risk-taking in “Time to tackle this culture of rewarding the risk-takers” May 5. He sets us up to choose between the hare and the tortoise forgetting completely that the hare can produce tortoise results and vice versa. Those tortoises that have only been able to produce the $20 million in profits the first 4 years can be those giving us the $500 loss in the fifth year.

There is really nothing like a perfect incentive plan though for an investor who is looking for a five year return he should clearly be better off paying an incentive based on the five years results as easy as that. Diversity is also good... if the whole world starts looking for five year results that will be just as bad as the current one year structures... you see humans, and especially traders, they do adapt.

Which bring us to the most important part of all... knowing what the incentives are. Coates refers to the traders but perhaps more important yet is to refer to the trader’s bosses.