Just Published — “Values and Prices: Middle Office Update”

Middle Office blog entries written after the 2012 collection was published are now available as a Kindle book under the title, Values and Prices: Middle Office Update.  Included, among others, are “The Cost of Basel III,” “Analyzing Tactical Asset Allocation Performance,” and a revised version of “The Valuation Puzzle.”  For more information, please click here.

Au Revoir

Dear Readers:

This is to advise you that this blog, Middle Office, will shut down for good when my WordPress domain license expires on July 18th.  Because some of you have followed it from the beginning, three years ago next month, I’d like to offer an explanation.

Like most life and career decisions, of course, this one is—to borrow a term from the psychoanalytic literature—“overdetermined.”[1]  First, my interests continue to evolve, and I no longer attend to developments in the fields of investment performance measurement, risk management, and regulatory compliance as assiduously as I did a few years ago.  Second, the demands of my job often reach into the evenings and weekends I had previously reserved for outside reading and writing.  In consequence, I’ve written only three Middle Office pieces in the first half of 2013.  Finally, it’s summertime in southern California.  Some Saturday I may want to go to the beach.

In composing Middle Office entries, I’ve blithely disregarded all the guidelines for writing blogs that will attract a large readership.[2]  Opening a piece with “Dear Readers” has an oddly Victorian ring, and the topics I’ve chosen may sometimes have seemed a little quirky.  The articles routinely exceeded the recommended length (500 words), and the paragraphs and sentences they contained are likewise too long.  So are some of the words; I’ll always choose the right word over the familiar one.  And, for heaven’s sake, my blog pieces have been obsessively footnoted, occasionally referring to obscure works in foreign languages.  It is fitting that Middle Office never achieved a wide circulation, and that’s perfectly all right with me.

So life goes on.  The 2012 collection of Middle Office articles remains available in paperback and Kindle editions, but, should you wish to keep any of the pieces written since the book was published, now’s the time to copy them.  If you have been a subscriber, please accept my sincere thanks for your encouragement these last three years.  I hope our paths will cross again someday.

Philip Lawton


[1] Explaining Freud’s concept of overdetermination, Breuer wrote, “…in a healthy, not originally neuropathic person, multiple circumstances must almost always be in competition [when] a properly hysterical symptom, with its apparent independence from the psyche, acquires autonomous bodily existence.”  Breuer’s emphasis.  Tr. by Philip Lawton.  Josef Breuer, “Theoretische,” in Sigmund Freud, Gesammelte Werke (S. Fischer Verlag, 1987), Nachtragsband, 270.

[2] Anyone in the financial services industry who aspires to write a successful blog should subscribe to Susan Weiner’s www.investmentwriting.com and consistently follow her advice.

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