It is much to be regretted that CU finds himself unable to write more about Greensill** because it is a story rather up our street. The DTel has a fairly good piece here, offering the common-sense approach to risk management in circumstances where some newcomer seems to be claiming to have discovered the philosopher's stone in a basic area like supply-chain finance. Is this likely? No, it isn't - even if he is fronted by Call-Me-Dave. (Blair doesn't have the monopoly on ex-PM avarice: and let's see how the financial exploits of Boy Genius stack up ten years from now.) Not rocket-science at all.
Just once in a while, something new(ish) really does crop up. Securitisation was one helluva smart innovation in its time, and those quickest onboard the train (Guy Hands / Nomura / Terra Firma and, errrr, Enron) did some very good, sound business in the early days. By the time we get to sub-prime mortgages however, the whole thing has spiralled right out of control, all rigour and discipline gone.
Which bring me to the next puzzle: the remarkable rise of the brothers Issa and their petrol forecourt 'revolution'. I understand clearly enough how high-throughput, well-located petrol stations might have an eminently financeable profile - better even than Guy Hands' pubs, maybe. (I say "maybe" because the margins are notoriously tight, too.)
What I don't understand is how this rather obvious attraction could have been missed by the pretty sharp operators of big supermarkets, oil companies etc. "Retail is detail", and they don't miss much. So if these assets were already sitting on the balance sheets of big, smart players, (a) they would (surely?) already have been effectively leveraged to the full already, even if as part of overall corporate finance; and (b) couldn't be prised away into new ownership at anything other than a full price.
So who've been the suckers here? All insights gladly received.
** "I can't write at length about Greensill unfortunately, too much real life conflict. Suffice to say, he is a right twat who has met a fair ending. How people decided such an arrogant bore was worth backing to the tune of billions is beyond me" - CU, here (BTL)