May I have a word… about the mystifying parlance of the City | Jonathan Bouquet

Ghost broking, gross written premiums and capex, not to mention the wonderful world of opex

The world of finance and business and, by extension, the City pages of newspapers, continues to be a bewildering place. Last week, there was mention of ghost broking and gross written premiums, while another report had the following gem: “Given that guidance was reiterated 10 weeks ago, operations have clearly taken a marked turn for the worse and the lack of new guidance indicates that management is currently unable to forecast its own business.” Reading between the lines, I suspect this means that the high-ups haven’t a bloody clue what they are doing and need a big kick up the backside.

Elsewhere, reporting on Blackstone, a $43bn investment giant, we had: “When companies’ earnings are up, they tend to be more inclined to hire. They tend to be more inclined to capex [capital investment].” Thank heavens for the explanation in square brackets, though I do feel that the above was a bit stating the bleeding obvious. And I’m giving Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s chief operating officer, the benefit of the doubt that he is using capex as a noun and not a verb, but given the looseness of language use of executive types, I still harbour doubts. And I think we’ll leave opex for another day.

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