Recently I did a News and Views about the derivatives sloshing around in the financial system, and about Ellen Brown's thesis that - at it's deepest darkest inner-most heart - the SillyCON Valley Bank failure was about derivatives.  I have to call it "SillyCON" in view of all the stories and theories circulating out there about the bank. One of them concerns the story of its "risk management" or "risk assessement" officer which was found on the bank's own website, and it truly has to be read to be believed:

SVB Hires Kim Olson as Chief Risk Officer

Let's focus on something from this announcement for a brief moment. At the very end of this article we read that the new risk assessment officer for the bank - Kim Olson - has the following "academic" degree:

Olson is based in SVB’s New York office. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.

Ok... call me a bit old fashioned and traditional, but wouldn't degrees in something like - oh, I don't know - finance or accounting or business management  or - perish the thought - maybe even in mathematics, be of more benefit to a major bank's financial risk assessment officer than degrees in political science and public administration from Harvard? You know... a degree in something that tells you how to read actual graphs and charts and that if a bank is holding x billion dollars in Three Card Monte Bearer Bonds and x-n hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits (which your accounting or finance degree would have told you go into the liabilities column in your ledgers), then your bank might just possibly be on the razor's edge of some very risky business.

But wait, there's more. Having hired Ms. Olson, the bank reveals the following about her career in finance:

SVB, the financial partner of the innovation economy and parent of Silicon Valley Bank, today announced the appointment of Kim Olson as Chief Risk Officer (CRO). In this role, Olson will lead the Risk function and team, developing and maintaining SVB’s risk management framework and a culture of risk management across the company.

“Kim’s deep and multi-faceted financial services experience as a senior risk leader and former regulator and bank supervisor positions her perfectly to actively manage SVB’s financial and non-financial risks and to build and scale the firm’s risk management capabilities through our next phase of growth,” said Greg Becker, president and CEO of SVB.

With $213 billion in assets and more than 8,200 employees globally (as of Q3 2022), SVB’s mission is to increase its clients' probability of success. SVB provides innovators, enterprises and investors with the services they need to succeed via four complementary businesses: Silicon Valley Bank, SVB Capital, SVB Private and SVB Securities. In 2023, SVB celebrates the 40th anniversary of its founding and four decades serving investors and the innovation economy. The company is located in nine countries and is widely recognized as a champion of the innovation sector, a leader in corporate social responsibility and a great place to work.

Olson has thirty years of financial services experience. She joins SVB from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), where she served as the Chief Risk Officer for SMBC in the Americas, and an Executive Officer of SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

Prior to SMBC, Olson held senior risk management roles at other leading global financial institutions. She also has rating agency experience, as well as experience in professional services advising large- and medium-sized financial institutions on evolving regulations, risk management and stress testing following the 2008 financial crisis. Olson began her career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where over a period of 10 years she held a variety of senior policy, regulatory and examination roles in banking supervision.

Hummm... you don't say... Sumitomo Mitsui Bank? Ratings agency experience? Financial stress testing? The New York Federal Reserve?

With degrees in political science and public administration?

You just can't make this up folks.

Gee... I don't know about you, but if this represents the type of hiring policies pursued by SillyCON Valley Bank, perhaps it is no wonder the bank went belly up. It's the prior resume that gives one pause, for apparently the whole banking system is more concerned with political science and public administration than with ledgers, graphs, charts, and things like - oh, I don't know - numbers.

Ahh... but all of that was just prelude, dear reader, because what I want to talk about are those Three Card Monte Bearer Bonds (i.e., derivatives) that SillyCON Valley Bank was exposed to and that I outlined in last week's News and Views. In the course of covering that story years ago, I noticed something "a little odd" about the numbers being reported. You'll notice something odd happened a few years ago after the 2008-2009 financial meltdown: derivatives quickly became a major story. Everyone was talking about them, and I spent a great deal of time in my book Babylon's Banksters covering them, pointing out how the whole derivatives trend had started with some financialization of financialization, derivatives of derivatives and bundles and tranches of bundles and tranches of what were, at heart, mortgage-backed securities and credit default swa(m)ps and so on. In short, the "business model" became a kind of sophisticated three card monte game. But it was never anything else more or less than three card monte. Before too close a look could be had, everything else quickly became financialized: weather derivatives, pandemic bonds... you name it, it was all financialized, in an effort to keep the original derivatives bubble afloat. Then talk of derivatives suddenly subsided, everyone took their "quantitative easing" and was happy. Estimates came out, however, for those curmudgeons like me still following the derivatives story, that the derivatives were ... well... I'll let you read what I blogged about it back in 2013 here:

Just for the record, here's how that blog began:

As most of you know, I enjoy reading the articles of The Daily Bell, and occasionally comment on them here. This week(May 20-24), as I am pre-scheduling blogs well into June when this one will appear, there was a very interesting and thought provoking article at the Bell:

Billion-Trillion Derivatives Market! ... Reform or a Blowup?

I had to do a double-take: Did I read that correctly? A billion trillion? Uhm... that's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 right? A one or some other coefficient followed by twenty-one zeros? Or one septillion? I read on, and apparently the Daily Bell wasn't exaggerating, for with it's usual tongue-in-cheek humor, it quipped "Not knowing how much of a billion trillion dollar market is unsecured and speculative would seem to be a problem."

Then came the clincher: regulatory capture:

"...consumers should not count on regulation to protect them. Inevitably in modern governance those who are being regulated end up in control of the regulations."

True enough: we've seen the results of regulatory capture of government agencies in the whole miserable saga of GMOs and the FDA, which is but a rubber stamp for the agribusiness and pharmaceutical corporations.

But septillions!?

At the time of the Daily Bell article I was citing in my blog, the US government's estimation of the notional value of all derivatives in "the system"  was this:

"And of course the entire global financial system is a giant bundle of debt, risk and leverage at this point.  We have never seen anything like this in world history.  When you step back and take a good, hard look at the numbers, they truly are staggering.  The following statistics are from one of my previous articles entitled "Why Is The World Economy Doomed? The Global Financial Pyramid Scheme By The Numbers"...

"-$70,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of total world GDP.

"-$190,000,000,000,000 - The approximate size of the total amount of debt in the entire world.  It has nearly doubled in size over the past decade.

"-$212,525,587,000,000 - According to the U.S. government, this is the notional value of the derivatives that are being held by the top 25 banks in the United States.  But those banks only have total assets of about 8.9 trillion dollars combined.  In other words, the exposure of our largest banks to derivatives outweighs their total assets by a ratio of about 24 to 1.

"-$600,000,000,000,000 to $1,500,000,000,000,000 - The estimates of the total notional value of all global derivatives generally fall within this range.  At the high end of the range, the ratio of derivatives to global GDP is more than 21 to 1."

That last number is the staggering figure: one quintillion five hundred quadrillion is the notional value of derivatives, giving that astronomical ratio of 21-1 in terms of derivatives to global gross domestic product.

The best guess - that's right folks, it's a "best guess" - is that the derivatives are now in the quintillions, whereas when the "crisis" broke a few years ago, it was estimated to be in mere quadrillions.

A septillion here, a quadrillion there....  In this context we'd do well to remind ourselves what one of the patriarchs of the self-appointed globaloney wise men said of his class:

"For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure--one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." -Quotes from David Rockefeller's Memoirs (Random House, New York, 2002) Chapter 27, pages 404 and 405

And let's not forget this Rockefailure gem from the 1991 Bilderberg meeting, calling for "a supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers, which is surely preferable to the national auto determination practiced in past centuries." (q.v. my Babylon's Banksters, p. 59).

One quintillion, five hundred quadrillion in derivatives is preferable? His own words condemn him, and his fellow "global planners": they're simply nuts. Evil? yes. Well-intentioned? Maybe. Power-mad? Definitely. But most certainly, just plain nuts. They've been running this show, and the verdict is in. They're just plain nuts.

Well, I've not changed my "just plain nuts" verdict, but it's easy to see where the penchant for hiring financial risk assessment officers for banks from talent pools of graduates with degrees in everything but finance or economics or accounting comes from: it's quite literally Mr. Globalooney's policy.

Which brings us back to the numbers recently being touted for those derivatives. Consider the following two articles, both shared by M.D.:

The $2.3 Quadrillion Global Timebomb

The $1quadrillion derivatives market turning to Blockchains

Now, I don't know about you, but something about these numbers doesn't add up: 212 trillion, 525 billion, 587 million dollars in derivatives held by the top 25 US banks in 2013 alone, and anywhere from 600 quadrillion to 1 septillion and 500 quadrillion in the notional value of derivatives in the gl0bal system.

That was 2013.

Now, today, ten years later, we're reading numbers of between 1 and 2.3 quadrillion.  Assuming that all these numbers over all these years are accurate  (and that's quite an assumption I'll grant you, because how could they be without some sort of "accounting superposition" borrowed from quantum mechanics: the derivatives are both "there" and they're "not" and the system is safe so long as no one opens the box to determine if it's is alive or dead)  assuming all of that, then what the heck is going on? I have no ready answer to this question on why the numbers are so badly spread out over several orders of magnitude.  I do suspect that there is massive, and deliberate, obfuscation of those numbers, and one way to do so is to do what derivatives actually do: bundle together several different types of derivatives under one name, and report on the resulting number, without reporting what definition of derivative is being used to do so. Just don't open the box and peek inside.

No wonder, then, that degrees in political science and public administration are requirements, because those are perfect areas of competence for technocrats whose positions are designed to keep people from looking inside the box...

See you on the flip side...

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".

No Comments

  1. zendogbreath on March 23, 2023 at 1:20 am

    Hi Doc, I emailed this gem earlier. Does anyone here have a clue what this means?

    • InfiniteRUs on March 23, 2023 at 8:31 am

      Maybe but I read about 20 years ago from an anonymous source that they planned to restore North America to a better state than before Europeans came here. They were going to bring back the red man and have him wipe out all non red men this time then they were going to reduce the red man’s numbers to a safe number and have them live in and operate various native and western theme parks for the elites to vacation at. They planned on doing the Same in South America and Africa with Africans. The insanely wealthy get and act out insane ideas.

  2. Terminal Tom on March 21, 2023 at 6:04 am

    when the SHTF, NOBODY will try to untangle all those derivatives, because there isn’t enough time or computing power in all of eternity to do so… and even if there was, there isn’t enough money in all of time, past/present/future to pay them off.

    Therefore, the financial system will be totally reset to 0

    We will have to figure something else out. I am retired, so I will be completely cut off immediately and will be forced to sell everything I have for pennies on the dollar to people who have no pennies, either.

    At this point the best we can hope for is a civilisation-killing solar flare like the one that roasted Mercury a few days ago.

    And that’s probably on the way, too.

    • anakephalaiosis on March 21, 2023 at 6:57 am

      Caught between moral swamp of Sodom and Gomorrah, and a special bloodline dictatorship of Egypt, the proto-Scythians built “firewalls”.

      That, which allowed reset of labour cost – by 7-years cycles – amongst proto-Scythians, was grain storages and herds of grazing livestock.

      The purpose of the controlled reboot cycles was to prevent a spiralling-out-of-control collapse of economy, by gambling parasites.

      That is also, why the astronomical dual concept ‘Elohim-Yahweh’ has a verifiable definition, that is based on a system of compass technology.

  3. Terminal Tom on March 21, 2023 at 6:01 am

    As George Carlin might have said… “Did you get a look at that —–?

    Blond hair, sweet smile… I think I know why she got hired.

  4. anakephalaiosis on March 21, 2023 at 2:45 am


    Medusa and Medea went monetary,
    scorned, as hell hath no fury,
    and risky was business
    of harsh mistress,
    until great Perseus rose to glory.

  5. FiatLux on March 21, 2023 at 1:58 am

    Why would a bank executive need to know anything about economics, finance, business, or mathematics when banks no longer do banking? It doesn’t take much brains or training to make money — even in a global casino — when you’ve got zero cost of capital, government bailouts if you lose, and friends in all the right places (e.g., the New York Fed, big banks, or the regulatory apparatus). Someone with a graduate degree is probably overqualified. I’m assuming this risk management exec got a graduate degree from Harvard in any old subject, since the value of that degree isn’t so much the knowledge it represents (if any), but the connections it gives you. It’s how you get the kind of jobs she has had.

  6. marcos toledo on March 20, 2023 at 8:01 pm

    In whose hand is the sacrificial knife that will tear out the heart of the World?

    • anakephalaiosis on March 21, 2023 at 1:56 am

      “But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief, that thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.”

      Rising with the sun, rides the Scythian war horse victorious, because snakepits never made a stand, spiderwebs never spake forthright, and henhouses never hatched a daybreak.

      An ‘impossibillion’ is just one Judas goat pontiff, leading a bunch of Catholic zeros to the slaughterhouse, mesmerized by a Jesuit snake tongue shrink, trying to crawl under Protestant skin.

      Odin from Scythia never drank that piss!

  7. Laura on March 20, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    I don’t know very much about this topic but have listened to conversations. This is what I hear:
    From: Nicky Samengo-Turner

    “This is a highly complex subject that does require deep knowledge of, and training in, capital markets economics, as well as actual industry experience, which current incumbents at The Bank of England and HM Treasury do not appear to have, not least because
    a. They will not pay an adequate rate to employees with that necessary expertise,
    b. Both appear obsessed with ” Diversity and inclusion” hiring policy.
    The exponential growth of what was originally a hedging tool, via futures and options in the commodity markets, mainly agricultural, and insurance ( where a premium is essentially a margin call on a put/ call event) i. e. the derivative, has completely altered the capital markets and commodities industries.
    Out of this phenomena have come proprietary trading, and hedge funds, using margin leveraged borrowing, and synthetic derivatives, whereby, in laymans terms, and to use horse racing anology, a ” punter” can pick a range of quasi ” accumulator” bets on a basket of stocks/bonds/ currencies/commodities going up and/ or down.
    Such is the power of the leaders in this part of the capital markets industry, that they have a plethora of counterparties who will, or indeed have to, take the opposite position so as to ” defend/ prop up” the stock/bond/ commodity/ currency that is under attack.
    The advent of index/ tracker funds which sell into falling markets/ buy into rising markets, has only magnified the opportunity for prop/hedge/ vulture funds to effectively win their bets.”

  8. White Lily on March 20, 2023 at 9:24 am

    It’s amazing, with everything that has transpired in the past 10 days or so, I am still surrounded by people who are oblivious to any potential crisis. Western civilization is crashing, and the end will come like a thief in the night…very soon. I tell my friends “Hit your knees and pray with all your heart and soul, for the end is nigh!” Then they laugh at me.

    • Terminal Tom on March 21, 2023 at 6:06 am

      they DO NOT WANT TO KNOW

      simple as that

      “Don’t tell me about it and it doesn’t exist.”

  9. ragiza on March 20, 2023 at 8:46 am

    In oct 2022, British PM Liz Truss introduced a budget proposal that caused a UK bond rates rise panic. Blackrock said they couldn’t price derivatives, Truss and her budget got removed.
    I took that as a sign that a derivatives debacle is a landmine waiting for a fool like Truss to step on it.

  10. InfiniteRUs on March 20, 2023 at 8:15 am

    They were not mad just criminal master minds. The whole point of creating an unbacked/untethered fiat currency enforced by the world’s most powerful military was to be able to create enough currency out of thin air to buy off all the world’s politicians and real assets. The people allowing them to get away with it and dismissing the warnings of the few (one in a million) intelligent people there actually are in the world pointing this out to them is what’s insane. I saw this scam for what it was as soon as I learned about it in grade school and how the rest of society was blind to it blew my mind. That’s why I think we as a species are doomed to extinction. Most of us just not intelligent or wise enough not to destroy ourselves with our current level of technology. Vicious, criminally insane monkeys indeed control the nuclear footballs and extinction level bioweapons arsenal and it’s just a matter of time before they use them. If they can’t completely dominate the rest of us they will try to destroy us because that is insane alpha monkeys do.

    • Terminal Tom on March 21, 2023 at 6:12 am

      we are doomed to possible potential extinction only by the fact that we live on an unstable planet in a dynamic solar system traveling through space, which flips its polarity approximately every 12k years.

      this is caused by the Parker wave movement in the galaxy – as we rotate around the galactic center we also go up and down through the electric current sheet that divides North / South Milky Way.

      Result: every 12k years or so the sun micronovas – blows off a superflare

      The evidence is on the moon and in the prehistoric remnants of past civilisations on the planet.

      This information courtesy of the Suspicious Observors and many people at the forefront of modern research.

      Everything we have been told is a lie – our civilisation is NOT the pinnacle of human achievement… just the pinnacle of technological development in THIS cycle.

      And all that technology is not gonna save the vast majority of us when the SHTF

      • InfiniteRUs on March 21, 2023 at 8:40 am

        In my opinion Ben isn’t the expert he thinks he is and assumes too much. Lots of evidence against what he says. Look a little more closely at our current leaders and their speeches. Then imagine them controlling nukes and extinction causing bioweapons. Just a matter of time.

  11. Bizantura on March 20, 2023 at 5:46 am

    The city of Brussels, London and Washington are having a blast riding all the attractions @ Disney. They forgot to run Disney and will only notice when the attractions come to a standstill. The onlookers from the sidelines are screeming that terrible accidents are happening to no avail. The sideliners will have to seek their own safe harbor when this Westen ship sinks, because the Western world is even passing the absurd and surreal, but still no course correction!

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