Dylan Grice Leaving SocGen, Going To Buy Side, Pens Farewell Letter

Tyler Durden's picture

Dylan Grice, a long-time friend of Zero Hedge, is leaving SocGen and heading to greener pastures.

All good things come to an end, sadly. So it is with my time here alongside Albert, Andy and the rest of the gang at SG. I’m signing off, checking out, moving on to pastures new. It’s been a wonderful time. But after three years of trying to sound clever it’s time for me to do something altogether more difficult, and actually be clever. So early next year, I will join a small but outstanding investment practice. Naturally, I hope it will be a great success. But what makes a great success? Since there are few more accomplished species on earth than the lowly cockroach where better to start looking for an answer?

And, never one to leave without something insightful to add, here are some of his parting thoughts from his last ever Popular Delusions letter.

From Cockroaches for the long run! (pdf)

Cockroaches get a bad press. They’re pests. We don’t want them in our houses. Mainly, we want to kill them. If you call someone a cockroach, like Tony Montana did to Frank Lopez in Scarface, it’s not meant as a compliment. You might think that one of the most successful species in the long and colourful history of life on earth would enjoy more respect. But no’ Of course, you have to be careful in how you define success. Cockroaches don’t have iPhones, space stations or edible underwear. They don’t have any of the nick-nacks we have that make us think we’re so clever. They’re not ingenious, like we think we are.

But ingeniousness is over-rated. Cockroaches may not be able to build nuclear bombs, but they can withstand nuclear war. They survive. Don’t get me wrong. Thriving is great. Prospering isn’'t bad either. But neither mean much if you’re unable to survive. To my mind, therefore, capacity to survive has to be the starting point when thinking about success. It’s all about robustness really, and on this metric cockroaches are tops.

The oldest cockroach fossil is 350 million years old, which is quite remarkable when you think about it. We humans have been around for around for a mere fifty thousand years (so we’re one seven thousandth as successful as cockroaches). According to the record of the rocks, cockroaches first appeared just after the second of the earth’s five mass extinctions (defined as the loss of 75% of all species). In other words, that means they survived the third, fourth and fifth mass extinctions which followed, the last one being the Cretaceous event which wiped out the dinosaurs. They can go without air for 45 minutes, survive submerged underwater for half an hour, survive freezing temperatures and withstand fifteen times more radiation than humans.

They eat pretty much anything, including the glue on the back of stamps. And when that runs out, they can last a month without anything at all before finally starving.

But what I like best about cockroaches isn’t just their physical hardiness, it’s the simple algorithm they use to survive. According to Richard Bookstaber, that algorithm is “singularly simple and seemingly suboptimal: it moves in the opposite direction of gusts of wind that might signal an approaching predator.” And that’s it. Simple, suboptimal, but spectacularly robust ‘.


I like Ellis’ categorisation of investment as a losers’ game. We spend so much time and energy trying to be clever: what the Fed will do next; what it should do next; where oil prices will go; what the effect will be on the economy; when the recovery will come; if the recovery will come; will China see a revolution; will Russia revolt against ‘Tsar’ Putin; et cetera, et cetera. It may be better to focus instead on not being dumb. How good are we at making these predictions? Of course there is a time for going on the offensive, and the occasional opportunity to play winning shots. In moving to an investment practice I guess I’m trying to make one now. Time will tell on how sound my judgement is. But I think the principle is a sound one.

So ‘ it’s an odd feeling to be drawing the curtain on my time here with Albert and Andy at SG. The three years have flown and it’s been both educational and entertaining working with them. But I’ve known them both for years and been close friends with them for years. So while I’ll miss the day-to-day contact, we won’t stop being close friends.

But I’m going to miss SG too. I know it’s customary to thank everyone everywhere when you leave, but in all sincerity, my time at SG has also been memorable because of SG. It’s not been an easy time for banks. Eurozone banks have had a particularly rough time and SG has copped its fair share of the flak. But I’ve met some fine and honourable people here who will be life-long friends.

I’ve come across wonderful people outside of the bank too: readers, clients, journalists. But the most common question I’ve been asked in my time here has been “how do you get away with writing what you write, while working inside a bank?” Lurking beneath the question is the implicit understanding that other banks don’t allow their analysts freedom of thought and expression. Yet SG has given us exactly that freedom, along with trust that we won’t abuse it.

Such trust is unusual indeed in this industry and without it I wouldn’t have had the fun, the personal growth, the readership, or relationships that the readership has fostered over time. I am truly grateful and I will always be very fond of this place.

When I resurface on the buy side early next year I will continue to write from my new perch. Before then I will be presenting at Albert and Andy’s January conferences in London and Edinburgh. Hopefully I’ll get to catch up with some of you personally then. In the meantime, anyone who’s corresponded with me, met me, or even just enjoyed reading the odd Popular Delusions and would like to stay in touch, feel free to drop me a line here. To the rest of you, thank you and farewell!

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vast-dom's picture

hope you go short pal. and never forget, it's all too easy to label the random as non-random, especially when dabbling in ponzi markets.

Thomas's picture

That was less than I had hoped for.

rsnoble's picture

from trying to be clever to do something clever?  In other words SOS.  Guy must see a new bunch of suckers to fuck over.

falak pema's picture

the rats leave the ship? 

The stink getting too high in the kitchen? 

To do what : more intelligent scamming in a new outfit! 

But first I collect my bonus from Soc GEn for having lied, lied, lied, and led those gullible clients on to the pay turnstile.

I was clever but it was like taking candy from Blondie Boopadoop, behind Dagwood Burnstead's turned back.

Even that was easy, all I had to do was offer Dagwood a SocGen sandwich he couldn't refuse! 

Tyler Durden's picture

Before you comment, for once perhaps do some diligence first (or just click the approprate term in the glossary).

Grice has been one of the few who has been warning about what is coming and has been spot on so far. His commentary has always been invaluable to those who are not too blinded by stupidity, bias, and prejudice.

vast-dom's picture

when the shit really splatters the fan, some of the very people saving this planet will be the rare breed of prescient highly intelligent bankers. just a thought for those ready to hang, kill and punish and trash talk indiscriminantly...

LawsofPhysics's picture

Bullshit. Tell me, exactly what item of real value, does a "highly intelligent banker" create?  It see a massive discrepancy between what a highly talented tradesmen is paid compared to any banker.  But then again, you were clever in the way you chose your words, otherwise you might have actually said something like "a highly intelligent and honest banker."

Why is it that none of these fucks what to address the issue of moral hazard?  If a bank's management makes a poor loan/investment decision, then they sure as hell should be the ones who suffer and pay for their choices and not the accountholder or taxpayer.

Won't matter anyway, none of it is sustainable, and 7+ billion people will do whatever it takes to survive.  So long as your banker friends are willing to allow fraud to be the status quo, things will only crash faster.

Bring it, it's time for everyone to re-learn what value really is, again.

CrazyCooter's picture

I have settled on the idea that finance/banking is required mostly in trade, to facilitate transactions between two entities and there is has real value. I mean, at what point does a steel company in China pay for a shipment of coal from Australia? Finance covers the period in the middle where the coal leaves port and arrives in port. This is most prevalent in international trade due to disparities in currency, laws, and risk. It can happen within a nation but to a much lesser degree because of common laws and currency. There are some roles for finance with small businesses, to cover gaps between accounts recievable and paydays for example.

Generally, I think you talk about all this soveriegn borrowing, credit fueld economic shit sandwhich and on that we agree. Just taking the counter argument for shits and giggles.



Urban Redneck's picture

Rational capital formation/CapEx & trade finance, without it is back to primitive local subsistence existence

falak pema's picture

ever heard of Janus, the two faced God?

God of beginnings and transitions. Well, we've had the beginning; so where is the transition?

I'll keep my eyes open! Divine turnstile! 

Janus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BandGap's picture

Tyler, while many are indeed blinded by stupidity, blindness and prejudice, I believe many are choosing sides. Many want to be inside the framework when the SHTF. Only time will tell what rewards they will garner by being good little soldiers for maintaining the status quo during these times.

falak pema's picture

you would then agree that anybody who works for Soc Gen today, is by definition part of an organisation responsible for the biggest financial rip-off of western civilization, stationed in one of its main centres; aka the CIty. 

Do we hand out kudos to those who worked for the Wehrmacht and tried to tell the rest of the world that in 1944 they did not agree with the Fuhrer?

What were they doing from 1939 to 1944? 

I will click on the glossary, but I was around in this world in 2007, before the storm broke and knew even then that the banks were in total scam mode. If I had been working for Soc GEn then, or as he mentions since the last three years, I would have resigned the day I realised they were bringing capitalism down, the very foundation on which their roof was built on.

Its the least one can do, instead of earning your bread from the scoundrels whose actions you then condemn in "off" mode. 


BandGap's picture

Cut the drama and ask yourself what you would do. Fighting the fight to this point, adding some sanity to the equations, has been beneficial for all.

Perhaps from anotherr vantage point he will gain further insight while feeling better about not being part of the chaos.

falak pema's picture

I couldn't give a flying fuck about Dylan Grice; but I hate double standards. This whole shit game is not worthy of a name other than scam. Peace, we live in troubled times. No gripe against the individual but against the MINDSET.

I would have expected a little more distancing from the TDs on being able to tell the forest from the tree.

...."All good things come to an end, sadly.

Lol, now ain't that cute! 

LawsofPhysics's picture

"what would I do".  Make sure as hell that I don't support fraud as the status quo!!!

You dumb fuck, so long as these theives keep promoting fraud and see no real consequences for bad behavior, everybody will be "part of the chaos" when the shit really hits the fan.  None of this shit-show is sustainable and so long as professions are not willing to clean up their own messes, there is no escaping the chaos.  No matter how remote you think your private island is. 

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

The shit IS hitting the fan as we speak.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Bullshit.  People in America don't know what pain is.  Power still on?  Still have running water? Still have sanitation?  After spending a year or more in Afghanistan my brothers and I can tell you a few storys about "shit hitting the fan".

Wake the fuck up.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

I have been there too. I am awake. Maybe my vision is too good. If you think that the shit has not already begun to make contact with the fan blade, then all I can say is you must live in a nicer neighborhood than I do. The town that I live in has literally become a ghost town thanks to the Bankerticians

CrazyCooter's picture

Early on in my "awakening" I though things would happen really fast. I have come around to the idea we are in for a long, slow bleeding. It is going to be rough all around, but some places will fare far better than others. Only when the dollar loses reserve status in oil will things happen quickly.

If you are able, just find yourself a good little community to dig in with, and there are many around, and try to prepare as best you can. For me, that means (1) living in a small community, (2) no debts, (3) extra cash flow, (4) lots of rice, (5) guns, and (6) freezer full of game/fish. I am glad things are taking time to catch fire real good, just more time to prepare.



monkeyshine's picture

Dollar is not likely to lose reserve status in oil trade anytime soon. And besides, didn't you read the ZH headline today?  Petrodollar is passé. The Agro-Dollar is the new Petro-dollar, and the USA stands to be the biggest benficiary of that as populations all over the world need grain.

While the article doesnt make this leap (though the author may in some other venue), we could see all those exported, trade-deficited, foreign exchanged, internationally-traded, foreign-aided, printed-out-of-thin-air former-petro and other dollars come crashing back on our beaches at record velocity in the future decades. Massive inflation in the US and in food and commodity prices would be the result, but the world needs to eat and we are still the biggest farming country on earth.

John Ford Kennedy's picture

But he is going to buy side, isnt he?  So i guess it is probably the best time to short...

CrazyCooter's picture

Hard to say really. For all the monetary madness that has been played out for months/years, maybe we are finally getting that inflation that our dear leaders want.

Or maybe its a head fake.

I will agree the timing is very curious ...



ToNYC's picture

"The oldest cockroach fossil is 350 million years old, which is quite remarkable when you think about it. We humans have been around for around for a mere fifty thousand years (so we’re one seven thousandth as successful as cockroaches)".

To be clever you are obliged to map reality. If it  took 349.95 million years before genetic material chanced into what marked it as human, how does this make the development 1/7000th less successful? Like you said about sounding clever, that's not the same as being there. Bon chance, mon ami. Thank goodness, the best and brightest have left the easy pickings on the Street and the slowly expanding debris field to the successful cockroaches!

Hedgetard55's picture

How is it the oldest fossils supposedly millions of years old, never show any signjificant evolution? cockroaches, coelacanthes, monkeeys, ... none show any evolution at all, yet we are taught they are millions of years old. "They filled their niche perfectly and didn't need to evolve" they say. You would think these "brilliant" scientists woul;d ask the obvious question, that maybe they are NOT millions of years old after all, and evolution is a myth. Soft tissue in t-rex thigh bones SHOULD have blown Darwin out of the water, but academia has too much invested in Charlie.

ToNYC's picture


"How is it the oldest fossils supposedly millions of years old, never show any signjificant evolution? cockroaches, coelacanthes, monkeeys, ... none show any evolution at all,"


Those are evolving away from your notice, but then they haven't swapped technology that cross the master-slave barriers to make that process speeded up so you'd notice. You may have been taught, but you should have thought that was all they knew then, but then you thought you learned it all and blame them for the difference.

UnpatrioticHoarder's picture

Hmmm humans have existed for 50000 years.... no, I think more like 1 million years

shovelhead's picture


I hope we can hang that minimum wage earning hot chick teller with the short skirt and killer legs at the bank.

She's obviously part of the cabal destroying the world's economy.

Maybe not, but those legs kicking air would be a sight to see.

Collateral damage and guilt by association is acceptable to most ZHeads as long as no drones are involved.

Welcome to Knee-jerkistan.

resurger's picture

The Cockroach Strategy -Dylan Grice

25% Bonds

25% Cash

25% Equity

25% Gold

Where is silver lol?

good read, wish him the best of luck ..