The Cows Of Gstaad

After IEF2009, the lovely Terri & I mosey up to Gstaad for lunch. Sitting in the sunshine outside a restaurant in the main street with a bottle of local Vaudois Pinot Noir-Gamay, we hear bells. Low, slow, mellow bells.

Around the corner come honey-coloured Charolais cows with tiaras of flowers on their heads and the most enormous bells hung from wide collars around their necks.  Alongside them, with spring-heeled jauntiness, herdsmen beamed with pride.

I wondered, in a Pinot-induced kind of way, whether the wretched, rotten bankers of UBS ever got the same pleasure from selling a collateral debt obligation, or arranging a credit default swap, as these herdsmen got from showing off their lovely cows.


All is not lost. Many former UBS bankers have the opportunity to re-train for new careers in the pastures of the Bernese Oberland.


Maybe life will improve for them.



  1. How right you are Paul, within five minutes of the cows going past, a mechanised, sit-on, street-sweeping machine came along and cleaned up all the sh**. “Very Swiss”, the German guy at the next door table commented. Pity no one’s invented a machine for cleaning up bankers’ sh**!

  2. Paul Hollingworth

    I’m sure there’s a joke here about the bankers and the herdsmen having one similarity in that in both cases after they’ve left, there’s a lot of clearing up required…

  3. Actually Mike we had a brilliant lunch for under £50 a head. Going local on the wine saved a bit – it was about 50 francs. With all your money I’d have thought you’d have seen it as cheap as chips. Good to see you too, it was one of the most enjoyable IEFs I’ve been to. I think people were so relieved to have survived, they wanted to tell the tale.

  4. David – you’re overpaid ! Last time I was in Gstaad a pizza was about £30 so I hate to think what a bottle of wine cost.
    Anyway hope you enjoyed IEF and see you again soon.

  5. Brian, Good to hear from you. Thanks for getting in touch. The papers over here are full of stories about bankers re-training as one thing or another – often as teachers – and it seems obligatory for them all to say how much better they feel now they’re out of banking. If only they’d felt that way before getting into it! But many good people, who would otherwise have useful careers, will still be sucked into banking because of the money. It’s a real loss.

  6. Well, put, David. It remains a mystery to me how much of the world today makes it living in non-tangible ways, ways that at the end of the day, sitting in a cafe somewhere, are hard to quantify.
    But we’re all different. I suspect we’ll be reading more stories in the coming months similar to the tale of the Wall Street banker who now is maitre d at his favorite restaurant and is finding a lot of happiness in that (or so he claims).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *