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Feb 28, Mal Warwick rated it it was amazing Shelves: A loathsome human being The central character is this superb piece of investigative journalism is Steven A. Cohen is clearly a loathsome human being—obsessed with greed, contemptuous of the law, and ruthless beyond compare. For example, here is an eyewitness account of a statement he made to the traders at his fund while in the midst of ugly divorce proceedings with his first wife. Obviously, too, he was diabolically clever in shielding himself from responsibility for the illegal actions he forced his employees to take.
After decade-long investigations by the FBI and the SEC, Cohen was forced to close down his hedge fund, but he escaped from prosecution, paying only a fine that was modest on the scale of his wealth. Kolhatkar makes clear that despite his undisputed brilliance as a trader, he broke insider trading laws and regulations to gain most of his fortune. How hedge funds operate It helps to understand what hedge funds really are and what they do. You can find an explanation of classic hedging strategies in plain English here. Over time, however, as the industry became more competitive, hedge fund managers increasingly gravitated away from investing and took up trading, eventually even trading in and out of stocks over fractions of a second.
In this way, Wall Street distorts the American and ultimately the world economy. That makes no sense at all except for the gamblers who engage in day-to-day and minute-to-minute stock trading. The average top manager of a hedge fund earned nearly half a billion dollars that year. Should there be an upper limit on compensation?
I recognize that many Americans are convinced there should be no upper limit on income. I disagree because I do not believe that anyone whatsoever could possibly provide enough benefit to society to warrant compensation of half a billion dollars a year—and because I know that such high levels of income are only possible because the U. To grasp how much money these numbers represent, consider this: Thus, the average top hedge fund CEO received more than three times as much money.
Any analyst doing his job well would come across this sort of information all the time. The fund posted average gains of 30 percent per year over 20 years. In their scramble for insider information to give themselves a black edge, hedge fund managers bought off doctors throughout the country. The unofficial number was probably much higher. Yet the elected leadership of the United States seems hell-bent on doing just that. Cohen and the stellar returns at SAC Capital, which he began in Trish I like your idea of putting an upper limit on compensation.
For some queer reason, that never occurred to me I just always thought in terms of propo I like your idea of putting an upper limit on compensation. I just always thought in terms of proportionality.
But of course, proportionality would have to be applied with this simple block at the top. Mar 29, Trish rated it it was amazing Shelves: Steven Cohen is back running hedges or do we call them dodges? He is sixty-one years old, and has houses filled with beautiful things. His lifetime focus is trying to edge others in the market using whatever means necessary. He is said to have a reptilian cool when it comes to trading on the margins, making him one of the best traders ever. Cold-blooded is one thing. Cheating with inside information is another Steven Cohen is back running hedges or do we call them dodges?
Cheating with inside information is another. He can deny it all he wants. Once the top cyclists and home-run hitters started doing it, you either went along with them or you lost. Kolhatkar wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek for most of the time she spent gathering material for this book, but now she works as a staff writer at The New Yorker. She has the skill to make a boring story about old white men on Wall Street buying stuff interesting. If we are going to stop this kind of self-aggrandizement where it leads to corruption of our most important principles, we need people who are brave enough to take on the cheaters.
Martoma had to change his name from Ajai Thomas because he was expelled from Harvard Law School for illegally modifying his transcript to get a clerkship. His father says at his trial that he "maxed out" his gifts. Steve Cohen is the same kind of man. He has one gift that we can see. He is also more willing to be criminal than we are, perhaps as compensation for a kind of social and spiritual impoverishment. He will be remembered for…what? If I understood the investigations into Steve Cohen, it was conducted separately by three different branches of government: These players got together occasionally to share information, but were all the time afraid they could not make a case with the information they had gleaned unless someone in the Cohen organization flipped.
Kolhatkar has an especially interesting discussion on why the ethically-challenged Martoma did not flip. To date we do not know why. Several cases were being investigated and litigated by this same group at the same time, i. Cohen did end up paying more than a billion dollars in fines, but he was never jailed.
Attorney for the Southern District, for abridgment of his constitutional rights during that investigation. Ganek lost that challenge in October A year later, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Newman overturn was too lenient.
The fight for right is ongoing. Kolhatkar draws the contrast between those working for the government with fewer resources and those sleek white men working for Cohen. In the years after the investigation, some attorneys moved from one side to the other: Maybe one day, one of those who know both sides of the street will do the right thing for the right reasons. Feb 07, Terry Earley rated it liked it.
Black Edge Three Short Stories Eustacie Matthew 2; 3. step forward and two backward—he's pushed to the edge by a state the size of New. Short Book Review: Black Edge (inside story of SAC Capital) by There were three ways to make money betting on Chipotle stock, as the story.
Fresh Air author interview: This was more of a forensic study than a trading story. The SEC and the NY Attorney General knew for some time that this hedge fund, among many others, were trading on insider information, but did not have to tools to stop it for many years. By the time Steve Cohen made a deal to close it, he had personally amassed 10 billion dollars, making the 1. The real takeaway here, is that these people will always Fresh Air author interview: The real takeaway here, is that these people will always have a new "black edge", and everyone else will be left behind.
The big fish swim away and the underlings go to prison. It is a cynical lesson, but greed and pride drive Wall Street. We have to cope with it, and see that the more outrageous violators are stopped, even if they are never really punished. Feb 24, Athan Tolis rated it it was amazing Shelves: It is a sad indictment of our system, but I truly cannot fathom of another way out. Buy and read this book.
I sincerely hope you arrive at a different conclusion.
Second—and this is a bit more substantive—Kolhatkar focuses her narrative almost exclusively on the perpetrators of these legendary financial crimes and the people who prosecuted them. Last month I flew to California with five books. Cohen, the rise and fall of his hedge fund… www. And if it's not, it can be found between the written lines. In this day and age, nobody is surprised.
Feb 19, Christopher Liberty rated it it was amazing. On the one hand, I want to say: But on the other hand, and what I feel more strongly is that somehow— things must change. Mar 04, Aharon rated it liked it. One of those books where Ivy-educated lawyers adjust their silk ties as they stride across the worn marble floors of courthouses just a few blocks from the tony addresses where they grew up and attended prestigious private schools that were the training grounds of Manhattan's elite, unlike their clients, who grew up at the bottom rung of Long Island's etc.
But for all that perfectly fine. Apr 22, Rob Woodbridge rated it it was amazing. This is eerily similar to Bobby Axelrod and the Billions plot lines. May 21, Christopher rated it really liked it Shelves: I just wrote a more in depth review of this book on my weekly book blog. If you like this review and would like to read more, click on the following link: The financial crisis laid bare how greed and fraud had taken over Wall St. Hedge funds in particular were singled out for stock market speculation that served very little purpose, yet commanded huge amounts of capital and salaries for Reviewer's Note: Hedge funds in particular were singled out for stock market speculation that served very little purpose, yet commanded huge amounts of capital and salaries for its employees.
One of the criticisms of financial reform in the Obamacare years was that practically. O one went to jail for what they did. This book shows how hedge funds, in spite their exhaustive efforts to bring inside traders to justice, have insulated themselves from federal prosecution and even the captured the regulators who are supposed to be policing the industry. This book focuses on one man, Steven Cohen, and how he rose to become one of the top hedge fund managers in the country. It also shows how Mr. Cohen created a culture of insider trading while making it difficult for federal prosecutors to get at him without flipping lower level members in his company.
If this all sounds like the Sopranos to you, the author makes the analogy to the mob a few times too. The book also shows how federal prosecutors worked day and night, but, at the end of the day, came up empty handed. Cohen was never prosecuted, several of his low level employees had their charges dismissed, and the money Mr.
Cohen had to pay in fines was made back in a few days in spite of its 1. And, to add insult to injury, many of the investigators and lawyers who worked so hard to try to put Cohen behind bars were hired by the very firms they were investigating later. It is a sickening example of regulatory capture.
Having read this book, I am convinced that Wall St. Major legislation is needed to reform how the stock market is policed and how SEC and other federal investigators are hired by the financial industry. What's more, Wall St. A fascinating peek at Wall St. Feb 23, Daniel Simmons rated it it was amazing. A financial thriller that is very unfortunately, given the bad-guys-win conclusion nonfiction. Even the most casual reader of business news will find the overall thrust of this book -- very rich people get what they want -- not so surprising; what DID surprise me, however, was just how incredibly difficult it is for authorities to bring rich baddies to justice, even when proof of their illegal behavior seems virtually incontrovertible.
I'm no Wall Street aficionado but Kolhatkar's a terrific w A financial thriller that is very unfortunately, given the bad-guys-win conclusion nonfiction. I'm no Wall Street aficionado but Kolhatkar's a terrific writer who makes the murky world of hedge funds come to light and to life. Recommended, especially to those who wonder why all the architects of the financial crisis aren't in jail. Feb 12, Milo Geyelin rated it it was amazing. This is the best non-fiction legal thriller I've read since "A Civil Action. I still highly recommend this book. Apr 23, Gabriel Pinkus added it.
Well-worth the read if you're interested in securities law, the SEC, finance, insider trading, etc. May 30, Jill rated it it was amazing. Well written and well researched and weirdly endlessly entertaining.
Think it has general interest even if not connected to finance or law. Apr 26, Bryan Schwartz rated it really liked it Shelves: Sheelah Kolhatkar does several things very well. She tells a compelling and thoroughly researched story of Wall Street greed, she makes complicated financial jargon accessible to a layman, and she vividly illustrates the corrupt lives of hedge fund moguls and unscrupulous white shoe lawyers. And yet, I have a few complaints gripes?
First, and while this is an incredibly minor point, humor me I hate the way that Kolhatkar or her edit Sheelah Kolhatkar does several things very well. I hate the way that Kolhatkar or her editor?
While they add to the text and illustrate her exhaustive reporting, there is no indication to the reader that they exist prior to the Endnotes section. Why hide such valuable literary garnish? Second—and this is a bit more substantive—Kolhatkar focuses her narrative almost exclusively on the perpetrators of these legendary financial crimes and the people who prosecuted them. The victims of these crimes—including the corporate sources of insider information, the largely ignorant families of the defendants, and the investors in these shadowy hedge funds—receive little attention in this slim volume.
Feb 15, Mac rated it really liked it. Though I was not familiar with Ms Kolhatkar's writing before, I can see from Black Edge that she knows how to tell a story. She frames the book around a central concept that's easy to grasp--the hedge funds' relentless pursuit of "edge," especially "black edge," which is illegal inside information. She creates a sense of narrative drive with lots of dialogue and plenty of details plus a good mix of dramatic courtroom confrontations so the book becomes something of a page-tur A good storyteller She creates a sense of narrative drive with lots of dialogue and plenty of details plus a good mix of dramatic courtroom confrontations so the book becomes something of a page-turner though the basics of the story are fairly well known.
And she handles the technical jargon with clarity and ease though she appropriately skips over much of the investing details. The central story is the government's effort to bring down Steve Cohen, perhaps the most successful hedge fund manager of them all, a manager whom many assume succeeds due to his consistent "black edge. And the story is important, a tale about extreme wealth, greed, and little respect for the law, a story that captures the ethos of current events.
So good storyteller plus good story makes Black Edge a readable, entertaining, informative tale for our times. Carried in the water is a dark sludge that seems to be silt: The next day many more litter the ditch. He gives up counting. They bob in the slow current, spinning as they snag against branches and leaves. He looks closer, sees others, alive, rising to the surface, their gills beating for breath amid the black silt. Chubs, bullheads, minnows, roaches. Glinting silver scales, sandy-yellow blotches, flecks of gold, orange.
The dead ones float flat on their sides. The bare eyes stare up, gawping blindly at him. Sometimes Anja praises Martyn so highly she makes him feel like Superman. He has the Superman dream always the same way: Post a Comment Note: