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Memoirs of a Minyan: An Officer and a Gentleman


The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.

Odd, I thought. Jon Olesky, the managing director of the listed stock desk, was in charge recruiting and personally picked me to represent the firm. David Slaine ran the OTC desk and was my big brother on the Street. It was a power struggle pure and simple, and Mark didn't want me around to challenge his authority.

I protested to his boss, Tom Clark, and was told not to rock the boat. He wanted me to sign the review as we were required to do and take one for the team.

I was upset but didn't want to leave the only firm I had ever worked for.

I didn't want to leave my brothers.

I didn't want to leave the cash register.

The Good Ship

Slaino didn't like what he was seeing; he knew I was being sandbagged and protested in kind. As he was in a different department-and as the equity division suffered another wave of defections-his protests fell on deaf ears.

I refused to sign the review. It was fundamentally false and I knew that as soon as I put pen to paper, my days at Mother Morgan would be numbered.

Seven years, I thought to myself. Seven years of blood, sweat and tears. I wasn't going out like that.

A few months earlier, Raj Rajratanam and Gary Rosenbach, formerly of Needham & Company, created a powerful new hedge fund. The Galleon Group opened for business with roughly $500 million under management and they were the talk of the town.

Slaino and Gary were close friends after years on the Street and David made the introduction. I began to facilitate some of Gary's option trades and we developed a healthy rapport. As we made money together, the conversations increased in frequency.

I didn't want to leave Morgan but I was fighting a losing battle. Every few days, Tom Clark asked me to sign the review and each time I declined. I knew that I couldn't put it off forever.

With David's endorsement, I began discussions with Galleon about moving to their shop; they didn't have a derivative specialist and it was an intuitive fit. As pressure continued to build, I found myself delving deeper into the potential opportunity.

We agreed that I would join them as the Managing Director of derivatives. I would receive a token salary and derive the lion's share of my compensation as a function of performance.

I walked into Tom Clark's office and shut the door behind me. I expressed reservations about the falsities contained in the review and he assured me that I would be taken care of.

"Will I really be taken care of?" I asked with great concern.

"You have my word," he said, pushing the review directly in front of me as he uncapped his pen.

I signed the review, putting my better judgment aside. When bonus time arrived, I was paid $500,000 for one year's worth of work.

I thanked them and waited patiently for the check to clear. Once it did, I walked into Tom's office and tendered my resignation.

They were stuck-not only had they just paid half a million dollars to a departing trader, I went to work for the most respected new hedge fund on the Street.

Vikram Pandit ran the equity division and called me to his office to offer congratulations. He said that if there was anything I needed, he would be happy to oblige.

I gathered my belongings and said goodbye to the only professional family I ever knew. I felt like I out-traded the best desk on the Street; the power shoe was on the other foot and I liked the way it fit.


Click here for the next chapter of Memoirs, "Trading Places."

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