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Memoirs of a Minyan: Trading Places

By

The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.

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Money is tremendous motivation when you're that young and I've seen it make good people do bad things. $500,000 suddenly seemed like a very small sum. I entered the world of the mega-millions, rainmakers that would make Gordon Gecko blush. I set my sights at joining the ranks of the Wall Street elite.

The policies introduced by Alan Greenspan kicked in and the stock market furiously climbed the front end of the technology bubble. Fortunes were made on a daily basis as IPO's climbed hundreds of points in a single session.

The eyes of the world were on Wall Street and Galleon was humming. The firm paid millions of commission dollars to the Street and they were given fat allocations on new issues.

ZING! 25,000 shares of an IPO up $60.

SHAZZAM! 30,000 shares opening $40 higher than where it was priced.

POW! An oh-by-the way "kiss" from a second-tier broker looking to get in Galleon's good graces.

This was my year. It had to be my year.

As we edged toward the end of 1999, my relationship with the partners couldn't be better. The firm was killing it, which is to say there was more money than you could shake a stick at.

The performance of my smaller portfolio lagged but I made up for it in spades. The P&L on the large option bets for the flagship fund spoke for itself and my inclusion in the circle of trust was a mere formality.

Gary sat me down to let me know that I would finally be getting a bonus and my eyes began to spin like a slot machine.

What would it be, a million?

Two million?

Three million?

"Todd," he began, "The partners appreciate your efforts this year. We're going to reward you with $50,000."

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

If I was ever going to make real money on Wall Street, I had to step from behind the shadows. If I was going to be a serious player, I had to be a partner. I asked Gary if that was in the cards and he told me that it wasn't.

When I left Morgan Stanley, David told me to make it count because you could only leave a firm that reputable once.

The same could be said of Galleon-they were one of the top hedge funds and nobody left on their own volition. I knew what I had to do and understood what was at stake.

Once I left, that door would never be open to me again.

R.P.


Click here for the next chapter of memoirs, "Whaddya Say Y2K?"

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