Saturday, February 22, 2014

I offer mine own scalp

[This was left as a draft in 2009 and only published 5 years later.  I no longer work for the hedge fund]

Confession: I work for a hedge fund.

There, I said it. I am not proud of the fact. In fact, I am more than a bit embarrassed by that fact. But the fact of the matter is that I had retired from the world of finance in 2005 to become a small-time merchant, and even smaller-time farmer, and a person who would live in a small community in a small home and with few luxuries, internet service being one of the few.

In short, I had decided to downsize. During my entire Wall Street career to that time I had deep misgivings about the sector. The people who work there fall into a few camps and across the range from rather dull to extremely bright but all obsessed with money and status.... Status of various sorts, but status nonetheless. The dullards were horribly overpaid for their services, the brilliant wasted chasing basis points when they should have been inventing solar panels or cures for AIDS. Then there were the true financiers: not terribly smart but driven by the golden calf. Very slimy in general and only concerned with their personal fortune and power. In other words, verging on evil.

And aside from my personal dislike for most of my colleagues on one level or another, I did not think that more than 30% of what was being done was of very much value. And it only got worse as the market I was in started dealing in Credit Default Swaps, something that at the time I warned was no better than gambling. It should be outlawed I said four years ago before riding off into the sunset.

But this post is not about CDS either. I might write directly on that subject next time, but not right now.

I say that as background.

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