A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the by Richard Bookstaber

By Richard Bookstaber

Inside markets, innovation, and risk
Why do markets retain crashing and why are monetary crises more than ever sooner than? because the hazard supervisor to a couple of the best organizations on Wall Street–from Morgan Stanley to Salomon and Citigroup–and a member of a few of the world’s biggest hedge cash, from Moore Capital to Ziff Brothers and FrontPoint companions, Rick Bookstaber has noticeable the ghost contained in the laptop and vividly exhibits us an international that's even riskier than we expect. The very issues performed to make markets more secure, have, actually, created a global that's way more harmful. From the 1987 crash to Citigroup last the Salomon Arb unit, from wonderful losses at UBS to the dying of long term Capital administration, Bookstaber provides readers a entrance row seat to the administration judgements made by way of probably the most strong monetary figures on this planet that resulted in disaster, and describes the impression of his personal actions on markets and marketplace crashes. a lot of the innovation of the final 30 years has wreaked havoc at the markets and price trillions of greenbacks. A Demon of Our personal Design tells the tale of man’s try to deal with marketplace possibility and what it has wrought. within the strategy of displaying what we've performed, Bookstaber shines a gentle on what the long run holds for a global the place capital and gear have moved from Wall road associations to elite and hugely leveraged hedge cash.

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The traders were basing their actions on stale data; there could be no telling where the stock market would actually open. They put in orders to sell at the market price at the open, under the assumption that the open would be close enough to the Friday close to still make the discount in the futures contracts a profitable trade. That was a big bet and a far cry from the relatively low-risk enterprise of the usual cash-futures trade. And in this environment, it was even more risky because when the stock market did open, it was almost certain to open down.

MGRM had to obtain funding from its parent organization, Metallgesellschaft, to cover these costs. Its management, either not understanding or not agreeing with the strategy, decided to close out the positions to curtail its losses. qxd 7/13/07 2:42 PM Page 38 A DEMON OF OUR OWN DESIGN In December 1993, the company cashed in its positions at a loss exceeding $1 billion. Meanwhile, in Orange County, California, treasurer Robert Citron had been structuring trades with the help of friends at Merrill Lynch to borrow on the short end of the yield curve to finance positions in the usually higher-yielding intermediate-term rates.

The bulk of the hedge was in Treasuries, because the effect of interest rates (except for the lowest-rated bonds, of course) is larger than the effect of idiosyncratic movements in the stock. But the relative weights of the equity and Treasury positions in the hedge moved dynamically as the fortunes of the firm and the quality of the bonds varied. So here was yet another derivatives-based trading strategy that depended on the ability to make smooth adjustments in the hedge over time, and it did not fare any better in the gap moves in prices during the crash.

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