(dramatic music) – We all knew what was going on. Anyone on Wall Street,
you know, had a sense how it was changing for the worse. You know, they had had what they called a culture of excellence. Ultimately, a very
aggressive banking culture. – I had some real issues with
how that was manifesting, ’cause around that time, there was a lot of corporate fraud
that was becoming apparent. My graduate degrees are in statistics and operations research,
undergrad in math, so that was always my kind
of angle into Wall Street. – When was it time to blow the whistle? – I just decided I was
gonna leave Wall Street, all this stuff was going on,
I didn’t want a part of it, and I found also, there
was lack of understanding. I just sort of wandered into journalism. – Is bringing an insider, she is former Goldman
managing director Nomi Prins. – Real economies throughout
the world are deteriorating, and growth is deteriorating,
manufacturing is deteriorating, production is deteriorating. Starting the beginning
of a prolonged period now of a recession or even worse. – Odds are shifting very
quickly, this could be it. – People don’t have the same exposure to the trading systems on Wall Street. So that’s what I’ve done
in this particular system that I’ve developed, something
called 25 Cent Contracts, and presents a way for a person to take advantage of that
scenario in a cheap way and in a fast way, and in an easy way. The more comfortable you
feel with financial elements, the better you’ll be at managing them, and the more confident
and empowered you’ll be in your own life, in
any aspect of your life. (dramatic music) (upbeat music) – Nomi Prins is a former
Wall Street trader that you would have seen on Fox, CNBC, and Bloomberg Television News. She actually regularly advises
the Federal Reserve, the IMF, and the World Bank on important
financial policy matters. She’s ex-Goldman, Lehman
Brothers, and Bear Stearns, and she really knows her stuff. But what really impressed me was her 25 Cent Contracts strategy, which takes advantage of a
little known market anomaly that happens every day around 10 a.m. if you know what to look for. Now, as the host of this episode, I was able to secure an exclusive
spot but you must act now. And as a former Wall Street trader, I think this is a super exciting
strategy for investment. So if you’re interested, you
can click on the link below or go to londonreal.tv/nomi,
that’s N-O-M-I, to secure your spot. I know you’re gonna enjoy the training, and I know you’re gonna enjoy this incredible episode
with this incredible woman. (upbeat music) The world is changing. Inspiration is everywhere. It has never been so easy to connect, share, and bring people together. We’re learning from others, and finding the best in ourselves. Challenging our beliefs. Sharing our vulnerability. Overcoming our fears. Transforming ourselves so
we can transform the world. How far can we go? This is “London Real”, I am
Brian Rose, my guest today is– (upbeat percussion music) This is “London Real”, I am Brian Rose, my guest today is Nomi Prins,
the former Wall Street banker turned investigative journalist, financial expert, and speaker. You have worked at some
of the most powerful banks on Wall Street, including Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns. You’ve been a television commentator for the BBC, CNN, and CNBC, and you work as an investigative
journalist who’s been featured in the New York Times,
Forbes, and Fortune Magazine. You’re also a bestselling
author with your latest book “Collusion: How Central
Bankers Rigged the World”, shedding light on the dark conspiracies between private and public banking, Nomi, welcome to “London Real”. – Thank you so much, Brian, this is, it’s so exciting to always be in London, but particularly to be here
with you at “London Real”, ’cause we do share so many
background similarities. – I know, and I wanna
get into all that today. What’s it like being in London, I guess for you being back in London, because you came here for
the financial markets, even before I did back in ’97. – Yeah, actually, I was
here from ’93 through 2000, so I was here during the
initial steps towards the EU, and Britain was talking
about will the role be relative to the rest of Europe, and all the conversations
from a trade and market, and banking, and geopolitical
perspective back then, and now we’re sort of in a
different manifestation of that with conversations about
what’s going in the EU, the economies, Brexit, and so forth, so it’s like a bit of a time loop. So, every time I come back to London, it’s a little bit of a mini time loop. I do get back here several
times a year to work on things, but it’s always, it always
feels like coming home, even though I only lived
here seven, eight years, it always feels like a second home to me. – Yeah, no, I remember that time, like, people don’t
remember in the early ’90s, no one knew if the Euro would happen, if the European Union would happen, it was still like kind of a dream, and all the currencies
were all over the place, they all had different interest rates, usually really high, and then they all kind of
started converging more. I mean, you got to see all that happen, and now some fallout from
that happening, right. – Yeah, it’s really interesting, ’cause back then, being
inside a bank at the time, and I was working for Bear Stearns, but of course being part
of banking in general, in the city of London in general, all my friends were in banking, that was all the conversation
that was going on, it was convergence trades, and what would happen to
the European currencies and nations, and bond
markets when they converged into each other, and
how the UK and Britain would be a part of that
or not a part of that, and what the sort of
thoughts were on all sides, and it’s really interesting, because back then it was
about okay, what’s the trade? As well as what’s happening politically. Now that I’m somewhat
outside of certainly working within the banking system, it’s more I can be an observer as well
in terms of what’s going on, and that’s really very interesting, ’cause some of the same
conversations are going on. Brexit is all about some
people not wanting Britain to be a part of the EU, which was exactly the conversation that
was going on in the ’90s, and some people want it
to be, which was exactly the conversation that
was going on in the ’90, it’s just that all this
other life and stuff, and events has happened in between. – What do I think is gonna
happen from here with Britain, the Pound Sterling and all that stuff, I mean, I don’t wanna
get too deep into it, but what do you think is gonna happen to this country and Europe and all that? – Well, one thing that’s happened since the referendum
in June 2016 for Brexit is that there’s been
massive uncertainty, right, there’s been political uncertainty, there’s been a couple of
prime ministers along the way, there have been a lot of economic fallout from the uncertainty
around that situation, what’s trade gonna look like, how are companies gonna be able to invest, where are people gonna
go, will they be able to go seamlessly back and forth, in particular in service
industries, in airlines, and in banking, and all
these different places, and so that uncertainty’s really dragged, I think, on Britain, as
well as in the streets. I was in Birmingham over the weekend, which is where the industrial
revolution started, like in the world, I mean, it started in Britain, it started in Birmingham, and just in a pub with
just regular local people talking about what was going
on and it’s interesting when you get away from
newscasters and away from London, and away from sort of people
that are more sort of talking about things rather than
experiencing them on the ground, how things change, and those
conversations in Birmingham were very much about the uncertainty surrounding how their
lives would be with Brexit, without Brexit, not so much who
in Parliament is doing what, but how does that actually
impact their daily lives. Is it gonna make the economy
harder for them personally, is it gonna be easier, what’s happening, and just the drag of it for years, it’s made people very tired on the ground, the not knowing has made people very sort of tired on the ground, and that’s one of the reasons, just from a financial
perspective, the currency, the Pound has been very depreciated, because it doesn’t know
what it’s supposed to do, and as a result, investment
doesn’t come in here, the Pound gets weaker, and
that’s what’s happened. Recently, as there’s a
possibility that there won’t be a Brexit with no deal,
that’s kind of been filtering throughout the ether, the
Pound’s been increasing a little bit, and that’s because
the Pound wants certainty, the Pound doesn’t want a
crash and burn scenario. The country doesn’t really
want a crash and burn scenario, despite what some politicians are saying, so my feeling is that there
won’t be a no deal Brexit, there might be a Brexit but there will be some kind of a deal, even if pieces of it are put on the table with the idea that they can be negotiated later, but still put forth as
some kind of a deal, because I just don’t think that the, I don’t think the integration
between Britain and the EU, because there is so much
trade, there is so much of an economic connection
with those areas, plus with respect to the rest of the world and what their place is, I don’t think we have a no deal Brexit. – You mentioned uncertainty
and that’s such a big thing, and we got an election year, we’ve got, always seems like crazy things
happen around the world, and oil prices and all these things, and we actually just got
done taping a short piece about something you’ve just come up with, which you call your 25 Cent
Contracts, which, I believe, is kind of an option play, but
you’re really a macro person. I’m just wondering if
you could maybe explain just briefly what we
talked about and also, how does that play into
this worldwide volatility? And by the way, we taped that piece, it’s not gonna be on
YouTube or on a website, but there’s a link below, it’s londonreal.tv/nomi, that’s N-O-M-I, if people wanna watch it,
but what is that all about? – Right, so, one of the
things that I have done since leaving Wall Street and
leaving the baking environment from respect to working for
any of those institutions is I’ve been writing, I’ve
been doing journalism, I’ve been speaking with
governments throughout the world and institutions as to how better they can position themselves to
help the real economy, to help real people on the ground. So my entire sort of focus has changed to be about that, to
exposing what’s wrong, and to also helping people on the ground, and one of the things
that I actually realised when I left Wall Street is that
you don’t get paid as much, right, I mean, it’s very simple,
and there’s a lot of money that’s coming into banking
positions that one can make, but when you make the decision
as I did to leave all that, I also wanna do my
journalism, I wanna fund it and things like that,
so I look very carefully at how I’ve invested the
money and protected the money that I’ve made since then
so that it can last me, so that I have the
freedom to do journalism, to be whistle-blower and so forth, and that freedom’s really important to me, so one of the things that I’ve developed in this trading system is
I’ve taken the analytical, mathy stuff that I did, the wonky stuff that I did.
– Which is what your specialty was, it was banks.
– Which is what I did, yeah. – I mean, you ran these
big quant departments, what we call these rocket scientists, I mean, that’s why I got recruited at MIT, to go to Wall Street at Bankers Trust, ’cause they were looking
for these math quants, and you had 30 of them working for you. – Yeah, I mean, in London,
they were incredibly gifted intellectually and
mathematically, and statistically, I, myself, my graduate
degrees are in statistics and operations research,
undergrad in math, so that was always, yes, my
kind of angle into Wall Street relative to trading or sales, which are some of the other types
of jobs on Wall Street, it was always about the math, the trends, the numbers, the securities and how they behaved under certain conditions, and that’s always what I looked at throughout my entire
career on Wall Street, and I always also looked at the downside, not what happens if a trade works but what happens if it doesn’t work, what are the risks you
should be looking for, and how can you best sort of protect that investment for those risks, and so that’s a lot of what I did. So leaving, I wanted to
protect what I had again so that I could continue to do what I do, and be free to do that and say what I need to say in the world. But also, I’ve realised over the years that people don’t have the same exposure to the sort of bigger trading
systems on Wall Street. I mean, yes, they might
have a brokerage account, but they don’t really have the ability to create their own systems. And so I looked at what
are some of the ways that I can create something
that they can use, regular people on the ground can use to access some of what Wall
Street does all the time. And it’s a little bit like swimming, I mean, I’m a diver and so it’s a little bit
like looking at sharks and consider Wall Street
bankers like sharks, right, I’m sure that’s not a big
leap, and in the ocean, there are these things
called shark scrubbers, right, and they’re actually little fish that look exactly like sharks. – Yeah, I’ve seen them.
– But they’re tiny. – Yeah, they swim alongside of them, right.
– They swim alongside, and sometimes they actually
suck out the nutrients sometimes from the shark itself,
the sides of the sharks, and they also swim beside
them to get those nutrients. So they kind of like shade
the shark as the shark’s moving around doing its
thing, but they’re tiny. And so the way I look at systems that can help individual
people is that you kind of have to be aware of what
the sharks are doing, because they’re doing it, they’re moving in the market sense,
they’re moving the markets, but also you can sort
of be alongside of them and sort of be observant
and sort of extract some of the value from
those types of trades, especially when they’re going fast. So right now, we have a situation where there’s a lot of
volatility in the market, and what I see is
momentum, accelerated speed of how trades are happening, how geopolitics is affecting the market, how the vote on Brexit or
something that happened between the trade wars of US and China, manifest in the market on a
regular ongoing basis, right, and so to me, how that happens is like those little shark scrubbers that are swimming next to the shark, they watch how the market
reacts, like the big sharks, how they’re in there, what
they’re doing, but they can kind of be a part of it without
being in the middle of it. And so that’s what I’ve done
in this particular system that I’ve developed was something
called 25 Cent Contracts, they’re a very cheap way
of taking on investment or taking exposure into the market, particularly in times of volatility, they take into account what
the big sharks are doing, they take into account why
volatility’s happening, and a bunch of other
parameters, some more analytics, and presents a way for a
person to take advantage of that scenario in a cheap way and in a fast way, and in an easy way with these 25 Cent Contracts,
or option contracts basically. – And another thing you talk about, and we spoke about it in the
piece that we recorded earlier, was this whole thing that
you trade before 10 a.m. And then, I think you said before that only suckers trade after 10 a.m., what is the thinking behind
that timing and that mentality? Because that’s kinda intriguing for me. – So this goes back to
how the big institutions and banks trade. So what they do is, they
have much more access to the markets when the
markets aren’t open, which a real person
wouldn’t necessarily know, and doesn’t have access to either, and so their position
before the market opens, so for example, if something happens in the Middle East with respect to oil, as it did recently with the Saudi Arabian oil fields being struck by drones, and that has a spike in oil, that has uncertainty in the Middle East, uncertainty with how that’s gonna manifest relative to the US, lots
of things are happening, and the markets are
reacting, they’re reacting when it first happens,
and then they’re reacting right after, and the big players
are positioning themselves with trades to take advantage
in a very large size, and real people can’t get
into that really large size, and so what happens when
the bigger markets open, and we talk about, and the
model looks at what happens at the market open up to
10 a.m. for the US markets, so we’re looking at US markets
when I talk about 10 a.m., is that all of those
institutions and speculators, and hedge funds that have
positioned themselves because of news overnight,
and into the market open, they’re already there,
they’re already set to go, and it’s like the market
opens and they’re just all of their orders get filled, and the small person
is like wait a minute, what’s going on, it’s like
those little shark scrubbers with the shark, you
know, sharks are coming and getting their trades
and they’re getting executed right when the market opens
and in a lot of cases in stocks before the market even
opens in pre-market hours, we’re watching that in the model, and so, the thing that
happens up to 10 o’clock is a lot of that stuff
basically filters out, it happens, we get to then
analyse how it impacted the market in the very,
very beginning of the day, sometimes as early as 9:30
when the market opens, but we take into account
all of that large activity, and then we trade into
that large activity, so again, we’re like the
little shark scrubber with the shark, and the
shark’s already gone, and we’re now just, we’re
following but with information. – Wow.
– Before. – And this is something you use yourself on your own money, your own portfolio. – Yeah, I absolutely
do, and a couple things about that too is with 25 Cent Contracts, they’re short-term in nature, they last for generally through the end of the week that we’re trading, and so one of the things that I do is look on Mondays or Tuesdays
in the beginning of the week, because that’s when, if
something’s gonna happen, it has the most chance of
happening well for the investment, and so that’s what I do personally, I don’t intend to trade much after 10 or towards the end of the weeks, I really do look at the
beginning of the week. – [Brian] Interesting, that’s where all – In terms of–
– the opportunities are. – That where the opportunities are. – And again, the 25 Cent Contracts, so you buy that option,
so you know your downside, but you potentially have a limited upside or very high upside. – Well, that’s right, so for example, with what just occurred
in the Middle East, we talked about a trade in an oil company that was probably going to do well because there’s any kinda issue with oil, the major oil companies tend to do well, so what we do is we look before
the market, we position it, we look at the market open to
see what the sharks are doing, and then we either issue
a recommendation or don’t, depending on what we
think is gonna happen, and in that scenario we did issue a trade idea for that event. – Nice, and so people kinda log in, you kinda let them know what
looks interesting, if anything, and when it does, they put
in their 25 Cent Contracts when the opportunity presents itself. – Right, so–
– Based on what the big sharks are doing. – Well, that’s right, so we
said, ’cause we don’t know, right, at the end of the
day, we’re watching them, but we don’t know if,
they could be sleeping on the bottom of the ocean
that day, we just don’t know, but to extent that they’re in there, and we think there’s an
opportunity for a transaction, yes, we do ask for people
to be ready just in case, because these things happen very quickly when they do happen, you do wanna get in as soon as we put out
a trade recommendation, and then they have the opportunity to consider it and to
potentially get into it. – You know, I had Kim
Kiyosaki in that seat, and she was saying, “Look,
Brian, I only invest “in real assets, in gold and real estate,” but she said, “I follow Nomi
Prins and her 25 cent options,” ’cause she said, “I understand that “from a clad cash flow perspective, “I put out this amount of cash, “I know I’m not gonna
lose any more than that, “but I’ve got a big upside.” So you got a fan in Kim, I know. – I know, Kim’s amazing,
we’ve actually worked together on things and I agree with a
lot of how Kim looks at assets, and hard assets are very important, they’re a very important
part of anyone’s portfolio, and looking at things holistically from the standpoint of real estate, where you can either live
or get rental income, so that’s a real hard
asset, any type of sort of longer-term asset, like
gold or precious metal, or something that’s
actually utilised in things, so there’s a physical nature to it as well as the financial nature to it, and then yes, what I do
is also look at markets, and I very much do quantify that downside, which is why I do like these 25 cent and inexpensive options,
because I know, at the end of the day, not every trade
is going to make money, but I prefer knowing what my downside is so that I know when the trades
make money do make money, I can balance those things
off and that I’m positive, but I can evaluate where I
might lose something on any given day relative to what I
gain on all the other days, and so I can balance it that way because again, since leaving Wall Street, I don’t get the same paychecks that I got on Wall Street.
– You don’t get the same big bonuses anymore.
– Well, exactly. So it’s very important for
me to preserve what I have as well as to allocate it
and then invest it properly, and so the idea these 25 cent options, and these 25 Cent Contracts,
is to be able to do that, and that’s what I do with my own money, and that’s what I do with this
system and with this product. – And it’s been very successful, so people are really
having their eyes wide open as to what this can do to their portfolio, and making some pretty
big gains as well, right. – Yeah, no, the gains are very big, ’cause again, it’s that momentum, think of that shark again, if the shark continues in that direction, and again, we’re there on the market when the volume and the
momentum is most extreme and we’re alongside that and looking at other parameters as well,
that’s how the money is made, that’s where that positive upside is, and that’s where a lot
of people have been able to make a lot of money
in sort of being a part of that initial start to the day in the markets and the right trades. – Yeah, and the right
option at the right time can just be a massive investment. I mean, I traded options for
a long time on Wall Street, and I learned about
them when I was at MIT, and you just see when
you can understand them and limit your downside,
it’s a tremendous way to leverage and get big
gains from the market. And so, we just talked about that, we filmed the separate videos, so people can click on the link below or go to londonreal.tv/nomi, N-O-M-I, to learn more about it. I remember the first time I understood what a call option was, it was in 1991, I was at MIT in some classroom
on a whiteboard with a friend and I was like, we couldn’t
get it, we couldn’t get it, we couldn’t get it, and then
I understood what it was, and it was a real
groundbreaking moment for me. To see what they can actually do. – Yeah, and to an extent, there’s the math behind how options work and how they price relative to where their underlying or where their share prices
that they’re associated with, and how things move and how
much time they have left before they run out, and all sorts of different components of an option, but then there’s also this idea that yes, they’re very powerful in terms of leveraging what the
market’s doing anyway. And for example, someone might
not have the money to buy an Amazon share ’cause
they’re stupidly expensive, but you might be able to
buy an option on Amazon, which can give you the same upside but actually greater
because you’re putting a lot less into that
particular transaction. – Yeah, for people that don’t understand, I mean, I don’t know
what Amazon shares are, but I’m guessing hundreds of dollars.
– They’re high. – But with the 25 cent option, especially a short-term option
like a week or something, you can get kind of the
leverage of a bunch of shares, and if there’s a move, you can make massive amounts on your initial investment without having to invest
in that core asset. And you can take advantage like you said, all these weird strange global events, which seem to be happening every week now, you know.
– Well. – You know, things getting
bombed and oil prices and elections in the Middle East, and threats of war, and new presidents, and people talking about
universal basic incomes, and it’s crazy, and
this is a way, I guess, of taking advantage of those big moves. – Well, right, and also, what we do is we watch for the impact of those moves on all of that market,
that pre-market activity before the sharks set
out throughout the world. So starting in Asia to Europe and the UK, and then on to the US
and how things, events actually manifest depending
on when they happen, depending on whether it’s an oil event that happens on a Sunday
in the Middle East, and then goes into what
happens at the night in Asia, and then in the morning
in Europe, and so forth, there’s also a lot of,
we’re in a big world now, where information is instantaneous, but not every market is
opened all the time still, and so therefore you
can see these patters, these trends happening and building up as certain events take place, and then how they actually ultimately get into what we specifically look out, which is the US market open, but after all of those
other international markets have potentially been
opened and been showing us trends and patterns relative
to all these events, and yeah, the markets
today really do operate much more on these knee-jerk events, and processing them and the
psychology of processing them, than they did when I was on Wall Street, and maybe also when you were in banking, because it’s much more
emotional what markets do, it’s no longer well, this company’s good and they have a good long-term plan and they have good-term
money versus the debts that they have, and they treat their employees well,
and all of these things, that’s a part of the financial system, but it’s also very much
like what just happened two hours ago, and that’s
a very new phenomenon, which we do incorporate into
the 25 cent trader model, but also in general that
I’ve been looking at very particular in the
last couple of years as markets have changed.
– Understanding that emotion. – Yeah.
– Okay. And there’s a whole lot of rocket science going on in what you do, right, ’cause you have this kind of, you look at all these
different indicators, but you end up telling
people with a green light or red light, buy this or don’t buy this. So that way you do all
the number crunching and all the complicated
stuff, is that right? – Yeah no, that’s right. And even to the last moment
when we issue a trade, we are looking at that green light, we’re looking at what’s
happening right now, where those sharks are,
what the pre-market trading looks like to even make
that final decision as to whether or not we see that green, or whether or not we think you know what, it’s just a light green, it’s
a little yellow, maybe not, and not necessarily put out
a trade if that’s the case. – Wow, so it’s like right the
minute’s, right until 9:59, and you’re seeing if
everything’s in place. If it is, you say green, if it’s not, you say, “Let’s wait another day.” – Right, or even if that builds up earlier from the 9:30 when the market opens, we’re literally watching
that whole period of time. – And then at 10 o’clock
you go off to the gym, go do something else,
you’re done, done by 10. – Well, that’s exactly right,
because after that period is when all the major volume
happens in the market, and even if it happens, some
event occurs at like two p.m., at that moment, we’re actually
not involved in that trade at that moment, in a new
trade at that moment, because we still feel, even if looking at various patterns and
how the market reacts to even news coming out in the afternoon, the real acute behaviour
is still in the morning, and so even if something
might present itself in the afternoon, just in
terms of all our analysis and statistics, we don’t
feel it’s gonna have the same opportunity as
what happens in the morning. – Yeah, that makes sense, and I remember that after hours trading, and all the things they would
do, and people don’t know that’s happening with
all these institutions, so having someone on the
inside to understand that is super helpful for
regular investors, so no, it’s a really exciting
product, really interesting, so if people wanna learn more
about it, londonreal.tv/nomi, there’s a link below, and again, you walk through the
whole strategy behind it and how people can take advantage of it. – [Nomi] That’s right. – I wanted to take you back to a day where we were both in New York City, and the reason I wanna
ask you about this day is ’cause I think it kind
of tells us a lot about you, your life, your journey,
the choices you made, but the day was 18 years ago,
it was September 11th, 2001. I was flagging a taxi on Houston Street, between A and B where I lived, and I was going to my dot-com startup job. At that point, I had kinda
moved on from banking to dot-coms briefly, before I went back. You, I think, were at a corner office at Goldman Sachs,
– [Nomi] That’s right. – which was very close
to the Trade Centre, you watched all this happen, what happened that day to
you and what was going on in your mind even up to that day, and how did that kinda change
the course of your life? – Yeah, it’s really interesting because I had the corner
office at Goldman Sachs, which is this very coveted
thing, on a high floor, I ran a couple of analytics groups, and it was the 29th
floor, and that morning, one of the things that happened
was one of the analysts who worked for me in my
department came and said, “You know, I think I
just saw a plane go by “really low next to your office.” I was on the trading floor at the time, so it’s like there was the corner offices and all the middle was
all the trading desks, so I was probably looking at a trade at that time, and he says, “You know, there’s this
plane that just went by,” and I was like, “Okay, well, that’s weird, “we’re not actually in
a flight path but okay,” and then almost seconds after that, I’m still on the floor and
all this sort of tickers, we start to see all these
little pieces of paper, almost like paper dust, in the atmosphere in the air outside of these windows. And then we’re looking at the TV, and the very first reporting
of what had happened was that maybe some
helicopter or something hit the World Trade Centre by mistake. And that was the original,
just, no one knew, we didn’t expect there were terrorists, planes, terrorist-guided planes basically going to the
towers, we didn’t know, so we’re opening the TVs
now on the trading desk, and we’re watching fire engulf
part of one of the floors, or several of the floors
of the World Trade Centre, and it’s all very weird, but no one at that moment quite
knows what’s going on. So then literally, I
go back into my office to just call some people that I know at the World Trade Centre, working at the World Trade
Centre, just to be like, “How are you guys, what’s
going on, are you okay?” And literally as I’m
going back into my office, same analyst comes in with me and we see another plane literally fly like right past the outside, which
was the second plane that hit the towers.
– You watched it. – And that plane I actually saw. (sighs) And that was the, I believe,
the American Airlines plane. But now I’m not sure if that was, I believe that was the plane. – Okay, so you saw it go in and go by.
– But actually saw a plane go literally by my windows. Not into the towers ’cause
that wasn’t past my building, but literally flying that low. – [Brian] Wow. – You know, 29th floor lever low and headed towards the towers, at which point there started
to be much more conversation as to what these planes could be, ’cause at this point
now there’s verification that there’s these two large Jumbos that have basically gone
into the World Trade Centre. And there was much more
smoke at this point, everything just started happening, so now there’s more
paper, there’s more smoke, it’s all outside our
windows, and everything else, and so the directive from Goldman was that you guys should basically
go down to the fourth floor, which happened to be
where the energy trading was happening, but it also happened to be where the stairwells kind of stopped. So go down the stairs, go
down to the fourth floor, so I had to take my analyst
and the rest of my group, people took their groups
out, there was a lot of, at this point, panic was building, ’cause nobody knows what’s going. I’m like, you know, “Let’s go, “go down the stairs, we’ll be fine.” We got to the fourth
floor and at this point, a lot of the phones are
starting to go out in the area, cellphones are starting not to work. A lot of things are happening very fast, and I remember also, a bunch of people from our London office, as it turned out, had flown in that morning
before this stuff happened and we’re in our offices,
’cause we were supposed to do an offsite as it turned out, like one of these go to New Jersey, hang out with your global
team and actually talk about options as it were that day, which obviously didn’t
happen, but the energy traders on the fourth floor were being told by the head of the Energy Desk
to just keep trading, right, and the reason for that
was because all those knee-jerk kind of reactions to events, which is that something’s
happening with planes, which means something’s
happening with oil, which means somehow oil
prices are gonna up, which means we need to get
ahead of trade in trade, and that was sort of the
directive on the floor. And I was like, I wanna kind of leave. (both laugh) I think leaving would be
good, leaving the building would be good, and they’re
like, “You know, just stay here, “don’t leave the building.”
– You love to trade, but still you wanted to leave. – I think the best thing to do would be to not be in a building,
that was my feeling. – Which wasn’t obvious at that time, so many weird things were happening, no one knew what was happening, so yeah, but that was
obviously good instinct. – That was my instinct
and I wound up taking a bunch of people who worked for me, they gave them the option of
you know, you guys can stay, I’m gonna, I think going would be good, ’cause we don’t know what’s
going on at this point, we still don’t know what’s going on, for all we know they’re
attacking every building on Wall Street, we just don’t know. And you know, if you’re gonna
attack the World Trade Centre, you’re probably gonna
attack Goldman Sachs, I mean, we don’t know, I
mean, that’s the mentality that I’m kind of thinking well, you know, whatever’s happening,
this could be a pattern. And so we left and I wound up walking all the way up Broadway, which was at this point,
there’s these ambulances, there’s these firefighters,
there’s a lot of smoke, there’s more ticker,
people are really agitated, and people are trying to get
out the World Trade Centre, and my feeling was to get out of the area. And obviously, no public
transportation at that point was viable, so we just
basically walked north, walked uptown, I lived
sort of on 20th Street at the time, and just
basically kept walking. And throughout that week,
as the fallout was happening from knowing what had really
gone on at the towers, I wound up volunteering
with a friend of mine to, there were different
services that were set up throughout New York to
try and start to match some of the items, jewellery, certain things, watches, things that were coming
from some of the bodies and some of the debris that was falling around the World Trade Centre with photos that were coming in
from loved ones to find their loved ones at the
armoury, which I lived near. So that was how I chose to spend
the days after the attacks, and at Goldman, however,
there had been a call from my boss to basically
get us back into the office, like two days after the attacks, there had been an agreement
made between Goldman Sachs and the city that they would
have a path on the waterway to go down towards Wall
Street from the middle of New York to be able to
work if they needed to, and their reasoning for that was that they did have to make markets, even though there’s
international markets all over, but they had to make markets,
and act as normal as possible. And I remember, for me
personally at the time, I was like okay, well, I’m at the armoury where there’s weeping
people trying to find out whether their loved ones are dead or alive and throwing out pictures
of what they look like, what their items looked
like, to locate them, and I had my boss saying, “No, you guys need to
get back into the office” And I’m thinking no,
this is just not right. This is really not sort of mentality that I really want to be a part of and it was a very visceral reaction to that difference between
what’s happening in real life and what was being required at Goldman. And so the decision I
made, really, then was this is just, I had already
kind of been disillusioned for a little bit, but
I mean, this was really a sort of hit home moment,
where I was just like, I’m not long for this
industry or position. – Wow, you must had some trauma if you really think
about that day, I mean, watching the planes and
all that, I mean, you know. I wasn’t that close, I was
in the city and I walked down and I saw it, but you were
really close to all that. – You know, it’s interesting
because I’ve never really thought about that. (laughs) I’ve always been someone who, I have a rescue diving
licence, I’ve dealt with, I’ve taken the courses in
California where I live now in terms of sort of rescuing
and earthquake situations and stuff, I’ve always felt
that in emergency situations, I had the personal
fortitude to figure it out, or help people along
the way, or do whatever, I never really thought
about how it impacted me, just how whatever needed
to be done got done. – And so you felt kind of your values and the values of Wall Street
very obviously misaligned, and it was just really
crystal clear to you, and it had been kind of bothering you a little bit for a few years anyways, but so that was ultimately
marked what would soon be your departure from the
Street, they would say. For people that don’t
know what it’s really like inside of a bank, not to mention
a high-power, aggressive, and very well-respected
bank like Goldman Sachs, what is it like, how could
you describe that to people, I mean, I could try, but
I’m really curious what you would say, I mean, what is
the mentality, what is it not. There’s also a lot of people familiar with the show “Billions”, right, which is about hedge fund managers, but back in the ’90s, those
guys were at banks like Goldman, right, they were on
proprietary training desks, so the mentality was
similar, there’s actually a plot line in “Billions”
where the guy’s trading on the back of the 9/11 stocks and things, but how would you describe that to people? – First of all, that’s a
fantastic show. (laughs) – [Brian] Why do you like it? – I love the writing on that
show and I actually like, one of the things I
really like on the show is that there’s a lot of conflict within the lead characters, even the ones that are making tonnes of
money, in their personal lives, or alongside what they’re doing
in their professional lives, that’s actually shown in that
show, it’s not like they’re 100% about making the
money, I mean, they are, and it’s a game, and
it’s a win or lose thing, and there’s a constant nature
of that behind the scenes, and even with the DA character, it’s like there’s a lot
of winning and losing, it’s very much binary, but
yeah, there’s a lot of grey, there’s conflicts in personal
life and everything else, and so– – I’d say it’s very accurate,
a lot of those things, I know a lot of guys in hedge funds, and like you said, from the dress to the personal lives to
the houses to everything, it’s a decent, reasonably accurate look. – Yeah, to the extent,
actually, where I never wanted to see that
show, ’cause I was like, I’ve lived that show, I never
even wanted to watch the show, and then I kind of
watched the first episode, probably on a plane,
actually, I think a plane coming here at one point
I just was like hooked on, and so now I’m caught up on the seasons. – Yeah, I was the same way,
I didn’t wanna watch it, I was like I’ve been there.
– It’s like you’ve done that. – And I watched the first
episode and I was waiting for all of the stereotypes and stuff, and there was a few in there,
but then I looked it deeper, I was like, this is kind of real, like what goes through a trader’s mind, what their life is like,
what it’s not like, how it’s not all glamorous,
how the money doesn’t fix everything, you know,
it’s interesting to watch. – It’s interesting actually
as that shows goes on, just finished up on that show, is there’s a character that comes on, a younger character who uses multiple pronouns, so basically is considered
a they and a them in terms of just having sort
of multiple sexualities inside, but one of the things
that they do in the show is they evolve in their
career with respect to the hedge fund and with
respect to making money and choosing the right
trades and everything else, but they also kind of maintain, we’ll see how the show progresses
in the next season, that sense of just doing the right thing while still trying to play the game right. And it’s very interesting because I think for me, on Wall Street, especially working at a Goldman
Sachs from Bear Stearns. It was quite a transition
because when I interviewed for Goldman, which was in New York, and I’d been in London
working for Bear Stearns, I remember, at the time, I was considering kind of ending banking
anyway and I was already, there was a lot of stuff
going on in the ’90s, there was, for example, a Jubilee 2000, which was about cancelling
the debt for poor countries, major event that happened
in Birmingham, UK, at the time that I went to
while I was still working at Bear, so I was in this sort of covert, I want the debt to be cancelled
for the people on the ground, on the other hand I’m in these institutions and we’re trading around it, and there was just a weird
sort of thing in me personally, I was kinda doing, I was
straddling both worlds, but then when I did
interview with Goldman, there was a sense at the time for me that if you’re gonna stay in banking, and I’d been at a number of
different firms at this point, and Goldman was kind of
like the epitome of banking. If you’re gonna be in it, don’t be in it to go to Merrill Lynch,
be in it to go to Goldman, and that’s kind of, that
was kind of also happening when I moved there, but I
interviewed in New York, and they also sent people out
to interview me in London, ’cause I had a– – [Brian] They have a long
interview process, don’t they? – It was nine months,
that’s exactly right, it was nine months of
an interview process, and I interviewed everyone
throughout the top of the firm, and it was really interesting ’cause I remember there was one moment, I was in New York, I
was still in the midst of this nine-month interviewing process, and I was on one of the trading floors at the Goldman headquarters,
on 85 Broad Street, where I was that day
also of the 9/11 attacks, and Lloyd Blankfein, who
was running the division at the time that I wound up
working for, and ultimately became the CEO of Goldman
Sachs, took me on to the floor, like physically walked me
on to his trading floor, and said, “Take a look.” It was this grand gesture as to this promised land of
banking or whatever it was. “Yeah, take a look.” I was like, “I’m looking,” and he’s like, “This is not Bear Stearns,
just so we’re clear.” It was almost like a
look, if you’re gonna be with us, it’s totally different. And it was a very sort
of physical presentation of how Goldman was and that
was really the mentality of Goldman that they had
what they called a culture of excellence, I mean,
that’s how they defined it. And you’re very much a part of it, or you weren’t at the firm. I mean, it was very simple, and if you’re gonna be at the firm, you’re a part of that culture, and you were called a culture carrier, and in reviews that were
done of your performance throughout the years,
carrying that culture was a component of the reviews themselves. And that culture was, ultimately, it was a very aggressive
banking culture. (laughs) That’s what it was, but
they sort of wrapped it in this notion of being perfect or being as close to perfect
as you can get in banking. – And how would that manifest
itself, as in long hours, we expect presentations to be on point, everything you do is just excellent? – Well, yes, I mean, there
was definitely long hours, your life was Goldman Sachs, I mean, that was pretty much
how it presented itself. If there was a need to and
my boss would do this call, have a call, or call someone
at like one a.m. in the morning because they need something in Tokyo, you were just available. That was kind of the idea, that is kind of what you signed up for, and if there were off-sites
or if there were activities that Goldman wanted to do
outside of the actual building or working hours, or travelling
hours, and you just did them, I mean, it was just part of how it was, you were–
– So if there’s a weekend off-site, you were there? – You were at everything
and you’re pretty much living and breathing Goldman at all times. – Right, which made it excellent. – To them it made it excellent. – [Brian] And how was it for you? – So, I had some real issues
with how that was manifesting before 9/11 because around that time, there was a lot of corporate fraud that was becoming apparent,
some really big-name frauds, like Enron and WolrdCom,
that was coming apparent throughout not just Wall
Street but the world. The news was starting
to focus on companies that were creating sort
of financial versions of themselves in tangent
with the major banks, to hide money, to sort of misrepresent their balance sheet,
mislead their investors, and so all of that was happening as well, and so I was working at
Goldman, for example, and Enron was a client of Goldman, they were actually competitors as well, because they were both
involved in trading energy options in futures and everything else, and here I was sort of developing models for Goldman to look at trading strategies, and seeing them go up on Enron’s website, but also knowing that we’re both working with Enron and
competing with Enron, and this was just one
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