The Real Wolves of Wall Street
December 19, 2013 10:23 AM   Subscribe

While the world eagerly (or not so eagerly) awaits the Christmas Day release of "The Wolf of Wall Street" an entirely different class of Wall Street Wolves (Although really Stamford CT) get their comeuppance in a courtroom in lower Manhattan

Comparing Jordan Belfort and Steven Cohen is the difference between one of the highest profile Hedge Fund managers (with Larry Gagosian) in the world and the travails of a Small Time Pump'n'Dump Penny Stockbroker. While Belfort went to jail for 22 months, "Stevie" appears to be on the verge of paying a $1.8 Bil fine for his firms systematic and systemic Insider Trading.

So rob small - go to jail (although with a pretty amusing roommate), rob big - get a seat on the board of MOCA

SAC will convert to a family office to manage what remains of Cohen's wealth. The is much trepidation on Wall Street as one of Wall Streets biggest commission payers undergoes radical change.

Of course both men got their first jobs on what some people refer to as "The Shabby Side of Wall Street" - Gruntal and LF Rothschild. Its also not exactly a coincidence that the places they began their careers are only about 2 miles apart

And Hey Everyone - Happy Holidays from the 1994 Stratton Christmas Party
posted by JPD (15 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
At my last job, Steve Cohen was one of my boss' regular business contacts. I must have processed about 20 expense reports for that guy in the course of a single year which included business dinners, business trips, or food for meetings with the guy. This didn't go down until after both that boss and I were no longer with the firm, but still.

That is one of the maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany reasons why I have stubbornly clung to refusing to work in finance any more.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


none of these motherfuckers can dance!
posted by Mister_A at 11:16 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Happy Holidays from the 1994 Stratton Christmas Party

Disco's back and hotter than ever!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, THESE are the REAL wolves of New York. The guys on Wall Street are just figurative wolves.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


That Denby review from the New Yorker is just a fantastic read. I love a good movie review. Sometimes you want a great, snarky one, but this one takes Scorsese seriously and reviews the movie carefully. Denby and Anthony Lane are two of my favorites.
posted by feste at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2013


It was actually the last paragraph of the Denby review that inspired me to juxtapose Stevie and Stratton.

The irony is that there is a certain class of finance reporter that takes the opposite view - that what SAC did was a minor crime compared to what Belfort and Porush did. In a sense that's true. The latter were robbing directly from gullible rich people while the former had an entire wall street ecosystem developed around them to facilitate their crimes. But at the end of the day the only victims of their fraud were the other money managers who were trying to outperform them. SAC didn't manage enough money to actually manipulate long term market outcomes.

Like I love Matt Levine's writing - but I don't think he's right about this. The definition of insider trading is pretty clear, and its pretty clear that its there to protect investors.
posted by JPD at 11:56 AM on December 19, 2013


Is "Gimme Shelter" on the soundtrack? That's my deal-breaker with new Scorcese films.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:02 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


> That Denby review from the New Yorker is just a fantastic read. I love a good movie review.

Yes, thanks for pointing me to it. Denby can put things with beautiful clarity: "There are so many noisy moments like this that the movie has no possible climax—or it has so many climaxes that it seems like one almost continuous fit. Hysteria is not a very productive dramatic mode. "

> Denby and Anthony Lane are two of my favorites.

Good for you! They tend to divide people into hostile armed camps; MetaFilter definitely skews Laneward, and I've gotten tired of seeing mindless snark directed at Denby on the blue.
posted by languagehat at 12:03 PM on December 19, 2013


Is "Gimme Shelter" on the soundtrack? That's my deal-breaker with new Scorcese films.

Yeah, it seemed a little forced in Gangs of New York.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:10 PM on December 19, 2013


No Stones - but its got Billy Joel. Which I guess is a SAG requirement for a movie set on Long Island in the 90's.
posted by JPD at 12:11 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Yeah, it seemed a little forced in Gangs of New York.

And "The Departed." BAM - first scene.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:17 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My old boss had his first post-college job at Stratton and was great to talk to after having read Wolf of Wall Street. He said the partying and Belforts Napoleon complex were all true, but his "private eye" connection was bullshit.

In the book, he makes a big show of having this private investigator that would be charged with keeping the Very Legitimate Italian-American Businessmen at bay. In reality, he saw many Guys in and out of that place to pick up their cut of the action. One day, a small group of wiseguys came in to discuss the urgent matter of their boss losing money in his brokerage account. Market be damned, if his account balance goes south, somebody pays one way or the other.

These macho alpha male swinging dicks who worked at the firm turned into quivering puddles of jelly real fast once these real alpha males showed up.
posted by dr_dank at 12:18 PM on December 19, 2013


Like I love Matt Levine's writing - but I don't think he's right about this. The definition of insider trading is pretty clear, and its pretty clear that its there to protect investors.

I dunno. I mean the point Levine makes, and I think it is correct, is that large players will always have an information advantage and so this protection is illusory. The more powerful reason to ban insider trading, at least to me, is that insider trading by company officers and directors is a violation of their fiduciary duties to their companies, and allowing it by non-insiders creates a 'market' for insider information. I do think it's a substantially less serious crime than pump-and-dump or other outright frauds, even if I don't think it should be legal.
posted by dsfan at 1:13 PM on December 19, 2013


I actually don't really think that's true about large players having an information advantage. There is a lot of data that shows that the wealthy in aggregate are no better at investing than anyone else. Additionally the returns of the "Edge-Centric" L/S shops that were stellar for decades have fallen off dramatically since the DoJ became interested in their comings and goings.

Yes - a well resourced fund can have satellite feeds of Mall Parking Lots - but I am completely unconvinced that the data can actually be consistently converted into returns, whereas being handed a few meaningful misses or beats on high beta growth stocks is kind of easy money.

If that shit worked with the choppers everyone would be doing it. I mean 90k a year for outperformance is chump change.
posted by JPD at 1:33 PM on December 19, 2013


Jamie Dimon’s perp walk: Why it could be this year’s Christmas miracle. JPMorgan's CEO just violated a federal statute carrying a prison sentence. But will the punishment fit the crime?
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on December 19, 2013


« Older Video Game Foliage....  |  From the testimony, PDF of Pam... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments