‘I’m your biggest fan, professor.’ However, I naturally kept my thoughts to myself.
“My clients are preparing to establish an investment firm in England.”
“Then, you have the wrong person.”
Gillian’s smile was bitter, and I had never seen him in such a mood before. Of course, I had only spent an hour or two per class for a semester a long time ago. This may be a new side of his personality, but Gillian was not a person who would be so down, at least to my experience. He graduated at the top of his class in 1991 at London University and entered the Morgan group in the same year. He would earn impressive profits with bond products and earn promotions in 1994 with the derivative products he had developed. In 1995, he participated in establishing the Morgan Group’s trading system, and it would be the foundation of the Group for a long time. He would be called to the New York head office in 1996 to lead in managing the Group’s head office. (EN: Derivatives are securities that derive their value from an underlying asset or benchmark. Common derivatives include futures contracts, forwards, options, and swaps. Most derivatives are not traded on exchanges and are used by institutions to hedge risk or speculate on price changes in the underlying asset.)
Gillian had given Morgan record-breaking profits, but his expression did not show it. Why? His career should be taking off during this time.
“This is unexpected…Ethan.”
It took Gillian a second to remember the name I had used to introduce myself.
“The person that your clients are looking for is not here. Well, I’m sure you’ll get the news. I appreciate the offer, but I’m going to be fired from Morgan soon.”
“Is that so?”
“It’s not a secret that Morgan lost huge amounts of money during the Asian financial crisis, and out of the two divisions that suffered the greatest losses, I was in charge of one. I’m not making up this story to refuse your offer, and if you read last week’s issue of the Wall Street Journal, you’ll know all.”
I had been preparing my manuscript last week, and Gillian offered me another bitter smile as I remained silent. He stood up, and he started walking away from me before I could do anything. I chased after him.
“Don’t you want to return to your country?”
“I’ll be only a laughingstock. I cannot return like this.”
‘I had gotten used to the fear in the market last year. Therefore, I thought my past achievements and my position was more important than the entry point. However, I was wrong. Compared to the bad, very bad entry points the Group was forced to swallow at the time, all my years, my contributions meant nothing.’ (EN: Entry point refers to the price at which an investor buys or sells a security. The entry point is usually a component of a predetermined trading strategy for minimizing investment risk and removing the emotion from trading decisions. A good entry point is often the first step in achieving a successful trade. Obviously, a bad entry point means losses.)
Gillian stopped his train of thoughts there.
“You’re talking about the Asian financial crisis last year.”
He looked into my eyes and saw understanding, and Gillian’s gaze changed a bit after that..
“It was not only you, but everyone lost money during last year. My clients were livid.”
Gillian shook his head.
“One earned it big, and your clients should find a manager like him.”
Gillian mentioned Jonathan, but his words were not all positive. His frown spoke more. That was how Wall Street thought of Jonathan, and thus, indirectly me.
If an infinite number of monkeys sat in front of typewriters, one of them might write ‘Hamlet.’ My interventions in the finance market were treated like that, a theoretically possible, but incredibly implausible event. It was sheer and amazing luck, like a monkey writing Shakespeare. Their egos made them think like that, and Jonathan’s luck was accentuated in Wall Street rather than his skill, to rationalize their collective failure.
“Well, you are right. Who does not want such profit? It’s everyone’s dream. However, my clients are looking for consistent profit and a strong mentality. I’m talking about you.”
“They don’t know me. I lost a billion dollars.”
Gillian spoke like he was confessing.
“You have earned Morgan more during last year and the year before that, and as I have mentioned, the Asian financial crisis…was a unique incident.”
“Thank you. I never thought I would be consoled like this.”
His tone was sharper than his words.
“If you make a decision, I will persuade my clients.”
“You said you’ll establish your firm in England.”
“It’s planned to be built on the Isle of Man.”
Gillian only nodded his head at the famous tax haven, as he also thought that was the right choice. He then asked the next question, which should have been the first.
“How much funds are there to manage?”
“Fifteen billion dollars.”
Gillian was yet again not surprised.
“There is a directing team that represents the companies my clients own, and I can promise you that they are very skilled. My clients want you to follow the specific directions under the initial plan, and we will be hiring you as our top executive trader.”
I saw the disappointment in Gillian’s face, as he would have wanted directing rights. My offer was the same as what he was doing in the Morgan Group, as their property management team worked like this. They did not give a star player freedom, and each team had their specialized fields, and much of the work was done by computer programs. I spoke again.
“You have to follow the investment plan, but we will not intervene in the specifics and trading method. I am telling you that you can manage the funds as you wish under the plan, without repercussions and as aggressively as you can.”
I planned to pile on incentives so he would not have a chance to refuse.
“Some of my clients desire to invest in you separately, but not now. If you show results, then…”
I emphasized the magic phrase that will bring Gillian into my team.
“They will gladly invest ten billion dollars.”
Gillian acted like his innermost thoughts had been revealed, and his eyes were wild for a moment. The reason Gillian stayed in Morgan despite his genius was simple. While he had been presented with such plans before, he stayed with Morgan for that ten billion.
‘From the first, I said to myself I would not return until I am the manager of ten billion dollars.’
As he mentioned in his lecture, Gillian succeeded in going back to England with the investment and built a global property management firm there. While I messed up his original plans, it was the last piece I needed to bring Gillian over to me. So, the butterflies flew like that. (EN: Those Chaos Theory butterflies are everywhere!)
Gillian seemed to be over the tipping point with me and my funds, and I thought we had an agreement.
“You haven’t asked about my clients.”
“I’m not in a position to do so. Truthfully, if it is not drug money, I don’t care.”
As I expected, Gillian had stopped thinking things over. I wanted to see a mirror since I would hate it if my glee was showing on my face.
“You can relax, they’re not. My clients will be able to provide you with more funds once the investment firm is set up in the Isle of Man. This is just another investment for them.”
Gillian nodded calmly, as he had seen many rich people like that before. Morgan had many such clients, and the group itself was one of them. Also, he would have met a lot of people like ‘Ethan,’ who had come from the tax havens. They were trust company lawyers from the Cayman Islands and the four major accounting firms called the BIG 4 in Wall Street.
While Jonathan would not have met such people often since he had been a small fry, Gillian would have met them every day. Therefore, I was not someone special to Gillian, and he had no reason to be tense in front of me. He asked.
“What are the contract conditions?”
“Your commission is 3%, and your annual salary will be 150% of your current income. For more specific details…”
“No, I am curious about what happens for losses.”
“As I said, nothing unless you fail to follow the investment plan my clients have requested. This will be specified in the contract.”
“It’s an attractive offer. If I do not follow the plan…I will have to take responsibility for the loss, right?”
“Don’t test it. A man like you should not go to prison.”
We both smiled.
“Of course not. I just wanted to check. If my profits are good, will there be additional funds?”
“Yes. I will prepare the contract, and let’s meet three days from now at this hour, in this café.”
“Wait, what about the desk team? Is there a trading team like the directing team?”
“There are a few fixed appointments, and aside from them, you can hire who you want. You will need many.”
We shook hands and separated. The meeting had been short and clean, and I could smile happily now.
Ironically, when Jonathan was in Seoul, I was in New York.
<That did not warrant you going to New York. I had been expecting much since you said you’ll go yourself, but for only one property manager? Even if he belonged to the Morgan Group.>
Jonathan had to complain since Gillian had become famous from being trusted with unprecedented funds from Morgan. He had been only known inside the Morgan Group until then.
<I made my decision, and I planning to have Gillian handle some of the offshore money.>
<Or we can go with the best manager in the world.>
<Are you talking about me?>
<I’m alone, and you’re managing the New York firm. We cannot handle all that money between the two of us.>
While I emphasized the word managing, Jonathan did not notice it.
<You said that his name was Gillian. What happens if he notices the paper companies?>
<He’s not interested. Not only that, but no one knows where the funds are coming from. It would take even the US government several years of intense investigation.>
Then, the probability was less than 1%, as the offshore funds were that difficult to trace. The firms we had given the job had survived since WW2, and I had used eight of them round-robin style.
<I will use the investment firm in the Isle of Man as the base for Europe, and you will see that Gillian was the right choice as our “Door Knocker”.>
<Come to think of it, when will we stop talking so formally?>
<Age doesn’t matter. You were never your age anyway. So, I was thinking…>
Things became quiet for a moment.
<I’m saying that we could be friends.>
Jonathan’s voice was shaking, which was a bit strange.
Edited by Userunfriendly