Tuesday, 14 April 2015 01:14

When front-running is bad.

[from Chapter 10]

After a tour of Crystal Ball’s operations area, Justin followed Eliot into his office. A bank of monitors displayed everything from commodity prices to financial headlines to crawling stock tickers to the evening news in Karachi. Everything of note that happened anywhere on the globe was on display here, up close and in HD. It was almost as though the office was at the center of the world. Waxman looked at one of the screens.

“Our biggest position is in Dynex Holdings. It’s been doing great for the last nine months, but it’s probably time to ditch it.” He picked up the phone and presumably spoke to a broker, probably overseas. “Yeah, sell everything I have in Dynex.” Another phone call, this time to someone internal. “Let’s unload Dynex.” A pause. “Yes, everything.” Then, he looked back at Justin, “Well, now’s the time for our contrarian strategy to pay off.”

He snatched up the phone. “It’s me. Hey, I’ve got a tip for you: Dynex is on the ropes. Rumor has it the SEC is about to pick up on an accounting scandal that will make Enron look like peanuts." He paused to listen. "Yeah, you bet. Bye.”

Justin just stood in silence. The SEC did not look kindly up-on ‘front-running’. Eliot had done the equivalent of a highly illegal triple axel, fronting his own trades before the fund’s, and then compounding everything by igniting a rumor, probably false, to his own benefit.

Justin Lowe, a brilliant young securities analyst specializing in international finance, is searching for purpose in a soulless world of wealth. Despite his uncanny ability to spot lucrative patterns, he is seduced by the prospect of a new career that isn’t what it appears. Between ocean-hopping adventures looking for treasure in the untamed frontier markets of the developing world, he sees hope for personal salvation in the form of a shimmering Iranian political refugee whose past is as complex as his own.

However, his globe-trotting exploits in search of windfall profits end when he is framed by his manager and an ex-colleague. Desperately trying to avoid prison, he races across the world to uncover the truth about his betrayers. Along the way, he unearths a nuclear-exporting scheme that topples a regime and takes away the one person who has given his life new meaning. In order to honor the woman he loves, Justin must forego his unbridled ambition and sacrifice a financial fortune.

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