Barometer of Fear : What does it feel like when you lose $456m? Merrill Lynch rogue trader Alexis Stenfors explains

Merrill Lynch / Alexis StenforsPhoto by nffcnnr

In 2009, shortly after the global markets had suffered their worst crisis for 90 years, Alexis Stenfors was working as a currency trader for Merrill Lynch in London. With many years of experience, he was good at his job and he prided himself having the ability to read the markets and its trends. His view at that time was that the whole financial system was going to go “belly up”. That was what he was betting on.

Alexis Stenfors was paid a large bonus in 2008 after posting a trading profit of $120 million, but risk officers from Bank of America, which took over Merrill Lynch, discovered “irregularities” in his currency trading account.

Alexis Stenfors took increasingly extreme positions and when they failed to return dividends, he covered up losses in his trading books that he estimated to be around $100m. Then he went on holiday to India. Stenfors didn’t realise it at the time, but it was the end of his career as a trader, and the beginning of his notoriety as a rogue trader. Merrill Lynch later announced that his actions had resulted in the loss of $456m.

According to a report from New York Times in 2009, Bank of America was so alarmed when it discovered the loss that it has started to examine the books of other traders to check for any hidden losses. Merrill Lynch, which was bought by Bank of America in a £35 billion rescue deal, made a loss of $15.31 billion in the last three months of 2008.

Alexis Stenfors has worked as a trader at HSBC, CITI and Crédit Agricole before working for Merrill Lynch.

After the scandal he lost his job, the media left his reputation in tatters and he was banned from the City for five years.

Since January 2014 he is a Senior Lecturer at Portsmouth Business School and works within the Economics and Finance subject group.

Alexis Stenfors – Barometer of Fear

Labelled “one of the world’s most infamous rogue traders” in the wake of a mis-marking scandal, Alexis Stenfors went on to rebuild his life and now guides us through the shadowy world of modern banking in his book, Barometer of Fear, providing an insider’s account of the secret practices, including the manipulation of foreign exchange rates, that have allowed banks to profit from systematic deception. Containing remarkable and often shocking insights derived from his own experiences in the dealing room, as well as his spectacular fall from grace at Merrill Lynch, Barometer of Fear draws back the curtain on a realm that for too long has remained hidden from public view.

Alexis Stenfors / Barometer of fear
Publication Date: 15 May 2017 / 336 pages
Publisher: Zed Books
Product ISBNs:
Paperback: 9781783609284
eBook ePub: 9781783609314
eBook Kindle: 9781783609321
Library Edition: 9781783609291



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