Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets

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Henry Holt, 2003 - Business & Economics - 476 pages
4 Reviews
"Readers are unlikely to find a more readable explanation of how the financial system has changed since the 1980s and who came unstuck." Financial Times The still-unfolding financial story is terrifying. One by one, major corporations such as Enron, Global Crossing, and WorldCom are imploding all around us, prey to a greed-driven culture and dubious or illegal corporate finance and accounting. We have reached a perilous crossroads. In a compelling and disturbing narrative, Frank Partnoy brings to bear all of his skills and experience as a securities attorney, financial analyst, and law professor to tell the story of the rise of the trading instruments and corporate financial structures that now imperil the economic health of the country. Starting in the mid-1980s, he documents how each new level of financial risk and complexity obscured the sickness of corporate America. Finally, Partnoy offers clear policies that can save our financial system. Frank Partnoyis a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. He has worked as an investment banker, derivatives broker, and criminal defense and securities attorney. He also consults on regulation of the markets and white-collar crime, and has provided expert testimony before the Senate committee investigating the Enron collapse. Partnoy is the author ofF.I.A.S.C.O.: Blood in the Water on Wall Street. He lives in San Diego, California. In 1984, Andy Krieger, a young Wharton grad and former Sanskrit scholar, began his career at Salomon Brothers trading currency options. It was an obscure and complicated new business, yet in a firm that included such legends as John Meriwether and Paul Mozer, Krieger invented a new way to make money. Hedging risky bets on the movement of currencies, he made $30 million in his first year, and ten times that a few years later. But as his trades became frighteningly large and complex, Krieger unwittingly became patient zero in the plague of corruption that now threatens American business to its very foundations. In a compelling and disturbing narrative, Frank Partnoy brings to bear all of his skills and experience as a criminal defense attorney, financial analyst, law professor, and best-selling author to tell the story of the rise of the trading instruments and corporate financial structures that now imperil the economic health of the country. Starting in the mid-1980s with the introduction of the first currency options and proto-derivatives, and taking us through such high-profile disasters as Barings Bank and Long-Term Capital Management, Partnoy traces a seamless progression to the dangerous manipulations that are coming to light today. He documents how each new level of financial risk, loss of control, and complexity obscured the sickness of the companies in question and pushed individuals to ever more ingenious deceptions. The still-unfolding financial story is terrifying. One by one, major corporations such as Enron, Global Crossing, and WorldCom are imploding all around us, prey to a greed-driven culture and to dubious or illegal corporate finance and accounting. Our financial system has suddenly reached a perilous crossroads. Although the story becomes more alarming with each new headline and disclosure, Partnoy offers a clear vision of how we reached epidemic stage and how we can regain control before further damage is done. "Partnoy has written an important book that provides a well-reasoned blueprint for fighting corporate corruption and restoring the integrity of America's financial markets. Unfortunately, it appears that the cops on Wall Street and the regulators in Congress are not ready to heed his advice."Robert Bryce,The Washington Post Book World "It's hard not to seethe after reading Partnoy's fascinating, illuminating and enraging account of the last fift

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ElectricRay - LibraryThing

Frank Partnoy, author of this book and the very silly 'FIASCO: Blood in the Water on Wall Street', implies an illustrious career structuring and selling complex derivatives. In actual fact he worked ... Read full review

Review: Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets

User Review  - Nic Paget-Clarke - Goodreads

As with all Partnoy's books, Infectious Greed makes it easy to understand the mechanics and in many ways the underlying grayness of the culture which keeps leading us to financial crises. Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Frank Partnoy is the author of Infectious Greed and The Match King. He has written for the Financial Times, the New York Times, and Portfolio. He teaches law at the University of San Diego, where he lives.

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