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Morning Coffee: How a 21 year-old failure became the envy of 30-something bankers everywhere. Doom at Barclays

Josh Sason

Former loser affords expensive car, and more

You’re 21 years’ old and living with your parents. You are not studying at the sort of university from which banks like to hire their traders. You are not busy with the CFA program in your spare time. You’re just working in a clerical role for a debt collection agency. And yet, six years’ later you’re making more money and have more freedom than most front office investment banking professionals could ever hope for in their 30s. How?

At first sight, the story of Joshua Sason – the now 27 year-old distressed penny stock ‘trader’, reads a little like that of Alex Hope – the 23 year-old former coach and hospitality sector worker who claimed to be making millions trading FX whilst simply taking investors’ money and spending it on champagne. But while Hope was a charlatan, Sason is not.

The way Bloomberg describes it, Sason’s method of making money sounds easy. – He acts as a pawnbroker for the owners of companies that trade as penny stocks. When these owners fall into difficulties, they come to Sason to borrow money and give him some of their stock in return. Sasson cuts deals in which he always gets the stock at a fixed discount to the market price and can’t lose. If the price falls before Sason is able to offload the stock, the owners are obliged to give him even more to compensate. In this way, it’s seemingly possible to, ‘sometimes make double, triple, or even 10 times their investment in just a few months.’

Sason has reportedly bought himself an apartment worth £2.8m ($4.2m) and a Mercedes worth £135k. He also has time to finance films, mix albums and hang around with a lingerie model girlfriend. This isn’t all:. Sason is also aiming for the upper levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. “I’m really trying to build a company and build an organization that’s here for the next 1,000 years,” he told Bloomberg.“- I want to build something powerful and something meaningful and lasting.” Disaffected bankers may wonder where they went wrong.

Separately, a shadow is looming on Barclays’ horizon and it’s shaped like an avuncular Scottish man who used to play in a rock band. The Wall Street Journal points out that John McFarlane, a former Citigroup hatchet man, will become chairman of Barclays next month. McFarlane’s arrival could be further bad news for Barclays’ investment bankers, who are already labouring under a set of poor results and a chief executive who’s “excited” about cost reduction. – When cost cutting didn’t work at Citi’s equities unit in the late ’80s, the WSJ says McFarlane took ‘drastic action:’ he simply closed the business down.

Meanwhile:

Here’s how Sason did it, exactly. (Matt Levine) 

Fixed income head Gael de Boissard, equities head Tim O’Hara and advisory boss Jim Amine, are all likely to leave Credit Suisse.  “It is extremely obvious that the three of them wanted to be chief executive and they all need to go now.” (Financial Times) 

William Broeksmit, the former Deutsche Bank risk executive who was found hanged in January 2014, warned the bank that its stress tests weren’t tight enough. (Reuters) 

Six months ago, Lloyds banned all its UK employees from travelling during the 3rd week of every month. 70,000 fewer trips have been taken as a result. (Wharton Knowledge) 

Natixis has super-charged its M&A business. (Global Capital) 

UBS is vigorously pursuing success in US IBD. (Financial News)

Coding is not the new literacy: modelling is. (Chris Granger) 

Goldman Sachs researchers have used Monty Python references on every sub-head on their latest Europe note. (Twitter) 

 

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