Ben Brown kicks off our CONFIDENTIAL series with a discussion of the United States financial sector. He also happens to be my brother-in-law. Ben has worked in finance for over a decade and has served in both buy-side and sell-side trading for both large financial institutions and small hedge funds. He currently works for a company that serves as a service provider for emerging hedge fund managers. Instead of my usual little one-paragraph write-up describing the episode, we covered so much ground on this little-understood, but often-fretted-about industry, that I’ve listed much of what we discuss in the bullets below:
- The definition of a hedge fund
- How nearly everyone employed in this country is likely invested in a hedge fund in one way or another
- What Bernie Madoff was, and how it wasn’t a hedge fund (even though the media thought he was)
- What it was like to be a trader shortly before the tech bubble burst in the early ‘00s.
- Insights on Jim Cramer (yeah, the shouty “Mad Money” guy)
- The reality of financial regulation
- What constitutes insider trading, and how do you figure it out?
- The importance in business of finding an underdeveloped niche
- And a bonus: The little lifehack he added to his wedding that made it go from merely excellent, to extraordinary.