A trader from MF Global sat alone in a raucous midtown saloon just down the street from his firm’s headquarters.
“Just waiting for the guys to show up. People are working late tonight,” he said.
It was last Friday.
Three days before MF Global declared bankruptcy.
The trader was a relatively new hire.
He had come on board from a much larger Wall Street firm that was rumoured to be planning severe layoffs. He thought that MF Global was “on the rise.”
“We’re allowed to do principal trades, where the big boys aren’t. This leaves things wide open for smaller shops,” he explained.
He was “100 per cent sure” that MF Global would be sold or merge with another firm. He understood that the firm needed new capital because of regulatory concerns. In his opinion, this was government “meddling.”
When we spoke on Thursday, he described himself as “bewildered.”
“It’s like someone just spun you around, blindfolded,” he said.
He hadn’t been in the office all week. No one had told him whether he should come in or stay home. He asked me if the office was even open.
His blackberry was still working but he said he expected it to “die any minute now.”