I sat down to watch Frontline's latest episode, To Catch a Trader, the other night. As a man of massive amounts of money, some of which was under the management of SAC Capital, I was curious to see what our communist public broadcaster had to say. I was highly disappointed. I will have to call father to inform the Koch brothers that their investments in the Proletariat Broadcasting Corporation are being squandered by socialists. Is not starving this broadcasting beast of its funds a way to make sure that whatever it broadcasts is under the auspices of the nation's
I always thought that Wall Street hired the best and the brightest from the best schools in the country, and therefore the world. Imagine my surprise when, in this documentary, many of these guys are using a very easily bugged technology to make statements about illegal activities. I was flabbergasted, to say the least! What the hell are these geniuses doing talking about illegal activity on the telephone? Donald Longueuil almost got away as well, as he managed to disperse his hard drives into various garbage trucks throughout the city. Then he picks up a telephone and makes a call in which he describes what he just did! What the hell?
Steven Cohen, founder of SAC Capital, was the only bright bulb in the entire episode. He stated clearly that the phrase "insider trading" is open to interpretation. Of course it is. Why is PBS so pedantic? Frontline's examples of insider trading included some guy (with questionable taste in glasses) going to clubs and restaurants and talking to people. As far as I know, anyone can strike up a conversation in a club. Are we not allowed to trade based on a conversation that took place at a social event? Anybody else could have asked the same question. What is the problem with that? As if that is not ridiculous enough, they show a guy who received a call (again with the damn telephones) from someone he did not even know. How is that insider at all? If a random person you do not know calls you and whispers you some actionable information, that is not inside information, that is God's good grace falling upon you. And what kind of fool thinks whispering into the phone is a way to elude the phone tap?
Frontline's whole case against Cohen is that he did not memorize a subsection of a subsection of a multi-paged law. Oh well, lock the guy up and feed him to the lions.
Then Frontline has some guy from sales talk about insider trading. Oh give me a break.
Here is some advice for my good friend Steven. My advice does not come cheap as I am not a cheap prostitute like Winnie Jiau and I am not interested in cheesecake or live lobsters. Fire all these useless fools and charge me the usual 2% for assets under management and 20% on gains, instead of your 3/50, and I will incorporate a system that is tamper proof. I mean for all the money you charge, just stick a fax machine on every trader's desk. Have the expert fax a nondescript document. When the trader receives this document, he turns on his shortwave radio. The expert then sends his message through a numbers station (since it goes over the public airwaves, it is available to anyone - so not insider at all). Have the key to decipher the code be dependent on a series of other numbers. Add the previous day's close on several exchanges, the day's date, and anything else easily obtainable. The last two digits are the key that will be used. Good luck to any stupid "journalist" trying to figure out what is going on. Just hire some cryptographers and ham radio operators if it is too much for your traders to handle. Then there is always tor or using dead drops like spies do. Who will say anything? You have a lot of sensitive and proprietary information you need to communicate to others. Nothing wrong with that.
Steve, you deserve better than this nonsense. Also, talk to the Kochs. How did they allow this communist claptrap to air? They spend good money on PBS to make sure the country is glued to British soap operas.
I love how PBS tries to make Steven Cohen into a villain, yet their very own quiz suggests that the phrase "material nonpublic information" is open to interpretation.
Image courtesy of ROBERT HUFFSTUTTER.