Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street's Largest Hedge Fund Disaster (Hardcover)
For readers of The Smartest Guys in the Room and When Genius Failed, the definitive take on Brian Hunter, John Arnold, Amaranth Advisors, and the largest hedge fund collapse in history At its peak, hedge fund Amaranth Advisors LLC had more than $9 billion in assets. A few weeks later, it completely collapsed. The disaster was largely triggered by one man: thirty-two-year-old hotshot trader Brian Hunter. His high-risk bets on natural gas prices bankrupted his firm and destroyed his career, while John Arnold, his rival at competitor fund Centaurus, emerged as the highest-paid trader on Wall Street. Meticulously researched and character-driven, Hedge Hogs is a riveting fly-on-the-wall account of the largest hedge fund collapse in history: a blistering tale of the recent past that explains our precarious present . . . and may predict our future. Using emails, instant messages, court testimony, and exclusive interviews, securities analyst turned investigative reporter Barbara T. Dreyfuss charts the colliding paths of these two charismatic traders who dominated the speculative energy market. We follow Brian Hunter, the Canadian farm boy and elbows-out high school basketball star, as he achieves phenomenal early success, only to see his ambition, greed, and hubris precipitate his downfall. Set in relief is the journey of John Arnold, whose mild manner, sophisticated tastes, and low profile belied his own ferocious competitive streak. As the two clash, hundreds of millions of dollars in pension and endowment money is imperiled, with devastating public consequences.
Hedge Hogs takes you behind closed doors into the shadowy world of hedge funds, the unregulated wild side of finance, where over-the-top parties and lavish perks abound and billions of dollars of other people's money are in the hands of a tiny elite. Dreyfuss traces the rise of this freewheeling industry while detailing the decades of bank, hedge fund, and commodity deregulation that turned Wall Street into a speculative casino. A gripping saga peppered with fast money, vivid characters, and high drama, Hedge Hogs is also an important and timely cautionary tale--a vivisection of a financial system jeopardized by reckless practices, watered-down regulation, and loopholes in government oversight, just waiting for the next bust. Praise for Hedge Hogs "Regulators, legislators and judges inclined to sympathize with the industry ought to rush out and buy a copy of Barbara Dreyfuss's Hedge Hogs, a wonderfully instructive tale about Amaranth Advisors. . . . Dreyfuss, a Wall Street analyst turned investigative journalist, not only plowed through what turned out to be a treasure trove of official records and transcripts, but supplemented it with plenty of her own reporting. She manages to organize it all into a tight, riveting and understandable yarn."--The Washington Post "Clearly and entertainingly told . . . a salutary example of how traders who believe they are super-smart might be nothing more than lucky, and how there is nothing so intoxicating as the ability to speculate with other people's money."--The Economist " Dreyfuss] does a great job of putting Amaranth's out-of-control trader into historical context, explaining the blitz of deregulation that set the stage for someone like Hunter to do maximum damage."--Bloomberg "The definitive take on the largest hedge fund collapse in history . . . You will not be able to put it down."--Frank Partnoy, author of F.I.A.S.C.O. and Infectious Greed Named One of the Top 10 Business & Economics Books of the Season by Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Barbara T. Dreyfuss was a Wall Street analyst for twenty years, covering health policy issues. She was part of a five-member Washington, D.C., team that consistently won top honors in Institutional Investor magazine's ranking of Wall Street analysts. She was a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, and has contributed to The Washington Monthly, Mother Jones, and The Veteran.
“Regulators, legislators and judges inclined to sympathize with the industry ought to rush out and buy a copy of Barbara Dreyfuss’s Hedge Hogs, a wonderfully instructive tale about Amaranth Advisors. . . . Dreyfuss, a Wall Street analyst turned investigative journalist, not only plowed through what turned out to be a treasure trove of official records and transcripts, but supplemented it with plenty of her own reporting. She manages to organize it all into a tight, riveting and understandable yarn.”—The Washington Post
“If you are an avid follower of Wall Street, you’ll read [Hedge Hogs] in one sitting. . . . Dreyfuss is able to strategically select the essential elements that make for an accurate and fast-paced read laced with illuminating Wall Street lore while sparing the lay reader useless financial jargon. This riveting book gives us much to think about.”—Wall Street on Parade
“Clearly and entertainingly told . . . a salutary example of how traders who believe they are super-smart might be nothing more than lucky, and how there is nothing so intoxicating as the ability to speculate with other people’s money.”—The Economist
“[Barbara T. Dreyfuss] does a great job of putting Amaranth’s out-of-control trader into historical context, explaining the blitz of deregulation that set the stage for someone like [Brian] Hunter to do maximum damage.”—Bloomberg
“A telling insider’s story on how hedge funds are playing high-stakes poker for massive personal profits and stealing the American Dream from average families . . . This is a case study that cries out for tougher crackdowns on the derivatives game.”—Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream?
“Brian Hunter, dubbed one of the top rogue traders of all time by The Wall Street Journal, is the only one on the list not to have gone to prison for his crimes. In Hedge Hogs, Barbara Dreyfuss reveals in forensic detail how Hunter carried out a speculative assault on the highly vulnerable U.S. energy market. Hedge Hogs is a great read for those interested in an introduction to the games often played by energy traders, as well as Wall Street veterans who think they know everything there is to know on this subject.”—Leah McGrath Goodman, author of The Asylum: Inside the Rise and Ruin of the Global Oil Market
“Hedge Hogs is not merely the definitive take on the largest hedge fund collapse in history—it is a window into how the financial system came unstuck. Barbara Dreyfuss gets all the details right. This is Enron II, the sequel in which a thirty-year-old farm-boy from Calgary makes $113 million one year and then destroys his firm—and yet he isn’t even the highest-paid or most intriguing character his age. Once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down.”—Frank Partnoy, author of F.I.A.S.C.O. and Infectious Greed
“Dreyfuss smartly deploys her inside knowledge. . . . [Her] lucid, perceptive tour of the high-wire culture of hedge funds highlights how vapid Wall Street’s pretense of market expertise and risk analysis really is.”—Publishers Weekly
“A well-crafted investigation.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[Dreyfuss’s] work shines light on the little-known sector of unregulated energy trading in the wake of Enron.”—Booklist
Named One of the Top 10 Business & Economics Books of the Season by Publishers Weekly