Michael Sears spent over twenty years on Wall Street, rising to become a managing director at Paine Webber and Jeffries & Co., before leaving the business in 2005. He lives in Sea Cliff, New York.
Michael Sears's website
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Michael Sears discusses how common corruption is on Wall Street and what laypeople don't get about it.
Though you have said that this novel is not autobiographical, you draw on personal experience in your portrayal of Wall Street. What did you do during your more than twenty-year career there?
Before I switched to trading bonds, I spent a couple of years in sales first in foreign exchange and later in financial futures, aka derivatives. Chase Bank gave me a chance to trade, and it was a great place to learn. I became a market maker, specializing in the debt of government-sponsored enterprises, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For the next eighteen years, I traded and underwrote umpteen trillions of dollars of these bonds, rising to managing director and overseeing a small group of traders. As I moved up the ladder, I expanded my role to marketing manager and relationship manager, traveling with the sales force and making presentations in twenty-five states and twenty countries. My least favorite airport? Caracas, Venezuela.
The scam at the center of Black Fridays is based on an actual conspiracy discovered by the FBI about ten years ago. Did you know any of the people involved in that? How did it play out?
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