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Black Russian, Black Gold

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Our relationship with risk-taking is a schizophrenic one. Bold actions taken, even foolishly, yield bright accolades for winners, enduring damnation for losers. Qui audet adipiscitur, after all. Phrased another way: One may dare, but one must win.

On reflection, David Redmond probably shouldn't have gone back to the office after a fateful boozy lunch last year that lasted three and a half hours.
The commodities trader arrived back at his desk at Morgan Stanley in London at 4.41pm on 6 February and through the fug proceeded to gamble $10m (£5.1m) in a frantic series of trades. It very nearly went down as the most expensive lunch in history. In the sober light of the following day, he managed to trade his way out of the position without telling anyone and avoided making any losses. But it wasn't enough to save his neck.
The Financial Services Authority today banned Redmond from working in the City for at least two years for concealing his trading position from bosses and leaving the bank exposed to significant risk. Margaret Cole, the director of enforcement at the City watchdog, said his actions had "showed a lack of honesty and integrity".

Who among us doubts that, had Redmond come out +20% on the positions, his name would endure in the office forever, emblazoned on brass plaque under the hermetically sealed, bulletproof-plexi case holding the actual glass he drank from that faithful afternoon?
FSA bans Morgan Stanley's oiled trader [Guardian Online]


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