How many Houston-based billionaires did Brian Hunter try to screw in an attempt to not blow $6 billion out of his ass, have himself escorted from the Amaranth building and be placed on Nick Maounis's permanent shit list? At least one that we know of but maybe more will come out of the woodwork. For now it's John Arnold. The Centaurus founder could probably point to trades that made him a ton of money but you really can't put a price on avoiding the humiliation that would've come from being taken for a ride by fish boy.
Traders familiar with Arnold's style also credit a calm and disciplined manner that helps him stay eerily focused on the fundamentals of the market when other trades are creating distractions.
That was on display most notably during the Amaranth debacle. Amaranth, a $9 billion commodities hedge fund in Greenwich, Conn., was betting that natural-gas prices would rise in the winter, according to a Senate report that shed light on what happened in September 2006.
But as the season wore on, meteorologists began predicting a mild winter, and prices turned downward. Amaranth trading prodigy Brian Hunter started bleeding money, facing $3 billion in margin calls at one point.
As Hunter worked late on a Saturday in what would become a cataclysmic weekend for him, he e-mailed Arnold and tried to persuade him to buy Amaranth's positions before the market opened on Monday. Arnold wrote back the next morning, explaining that he hadn't been in the office for a couple of days, and coolly rebuffed Hunter.