We don't usually review books at AspenSpin, but new in hardcover is The Buy Side, written by former Galleon Group hedge fund trader Turney Duff. The Buy Side hit so close to home that we chose to review it here.
Full disclosure: Mr. Duff & I were once colleagues at Morgan Stanley in the 90's. Before he became "size x size".
Like me, Turney Duff managed to squeeze into Morgan Stanley's Private Client Services Group (a.k.a. high net worth) via the side door. As we learn in The Buy Side Turney's knowledge of the current story line of Melrose Place, as well as his gift for gab got him entrance into the private club. He started as a floater / sales assistant in PCS...it was the right place at the right time. Heady times during the Clinton Administration, the market was rallying... remember. Duff over came his lack of Ivy League pedigree and/or the popular nepotism route to become a star. He admits in the book that he was at his best "with a glass in his hand". Turney was a good guy, a social guy, a fun guy and he became friendly with all the other sales assistants, who were primarily pretty young women. PCS was known for having "top tier talent" within it's administrative ranks. The skirts attracted the traders. Every day after the close there was plenty of inter-departmental mingling at a nearby mid-town watering hole, Cite'. Turney references that in the book, and that's where he became friendly with the infamous David Slaine (google him).
Slaine was a friend of mine too. He was what's known on the street as a "big swinging d*ck" (see Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis). Slaine was a muscular, tough guy who threw around huge OTC block trades like they were frisbees. As an aside, the men's room on the MS's trading floor had a heavy bag hanging in the foyer... not sure if there's a connection. Slaine eventually left Morgan Stanley to join the Galleon Group...one of the largest, most aggressive hedge funds on the street. Slaine took Turney with him. Once Duff was firmly entrenched on the buy side, he became a BSD too. Trading is a stressful business. Duff's success led to excess. After several HUGE years he succumbed to alcohol and cocaine addiction. Like Galleon Group itself, which would self destruct in 2009 amidst the largest insider trading scandal in the the history of Wall Street, Duff would give it all back in a haze of drunkeness and cocaine abuse.
The Buy Side provides the reader with inside info into the hedge fund world. It's not an indictment of Wall Street excess...it's just one guy's tale...but its a good one. Don't worry, it's a feel good story too. Turney went to rehab, got clean, quit Wall Street and now has a best seller on his hands. The Buy Side is highly recommended. Perfect summer reading, and for me a trip down memory lane.