A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the curious case of the 34-year old Goldman Sachs high-yield trader, Tom Malafronte, who has managed to make $100mm "trading" with Goldman clients so far in 2016 while somehow also complying with Dodd-Frank regulations that prevent proprietary trading. Here is what we wrote:
Back in 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which was intended to shut down proprietary trading desks at the big wall street banks while allowing them to hold just enough inventory to satisfy market making requirements. Which is why many are now questioning how a 34-year-old Goldman Sach high-yield trader, Tom Malafronte, managed to make $100mm while maintaining compliance with federal banking regulations. As a senior trader of Skyland Capital told the Wall Street Journal, “It goes against everything we’ve been seeing the last three years."
The gains were the work of Tom Malafronte, a managing director on the bank’s high-yield-bond desk in New York. The 34-year-old trader bought billions of dollars in junk corporate debt on the cheap starting in January, then locked in profits as prices recovered, according to people familiar with the matter.
The windfall is a throwback to a previous era on Wall Street, when big banks were more eager to step in as markets turned and bond traders took bigger risks. Those bets have become less common since the crisis. Hoping to make the financial system safer, Congress passed rules that curbed banks’ ability to wager with their own money and required them to hold more capital.
Wall Street responded by shutting down its proprietary-trading desks and shrinking inventories of securities like bonds. The government allowed banks to continue trading securities in their capacity as market makers, serving as intermediaries between buyers and sellers. Regulators have said banks must show that the amount of bonds and other securities they hold on their balance sheets don’t exceed what they need to meet “reasonably expected near-term demand.”
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