"At the Tokyo headquarters of the Swiss bank UBS, in the middle of a deserted trading floor, Tom Hayes sat rapt before a bank of eight computer screens. Collar askew, pale features pinched, blond hair mussed from a habit of pulling at it when he was deep in thought, the British trader was even more dishevelled than usual. It was 15 September 2008, and it looked, in Hayes’s mind, like the end of the world. Hayes had been woken up at dawn in his apartment by a call from his boss, telling him to get to the office immediately. In New York, Lehman Brothers was hurtling towards bankruptcy.
At his desk, Hayes watched the world processing the news and panicking. As each market opened, it became a sea of flashing red as investors frantically dumped their holdings. In moments like this, Hayes entered an almost unconscious state, rapidly processing the tide of information before him and calculating the best escape route.
Hayes was a phenomenon at UBS, one of the best the bank had at trading derivatives. So far, the mounting financial crisis had actually been good for him. The chaos had let him buy cheaply from those desperate to get out, and sell high to the unlucky few who still needed to trade. While most dealers closed up shop in fear, Hayes, with a seemingly limitless appetite for risk, stayed in. He was 28, and he was up more than $70 million for the year."
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