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Inside the world of a rogue trader

A book that delves into life on a trading floor and the mind-set of a city banker, has been written by a University of Portsmouth academic.

Barometer of Fear is the work of Alexis Stenfors, Senior Lecturer, Economics and Finance and former currency trader at MeAlexisStenforswebrrill Lynch. During his time there Alexis played a game of high risk with vast sums of money that most people cannot comprehend. When they didn’t work out he covered up his losses for a time, and Alexis lost his job. He was vilified in the media and banned from the city.

Alexis, who describes the book as part non-fiction, part academic text and part auto-biography said it’s his attempt to explore the culture of banking and shed some light on how it cultivates a certain type of behaviour.

“The business of banking is unique. It’s a world that makes up its own rules different to the rest of society. When you understand those rules, you join an exclusive club where everyone knows what they are but no-one discusses them; everyone just plays the game. To exist in that world and to be successful in it creates a certain kind of individual.”

Alexis says that during his time at Merrill Lynch he became very isolated. “The work grabs you and doesn’t let go; it totally takes over your life so the only people you know are your family and your colleagues. I completely lost touch with reality.

“Now I have a different life, but the stigma of being labelled a rogue trader never leaves you. I’ve explained to my kids what happened and I’ve made peace with it now. Writing the book has been cathartic but I still can’t explain exactly why I did what I did back then.”

Instead what Alexis has tried to do is to shine a light on the industry from the inside out. He explores how bankers work, how they operate and how they think. “It’s not an expose or a confession; it’s a subjective view of the culture and a reflection on my experience in that world. It’s my story.” Barometer of Fear

Barometer of Fear is published today. A book launch will be held at Blackwell’s book store on Wednesday 24 May at 4.30pm.

Blackwell’s Books
University of Portsmouth, Cambridge Rd, Portsmouth PO1 2EF
Interview style format
Drinks provided.
Contact: Jo West T: 023 9283 2813

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