Nothing Personal: Mike Offit
Idealistic, smart and career oriented Warren Hament enters the world of investment banking, bond trading and finance in the early 1980’s hoping to have a lucrative career in the world of high finance. But, Warren is naïve in many respects and as we walk the halls of Weldon along with him, go through the initial intake or interviews the world of top-tier banking comes alive for the reader. Warren is smart, astute and cunning in many respects and is able to circumvent the abuse, insults and unprofessional way some of those interviewing him acted. Hoping to land a plumb position with Weldon, Warren knows the right words, uses the right phrases and is offered a position on the spot. But, sometimes what you wish for might not be exactly what you should want. Jaded and thinking that he would rise to the top, become rich almost over night and never do anything to undercut a client, steal from this investors or even do anything amoral or illegal, the author brilliantly proves that wrong. The world of investment banking is brought to light and the world of an inside trader is not only disreputable, cruel and hardnosed. Lured into the world so many young men and women forget the real reason they went into this field and become hungry for power, money, and wealth and are sucked into playing the game at any cost.
As Warren becomes more familiar with company procedures and meets the players involved you hear their voices, enter the smoke filled rooms as deals are discussed and made and meet Larissa, his soon to be girlfriend as she wangles her way into his life, his bed and career. Smart, beautiful and hungry for the same things as Warren, she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants. With the help of his mentor, Bill Dougherty, Warren rises to the top, helps with his accounts and learns early one the true meaning of disloyalty, deceit, betrayal, lies and fraud.
Warren attended Columbia and lands this job as a bond trader at Weldon Brothers and things his life is about to change for the better. As we learn more about this company, the higher ups and hear the boardroom meetings, learn more about how deals are made anyone studying to be a bond trader, financial analyst or learning more about insider trading and how backroom deals are made will get a perfect education as the author’s own experience in the field is shared. Every step of the way the author shares many deals, trades and explains how bonds are sold and much more. His technical experience is shared and we learn that the world of trading in the 1980’s is no different than today. But, things start to heat up and accidents or are they murders happen when a student falls down a flight of stairs and is in a coma and another dies in a skiing accident. As things start to settle down and his friendships and loyalties are formed his mentor and colleague is murdered. A murder that rocks the company but not in the way you might think. Nothing personal is just that: no one really cares about the victim just the end result for the company, how it will affect their goals, productivity and who will profit from the murder: Who gets his book, his desk and his deals? When Warren is handed them on a silver platter he is quick to take on the responsibility thinking that he will follow in the footsteps of his mentor. Rising to a rich star of the company you learn head on that Warren and his friend Anson are all in it for the money and not for the benefit of the client. It’s just business and as the author states: Nothing Personal: No one really cares about the other. No one would hesitate to make a deal that would undercut the profits of the client and line their pockets with gold. But, when Warren questions the other traders and even his girlfriend, he begins to realize that he better learn to play the game or find himself in a dangerous position as pointed out to him by a close friend.
But, things begin to change and the police question him in the murder of his mentor. Cooperating in every way they attempt to ease his fears that they are only searching for clues and information while actually considering him a suspect since he directly profited from the murders. But, someone is watching and waiting and then Warren learns about a hidden secret that would change the course and direction of his life forever. When Anson’s secretary hands over his computer to Warren what he learns opened up a whole new world for him as he found bank accounts on his computer and with the help of his girlfriend Sam what he learns will astound readers. Enlightening Warren about what he ex-boyfriend managed to cheat her out of and get away with allows readers to understand how many can be channeled to different countries, banks and invested in places that no one will ever find it. As Sam relates her story and how her money wound up in Liechtenstein banks and the author explains how you just won’t believe what they pull off and how. As Warren and Sam manage to con several bankers and the millions they accumulate would change their world if no one found out. Throughout Chapters 34- 46 the reader gets a real education on how Warren and others like him make millions, sell, trade and propose specific deals to their clients hoping that they profit more than them.
With the police stymied and the two murders unsolved Warren still looks good for them both but there they have no solid proof. But, things change and word gets out to someone about his goals, his feelings for Sam and Warren is dealing in a world that is tainted, corrupt and dangerous. Greed, sex, abuse, money, hate and jealousy are at the top of the issues list as well as a young and hot girlfriend who would move more than heaven and earth for Warren but just how remains to be seen.
With the accounts and a fortune in hand, a killer on the lose and a career that could go up in smoke at any point, just what will be Warren’s final fate. As Warren sets the trap for the killer and hopes the person will take the bait the author leads us down one more path explaining the end result for so many as some decide to leave Weldon and Warner, which companies are about to fold or are in trouble and one young investment banker whose future hangs in the balance. From New York, the Hamptons, Dark Harbor and Europe inside the trading houses, banks and boardrooms author Mike Offit gives readers a better education in this field equal if not better than sitting in a course in any college. Put your friendships aside and your own interests at the top and you just might find a career in this field. Enter the world of trading and learn their secrets and hear their conversations and learn the true meaning of undercutting, betrayal, deceit, and corruption.
Warren Hament is a strong enough character to bring back along with Sam to find out just how far he will go to keep what he has, whether he gets caught in the crossfire, if anyone finds out what he did and if everyone rides home in a convertible limo to safety. This is one novel what truly defines the meaning of the phrase: Nothing Personal: It’s all about money, power, success, the list of accounts, greed and indifference. Each trader, financial analyst, banker, VP and Managing Director has his/her own agenda and after reading this novel you will truly understand just how far someone will go to get accounts and at what cost.
Fran Lewis: reviewer