Very Inside Wall Street


The Dark Side of Making Money

By Gene G. Marcial

McGraw-Hill 238pp $20

When insider trading last hit the headlines, it was the late 1980s, and the resulting scandals sent Mike Milken, Ivan Boesky, and other hotshot financiers to jail. Does that mean that Wall Street is now a fair game? Hardly, says Gene Marcial, BUSINESS WEEK's "Inside Wall Street" columnist. In Secrets of the Street, Marcial makes a simple and important point: Wall Street runs on information, and if you don't have connections, you are "a turkey, an outsider trying to play an insider's game."

Marcial's tales of insider trading and market manipulation could confirm any paranoid's worst fears. Drawing on 20 years spent covering the Street, he recounts anecdote after anecdote showing how security analysts, brokers, and market makers can take advantage of their inside position to make a killing for themselves or their employers. Even Wall Street's most respectable fund managers, those who run the giant institutional portfolios, are always seeking an inside edge, he asserts. Writes Marcial: "Insider trading is almost a given with money managers."

Some of the characters in Marcial's book have familiar names--Boesky, Carl Icahn, and George Soros. But in many of the juiciest stories, he uses pseudonyms to protect his sources' confidentiality. Knowledgeable readers may make a sport of figuring out who's who. In any case, Marcial insists not only that the events took place but also that they accurately represent "what goes on on Wall Street every day of the week."

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