In 2008, when Sam Polk was a senior distressed trader at King Street Capital Management, stress was his operating principle. King Street was one of the world’s largest distressed hedge funds at the time. “Bear Stearns went down, Lehman Brothers went down. Structures we thought were stable were disappearing in front of our eyes,” recalls Polk, who spent the time leveraging bets against the assets of the shut-down banks.
Polk left Wall Street in February 2010, frustrated that while the country was awash in job losses and foreclosures, his co-workers worried about their bonuses.