Ex-Goldman trader: My 'life is important, but protecting the P&L is more important'

Sunset in Tokyo, Japan

As the biggest earthquake ever recorded in Japan rocked the Roppongi Hills skyscraper in central Tokyo, Makoto Yamada put on his helmet, dropped to his knees, and traded.

“We had an option to leave, but we couldn’t leave the position at the time," the 39-year-old former Goldman Sachs quant said, recalling the March 2011 quake and hours of aftershocks that he and some trader colleagues braved from the bank’s offices on the 48th floor. My “life is important, but protecting the P&L is more important."

Bloomberg News reports that it was that kind of dedication that propelled Yamada from a childhood in regional Japan to a prestigious place studying computer science at the University of California at Berkeley, right at the height of the dotcom boom. He went on to join Goldman Sachs as a programmer before switching to the trading floor, using his math skills to value esoteric derivatives.

Until then, Yamada’s career followed a standard trajectory for the financial industry’s elite. That all changed in 2015, when he made two surprising moves. First, he decided to leave Goldman, less than three years after making managing director at the Wall Street firm, one rank below partner. Second, ignoring the overtures of global hedge funds, he joined a Japanese brokerage.

Hit the link below to access the complete Bloomberg News article:

Ex-Goldman Star Who Traded Through Quake Makes Unusual Move

Fixing FX: The Currency Trader's New Guide to Ethical Behavior

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