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Foreign Exchange

David Gu: I should be so lucky

Naturally when I read about how much David Gu, the head of Merrill Lynch’s global-rates division, had trousered as a reward for his sterling performance in 2008, I sent him a congratulatory email.

More on David Gu


“I know a lot of trading businesses had a good year last year, but this looks like Merrill must have really had it off, contrary to all the press reports and contrary to what I was hearing through the market. Good job you don’t work for RBS I guess. Can you imagine how the British press would have reacted? Congratulations. I guess the drinks must be on you next time we meet,” I wrote.


Gu, who seems to have other things on his mind, didn’t respond. Merrill’s profitability has long been something that has baffled me. As I’ve written in the past, I’m not altogether sure of the business wisdom of hiring and firing so many FX teams. But Gu’s paycheck suggests there must be a method in the madness.


Another thing that puzzles me is that I’ve long dreamt of being a member of what is best described as the Fuck-off wealthy club. Membership allows you to tell anyone who annoys you to go forth and multiply. Gu may have earned membership, but is always extremely polite when I ask him awkward and irritating questions.




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