Broward News

It Came From Boca (The Wall Steet-Stomping Monster, That Is)

[Fade in.] Poolside at the "sugar-pink Boca Raton Hotel" in June 1994. A bunch of young, hard-partying but hungover J.P. Morgan traders there for a conference conceive of something called "credit derivatives." A potent financial product that when mixed with a housing boom would trigger an atomic meltdown in the decade to follow.

It's the opening scene of a just-released book by Financial Times reporter Gillian Tett, called Fools Gold.

For a book about high finance, it's an engrossing read, at least judging by the opening chapter, which you can find at the Amazon link. It seems to be told from the perspective of that group's leader, Peter Hancock. He and the other lads were chastened a bit from the previous night's drinking game, in which they tossed two of their bosses into the pool, ruining one's expensive loafers and breaking the nose of the other. Of course, the real damage was this single, tantalizing idea.

Don't expect the Boca Raton Hotel to create a monument to honor this historic event. But you're liable to see that iconic hotel in a movie next year. Tett's going to option this puppy for a screenplay, if she hasn't already.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Francis