A Financial Scam That Leads to An Unfortunate Ending

The Spider Network was on my wish list of fraud and scam-related books since a long time.  It’s one of the scams I never heard of and was excited to read it. I’m pleased to say, it didn’t disappoint.

It’s about a smart but stupid trader Tom Hayes. When learned about the unspoken yet common knowledge of Libor manipulations, he soon commenced his manipulation and in time became the centre of the spider network, or at least he thought he was. But, as investigations began and reached its verdict, Tom, despite not the only one, was convicted.

There are a lot of things I liked about the book. In particular, were the detailed exploration of Tom Hayes’s character and Libor – the two key pillars of the scam. While the information about Libor was restricted only to a few chapters, Tom’s character was explored throughout.  Writer David Enrich deserves an applause in not only covering Tom’s professional and personal life in absolute detail, but also in narrating it well.

The content presented about Libor was quite interesting. It spoke about its birth and rise, followed by banks’ incentive to manipulate it and its scary implications.

The chronologically arranged storyline did an amazing job in narrating the scam, with investigation and courtroom scenes being the highlights. It’s pretty well detailed and gets intense as the story goes deeper.

I felt the narrative was more than just a scandal. It showcased what life in an investment bank and financial broking looks like. The lengths that companies could go to charm clients, the odd jobs such as bringing coffee on the trading floor, the dark 12-15 hours workdays, work time adjustment as per client requirement are such examples. The disturbing revelation was how these companies make millions at the cost of their employee’s careers. The book, including Hayes, has two such examples.

But that’s not it, the storyline not only revealed the darkest tendencies of the finance industry but also the judicial systems biasness and its aversion to indict big companies. What’s more shocking was, with certain exceptions, the companies and executives took advantage of this aversion and walked away with millions, without being charged.

Although I didn’t like the ending of the story, but without a doubt Spider Network has been an amazing, remarkable, gripping, and exciting read.

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