George Handjinicolaou, 50, former head of global emerging- markets debt at Merrill Lynch & Co., says work at big investment banks is no longer fun. “You’re pushing paper, having meetings and finally you’ve had it,” he says. He took a buyout from Merrill in February 2002. Peter G. Hirsch, 42, had spent his whole career as a trader at Salomon Brothers Inc. and its successors until, after merging several trading desks, he suffered burnout and resigned in July 2001. “Firing people is miserable,” he says. The terrorists who struck the New York World Trade Center’s south tower, where Stephen J. Errico, 40, was a Morgan Stanley broker, changed his career outlook—and his life. “I thought, ‘Tomorrow is not a certainty,’” says Errico. He quit his job in the spring of 2002.
All three restarted their careers by opening up their own hedge funds, the lightly regulated investment pools that gather capital from wealthy individuals, endowments and pension funds. Scores of other financial professionals have made the same choice, swapping jobs at big firms for the risks of starting up hedge funds. They’ve added to a trend that’s stripping Wall……..[click here to continue reading]
By Richard Teitelbaum