Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond and JP Morgan's current chief executive, Jamie Dimon, apparently became star financiers in part because they both lost fortunes early in their careers.
That, at least, is the claim of "rogue trader" Kweku Adoboli, who's swapped his business suits for prison fatigues after turning in losses that might have made even those two executives, not known for being phased by high-risk finance, wince.
Adoboli lost £1.4bn of Swiss bank UBS's money, and was this week jailed for seven years after being found guilty of two counts of fraud.
However, in an e-mail exchange with Bloomberg News, Adoboli appeared to confirm Judge Brian Keith's assessment that he is "profoundly unselfconscious" of his failings.
Adoboli said in one message: "The more senior you are the easier it is to avoid getting slammed to the wall. Funny thing is though, losing money seems to make you better at making money. Perhaps that's why traders who lose money always get rehired, as long as they still have their risk appetite."
Critics say its just as likely they're let go with glowing references because their previous employers are reluctant to admit to their mistakes in hiring them. And there is no evidence that Mr Diamond or Mr Dimon actually lost large sums early in their careers.
Adoboli had argued it was unfair to prosecute him because others who had lost similarly large sums hadn't faced legal action outside court.
"To be fair these things happen all the time to varying scales," he wrote.