Condé Nast sets its sights on Wolfe's 'masters of universe'
Wednesday 02 November 2005
It may not have the primordial force of Gordon Gecko's declaration in the film Wall Street to stockholders of the ailing Teldar Paper company, that "greed, for lack of a better word, is good". But nearly two decades later, the spirit of those febrile times looks to be alive and kicking.
Condé Nast is launching a magazine today aimed at Europe's traders under the slogan "See it, make it, spend it". Trader Monthly, the brainchild of the Canadian-born financial whizz-kid Magnus Greaves, bills itself as a "strategy and lifestyle publication intended for professional traders and hedge fund managers". It has been on sale for a year in the US.
In the UK it will retail at £10 per issue - a snip to workers in an industry where annual bonuses often exceed £1m. The magazine aims to peddle a mixture of profiles and hints from the big players in the European financial markets and offer help to those lesser mortals who aspire, in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, to "become masters of the universe".
According Mr Greaves, the magazine's founder, who first stood on the floor of the London International Financial Futures Exchange market at the age of 19, trading is more than a job. "It is a lifestyle, a culture," he said. "'See it, make it, spend it' encapsulates that lifestyle, from stories about who else is making money and advice on how to make more yourself to how to spend it on the best, wildest and most decadent stuff out there."
Flicking through the opening edition's 124 testosterone-fuelled pages, there is certainly no shortage of aspirational content. Alongside the glossy adverts for Tag Heuer watches, Jaguar motor cars and Crockett & Jones shoes, the magazine trawls traditional lad's mag territory, with stories about gadgets, clothes and alcohol.
The opening issue boasts as its editorial centrepiece an interview with perhaps the most infamous trader of them all, Nick Leeson, now living and working in the Republic of Ireland.
But there are also features that might struggle to appeal to many outside the confines of the Square Mile. There are profiles of the leading 30 European traders - Louis Bacon, the 49-year-old, £55m-a-year hedge fund manager, tops the charts at number one. There are also cautionary tales of exposed positions on coffee shop shares, and improving articles on the money-making potential of complex number theory.
Mr Greaves was a co-founder of MacFutures, a company which helped firms make the transition from open-outcry or pit-based trading to the electronic world of today. But despite the changes he has witnessed since the fictional Gecko era, Mr Greaves believes there is a viable audience for his publication.
"Trading is unlike other professions in that people who trade often have similar types of personalities," he said. "Doctors and lawyers, for instance, won't be found hanging out together in their off hours. Traders will, they tend to have certain common traits - highly competitive, risk-taking, thrill-seeking."
The magazine plans to circulate 50,000 copies free among its core City readership to ensure a wide audience for its advertisers.
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