'Like Alexander ******** Voss' (1 of 2)
By Simon Barget
YOGESH BHATTY: Sup vossy?
ALEXANDER VOSS: Good…you
YOGESH BHATTY: All good here mate
ALEXANDER VOSS: Funny one last night
YOGESH BHATTY: Oh yeah??? Funny?
ALEXANDER VOSS: You wont believe…
YOGESH BHATTY: Here we go…..Slovak?
ALEXANDER VOSS: Yes and no…
YOGESH BHATTY: Trannies…Hookers?
ALEXANDER VOSS: Nope, don’t do that anymore
YOGESH BHATTY: Course not
ALEXANDER VOSS: not for months
YOGESH BHATTY: Hunty‘s fallen in love with some colombian one
ALEXANDER VOSS: Punty singlehandedly keeps them in business, hence the name
YOGESH BHATTY: Haha Spill
ALEXANDER VOSS: Huh?
YOGESH BHATTY: The beans??
ALEXANDER VOSS: I baked beans actually,
YOGESH BHATTY: With German sausage? That’s why youre so fat
ALEXANDER VOSS: big boned buddy, big -boned
YOGESH BHATTY: Rig
ALEXANDER VOSS: So….at my flat last night almost stayed in. Cold. too cold
YOGESH BHATTY: Getting old and responsible
ALEXANDER VOSS: Sure..But… bought this new sheepskin jacket fancied wearing it. Thought I’d wander up to Chez Carlos. Not expecting much…
YOGESH BHATTY: Chez Carlos…. sounds like a Panamanian drug ranch
ALEXANDER VOSS: Just this little place but its close…bar, does take aways, pizzas
YOGESH BHATTY: Ok..
ALEXANDER VOSS: These two girls standing outside
YOGESH BHATTY: As if from nowhere
ALEXANDER VOSS: Smoking, and giggling amongst each other,quite young like 21.
YOGESH BHATTY: Hubba hubba
ALEXANDER VOSS: Im like, hello, smiling, hows it going, what you been up to tonight etc..
YOGESH BHATTY: Waiting for you daaarrrlin
ALEXANDER VOSS: But…ignored…
YOGESH BHATTY: Oh dear
ALEXANDER VOSS: Totally
YOGESH BHATTY: ‘Like I’m invisible or something’
ALEXANDER VOSS: Exactly. Pretend theyre not interested…turned away almost… like its so obvious Im a pick-up artist
YOGESH BHATTY: What are you then?
ALEXANDER VOSS: Just a normal guy
YOGESH BHATTY: Yeah normal as a baked bean sausage
ALEXANDER VOSS: So ask them what they doing in Zur so I can tell them ASAP how rich I am As soon as I mention the words ‘hedge fund’ …change of tune.
YOGESH BHATTY: Money makes the world go round…
ALEXANDER VOSS: Exactly…Inside chatting some more, one from Lausanne
YOGESH BHATTY: Vossman, wait
ALEXANDER VOSS: What??
YOGESH BHATTY: Describe….
ALEXANDER VOSS: Huh?
YOGESH BHATTY: T-A-C
ALEXANDER VOSS: Oh…So crude..Nothing amazing slim, good body, brunette, remember shehad a beauty spot just above her lip.;.You know Im not a tit man.
YOGESH BHATTY: Should be I keep telling you
ALEXANDER VOSS: So we get chatting and I say lets have a drink at mine.
YOGESH BHATTY: Just like that
ALEXANDER VOSS: Why not?
YOGESH BHATTY: Build rapport, win trust?
ALEXANDER VOSS: It felt right
YOGESH BHATTY: You bellend, youre carter
ALEXANDER VOSS: What??
YOGESH BHATTY: Unstoppable…
ALEXANDER VOSS: What’s carter? So she says
YOGESH BHATTY: Yes….
ALEXANDER VOSS: Well actually we are going to this party, why don’t you come? I know I am in there
YOGESH BHATTY: Sunday night party???
ALEXANDER VOSS: I know…weird
YOGESH BHATTY: How many is it this week so far??
ALEXANDER VOSS: Not counting
YOGESH BHATTY: For my personal record
ALEXANDER VOSS: So we go walk to this flat not far away and me and her in this big living room up against a mantel piece by a mirror, bit weird ..having a glass of prosecco and when we both finish the glass I just take hers set it wodn and just say shall we go..suggestive, a glint
YOGESH BHATTY: The friend?
ALEXANDER VOSS: As If I’m Bond. Don’t know in the kitchen I think Talking to some other guy…when she leaves she doesn’t even say good bye
YOGESH BHATTY: Subtle girls signals probably
ALEXANDER VOSS: SO here’s the bit… Standing outside waiting for a cab but its late and freezing, go to call one and my phone rings just as I have my hand on it…
YOGESH BHATTY: SLoooooovakkkkk]\
ALEXANDER VOSS: Correct!! And I just answer in front of this other girl and Slovakian girl is saying what you doing in this lolling voice, like sexy maybe drunk, I say not much.. looong pause
YOGESH BHATTY: Send that pic again… can’t picture her
ALEXANDER VOSS: she utters those golden words: ‘Can I come over? basically pleading
YOGESH BHATTY: OMG
ALEXANDER VOSS: Like now. Immediately I say of course, actually I think I say sure. I have my arm round this girl from Lausanne, touching her arse. I just say sure
YOGESH BHATTY: Youre a nob
ALEXANDER VOSS: She says in an hour or so?….I say ok
YOGESH BHATTY: One hour??
ALEXANDER VOSS: It was enough time…shower, tidy up a bit.. plus work in the morning.. blah blah
YOGESH BHATTY: I see
ALEXANDER VOSS: As we’re getting in the cab Swiss girl turns up to me and says, who was that..
YOGESH BHATTY: ‘It was my mother darling’
ALEXANDER VOSS: Hahaha. Cant be bothered to make something up so I say: oh just my girlfriend and then I’m actually saying her name…Barbora..Bar-Bor-ra. But she just acts like: well at least I have him for now
YOGESH BHATTY: Fucking hell
ALEXANDER VOSS: Good no?
YOGESH BHATTY: You’re a nob
My name is Alexander Voss and I’m an fx options trader for a private hedge fund in Zurich. Last year I made £875,000 before tax and I’m only 29. I’ve worked in Vienna, Frankfurt and Tokyo mainly for top-tier investment banks.
This story is about a weird thing that happened a couple of years ago in London between me and another fx trader called Michael Weiss. Weiss used to work for Bank C.
The chat system traders use is the key to this whole episode. It comes as part of the Bloomberg terminal with all the real-time prices, graphs and curves and news-feeds. If you’re not a banker you’ll have seen shots of traders on trading floors with their multiple screens crammed full of figures and jargon. I have 3 screens here in Zurich but some traders have as many as 6 maybe more. If you’re a banker you’ll know that Bloomberg chat is an instant messenger like MSN used to be until WhatsApp took over the world. You make a chat room and invite other participants or you can message someone directly.
When I got to London I didn’t know anyone but I got a signing-on fee of £150,000. I rented a flat just off Sloane Street. Right by the action. I was partying almost every night. Work, gym, home, relax, one-hour sleep, then back out. King’s Road, Notting Hill, Knightsbridge, Kensington. A new city gives you new energy. I preferred to talk to girls alone because it’s more effective. I was hanging out at the same places as the bankers, the Russians, the celebs and the really posh rich kids. I’m broad-shouldered, muscular, 6’2’’, dark hair dark eyes, not a bad-looking guy. I’m definitely favoured clientele, someone who belongs. If it didn’t work out I’d get an escort, go to a strip club or text someone whose number I’d taken. After three months I think I had more than 300 numbers.
A few weeks into the job a guy on my desk adds me to a chat room discussing USD/JPY, which is what I traded then. I know some of the names already, usual suspects. Chatrooms are a bit of a joke, lots of bravado and posturing, but no one really saying anything worthwhile. Everyone mining for information about orders. A lot of them not really knowing what to do with the info when they get it. Lots of bad language and banter. If you get a good group it can work out, but you have to be able to trust.
Over time you get a feel for the level each trader is at, what he knows and what he doesn’t. There’s a huge spectrum, some are brilliant, others just piggy back, hoping for a free ride. It’s then that I start to pay attention to this guy Weiss and I realise he’s a star. Whenever he joins, no one leaves. Everyone always asking: ‘where’s Weissy?’ or ‘ask Weissy’. Eventually some bright spark changes the name of the group to ‘Ask Weissy’. Deep understanding of concepts and the markets way beyond mine, but also great feel as well. I would say I’m an ok trader, not the best not the worst.
I look up to him. I certainly respect him.
One day in the main chat he asks me to PM him. It’s about some complex option stuff and he tells me he’d prefer it if they didn’t all get the benefit of his wisdom. We start chatting more generally. I ask him how long he’s been at Bank C etc. he asks me the same, then he asks how long I’ve been in London. He says he figured from my name that I was German. I say I’m not German, but Austrian actually. He turns out also to be Austrian, from Vienna. I tell him I had no idea he wasn’t English, his English is so good. There aren’t an awful lot of Austrians about.
Then we move on to women. I ask him if he has a girlfriend. He broke up with someone a while back, nothing now. I say I’m just having fun at the moment. I figure him as quite a serious guy so I don’t want to go into any detail. I think he might be put off. Or maybe not interested at all. Maybe it’s all beneath him. I see him moving up to Head of Desk pretty quickly; he basically says as much too. He knows he’s sharp and he knows how to handle his bosses. In a really good position then. We talk about bonuses. I am astonished at how much he makes last year. He won’t tell me exactly but it’s close to seven figures. Euros fine, but still. A lot more than me. Huge sums. High-flier. Young, same age as me almost. He tells me he’s been going to loads of house parties, doesn’t go to bars that much. He goes back to Vienna some weekends to see his parents and family. He goes for weekends away with other guys from his bank. He skis. He goes to the gym. He eats out a lot.
I move back to Zurich almost 6 months ago when I start trading EUR/CHF for a different firm and we fall out of contact. I forget the name really.
Then a few weeks ago out of nowhere I get a notification that Weiss has invited me to a chat room. I haven’t heard from him for almost a year, but fine. It’s from his old account at Bank C but thought he wasn’t working there anymore. I thought he was doing stuff from home. So I enter to see what he has to say and then he sends something, but it’s not a ‘hello, long time’ or anything like that but a whole pasted chat dated the day before between him and Yogesh Bhatty. I’m quickly scanning this thing totally baffled and I see my name mentioned loads of times, like what?? Yogesh Bhatty? Bhatty is the guy who adds me to Ask Weissy in the first place.
Bhatty telling Weiss about the two girls coming back to my flat as pasted above.
I don’t get it. Why would he want me to know he’s talking about me? Why now all of a sudden? Is it a mistake? How can you paste a chat into another chat box by mistake??
I’m on the cusp of responding so many times, like just: ‘was ist los hasch auf die falsche Taste gedrückt?’ Why should I be the one who feels embarrassed? But just as I’m about to type something, he exits the chat.
Then I get it. He’s supposed to be pasting the chat to someone else but somehow he manages to open up a chat box with me instead. Perhaps he’s opened up the chat box to say hi, pressed Ctrl V in my chat box instead of the other one.
I get on to Bhatty and tell him what’s just happened. Weiss contacting me out of the blue pasting a chat between me and him. Meanwhile I’m waiting to see if Weiss gets back to me just to explain. Then I realise that clearly Weiss is now chatting to Bhatty about it.
Bhatty immediately opens up a chat saying he doesn’t know it was meant to be hush-hush but he won’t say anything if I don’t want. Apart from what the wally has already just said. The story warrants retelling because it is ‘pretty much epic’. I’m typing to Bhatty as I’m reading the Weiss/Bhatty chat. So cringey, I can’t believe we talk like that like demented schoolboys. I’m not intending to boast here – is that what they all think now? Bhatty asks me if I want him to find out from Weiss if it’s anything important. Yeh like hell. I think back to the time I’m in London. How many stories. All of them flash through my mind at once like the recollection of a drunken night. It’s so obvious they’re chatting right now; fine.
Best to leave it though. I don’t want to embarrass either of them. Nothing to gain.
Until I settle in to look at the chat more closely. Every message in these chats is timed. This one starts at 14:56 and goes on until Weiss exits at 16:03. Down at the bottom of the chat at 15:58, Weiss is pulling the story to pieces. I home in on his words as if they’re beacons. I hardly notice what Bhatty is saying.
When did this happen anyway??
Yesterday …told me this morning
Contacts you out of the blue??
No mate…we still chat sometimes mostly his shenanigans
Think he’s telling the truth?
Ive seen the guy operate….you know
Why would they be at a bar so late on a Sunday night? Who goes out on a Sunday night???
He’s a maniac
middle of January?
He goes out every night…when he was in London
You told me he lives in a residential area anyway. I’ve been to Zurich, its like deader than dead even on a Sat
you think he’d make the whole thing up??
Then he just says: Shall we go? Like with no shame or embarrassment? After one glass of prosecco? Come on it’s such obvious bullshit.
Ok.. fair enough!!
Guy says whatever he wants you to hear…
Trust me you don’t know the half of it
Now I’m relieved I took the precaution of saving all my Weiss chats before I left London. I feel vindicated. But I’m also starting to worry what he’s said to other people.
Is it going to be necessary for me to recover all of his chats, the ones he had with other people? Yes, it is something I will have to do in the circumstances. I have to cover my own back.