My friend and used-to-be colleague Robert Coehoorn (1981-2013) passed away. During the past week, I kept thinking about the movie Sliding Doors. A movie about how someone’s future completely changes as a result of a single decision.
On a Friday in the autumn of 2006 Robert came to interview at IMC. I spoke with an open, honest, friendly and intelligent guy and I wanted to make him a job offer. Robert said that he also had another offer from his previous employer and that he had to give it a thought. That evening, I realised that on his resume, I had seen Robert’s home address. It was close to mine. I went and put a copy of “Inventing Money” by Nicholas Dunbar in his door. Came next Monday, Robert called and said that he had read the book over the weekend and that he chose for IMC.
Robert’s career skyrocketed. About half a year after Robert had started, in July 2007, I received a mail in Hong Kong that 25 year old Robert was “aan het knallen” (jargon for: ruling the world). Another six months later there was a status report saying: “In Robert Coehoorn, we’ve found a strong new teammember (…) Robert will have an additional trainee to help out“.
When I left IMC in 2008 Robert sent me a heartfelt mail in which he reminded me of the book that I had brought him and thanked me for everything he learned. I wrote to him that he had gotten himself on the fast track and that he should stay on it.
So he did. In 2009, Robert’s desk moved to Switzerland. Robert had turned Head of ETF Trading and Index Arbitrage and I was told he did a great job. From his Facebook entries you can see that Robert was fully into sports. In Switzerland he would snowboard, run and cycle. And abroad it was surfing and diving.
Last week, even on Robert’s fatal very last day in Switzerland before he’d move to Holland, he went snowboarding. He loved life. Sliding doors. What if Robert had chosen to stay with his old employer? He would or wouldn’t have moved to Switzerland. But either way he would have gone to the mountains often for the great outdoors.
And Robert’s many current and former colleagues who now express their sorrow, would not have had the privilige to work and laugh and cry with RoCo, as they always call him.
In our last chat, a month ago Robert, my former pupil, ended this chat with an advice to me: “nu wereld veroveren” (now conquer the world). I think he wanted to say this for everyone. Love life and conquer the world.
April 2013, Hong Kong, Tom Voute
Better safe than sorry. I’m not fighting for a nobel cause, maintaining this website is just for fun. So when expensive park avenue law firms are demanding posts and a few hundred comments to be taken offline : they got it.
In the meantime, the comment section is shut down until further notice. Will probably return with some kind of register option, after moving the servers to North Korea. Seriously, taking a break for a while.
Update. Tibra’s profits soared in Europe. Revenues increased 45% to 27 million. Headcount was down with 24 to an average staff of 57. Those remaining traders and developers shared 10.6 million in salary and bonus. That’s an average of 175k.
Tibra was founded by traders leaving Optiver in Australia, while possibly taking some trading software source code with them. Both firms are spending millions on lawyer fees ever since. A few weeks ago the party moved to a California court – something to do with the disclosure of emails by Google. Read for yourself, it’s short but it’s only for enthusiasts (pdf).
Anyway, Tibra is witnessing their own employees resigning to found a new company (Maven). Can’t be a called a surprise. Latest news is the Tibra CFO Justin van Wijngaarden (LinkedIn) jumped ship. The former Lehman Brothers banker signed for GH Futures. A London based brokerage company founded by Gedon Hertshten.
People switch jobs for any reason, but this leads to speculation about falling profitability at Tibra. Especially while they’ve resigned their membership of the London Stock Exchange a few weeks ago.
It has been almost three and a half years when Van der Moolen went down. The company filed for bankruptcy September 10th 2009. A pity. Public trading firms burning money like VDM are thin on the ground. Their quarterly reports were juicy material.
Fast forward to 2013. The court decided what everybody has always known, it has been maladministration. Hans Kroon and Richard den Drijver ruined the firm, investigators concluded. Some members of the Supervisory Board, more specific Van den Broek and De Marez Oyens, also must have had a bad weekend.
The investigation wasn’t cheap - 435.962,05 euros. Judge decided Den Drijver and Hans Kroon will have to finance this. This is only a first hit, as the road is open for claims against them. Shareholder association VEB will be eager to take action.
You can read the full research report and court ruling over here (Dutch). For entertainment, I can highly recommend Steve Brown (Dutch). Former happy gangster must have used a lot of his “imagination”.
Richard den Drijver will be fairly safe. Every management board will have an insurance policy against liability and claims. It’s a field of debate what’s covered by the insurance, incompetence is covered but outright theft isn’t – and the insurance is usually limited to a few million.
I’m an amateur in insurance law. Correct me if I’m wrong. It appears Hans Kroon is in deep trouble as the court ruled he is responsible for crashing the company. However, the man was not a member of the board. That’s an unusual situation – meaning no insurance is going to save him.
The other day when checking the Euronext excel files for the Primary Market Maker play off, I noticed something strange. A small market maker has completely left the Euronext option market. MMX, a startup consisting of a couple former All Options traders, signed for more than a dozen quoting licenses last year – and it appears they have thrown in the towel when it comes to the options on Royal Dutch, Philips, Fugro etc.
It’s a difficult market, and it wouldn’t be completely unthinkable when a market maker is forced to shut the doors altogether. On the other hand, MMX may feel themselves more comfortable trading outside the Eurozone. They are listed as market maker for almost a hundred single stock options in London (xls). Usually only with the ever present Timber Hill as company. Sometimes alone, lonely quoting in option classes such as Fresnillo and Barratt Developments – to name but a few. Odd.