If you’re watching a Frontline documentary centered in the world of finance, don’t expect it to be a laudatory piece. Frontline’s most recent doc, To Catch a Trader, is no exception. Still, it’s an interesting view into the underworld of insider trading, as well as the work that regulatory and enforcement bodies are now undertaking to counter it. It’s worth a watch, and it really speaks for itself, but there was one thought I wanted to note.
I couldn’t help it; the segments on SAC Capital Advisors immediately made me think of The Sopranos. No, not the Bada Bing, not the ridiculous ending, and definitely not Pine Barrens. Specifically, I was reminded of Tony Soprano’s quest to instill his nephew, Christopher, as a bridge (and barrier) to the rest of his organization. Doing so created (in theory) insulation from informants, day-to-day BS, and most importantly, threat of prosecution. Of course, SAC is not the Soprano crime family, and Steven Cohen is not Tony Soprano. But as his company has been besieged by the FBI, the head of SAC has been able to avoid criminal prosecution by having limited his involvement in the trades that have so far landed his former employees behind bars.