Chapter 38

I’m your biggest fan, professor. 

“My clients are getting ready to establish an investment company in England,” I said while pushing my thoughts away.

“Then you came to the wrong place,” Gillian’s smile was bitter. 

I had not seen that expression on his face before. Of course, I had only spent one or two hours in his class for one semester in my past life, but he wasn’t such a person who would be discouraged to that extent. 

In 1991, he graduated with honors from the University of London, then entered the Morgan Group in the same year. After earning huge profits with bond products, he was promoted with the derivative product he developed in 1994. He contributed greatly to the development of the Morgan Group’s trading system in 1995, and it became the breadwinner of the company for a while. In 1996, he was assigned to the New York headquarters and led in managing the group’s head office. 

Gillian had consistently provided record-breaking profits to Morgan Group, but his expression was dark. But why? He had hit home run after home run.

“This is unexpected. Your…”

It took Gillian a while to recall the name I had used to introduce myself. 

“There’s no one here that your clients are looking for. I don’t understand why you came to see me. Thanks for your offer but I’ll be fired from Morgan soon. Thought you would find that out,” he sounded depressed.

“Oh, is that so?” I responded.

He said, “It’s not a secret that the Morgan Group lost lots of money in two areas from the Asian financial crisis. As you know, I was in charge of one of them. I’m not making this up to reject your offer. If you read the Wall Street Journal published last week, you’ll know it all.”

I had been focusing on the manuscript last week, so I didn’t check the news then. Gillian smiled bitterly again as I remained silent, then he stood up. He was already far away before I could even stop him. 

“Don’t you want to go back home?” I asked to the back of his drooping shoulders after chasing after him.

He replied in a dull tone, “I’ll be a laughingstock, so I can’t go back like this.”

***

“I was confident that I got used to the fear in the market last year. That’s why I thought the size of the position was more important than the time of entry. But I was completely wrong. All of my contribution and time became nothing with a very bad entry time,” Gillian stopped there.

“You mean last year, right? The Asian financial crisis,” I responded. 

When I seemed to understand his profession, he looked at me differently.

“You must not be the only one. Last year, everyone lost money during the crisis. My clients were furious, too,” I continued.

Gillian shook his head.

“One person earned a massive profit. Your clients should look for a manager like that.”

Gillian was talking about Jonathan, but his words were not all positive. The frown on his face explained how Jonathan was evaluated in Wall Street, and thus, indirectly about me. 

If an infinite number of monkeys sat in front of an infinite number of typewriters banging away, one of them might be able to type out the story ‘Hamlet’ by pure chance. My interventions in the financial world were treated like that. It was an implausible event where one was amazingly blessed like the monkey writing Shakespeare. People in Wall Street rationalized their failure by focusing Jonathan’s reputation on his fortune rather than his skill. 

“Well, you are right, too. Every investor dreams of hitting a jackpot, but clients prioritize consistent profit and a strong mentality like you, Gillian,” I said.

“You’re saying that because you don’t know me. I lost a billion dollars,” Gillian responded as if he was confessing.

I said, “You have earned much more for the Morgan Group last year and the year before. And as I said before, the Asian financial crisis…was something very unusual.”

“Thank you. I never thought that I would be consoled like this,” his tone was a little sharp, contrary to what he meant.

“If you make a decision, I’ll convince the clients,” I responded. 

“You’re going to establish it in England, right?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m planning to build on the Isle of Man,” I replied.

Gillian nodded at the famous tax haven as it was the right place. Then, he asked a question he should have in the beginning. 

“How much funds are there for operation?”

“Fifteen billion dollars,” I answered.

Yet again, Gillian was not surprised. 

I continued, “There is a directing team in the companies my clients own, and I promise you that they are amazing. My clients want you to follow the specific directions under the initial plan. We will hire you as the top executive trader.”

For a moment, I saw disappointment on Gillian’s face. He likely hoped for full authority over directing, but I offered him the same job he was currently doing in the Morgan Group. Their property management team worked like a machine and didn’t give freedom to a star player. Also, each team had their specialized fields, and much of the work was operated through computer programs. 

“You must follow the investment plan, but we won’t interfere with the detailed directions and trading methods. We’ll let you manage all the funds as you wish under the plan as aggressively as possible and without repercussions,” I said.

I didn’t give him a chance to refuse. 

“Some of my clients are willing to invest in you separately. Of course not now, but if you show results, then…” 

I emphasized on the magic numbers to recruit Gillian into my team. 

“They will gladly invest ten billion dollars.” I said.

As expected, Gillian’s expression revealed all of his inner thoughts, and his eyes were lost for a moment. The only reason why Gillian had stayed in the Morgan Group despite knowing his own genius talent was because of their ten billion dollars. Many investors had wanted to poach him to proceed with their investment plans, but he rejected them all only for that money. 

“From the beginning, I promised myself I wouldn’t return until I get to manage ten billion dollars.”

As he mentioned in his lecture, Gillian succeeded in returning to England with the investment and established a global asset management firm in the past. Well, I messed up his plans, but it worked as the piece I could bring him in. I didn’t expect the butterflies of change to fly like that.

Gillian looked like he had made up his mind when heard about the fund amount, and I thought we had an agreement. 

“You are not asking about my clients. That’s good,” I said.

He replied sardonically, “I’m not in a spot to do so. I don’t mind as long as it’s not drug money.”

As I expected, Gillian had stopped thinking things over. I wanted to look in the mirror since I felt like my feelings were expressed on my face. 

“You don’t have to worry about that. My clients can support you with more funds once the investment firm is built on the Isle of Man. That’s what they do all the time,” I said.

Gillian nodded calmly. He had seen many billionaires like that before as the Morgan Group had many clients like them and the group itself was one of them. Also, he had met many people like ‘Ethan’, who had come from the tax havens. They were the trust companies’ lawyers from the Cayman Islands, and they were the world’s four largest accounting firms called the BIG 4. 

Jonathan wouldn’t have had opportunities to encounter them in the past since he had been a small fry, but Gillian would have met them everyday. Therefore, I was not so special to him, and he had no reason to be nervous in front of me. 

“What are the terms and conditions of the contract?” Gillian questioned.

I went over the deal, “Your commission will be three percent, and your annual salary will be a hundred fifty percent of your current income. The detailed information is…”

“No, I’m just curious about what happens for losses,” he interrupted.

“As I said, nothing if you follow the investment plan that the clients request. This point will be stated in the contract,” I responded.

“This is such an attractive offer. If I don’t follow the plan…I’ll be responsible for all the losses, correct?” he asked.

“Don’t test it. I don’t want a man like you going to jail,” I replied.

We both smiled.

“Of course not. I just wanted to check. So, if my profits are good, will I receive additional funds?” He questioned.

I shrugged. “I suppose so. I’ll prepare the contract by tomorrow, and let’s meet here three days from now.”

“Wait, what about the desk team? Do you guys have a separate trading team like the directing team?” he asked. 

“There are three fixed appointments, and you can hire anyone you want for the rest of the team. You would need a lot,” I answered.

“That’s nice,” he responded.

“Then,” I said.

We shook hands and separated. The meeting was brief but impactful, and I could smile happily now. 

***

Ironically, Jonathan was in Seoul while I was in New York.

<Jonathan: You didn’t have to go to New York. I had been expecting much since you said you’ll actually go there, but it was only for one property manager? Even if he belonged to the Morgan Group.>

It was natural that Jonathan was complaining. Gillian had become famous after receiving an unprecedented investment from the Morgan, and, until then, he had been only noticed inside the Morgan. 

<Seon-Hu: I already made up my mind. I’ll let Gillian handle some of the offshore funds.>

<Jonathan: You have the best person, though.>

<Seon-Hu: Are you talking about me?>

<Jonathan: Who else?>

<Seon-Hu: I’m alone, and you’re busy running the New York company. The two of us can’t manage all the funds on our own.>

I pointed out the word ‘managing’, but Jonathan didn’t notice it.

<Jonathan: Gillian? What happens if he notices our paper companies?>

<Seon-Hu: He’s not interested, and no one knows where the funds are coming from. It would take several years even for the U.S. government to investigate.>

The probability was less than one percent as the offshore funds were difficult to chase by ninety-nine percent. The paper companies we had entrusted with the job had survived since World War Two, and we even used eight of them round-robin style. 

<Seon-Hu: We will establish an investment firm on the British Isle of Man and use it as a base for Europe. You will soon find out that GIllian was the best option for the leader position.>

<Jonathan: When are you going to stop talking so formally?>

<Seon-Hu: Huh?>

<Jonathan: Age is not a big deal. You don’t seem that young anyway. So, let’s be…>

Things became silent for a bit.

<Jonathan: Friends. We could be friends, Sun.>

Jonathan said in a trembling voice. 

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