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The biggest bets in the world

Since the glory days of the early 1990s, hedge funds have lost much of their lustre, and a series of high-profile collapses has raised the spectre of tighter regulation. Yet they remain the most dynamic and innovative part of the financial world

By Henry Tricks   December 2006

In literature, great speculators are colourful characters, as large—and imperfect—as life itself: Trollope’s Augustus Melmotte, in The Way We Live Now, or F Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby. The real world of banking and finance is, sadly, not always populated by such personalities. Yet speculation is again a roaring business. Less conspicuous than in Victorian London or 1920s New York, nowadays it emanates from hushed computer-driven dealing rooms on Park Avenue, New York, or behind brass plates in and around Curzon Street in London’s Mayfair. Its practitioners tend to shun the limelight, and have little in common with the flashier crowd…

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