How David Laws retired from banking, aged 29

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Until last Friday, David Laws had achieved the kind of life most people in banking can merely dream of.

After getting a double first in economics from Cambridge, Laws went into trading. He joined JPMorgan aged 22, where, if The Guardian is to be believed, he was made a VP within the year (this was 1987).

It was while he was at JPMorgan that Laws appears to have made his money. According The Telegraph, Laws was left in charge of his department while senior colleagues went off to play golf.

The paper quotes a book on Charles Kennedy by author Greg Hurst, which says:

"David Laws made a snap decision to buy over $1bn worth of Eurodollar interest rate futures, effectively betting that American interest-rate futures would fall.

''The young banker's judgment was subsequently vindicated with a quarter-point cut in US interest rates, making a profit of more than $10m for the bank."

Laws appears to have received a reasonable portion of this $10m himself. Five years after joining JP Morgan, he joined Barclays de Zoete Wedd, where he

ran the 'US dollar and sterling treasuries desk.'. And two years later he retired (a 'multimillionaire') and devoted himself to politics.

Whether it would be possible to repeat the same feat now is questionable. Tighter risk limits would probably impede anyone's ability to make a snap decision to place a $1bn trade, and Laws would have to hang on for three years to receive his reward, which would be contingent on JPMorgan's share price.

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