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Before Killing Whale, Boaz Weinstein Helped Save One



Back in 2011, Boaz Weinstein was riding the rollicking waves of the financial markets, looking for juicy credit default swap trades to sweep up in his net, when the captain of the S.S. Saba Capital noticed a counterparty acting strangely. It was a whale—not a majestic if troubled blue whale, but something more like a gray whale or Minke whale. It appeared to be gorging itself on MBIA CDS, while all of its fellow bank whales wouldn’t touch the stuff.

Weinstein didn’t understand it. But since he had only a flimsy fishing net at the time—and because, as he says, he loves puzzles and “the market to me is the ultimate puzzle”—he decided to study the great stricken beast, to try and understand its habits. And since we’re not actually talking about giant sea creatures but banks, he did this by giving them a call.



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