How popular is adderall with investment bankers

Doping alert on the stock exchange

Doping is not only widespread on sports fields, in gyms and on the Tour de France. On Wall Street, too, every straw is reached to gain a competitive advantage over a competitor. In the monotonous computer trading that lasts for hours, which is everyday life for most traders, the ability to concentrate is the key. If a chemical substance can increase it and thus more money can be made, it will also be used.

This is shown by a case that is now making public on Wall Street. Ironically, at the $ 14 billion hedge fund group SAC Capital Partners, which always maintains strict secrecy about its business, a trader has admitted to having taken hormones. 37-year-old Andrew Tong allegedly bought female hormones on the black market in 2005 under pressure from his boss Jiang. This should improve his trading style.

After taking it for a long time, however, he got into emotional and physical distress: under the influence of the hormones, he began to put on female clothes and could no longer have sexual intercourse with his wife, who wanted a baby. After all, he even had sexual relations with Jiang.

Doping is no stranger to Wall Street. "Putting on the Ritz" or "Taking the A-Train" are popular words in the trading rooms for the use of Ritalin or Adderall, two prescription drugs that are supposed to alleviate the lack of concentration "Attention Deficit Disorder". In healthy people, they increase mental performance. The drug Provigil, which is otherwise popular among pilots and surgeons, is also very popular, as it increases the power of thought when sleep deprived.

The fast-paced world of the stock market can erase a profit in seconds and turn it into a gaping minus. This uncertainty in the financial markets puts a strain on the nerves. Excessive alcohol after work is the classic way to let off steam. The occasional nose of cocaine helps some crank up after a night of partying. Cocaine and ecstasy have long been considered the classic favorites of traders.

Apparently, however, Tong's hormone regimen was successful in trading: Tong is rated by American magazine "Trader Monthly" as one of the top 100 traders on Wall Street - with an estimated annual income of $ 100 million. His fixed salary was only $ 250,000. Despite his above-average performance, Tong was fired from SAC in April 2006 after just one year.

A dealer at SAC, who did not want to be mentioned by name, doubts the effectiveness of the New York gossip newspaper "New York Post": "If female hormones really helped with our job, there would simply be more women here."

Both SAC and Jiang deny these piquant details: "We have investigated the allegations in depth and have come to the conclusion that the bizarre allegations are false," said SAC publicly. "We will defend ourselves vigorously and are confident that the allegations will be thrown out in the arbitration process." The competent judge has suspended the proceedings due to a lack of public interest and handed it over to an arbitrator. But the matter is far from off the table: The state commission for equal career opportunities, EEOC, which also intervenes in the case of sexual assault in the workplace, is now investigating the situation. She has already taken the unusual step of conducting surveys at the company's headquarters.

Stephen Pereira, a psychiatrist at Keats House, part of the prestigious Priory Clinic in London, specifically takes care of addiction-prone traders from the City of London: "Across the bank, people take drugs - from investment banking to the trading floor. For every 100 bankers with alcoholism there are 30 who have a cocaine problem. "

The same is true in New York: Alden Cass, a psychologist who treats Wall Streeter with addiction problems at Catalyst Strategies in New York, observes: "Many bankers use alcohol as a form of self-medication for stress." Younger employees between the ages of 20 and 30 in particular feel obliged to work endless overtime to show that they can keep up with the top people: "They take amphetamines or cocaine to stay awake."

Today, however, it is not absolutely necessary to ingest illegal substances. Helpful chemicals can be obtained by prescription from your family doctor. The prescription drug Provigil has few side effects, is not addictive and, unlike cocaine, does not change the mood. Initially, it was used solely to treat narcolepsy - it prevents people suffering from sleep addiction from nodding off. But a few years ago the American health authorities also allowed the drug for shift workers and truck drivers. A study by the American Air Force recommended the substance to its fighter jet pilots.

"Provigil is one of the first neuro-drugs," says Zack Lynch, co-owner of the analysis company Neuroinsights, which specializes in trends in the new research area of ​​neurotechnology. "We see the dawn of a new age in which safe neurological drugs will be taken by ordinary people to do their jobs better and more efficiently." There is already a buzz word for it: Neuroceutical.

Lynch expects that within ten years, analyzes of brain functions such as computed tomography will be used in order to possibly distinguish the above-average dealer from the mediocre in the recruitment test based on the interaction of the synapses.

"Historically, the financial sector has always been the first to adopt new technologies. In the global economy, a company that can use brain scans and neuroceuticals to improve its efficiency simply has to implement those technologies. And when a company starts doing it, the competition will subside Pressure to act, "says Lynch. Neuroinsights predicts that 450 companies are already generating $ 110 billion in sales with neurotechnologies.

But those who exaggerate also reap economic damage. In addition to an expensive payment of damages, SAC and the public-shy founder Stephen Cohen threaten to lose their reputation. A lot of people talk about the subject on Wall Street. But perhaps the allegations are too deep to last long. Jiang still works at SAC. Andrew Tong, on the other hand, already has nothing to laugh about: It is unlikely that he will get another job on Wall Street after his capers.