Meanwhile, Inside The Plunge Protection Team: Chaos

The institution which forms the bedrock of support for the US capital market has been gripped by what at times is sheer chaos…

from Zero Hedge

It was almost ten years ago that we first profiled the most important trading desk in the world: not one situated in any of the (increasingly empty) massive trading floors of the world’s commercial banks located in either the financial district, midtown or Connecticut, but the one inside the 9th floor of 33 Liberty Street, the home New York Fed, the one which is also known in trader folklore as the “Plunge Protection Team.”

This is what we said back then:

Mr. Sack, 39 years old, is an economist who runs the markets group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The group runs the Fed’s trading, making it the bridge between the marble corridors of the Federal Reserve in Washington and the bustling trading floors of Wall Street.

The center of life in the markets group is a glass-enclosed conference room situated next to a small cluster of trading desks on the ninth floor of the New York Fed. It overflows with people for a daily 9:20 a.m. meeting run by Mr. Sack. A few stray pictures of Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, still hang on pillars nearby.

The markets group grew enormously during the crisis, from about 225 employees to 400 people who monitor the markets for the Fed, manage its portfolio and run the many new trading programs it has started. The Fed holds more than 20,000 individual securities.

Of course, back then said “most important trading desk” was controlled by one Brian Sack, then only 39-year-old, who has since moved on to the far more lucrative pastures of DE Shaw. Sack was replaced in the summer of 2012, by the levitating market wizard, Simon Potter, who promptly realized that to crush the bears one simply had to crush the VIX specs, and the rest would promptly follow.

Then, in the end of May 2019, something unexpected happened: Simon Potter, arguably the most important trader in the world, manning the world’s most important trading desk, unexpectedly announced his “resignation.” Not only that, but Potter took with him the second most important person at the NY Fed’s “Plunge Protection Team”, the head of the Financial Services Group, Richard Dzina.

What was odd, as we briefly noted two months ago, was the sudden and unexpected nature of this departure: it came from nowhere, and prompted some very delicate and substantial questions about continuity at the desk that has so far managed to keep the US stock market from entering a bear market since the global financial crisis over a decade ago.