Browsing Amazon for recent books on finance and capital markets, one finds dozens – maybe hundreds – of books on investing, trading, analysis and other high-interest categories. But what about less sexy areas like operations and compliance? Now we are talking about only a handful, and you have to go back a couple of years in some cases to find relevant treatments.
In this list, we have uncovered 10 important (or just interesting) books relating to FinOps, FinRegs, FinTech, FinRisk and FinData – the “Big 5” of the Wall Street “back office.” Some are instructional, some are historical, some are fictional, but all are relevant. Click on any title for the Amazon page and more information.
1. NAKED, SHORT AND GREEDY: WALL STREET’S FAILURE TO DELIVER
Author: Susanne Trimbath, PhD
The account of one woman’s 25-year struggle to convince the industry and its infrastructure of the systemic danger of naked short selling and the resulting fails to settle, a practice that the author alleges turned from a regulatory failure into a full-blown regulatory crisis.
Author: Eddie Molloy
A memoir of one person’s alternately exciting and chaotic work in the back office of a derivatives trading operation, In the Back Office is as much a detailed description of one of the most chaotic work environments ever designed as it is a personal story of growth and reflection. A delightful read for anyone who works, or has ever worked, in Operations.
3. OPERATIONAL RISK: BEST PRACTICES IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY
Author: Ariane Chapelle, PhD
Written by one of the most experienced and respected practitioners in the field, this book actually manages to make a dry subject sound interesting, while presenting some of the best Op Risk guidelines and insights available. For a look at specific incidents and their Op Risk ramifications, readers might also like Dr. Chapelle’s previous book, Reflections on Operational Risk Management.
4. ROGUE TRADER: THE ORIGINAL STORY OF THE BANKER WHO BROKE THE SYSTEM
Author: Nick Leeson
Although mostly remembered for his trading excesses, which brought down Barings Bank, one of the oldest banks in Europe, Nick Leeson’s rogue trading was made possible (much like Bernie Madoff’s) by his back-office cover-ups, intricately described in this best-selling account.
5. THE DEPOSITORY TRUST COMPANY: DTC’S FORMATIVE YEARS AND CREATION OF THE DEPOSITORY TRUST & CLEARING CORPORATION (DTCC)
Author: William Dentzer
A first-hand account of the formation of DTC in the 70s through its expansion as the basis of The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation in 1999. Written by the DTC founding Chairman and CEO, the book describes the depository’s operations, its people and the enormous effect it had on the industry during a period of exploding trading volume.
6. FRONT-TO-BACK: DESIGNING AND CHANGING TRADE PROCESSING INFRASTRUCTURE
Author: Martin Walker
Straight Through Processing has seen a glimmer of hope with the current emphasis on risk mitigation and advances in technology. This important book describes the latest in advanced tech, including Digital Transformation, the Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain, Robotic Process Automation and AI, and how they are helping the industry achieve a long-elusive goal.
Author: Tom Clancy
One doesn’t generally think of Wall Street operations when one thinks of a Tom Clancy political thriller, but Debt of Honor manages to include both. The plot revolves around a Japanese threat to destroy the US economy, and a main element is wiping out the records at the Depository Trust Company (DTC).
8. MARGIN IN DERIVATIVES TRADING
Authors: Leif Andersen and Michael Phyktin
New margin rules have already been finalized and more are in the works, but the industry has yet to finalize a comprehensive set of guidelines for them. This book is an effective attempt to “organize the many strands of margin-related challenges into a coherent framework [Amazon.com]” that the industry can rely on as margin regulation and procedures continue evolving.
9. WALL STREET ACCOUNTING: A DESCRIPTION OF THE BUSINESS OF BROKERAGE (1916)
Author: Frederick Simson Todman
Yes, this book is just a reproduction of a book from 1916, but contemporary readers will enjoy comparing the departments and procedures from over 100 years ago to those in modern brokerage firms. The book goes into surprisingly intricate detail about how securities trades were processed and recorded before the modern era.
Author: Margaret Wiermanski
Inspired by actual events and written by a long-time ops executive, Silent Partners is a murder mystery set against the Chicago trading floors, and features a lot of action, both in and out of the pits.