But the party was brought to an end by the post-crisis "Volcker Rule" in the US, which effectively banned banks from speculating using their own capital. Scores of these often young, predominantly male, residents of the prop desk were shown the door.

The logical next career step was to continue trading by launching their own hedge funds. Helped by their own legend, many of Goldman's highest earning prop traders raised billions in capital by investors who were confident they could replicate their success at the bank.

Yet several years on, several of the highest profile hedge fund launches of the alumni of the Goldman Sachs prop desk, referred to inside the bank as its Principal Strategies unit, have not gone to plan.


While there is a long tradition of bank traders graduating to become fund managers in their own right, investors in hedge funds are quick to point out that running an investment business requires very different skills from working on a prop desk.

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