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When Prime Brokers Fail: The Unheeded Risk to Hedge Funds, Banks, and the Financial Industry


Praise for When Prime Brokers Fail

"An essential guide to understanding why so many hedge funds failed during the 2008 crash and why so many will continue to fail in the future."
François Lhabitant, PhD Chief Investment Officer, Kedge Capital Professor of Finance, EDHEC Business School

"A must-read for every hedge fund manager, investment banking executive, and prime brokerage professional. This is hands down the most educational resource on the challenges, trends, and risks within the prime brokerage space."
Richard Wilson, founder of the Prime Brokerage Association and

"Aikman does a masterful job of examining and explaining the intricacies and interdependencies of prime brokerages and the role that these operations play in our increasingly complex financial system."
Peter J. Shippen, CFA, CAIA President, Redwood Asset Management Inc.

The New Dangers of Prime Finance

In this revealing book, J. S. Aikman takes a detailed and thorough look at the complex relationship between hedge funds and their brokerages and the risks that multiply in extraordinary markets. Before the credit crash, the inextricable relationship between banks and brokers was a little-known risk for both parties. When troubles loom large, the unraveling of these tightly wound affiliations can seriously damage both organizations and induce systemic financial collapse. When Prime Brokers Fail takes a close look at the unheeded risks of prime finance and lays out the steps required for managers to protect their funds and bankers to protect their brokerages.

J. S. Aikman is a management consultant and lawyer advising managers and financial institutions. He also lectures on hedge funds and investment banking at the University of Toronto. Previously VP and counsel for a bulge-bracket investment bank in London, Aikman has broad international experience in alternative investments and has served as adviser to many successful entrepreneurial ventures. Aikman completed his MBA at Oxford University. He may be reached at

PART I The Business.

Chapter 1 Extraordinary Markets.

Chapter 2 Fundamentals of Prime Finance.

Chapter 3 Strategy and Opportunity.

PART II The Players.

Chapter 4 Hedge Funds.

Chapter 5 Hedge Fund Managers and Investment Advisers.

Chapter 6 Prime Brokerages.

Chapter 7 Prime Brokerage Business Model.

Chapter 8 Securities Lending and Financing.

Chapter 9 Executing Brokers.

PART III The Risks and Rewards.

Chapter 10 Life Cycles.

Chapter 11 Risk Management.

Chapter 12 Legal and Compliance Issues.

Chapter 13 What the Future Holds.

Appendix A Prime Broker List.

Appendix B List of Securities Lenders.

Appendix C Prime Broker Due Diligence Questionnaire.

Appendix D Useful Links—Prime Finance.


Glossary of Useful Terms.

About the Author.