Remembering Ivan Boesky, the Emperor of Arbitrage Who Became a Symbol of Greed on Wall Street

On May 20, 2022, Ivan Boesky passed away at age 87, however, his legacy lives on as a symbol of greed on Wall Street. In the 1980s, Boesky was a renowned arbitrage investor, but his impressive returns attracted scrutiny, leading to his arrest for insider trading. Many are familiar with his famous quote, "Greed is good," which encapsulated the mindset of many during this time period.

Boesky's greed led him to cross legal boundaries, and he ultimately served time in prison for his crimes. Even after serving his time, Boesky never truly escaped his past, and he was remembered as a symbol of the excess and avarice of the 1980s.

Below is a reprint of the 1986 Forbes article, "The Wizard of Arb." The article questions whether Boesky's impressive returns were legitimate or the result of illegal activities. At the time of this writing, Boesky had recently pled guilty to insider trading and agreed to pay a $100 million fine. The article examines his investment record and asks what prompted him to cheat.

This article is a fascinating look back at one of the most iconic figures of the Wall Street era and is a must-read for those interested in the history of finance and ethics.

Did you know? Ivan Boesky was listed as #386 on the 2022 edition of the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, with a net worth of $1 billion.

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