Andrew Luan still works on Wall Street - in a manner of speaking. The former Deutsche Bank trader is now a tour guide for his own newly-launched business: a "financial meltdown tour" of various lower-Manhattan landmarks.
Luan traded CDOs at Deutsche from 2005 until last week, when he quit after failing to get a bonus for 2008, according to Slate's The Big Money Web site. He's the latest of numerous ex-Wall Streeters using creative approaches to re-invent themselves.
Luan's charges $40 a head for his tour. He dispenses obscure facts and inside-the-trenches anecdotes, along with his explanation of the roots of the credit boom that inevitably produced the credit bust.
"I hope my tour will shed some light on issues that people are only beginning to see, let alone understand," he says. "It is ultimately the responsibility of the people to have government regulate new innovations and systems."
Luan and his family moved from Taiwan to Queens, N.Y., when he was a child. His father worked "odd jobs" and his mother sold life insurance to low-income residents in New York's Chinatown, according to The Big Money. After working for a couple of Silicon Valley firms, Andrew got an M.B.A. from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and joined Deutsche as a CDO trader in 2005. By 2007 he says he was buying default protection on CDOs, in effect shorting the mortgage market and generating what he calls "no-brainer" profits for Deutsche.
Because he is the first ex-trader of toxic assets giving tours, The Big Money remarks that Luan's new business "might benefit from first-mover advantage."
On the other hand, others have recognized the marketing appeal of a "meltdown tour." Google the phrase, and the second reference that comes up is an "America's Economic Meltdown" tour presented by the head of the John Birch Society - a decades-old far-right political group.