Avid business news junkies and hedge fund traders everywhere are probably dying to know what kind of wine John Kinnucan was drinkin’ when the Feds came “a knockin”. I know I was— so I asked him. “Nebbiolo”, he said. “An Italian red wine”.
Just in time for the holidays, the Feds are unwrapping a far-reaching, market rattling, potentially industry shaking insider trading probe. Familiar names including Janus Capital, Wellington Management and SAC Capital have been roped in. Also, unfamiliar names including one John Kinnucan, founder and sole employee of Broadband Research. John was our guest Tuesday on “The Strategy Session” with David Faber and Gary Kaminsky. John was also the focus of an article Monday in The Wall Street Journal that will change his life forever.
How will it change his life?
Well, John does research—or did—for a small cadre of Wall St. clients that includes at least some of the firms named in the insider trading probe. As John describes in his interview, he was sitting on his porch drinking that fine Italian wine when a couple of Federal agents stopped by for a visit. John invited them in and the rest as they say, is history. Unwilling to wear a wire, John notified his clients by email of the Feds visit and that is where his world starts to unravel. Clients started to drop his services after being notified that the FBI had come calling. And according to John, some of those that stayed…dropped him after Monday’s article in The Wall Street Journal.
John agreed to do a live, television interview because he wanted to tell his side of the story. He firmly believes that these “expert networks” including his own, are not doing anything differently than the big banks are doing and are acting in line with common industry practice. His contacts are …”the foot soldiers and worker bees of the industry”, people providing pieces to a puzzle.
With his business in tatters, I asked him—what next? Via email, John replied:
From here the only thing that is certain is that our family is facing a lot of uncertainty. We will be lucky to keep our house (and it is quite modest, especially by Wall Street standards) when all is said and done. Maybe I can squeeze a book out of this to pay the bills.
Folk hero or foolhardy—John Kinnucan has been caught in the downdraft of the latest mess hitting the financial industry.
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