BEDFORD, N.Y. – A Bedford writer wrote a novel based on his career on Wall Street and its major players that he says make the “Wolf of Wall Street” character Jordan Belfort look like a “financial flea."
Mike Offit grew up and lives in Manhattan, and bought a home in Bedford in 1995. He previously owned a home in Pound Ridge.
Like the main character, Warren Hament, in his debut novel, “Nothing Personal,” Offit stumbled into a career on Wall Street. However, he first wanted to be a writer like his father, whose best friends were literary giants Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer and Gordon Vidal. Now retired from Wall Street, he returns to his first passion.
“A lot of the stories or descriptions of things that happen in the book are composites of things that happened, or I saw happen in my career,” he said. “The book is fiction. But, like any fiction it’s inspired by things you see in your life."
When he started out on Wall Street, Offit said he was a naïf, but quickly learned he had entered the “slaughterhouse.”
“More than once I was told a large part of our job was to transfer money from our clients’ pockets to our own pockets,” he said.
While the financial world has always been a source of scandal, going back to the roaring ‘20s and 1929 crash, Offit said what has changed in the last 25 years, and caught the attention of writers and Hollywood directors, is the size and volume of the transactions.
“As the stakes got higher, Wall Street’s approach to it changed,” he said. “It changed from customers being someone you theoretically served to someone you actually compete with. That’s a subtle, but important change in the mind of the street.”
Even after the 2008 financial collapse, Offit said Wall Street is still a self-regulating industry, with not enough oversight.
“Where ever there’s a lot of money involved, larceny will find its way to the money,” he said.
However, “Nothing Personal” takes it a step further when one of Hament’s friends goes into a coma, another dies after a skiing accident, and a third is murdered. He realizes the incidents are no coincidence and must solve the high-stakes mystery.