The hidden effects of stress on risk takers

Trader turned neuroscientist urges financial firms to monitor trader physiology, hire fewer physicists

Irrational exuberance montage

John Coates traded derivatives at Goldman Sachs and ran a desk for Deutsche Bank before quitting his job on Wall Street to study the biology of risk taking. Today, he advises hedge funds, asset managers and banks on how hormonal changes can affect the performance of their risk takers – and what to do about it.

Coates, who left banking in 2004 to research neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, believes risk takers should be monitored for physiological signs of chronic stress, which he says

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