The Fabulous Life of Fabrice Tourre

Illustration by Antony Hare

Until recently, Fabrice Tourre was living the kind of life that most young masters of the universe dream of. Three years ago, while toiling on an obscure desk at Goldman Sachs, he devised a product—a basket of mortgage-backed securities called Abacus 2007-AC1—that enabled hedge-fund manager John Paulson to make $1 billion shorting the housing market. Goldman lost money on the deal, but rewarded Tourre for his ingeniousness. But now that the SEC has named him in a civil suit against Goldman, charging that he was deceptive in marketing the deal to investors, Tourre, 31, has been put on paid leave indefinitely, and is due to testify before Congress this week. In the meantime, the “fabulous Fab,” as he once dubbed himself, has become a curiosity, and almost a cult figure, in financial circles.

Career Trajectory
Pre-Abacus: Vice-president on the structured-product-correlation trading desk in New York.
Post-Abacus: Executive director of Goldman Sachs International in London.

$90 Million
Amount Goldman claims it lost on the deal.

$15 Million
Fee charged by Goldman for doing it.

$2 Million
Fab’s reported compensation.

1996–1998: Lycée Henri IV and Lycée Louis le Grand, Paris prep schools; Sartre was also a student at both.
1998–2000: École Centrale; graduates are known as centraliens. Bachelor’s in mathematics.
2000: French conglomerate Bouygues.
2000–2001: Stanford, master’s in management science and engineering.
2001–present: Goldman Sachs.

In New York, Fabrice lived in a $4,000-a-month one-bedroom on 10th and University, and was known for his soirées. “They were good parties without even a flavor of being wild,” a former neighbor says. “They would have been normal in the seventies, maybe even a little too calm and bourgeois. He served excellent liquor.

“The whole building is about to collapse anytime now … Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab … standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstruosities [sic]!!!”
—Tourre’s e-mail on the coming downfall

Decrease in rent he reportedly asked his London landlord for, to bring it in line with the drop in home prices.

Wall Street blogs are obsessed with him. Already, two Facebook fan pages have been created in his honor. “Go get ’em, ‘Fab,’ ” one supporter, Animesh Singh, wrote on Fab’s wall. Later, contacted by New York, Singh, a 20-year-old student, elaborated: “I wish to be an investment banker,” he said. “Someday, I hope I will ‘outfab’ the Fab.”

“Fabrice, Bien fait, mon ami. Tu pourrais entrer dans les annals d’histoire si Goldman s’effondre. Cordialement, Ian.”
(TRANSLATION: Fabrice, Well done, my friend. You could enter the annals of history if Goldman collapses. Regards, Ian.)
—Journalist Ian Fraser wrote this on a fake Fab Facebook wall.

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The Fabulous Life of Fabrice Tourre