You know that "trader" who got a $2.1 million bonus in 2006 but is suing for another $150,000 on top? Well, he’s not really a trader at all: the FT says that he "has worked for the inter-dealer broking arm of France’s Compagnie Financière Tradition since 1997". Inter-dealer brokers, remember, take no risk, use no capital, and have no positions. Their job is nothing but matching buyers and sellers, who then transact between each other.
What’s more, the broker in question, Alexandre Mouradian, wasn’t even running the CDS desk — the really illiquid market where demand for brokers is greatest. He was in charge of exchange-traded options — exchange-traded, as in, you don’t even need to use a broker at all, if you don’t want to. Maybe he was just really, really, really good at taking traders out on the town and persuading them to go through him whenever they wanted to trade.