MARK BRICKELL Vice president J.P. Morgan & Co., New York
One of Mark Brickell's most recent assignments for J. P. Morgan & Co. was to spend the better part of a year in New Zeland, helping to unravel a $2 billion problem.
Mr. Brickell, 39, traveled "down under" as a senior member of the Morgan team advising DFC, a failed merchant bank. His job was to help DFC preserve the value of its $2 billion swap book, which included interest-rate and currency swap contracts with banks around the world.
Besides being known as a savvy swaps trader, Mr. Brickell has earned a reputation as a young man capable of negotiating Washington's corridors of power - even while working on the other side of the globe.
Much of his work in Washington arises from his role as chairman of the International Swap Dealers Association, the main trade group for players in the world's $3.5 trillion swap market.
During Mr. Brickell's tenure, the association has developed a standardized contract form for swaps, and it has clarified some regulatory treatment of swaps in the United States as well as in other countries.
The group has grown dramatically along with the swap market; it now boasts 150 primary member firms. That's 15 times the group's membership at its founding in 1985.
These days, when not doing deals at Morgan's swaps desk in New York, Mr. Brickell can be found leading an effort to clarify treatment of swaps under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s risk-based capital guidelines. His goal: to ensure that banks under the new rules will be allowed to net out their exposures on various swap contracts. That way, the business wills op up less capital.
Mr. Brickell is also trying to make sure the Commodity Exchange Act, which covers trading of futures contracts, will not be applied to swaps. If it were, he feels it would impose an extra - and unnecessary -layer of regulation on swap dealers and their clients.
Though derivative products like swaps may seem exotic to many bankers, Mr. Brickell sees them as a hallmark of U.S. financial innovation. Indeed, despite the risks, he feels such business is a sign of American strength.