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One Stereotype Smashed

Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are one of the financial instruments at the center of the financial maelstrom. I came across an interesting fact about them:

Blythe Masters made her career early on by recognizing the potential for credit derivatives, hedges that banks use to offset the risk of loan defaults. Despite her youth, she had enough gravitas to convince regulators around the world of the essential soundness of the little-known financial instruments.

Now she heads a team at J.P. Morgan that trades the contracts with all the world’s largest banks and other financial institutions, making her a rare commodity on Wall Street: a high-ranking, powerful female. Industrywide, the derivatives contracts she fostered total $4 trillion a year.

These contracts, described by Warren Buffett as “financial weapons of mass destruction”, were invented by a Cambridge math graduate who was also a mother in her twenties.