5 must-watch series from the world of finance
With the boom of streaming services, investors are presented with often exciting opportunities. But today, we'll try to move away from looking at the world through the eyes of an investor and focus more on the content that streaming services offer. More accurately, we will take a look at the series that can be found on these platforms. But don’t worry, we won’t get too far from our beloved world of finance either.
Financial world has always been an attractive subject not only for Hollywood screenwriters. Classics such as Wall Street (1986) and Wolf of Wall Street (2013) have not only grossed millions of dollars world-wide but even managed to convince many viewers into starting their own careers in finance. However, with the rise of streaming services, finance has also taken centre stage for a number of series. Some of the most well-known are the HBO-produced series Billions (2016) and Succession (2018). Today, let's take a look at a few lesser-known, but definitely not inferior series from the world of finance that are simply a must-watch.
Devils (Sky, 2020) - a probe into investment bank’s speculation during global crises
Produced by Italian broadcaster Sky, Devils is one of the most interesting European series in years. The plot follows Massimo Ruggero, who has risen from rags to riches as a head of the trading desk of the New York London Investment Bank (strikingly reminiscent of Goldman Sachs).
Massimo and his team speculate on the financial markets during the biggest events of the last 12 years. This gives viewers an insight into the behaviour of investment banks during the mortgage crisis, the Greek debt crisis and the Brexit vote, for example. The series is enriched with real time footage of international financial institutions meeting, mixing fiction with reality.
The second season premiered a few months ago and is of equal quality. With the main roles being masterfully played by Alessandro Borghi (known from the Suburra series and the film) and Patrick Dempsey (known from the Surgeons series).
Industry (HBO, 2020) - a series written by the bankers themselves
Industry provides a grim and realistic look at what it's like to start a professional career in the financial sector in the heart of London. Here we follow a group of young bankers as they are trying to work their way up to a full-time position at one of London's investment banks, having to navigate this cutthroat and competitive environment as quick as possible.
The series captures well how depressing a given career can be and partially subverts any standards that may have been ingrained by titles such as Wall Street or Billions, taking off the rose-colored glasses of the viewer. Industry simply shows how challenging and competitive a career in finance can be.
As we watch the story of two main protagonists, experiencing their first successes and failures we simply have to wonder - will the desire for success and money prevail, or will the young bankers realise that there is more to life than the pursuit of money? The series, created by two former bankers, has completed its first season, with a second to follow later this year (2022).
Black Monday (Showtime, 2019) - when crisis meets satire
Welcome to the 1980s! A decade full of extravagant hairstyles, clothes and one of the biggest stock market crises in history. We're talking about "Black Monday", a single day in October 1987 during which world stock indices fell by tens of percent. As bleak as it might sound, Black Monday is the most light-hearted series on this list.
The series follows a group of traders from a second-rate Wall Street firm called the Jammer Group and uses satire and fiction to reveal the events that led to the aforementioned stock market crash. Don Cheadle, known from the Avengers franchise, stars in the lead role. The series ended after three seasons, all of which are currently available on HBO.
The Dropout (Hulu, 2022) - based on true events
Enron, Worldcom and Theranos. Three of the biggest investor scams in decades. The Dropout series follows the story of Theranos - a company that promised to revolutionize blood testing. Founder Elizabeth Holmes managed to create an aura of success around herself and Theranos, fooling the biggest investment banks and the most famous investors. The company's market capitalization gradually climbed to $9 billion, which was almost unbelievable given the lack of a fully functional product.
The series reveals the rise and fall of the company and its founder, who went from being a female copy of Steve Jobs to an outlaw. However, If you're not too keen on dramatization of real events, we recommend watching the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for blood in Silicon Valley
. It also deals with this topic.
WeCrashed (Apple TV+, 2022) - when the marketing strategy goes too far
Investors who have followed the events of the US stock markets in recent years will immediately know that behind the title of this series lies the story of WeWork, a company that operates a network of co-working offices around the world. However, comparing WeWork to Theranos would be rather harsh, but there are several similarities.
The company's founder, Adam Neumann, has used a great marketing strategy to attract several major investors, most notably Softbank founder Masayoshi Son. Investors then valued the company at a hard-to-believe $47 billion ahead of its planned IPO. As the title of the series suggests, things did not go quite as planned. You can look forward to seeing well-known actors Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway in the lead roles.
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