Nov­el­ist draws on his bank­ing past

‘A glimpse into the bru­tal, high pres­sure world’

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Alan Smith aj­smith@thek­m­ @aj­smithKM

A West Far­leigh man has used his ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in in­vest­ment bank­ing to pro­vide the back­drop to his first novel.

Stephen Nor­man spent 20 years at the fore­front of in­vest­ment bank­ing IT and has ful­filled a range of high-pow­ered roles in­clud­ing chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer at Mer­rill Lynch and a seven-year stint at RBS Global Mar­kets.

Di­vorced with four grown-up chil­dren, Mr Nor­man has lived in West Far­leigh since 1987, where he is very in­volved in the lo­cal com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially fundrais­ing for the chil­dren’s char­ity Dan­de­lion Time. He opens his gar­den at Smiths Hall for the Na­tional Gar­den Scheme twice a year and has raised £25,000 over the past 12 years for their char­i­ties. He is also a mem­ber of Maid­stone-based San Fairy Ann cy­cle club.

His novel ex­plores the threat to the mod­ern world from cy­bert­er­ror­ism. His pro­tag­o­nist, Chris Peters, loves his work: the ex­cite­ment of the trad­ing floor, the im­pos­si­ble dead­lines and the con­stant chal­lenge of the su­per­fast com­put­ers in his care. But the dream turns sour as mys­te­ri­ous melt­downs be­gin to hit dat­a­cen­tres across the grid and a true bank­ing col­lapse threat­ens.

Mr Nor­man said: “The world has ex­pe­ri­enced cy­ber-war­fare since the 1980s and built up elab­o­rate de­fences against ex­ter­nal at­tacks. The ele­phant in the room is trea­son – an at­tack from within.

“A de­ter­mined insider could cre­ate may­hem on a dif­fer­ent scale en­tirely. With­out its hun­dreds of sys­tems, a ma­jor bank would sink as swiftly as the Ti­tanic, leav­ing its cus­tomers with­out cash, wages, cards, loans and re­pay­ments – and threat­en­ing the en­tire fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

“It is dif­fi­cult to con­vey the ter­ror and mind-numb­ing panic that ac­com­pa­nies the sim­ple words ‘The trad­ing floor is down’.

“I hope my book gives read­ers a glimpse into the bru­tal, high pres­sure world be­hind the slick im­ages of traders and trad­ing floors that you see on the news.”

Trad­ing Down is pub­lished by En­deav­our Press as an eBook, priced £2.99

West Far­leigh au­thor Stephen Nor­man and his first novel, Trad­ing Down

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