The legend of Ali Meli is renowned all over the world. Not every day, your average guy fly to a Caribbean island to get its citizenship, to avoid going through airport security troubles. Ali Meli was indeed out of every Goldman partners’ league.
From couching surfing after the office hours to becoming the youngest junior partner of Goldman in 2014, the story about Ali Meli’s life is nothing but interesting. After spending 15 years of his life in Goldman, he left to start his venture called Monachil Capital Partners or MCP. His company focuses on the models that Ali Meli learned during his experience at Goldman Sachs.
After announcing his venture, Meli has received an immense amount of support from his former senior colleagues and mentors. Despite the economic disruption, Ali Meli still went out of his way to put his venture in the middle of the transactions.
Avoiding Airport Ordeals by Passport Shopping
During the first 20 years while in Iraq, Ali and his family migrated from time to time due to the ongoing Iraq conflict. One of the fondest memory of Meli was the sky lighting up at night. Meli said that he was amazed by everything around him, but he was not old enough to understand the whole context behind the war.
However, Meli saved himself from getting deployed into the army by participating in a physics competition. He was later awarded a scholarship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After his delayed arrival at the Boston airport, the US was attacked, which put people arriving from the Middle East on the radar of airport security. After thorough checking, Meli was allowed into the country.
Despite being found non-guilty, the airport ordeals for Ali never ended. Every time he had to travel, even for Goldman’s business, the banker would still face tiring airport ordeals. Ali found a relatively expensive way to get out of the mess and went for passport shopping. He bought an off-shore property that came with new citizenship as well. Luckily, they made an error in his documents and spelled his name as “Melli” instead of “Meli.” Ali saw this as a golden opportunity to altogether avoid his airport troubles.
Couch Surfing after Working Hours
Meli was a banker with an insane work schedule, no surprise there. He spent his time working hard so he wouldn’t get deported. After everyone has left the office, Ali would go into Harvey Schwartz’s office to seek refuge on the couch. According to Meli, Harvey had an open-door policy, which led to his couch-surfing endeavors. Meli said that he wasn’t stupid enough to sneak into Gary Cohn’s office for a good night’s sleep.
His coworkers enjoyed teasing him and giving silly nicknames. He was soon recognized by the nickname of “Smelly Ali” and “Chemical Ali,” which started when they gassed the Kurds. Meli said that he enjoyed being teased around by those nicknames and never got offended. Another famous incident of Meli’s life is when he had put lyrics of a love ballad in one of his manager’s performance review report.
As a part of Sundaram’s team, Ali Meli set the team on the path of glory. The team, also known as PFI, went on to acquire positions that couldn’t have come off easily. Apart from that, Goldman was the only part of Wall Street to notice massive gains in the year 2008, while the rest suffered terribly.
The achievements and gains that PFI brought to the table positively affected the P&L (profit and loss) financial statement of the Goldman. They successfully raised money for Sprint and the restored majority of the roads in Mexico, which were in alarming conditions before. The team worked on Malaysia’s 1MDB investment until the very end, right before the Goldman sealed the project.
How Ali Meli Became the Youngest Junior Partner of Goldman Sachs & Co in 2014?
Once he was recognized for his hard work and accomplishments, Meli started to take risks and encouraged his team to do the same. He carefully analyzed the situation of 2008’s credit crisis and immediately focused on the short positions at hand. After his in-depth survey, he concluded that the housing market would crash soon. He sent out an email to warn everyone regarding the upcoming recession. Once everyone realized how right Ali Meli was, he took the liberty of hanging a framed copy of that email in his office.
Although it was a big success for Meli and his team, AIG blamed Goldman for the freefall of the housing market. Meli said that this was a time in his life when he was not happy about being right. He also noted that the marks did not go down because of them, but due to the credit crisis.
Once Ali Meli successfully settled trades with CIT group and European banks, it resulted in a considerable profit for Goldman, and Meli received his first paycheck of $10 Million in 2009. The first thing Meli bought was his sweet drive, a second-hand Mercedes.
After Meli started to climb the corporate ladder, he began playing big and expressed his opinions about every ongoing transaction. This led to some trouble among the senior colleagues of the company.
Joe McNeila expressed his thoughts about Ali Meli’s personality and said that with his strong opinions, it was tough to go against him. As time went on, Ali Meli realized how he could have avoided wasting his time arguing with other bankers. Meli learned the valuable lesson of being humble and more accepting.
Ali Meli used to commute from Toronto to New York every day, which left his former colleagues surprised. There was a time in his life when Meli started to raise voice for junior bankers and suggested higher pay for them. He said that bosses were, most of the time, worried about the aggressive transactions he proposed. Not only that, but Ali Meli openly expressed his political opinions without worrying about others being uncomfortable. In fact, Meli was the first person to aboard the Trump ride.
He was the first among his colleagues to support Donald Trump and his campaign. In 2018, when Ali Meli received a permanent residency, he spent almost $250,000 to support conservative and libertarian candidates.
After spending 15 glorious and exciting years at Goldman, Ali Meli went to start his own investment company: MCP. The company started in Columbia and was named after a Spanish village, relating to “monastery,” – meaning inner calm, Ali Meli informed.