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By YOCHI J. DREAZEN
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
From The Wall Street Journal Online
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- At Yale University, Jay Hallen majored in political science, rarely watched financial news stations and didn't follow the stock market.
All of which made the 24-year-old an unlikely pick for the difficult task of rebuilding Iraq's shuttered stock exchange. But Mr. Hallen, a private-sector development officer for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, was given the job immediately after arriving in Baghdad in September.
The headquarters of the old Iraqi exchange, where brokers in blue vests scribbled trades on boards, was looted after the war and is now occupied by squatters. Several listed companies no longer exist, and many Iraqi companies' majority shareholders -- Saddam Hussein and his friends and relatives -- are either dead or in prison. A new exchange is supposed to open in temporary quarters next month, but impatient brokers already meet privately in their homes and offices to trade shares.
Doesn't this smell like familly ties or something?
The Army had a guy set up that was a former vice-president and chief economic advisor for NASDAQ.
My main job responsibility here is to manage the re-establishment of the Baghdad Stock Exchange. There's an Army civil affairs guy who's been working on the project for a few months, has made some good contacts and has found some good potential properties that I'll view this week, so there's some good groundwork. But I'm the head CPA person in charge. My job is to know exactly what needs to get done, what skills and expertise and money and equipment are needed, and to contact/hire the right people.