November 16, 2008

S&A Quote of the Day

"To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue."

"Sooner rather than later, someone was going to identify me, along with a lot of people more or less like me, as a fraud. Sooner rather than later, there would come a Great Reckoning when Wall Street would wake up and hundreds if not thousands of young people like me, who had no business making huge bets with other people’s money, would be expelled from finance."

- Michael Lewis, "The End of Wall Street"

(this could easily be "The End of REALTORS" - just change some of the words)


Anonymous said...

REALTWHORES are the new stock brokers

Anonymous said...

I truly enjoyed Michael Lewis' work 'Liar's Poker.' Great book about mortgage securities. Was written back in the mid-eighties. Took it as a warning in the mid-nineties when I read it.

One of the main Soloman Brothers head honchos described in his book went on to form a bank in Houston which went belly-up recently.

Anonymous said...

Wall Street is where people in Limousines go to get advice from people who ride the subway.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how Lewis connected the dots, to use a popular phrase. Boesky, Milkin, Gutfreund and Levine had nothing on Prince, Mozila, Fuld, Caynes et al. I am really really surprised that Buffett bought a stake in GS, after the hell he went through w/ Soloman.
I guess publically owned IB's weren't such a good idea after all.
To complete the idiocy and hypocrisy that I am...I watch BX and GS hourly and debate picking up a few shares. Would somebody please just shoot me?
Keyser Soze

Randall666Flagg said...

America is a shitty country.
American are stupid-ass, greedy, selfish human freaks.
The whole nation and its dwellers are going down the gutter like a dead, maggot-chewed, stinking, bloated rat.

There, you can have it now !!!

eternitus said...

I was one of the "greedy bankers" on Wall Street before I got into investment management a couple of years ago. I don't know anybody on Wall Street who issues a peep of advice or makes an executive decision without 4-5 solid years working 80 hours per week under experienced managers... about as long as it takes to become a doctor.

Even after that, as far as decisions go, they're still usually made by someone higher up the chain of command with more experience unless the "young" 27-year old with 4-5 years of good experience demonstrates exceptional capability.

It's very convenient and somewhat reassuring to blame the blow-up on young whippersnappers, but that belies the real problem:
some people on Wall Street can make enough money in one year to be set for life. As long as the good times roll past bonus season... no one cares. When I asked about a shoddy deal we put a company into that would almost certainly kill the company and would definitely burn the investors... my boss told me "IBG, YBG" - I'll be gone, you'll be gone. The deal went through, and the revenues went into the bonus pool. 3 and a half years later, we've both moved on, the company's practically worthless and all the investors got burned.

The problem is short-term incentives coupled with long-term consequences. With millions at stake, most people would have done the same thing, and it will stay the same way as long as bankers can realize obscene bonuses regardless of the long-term implications of their decisions.

eternitus said...

By the way... as far as the Realtors go... I believe the description is more appropriate... there is no oversight at all there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, eternitus. For retail investors such as myself, the market is like a WWI battlefield, with Wall Street continually lobbing cannisters of nerve gas our way!
keyser soze