Category Archives: Investment banks

Does Wall Street Do “God’s Work”? Or Even Anything Useful?

Bank executives frequently proclaim that Wall Street is vital to the nation’s economy and performs socially valuable services by raising capital, providing liquidity to investors, and ensuring that securities are priced accurately so that money flows to where it will be most productive. There’s just one problem: the Wall Street mantra isn’t true.


Watch Bill Clinton, Larry Summers, and Phil Gramm Have a Love Fest Over Repeal of Glass Steagall

Watch Bill Clinton heart financiers in 1998 and try to take it back in 2013.


Hillary Clinton Appeal to 9/11 to Defend Wall Street Donations Was Bad, But This Was Worse

Hillary Clinton, is taking some heat for oddly deciding to relate her campaign donations from Wall Street to aiding Lower Manhattan after 9/11. This seems to be what the Gang of 500 has decided on as a gaffe, and it definitely has that odor. But I actually think Clinton said something even more egregious and revealing Saturday night. The problem is that the commentariat has deemed it some brilliant insight.


Wolf Richter: Microsoft Tallies the True Costs of the M&A Boom: Layoffs, Write-Offs, Shut-Downs, and Economic Decline

Microsoft illustrates the real-world fallout of letting corporate executives, either out of desperation or out of finding deal making more fun than the grind of making businesses perform better, follow the siren song of M&A mavens.


NYTimes Dealbook’s Dishonest Salvo at Elizabeth Warren Over Calling Out an Unqualified Nominee for Treasury Post

Even though Andrew Ross Sorkin and his mini-empire, the New York Times Dealbook, are reliable defenders of their Big Finance meal tickets, they’ve managed to skim above, if sometimes just barely above, abject intellectual dishonesty. But Dealbook has published not one but three pieces in as many weeks in defense of an unacceptably weak Obama Administration nominee for an important Treasury post, the Under Secretary of Domestic Finance.

The candidate is Antonio Weiss, a Lazard mergers and acquisitions professional who was elevated to head of investment banking in 2009. There’s no doubt that Weiss is accomplished. The non-trivial problem, as Elizabeth Warren and others have pointed out, is that Weiss’ experience and skills have absolutely nothing to do with the Treasury role.

What is striking is the way that Sorkin and his colleagues have launched what amounts to a media war against Warren in defense of Weiss, and have shameless resorted to a drumbeat of Big Lies in the hope that their messaging will stick. The fact that they can’t even mount a proper case on its merits speaks volumes about Weiss’ qualifications for the job.


AIG Bailout Trial Revelation: Morgan Stanley Told Geithner it Would File for Bankruptcy the Weekend it Became a Bank

I’m still hugely behind on the AIG bailout trial, and hope to show a ton more progress in the next week. I’m posting the transcript for days three the trial; you can find the first two days here and other key documents here.

The first week was consumed with the testimony of the painfully uncooperative Scott Alvarez, the general counsel of the Board of Governors, who Matt Stoller argued needs to be fired, and the cagier-seeming general counsel of the New York Fed, Tom Baxter. Unlike Alvarez, Baxter at least in text seemed to be far more forthcoming than Alvarez and more strategic in where he dug in his heels. But the revelations about the Morgan Stanley rescue alone are juicy. The main actors have sold a carefully concocted story for years.


Don’t Worry About Eric Cantor; Worry About His Staffers

The age of the Hot Take has also infected the financial press, as it seems like every media outlet had to feature some hastily arranged opinion piece this week on former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor becoming a vice chairman at boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. But Cantor keeping one foot in D.C. – his Moelis office will be there – actually speaks to what we should really look out for when it comes to his departure: where his staff relocates.