By Greg Farrell
The intimate, fly-on-the wall story of the decline and fall of an the US icon
With one remarkable exception, the corporations that make up what we all know as Wall road have consistently been a part of an inbred, insular tradition that almost all humans purely vaguely comprehend. The exception was once Merrill Lynch, an organization that revolutionized the inventory industry through bringing Wall highway to major road, developing workplaces in far-flung towns and cities lengthy neglected via the giants of finance. With its “thundering herd” of economic advisers, probably no different company, no matter if in monetary providers or in different places, so epitomized the yankee spirit. Merrill Lynch was once not just “bullish on America,” it was once an incredible it is because such a lot of ordinary american citizens have been in a position to develop filthy rich by way of making an investment within the inventory market.
Merrill Lynch was once an icon. Its unexpected decline, cave in, and sale to financial institution of the US used to be a surprise. How did it ensue? Why did it take place? And what does this tale of greed, hubris, and incompetence let us know in regards to the tradition of Wall highway that maintains to this present day although it got here as regards to destroying the yank financial system? A tradition during which the CEO of an organization wasting $28 billion pushes demanding to be paid a $25 million bonus. A tradition within which Merrill Lynch executives are assured bonuses of $30 million and $40 million for 4 months’ paintings, even whereas the enterprise is suffering to minimize its losses via firing millions of employees.
Based on exceptional resources at either Merrill Lynch and financial institution of the US, Greg Farrell’s Crash of the Titans is a Shakespearean saga of 3 mistaken masters of the universe. E. Stanley O’Neal, whose inspiring upward thrust from the segregated South to the nook workplace of Merrill Lynch—where he engineered a winning turnaround—was undone through his trust smooth-talking salesman may perhaps deal with essentially the most tough jobs on Wall road. simply because he loved O’Neal’s help, this government was once allowed to accumulate an outstanding $30 billion place in CDOs at the firm’s stability sheet, at a time while all different Wall highway corporations have been desperately attempting to go out the company. After O’Neal comes John Thain, the cerebral, MIT-educated technocrat whose rescue of the recent York inventory alternate earned him the nickname “Super Thain.” He used to be employed to save lots of Merrill Lynch in past due 2007, yet his trust that the markets might rebound led him to underestimate the intensity of Merrill’s difficulties. ultimately, we meet financial institution of the US CEO Ken Lewis, a highway fighter raised slightly above the poverty line in rural Georgia, whose “my means or the highway” administration sort suffers fools extra simply than power opponents, and who made a $50 billion dedication over a September weekend to shop for a enterprise he relatively didn’t comprehend, hence jeopardizing his personal institution.
The merger itself seems to be a weird and wonderful blend of cultures that mix like oil and water, the place slick Wall highway bankers without notice locate themselves reporting to a solid of characters immediately out of the Beverly Hillbillies. BofA’s inbred tradition, which perceived ny banks its enemies, used to be according to loyalty and a good-ol’-boy community within which competence performed moment mess around to blind obedience.
Crash of the Titans is a monetary mystery that places you within the theater because the historical occasions of the monetary quandary spread and folks answerable for billion of bucks of alternative people’s cash gamble recklessly to augment their energy and their paychecks or to avoid wasting their very own skins. Its wealth of never-before-revealed info and concentrate on icons of company the United States make it the booklet that places jointly all the things of the Wall highway disaster.
From the Hardcover edition.
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