By Greg Farrell
The intimate, fly-on-the wall story of the decline and fall of an the United States icon
With one outstanding exception, the companies that make up what we all know as Wall highway have consistently been a part of an inbred, insular tradition that almost all humans simply vaguely comprehend. The exception used to be Merrill Lynch, an organization that revolutionized the inventory marketplace by way of bringing Wall highway to major highway, developing places of work in far-flung towns and cities lengthy overlooked by means of the giants of finance. With its “thundering herd” of monetary advisers, maybe no different company, no matter if in monetary companies or in different places, so epitomized the yankee spirit. Merrill Lynch used to be not just “bullish on America,” it used to be an incredible the reason is, such a lot of commonplace american citizens have been in a position to develop filthy rich through making an investment within the inventory market.
Merrill Lynch was once an icon. Its surprising decline, cave in, and sale to financial institution of the United States was once a surprise. How did it ensue? Why did it occur? And what does this tale of greed, hubris, and incompetence let us know concerning the tradition of Wall highway that maintains to at the present time although it got here with regards to destroying the yank economic system? A tradition within which the CEO of an organization wasting $28 billion pushes challenging to be paid a $25 million bonus. A tradition during 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 by means of firing hundreds of thousands of employees.
Based on extraordinary resources at either Merrill Lynch and financial institution of the US, Greg Farrell’s Crash of the Titans is a Shakespearean saga of 3 unsuitable masters of the universe. E. Stanley O’Neal, whose inspiring upward thrust from the segregated South to the nook place of work of Merrill Lynch—where he engineered a profitable turnaround—was undone by way of his trust smooth-talking salesman may perhaps deal with the most tricky jobs on Wall road. simply because he loved O’Neal’s help, this govt was once allowed to accumulate an impressive $30 billion place in CDOs at the firm’s stability sheet, at a time while all different Wall road organisations have been desperately attempting to go out the company. After O’Neal comes John Thain, the cerebral, MIT-educated technocrat whose rescue of the hot York inventory alternate earned him the nickname “Super Thain.” He used to be employed to save lots of Merrill Lynch in overdue 2007, yet his trust that the markets may rebound led him to underestimate the intensity of Merrill’s difficulties. ultimately, we meet financial institution of the USA CEO Ken Lewis, a highway fighter raised slightly above the poverty line in rural Georgia, whose “my method or the street” administration sort suffers fools extra simply than capability competitors, and who made a $50 billion dedication over a September weekend to shop for a company he rather didn’t comprehend, therefore jeopardizing his personal institution.
The merger itself seems to be a extraordinary mixture of cultures that mix like oil and water, the place slick Wall road bankers all at once locate themselves reporting to a forged of characters directly out of the Beverly Hillbillies. BofA’s inbred tradition, which perceived long island banks its enemies, was once 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 ancient occasions of the monetary challenge spread and other people answerable for billion of bucks of alternative people’s funds gamble recklessly to augment their energy and their paychecks or to save lots of their very own skins. Its wealth of never-before-revealed details and concentrate on icons of company the US make it the publication that places jointly all the things of the Wall road disaster.
From the Hardcover edition.