By Greg Farrell
The intimate, fly-on-the wall story of the decline and fall of an the USA icon
With one amazing exception, the companies that make up what we all know as Wall highway have consistently been a part of an inbred, insular tradition that the majority humans basically vaguely comprehend. The exception used to be Merrill Lynch, an organization that revolutionized the inventory marketplace by way of bringing Wall road to major road, establishing workplaces in far-flung towns and cities lengthy neglected through the giants of finance. With its “thundering herd” of economic advisers, probably no different company, even if in monetary prone or somewhere else, so epitomized the yankee spirit. Merrill Lynch was once not just “bullish on America,” it was once an incredible for the reason that such a lot of regular american citizens have been in a position to develop prosperous by means 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 road that maintains to this present day although it got here with regards to destroying the yank economic climate? A tradition within which the CEO of an organization wasting $28 billion pushes demanding 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 via firing millions of employees.
Based on unheard of assets at either Merrill Lynch and financial institution of the USA, Greg Farrell’s Crash of the Titans is a Shakespearean saga of 3 incorrect 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 profitable turnaround—was undone by way of his trust smooth-talking salesman may deal with the most tricky jobs on Wall highway. simply because he loved O’Neal’s help, this govt was once allowed to accumulate an unbelievable $30 billion place in CDOs at the firm’s stability sheet, at a time while all different Wall highway enterprises 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 approach or the road” administration kind suffers fools extra simply than power opponents, and who made a $50 billion dedication over a September weekend to shop for a enterprise he quite 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 warning locate themselves reporting to a solid of characters directly out of the Beverly Hillbillies. BofA’s inbred tradition, which perceived ny banks its enemies, was once in line with loyalty and a good-ol’-boy community during 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 old occasions of the monetary obstacle spread and folks answerable for billion of bucks of alternative people’s funds gamble recklessly to reinforce 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 the whole lot of the Wall highway disaster.
From the Hardcover edition.