The culture gap between financial professionals and the rest of America is so wide that some feel bankers inhabit a different planet. The latest litmus test is how people perceive Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs employee at the heart of the SEC's fraud lawsuit.
Newsweek's report that the 31-year old director (currently on a leave of absence from Goldman) is emerging as "an unlikely folk hero ... on Wall Street," is sure to inflame perceptions that "Wall Street doesn't get it."
The 15 Wall Street employees- 20- and 30-something bankers, traders, and former Goldman employees - whom Newsweek interviewed for this piece say they admire the way Tourre foresaw the collapse in the housing market and structured a lucrative deal for his client, hedge-fund impresario John Paulson. ...
One banker called him a political scapegoat. Another called him a hero for masterminding Abacus 2007, Goldman's portfolio of mortgage investments that the SEC alleges misled investors. ....To them Tourre was simply doing his job-not to mention doing it well.
For these young Wall Street types, Tourre embodies the culture of the financial world and offers a road map for success.
The magazine goes on to speculate that "This fascination with Tourre also spells disaster for transforming or regulating Wall Street."
Another notable point: "Wall Street financial historians and business-school professors predict that Tourre will land on his feet with a hefty salary."
Finally, Newsweek is the second mainstream publication in a week to print that "Main Street vilifies Goldman Sachs." (The other was the New York Times, in a widely cited column by Andrew Ross Sorkin.) Is that an early sign of a backlash against the backlash?
Fabrice Tourre's New Street Cred [Newsweek]
Small B/Ds in A Crunch, Expect More Closures, Mergers In 2010 [RegisteredRep]
Geithner: Need Tougher Rules For "Shadow Banking" [Reuters]
Four Ways To Tell If Lloyd Blankfein's Days Are Numbered At Goldman Sachs [Fortune]
Goldman already exhibits three of the four changing-of-the-guard signals. The clincher would be if Blankfein grows a beard (like Ken Lewis did shortly before his ouster from BofA) or is seen with "bags under (his) eyes, a wrinkled suit, disheveled hair."
Who Could Replace Goldman's Blankfein? [WSJ]
Pfaeffikon Woos London Masters of Universe as Taxes Bite U.K. [Bloomberg News]
Switzerland's government and financial advisors are stepping up efforts to convince bankers and other wealthy professionals to relocate from London to escape the recent spate of punitive taxes there.
Enron On Broadway To Close Sunday, May 9 [Broadway's Best Shows]
It had a successful run in London, but lasted barely two weeks in New York. Is there a message in that?
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