Merrill Will Be ?A Thing of Beauty?; Fishing Kills

by Derek Loosvelt | February 25, 2009

Perhaps he hit it a little too hard last night during Fat Tuesday, or perhaps he knows something everyone else on the planet doesn’t. Of course, I’m referring to Banker of the Year Nobody’s Nationalizing Us BofA CEO Kenny Lewis’s comments earlier today on Bloomberg TV that included calling Merrill Lynch “a thing of beauty” as well as a “star” (yes, that’s the same firm that booked some $15 billion in losses during the fourth quarter of 2008). That other brilliant acquisition of BofA’s, Countrywide, was also called a stellar one by Lewis, who reiterated for the umpteenth time that his firm is well capitalized and will pass any chump stress test Uncle Sam or anyone else can or will throw it at in the coming weeks.

In related news, one of Lewis’s former employees, Johnny The Decorator Thain, stepped up to the plate yesterday in court and swung away, answering all (or, at least, most of) the questions posed to him by government officials about that little bonus fiasco. About time, J.T.

Across the ocean, in a court of law in Switzerland (where it's very legal to evade to taxes, and perhaps encouraged), some deep pocketed Americans have filed a suit against their financial advisor, UBS, saying the bank has no right to tattle tale on them. (And indeed, though you can dodge taxes over in Neutraland, you can’t divulge the names of the clients you help to pay fewer taxes.)

In personnel news, the boutique advisory firm run by a former UBS big shot, Moelis & Co., picked up another high ranking Swiss banker, poaching the ex-head of credit fixed income at UBS.

And from Wired, here’s an interesting if headache-inducing piece entitled “Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street” about a dude named David X. Li whose faulty "Gaussian copula function" (don’t ask, just read) that more than a few thousand folks relied on in order to make a quick buck and, according to Wired, went a long way to do just what the title of the article spells out.

Finally, a bit of advice for those of you who’ve unfortunately lost finance-related jobs recently and have been considering changing careers: think twice before you start casting a net—that is, in a ranking posted today on CNBC of the 10 Deadliest Jobs in America, “fisher” came in at No. 1, beating out roofer, electrical-power line installer, steel worker, pilot and, incredibly, farmer.

Filed Under: Finance


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