Don’t blame the messenger, Jefferies

November 3, 2014

Top brass at the $45 bln Wall Street firm peed in cups and chastised the press for writing about salacious charges against one of its rainmakers. The response is not exactly confidence-inducing behavior for a business built as much on trust as the assets on the balance sheet.

Did MF Global clients forget Lehman’s lessons?

December 16, 2011

The bankrupt broker stands accused of misusing client funds. One theory is that it used customers’ money through a legal process called rehypothecation. The U.S. imposes limits on the practice, but the UK doesn’t. It’s a lesson investors could have learned from Lehman’s collapse.

Lehman is back! Is the financial crisis over?

March 6, 2012

If only. Sure, the worst may be history as the ghost of the Wall Street firm finally emerges from bankruptcy. But uncertainty still obscures new rules and how another Lehman meltdown will be avoided. Worse, governments look far more enmeshed in financial markets than before.

Lehman sideshow underscores regulatory gaps

June 20, 2012

Unable to bag Dick Fuld & Co, the SEC has spent three years suing a money market fund for its exposure to the collapsed bank. But while Lehman wreaked havoc on markets, the Reserve Primary Fund made investors essentially whole. The folly is a reminder of the watchdog’s flaws.

Review: Financial whodunit clues into bankers

July 6, 2012

Imagine Goldman had merged with Lehman, stuffed it with surprise amounts of dreck as Merrill did to BofA and then Dick Fuld confessed to killing Lloyd Blankfein. A story like that underpins journalist John Gapper’s debut novel. The mystery is fun but also not entirely frivolous.

Nomura resignations pave way for the Lehman unwind

July 26, 2012

The departing CEO and COO authored the Japanese brokerage’s purchase of Lehman Brothers. Their strategy wasn’t wrong, just unlucky. While parts of Nomura are doing well, the market is brutal and returns on equity meager. The new broom has a rare chance to suggest a graceful exit.

Lehman’s Archstone saga twists till the end

November 27, 2012

The U.S. apartment empire that buckled the investment bank is being sold to two rivals for $6.5 bln. Accounting changes and poor disclosure muddle the valuation. Lehman creditors also will be left investing in the real estate. It’s a perfectly confounding denouement.

Financiers failing own version of Hippocratic Oath

March 8, 2013

Client money isn’t being kept safe, a Wall Street watchdog warns. It’s a failure as basic as doctors not washing their hands, despite repeated reminders from the likes of Refco and MF Global. The extent and severity of the problem should worry customers and investors alike.

Another Lehman will come — and should fail too

September 14, 2010

The blind self-belief of financiers can't be abolished. Neither can cycles in the industry. But two years after the disastrous failure of Lehman Brothers, regulatory shifts have the potential to reduce the impact of a repeat. The challenge for politicians and watchdogs is not to go soft.

Fuld may have a point mixed in with his Kool-Aid

September 1, 2010

Dick Fuld is still hung over from his home-brewed Kool-Aid. The former Lehman Brothers boss hasn't stopped blaming his investment bank's demise on "uncontrollable" market forces, false rumors and the lack of a government rescue. That neglects his own hubris and failure to buttress the firm. But he makes at least one fair point: U.S. regulators were damagingly inconsistent.