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The Death of Wall Street -Part 1

Stock-Markets / Financial Crash Sep 15, 2008 - 08:05 AM GMT

By: Mike_Stathis

Stock-Markets Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleAlthough not yet official, the verdict is on the way. Bear Stearns led the death march a few months ago. Now, Lehman's bankruptcy filing signals the halfway mark of what will end up being the death of Wall Street. Now Goldman Sachs stands alone as the sole remaining true Wall Street firm.


What about Morgan Stanley? While they aren't as much of a commercial bank as say Citigroup or Bank of America, they I certainly wouldn't consider them anything near a Bear Stearns, Lehman or Goldman. They transitioned to the Merrill Lynch commercial banking business model a few years back.

As for Goldman, while they might make it through this mess, they will eventually get clobbered. If they do indeed make it, their eventual demise could be just a few years down the road, perhaps from something completely unrelated. But I wouldn't bet on any bank in this crisis. Sure, we will still have the same scams in the tradition of Wall Street; only now they will be conducted by the quasi-Wall Street firms – the commercial banks.

Greenspan, Again

The Glass-Steagal Act, passed in 1933, established the FDIC and brought several regulatory controls to the banking system. Overall, the Act was meant to prevent speculation. But that's a very big goal in a nation where the financial industry runs the show. Yet, it did help curb speculation for a while. But then the Greenspan Era began. In the 1990s, the Bubble Maestro allowed the financial system to experience a Financial Renaissance of sorts, with exotic derivatives and mortgage-backed securities entering into the picture. Greenspan's hands-off approach led to the Financial Wild West. But things seemed to be working well. Today, we now know that lack of regulation led to the financial crisis. The derivatives market is still largely unregulated.

Clinton and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Mistake

After the Glass-Steagal Act was repealed in 1999 through the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, things began to get out of control. This removed the previous separation between commercial and investment banks established under the Glass-Steagal Act. However, it allowed so many of the shenanigans to occur from the dotcom bubble – handing IPOs to select clients and CEOs as a way to land banking and other business….I trust you remember recent history.

Immediately thereafter, commercial banks rushed to get in on Wall Street's dotcom gravy train. As a result, commercial banks were merging with Wall Street banks and vice versa. Tracing the course of these banks can feel like a search through your family tree unless you remember the deals. For instance, Chemical Bank bought Chase Manhattan after the later experienced massive losses in real estate in the 1990s, but kept the more prestigious Chase name. Then a few years later, Chase bought JP Morgan. Right around the time that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was passed, Chase Manhattan snatched up Hambrecht & Quist to get in on lucrative dotcom IPOs. After suffering indecisiveness in finalizing the name, the bank finally decided to add back the Chase name, but keep the more prestigious JP at the beginning.

Everything seemed to be going well. The economy appeared to be very strong and everyone was making money; that is, until reality set in. The dotcom collapse triggered a series of problems that threatened Bush's chances at a second term. So, the White House went to the Fed and Greenspan had a solution. He used the banks to buoy a sinking economy. Soon, speculation was in overdrive. It was the dotcom bubble all over again times two; except this time it was in real estate and credit. It now appears that if the Glass-Steagal Act had not been repealed, the current banking crisis would never have occurred and the dotcom collapse may have not been so pervasive.

Denial Continues

After seeing the continuation of the crisis play out – Lehman, Merrill, AIG, and much more to come, I'm wondering when the media, economists, Washington and the pundits will stop the lies. Instead they remain firm in denying the onset of a depression….“no, there is no way we can have a depression; things are different now. We have the FDIC, unemployment isn't that high, etc.”

When you see some of the world's largest banks and Wall Street firms go under – firms that have been in existence for decades, many prior to the Great Depression and some for over 100 years – you have to question whether you are seeing a permanent rebalancing of things in America. When you see a government bailout of Fannie Mae – an agency created during the depression to prevent the real estate devastation from happening again – you should start wondering not whether we are in the early stages of a depression, but whether this will be more severe than that in the 1930s.

Maybe once the FDIC runs out of cash they will start to see the light. On second thought I doubt it. Stay tuned, because as I have continued to state with confidence the devastation is far from over. Oh, and one more thing. If you have your money in Washington Mutual, you might consider taking it out as I have.

By Mike Stathis
mike@apexva.com

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved. Mike Stathis.

Mike Stathis is the Managing Principal of Apex Venture Advisors , a business and investment intelligence firm serving the needs of venture firms, corporations and hedge funds on a variety of projects. Mike's work in the private markets includes valuation analysis, deal structuring, and business strategy. In the public markets he has assisted hedge funds with investment strategy, valuation analysis, market forecasting, risk management, and distressed securities analysis. Prior to Apex Advisors, Mike worked at UBS and Bear Stearns, focusing on asset management and merchant banking.

The accuracy of his predictions and insights detailed in the 2006 release of America's Financial Apocalypse and Cashing in on the Real Estate Bubble have positioned him as one of America's most insightful and creative financial minds. These books serve as proof that he remains well ahead of the curve, as he continues to position his clients with a unique competitive advantage. His first book, The Startup Company Bible for Entrepreneurs has become required reading for high-tech entrepreneurs, and is used in several business schools as a required text for completion of the MBA program.

Restrictions Against Reproduction: No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner and the Publisher. These articles and commentaries cannot be reposted or used in any publications for which there is any revenue generated directly or indirectly. These articles cannot be used to enhance the viewer appeal of any website, including any ad revenue on the website, other than those sites for which specific written permission has been granted. Any such violations are unlawful and violators will be prosecuted in accordance with these laws.

Requests to the Publisher for permission or further information should be sent to info@apexva.com

Books Published
America's Financial Apocalypse: How to Profit from the Next Great Depression . Condensed Ed. Copyright © 2007.
Cashing in on the Real Estate Bubble . Copyright © 2006.
America's Financial Apocalypse: How to Profit from the Next Great Depression . Copyright © 2006.
The Startup Company Bible for Entrepreneurs: The Complete Guide to Building Successful Companies and Raising Venture Capital . Copyright © 2004 and 2005.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors before engaging in any trading activities.

Mike Stathis Archive

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