Despite Some Cracks in the Armor, Most of Wall Street Continues Business as Usual with No Regrets


Given the disdain that surveys show most people have for Wall Street, it may not be all that surprising to see some Wall Street insiders jumping on the bandwagon. In her New York Times Dealbook article, “Cracks Emerge in Wall St.’s Unity,” Heidi N. Moore says that the unity of top Wall Street executives appears to be cracking.

She points to James P. Gorman, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley, who recently criticized Wall Street’s rich bonuses and ego problem, which led to bad decisions. Gorman reportedly commented: “There are a fair number of the senior folks who actually believe they are uniquely qualified on all issues relating to finance. And as we saw, it’s just not true.” Getting Wall Street back on track would require more sensible bonuses, which would require “changing the perception that it is the individual that it is the hero.”

Speaking of Wall Street narcissism, Moore points to a Barclays bank advertisement seeking to distinguish itself from well-dressed, well-groomed men preening in boardrooms and admiring their reflections in elevators.

Other cracks include investment bankers, who work on mergers and acquisitions or capital-raising for companies, complaining that they have been unfairly lumped in with the quants and CDO jockeys, who helped tank the economy when the exotic new derivatives they created exploded.

Still, the predominant attitude among Wall Street executives is probably best expressed by Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, who earlier this year reacted to public criticism of Wall Street bonuses by saying: “I am a little tired of the constant vilification” of Wall Street.

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