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Paper Fortunes: Modern Wall Street; Where it's Been and Where it's Going Hardcover – 4 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Martin's Press Inc.; 1 edition (4 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312382170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312382179
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,266,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Praise for Roy C. SmithOn"Adam Smith and the Origins of American Enterprise: How the Founding Fathers Turned to a Great Economist's Writings and Created the American Economy" "It is no coincidence what[so]ever that the nation with the most successful economy the world has known was born the very same year that Adam Smith published the greatest of all economic books, "The Wealth of Nations". Roy C. Smith shows, clearly and informatively, how Smithian economics and American politics and entrepreneurship intertwined to produce that wonder called the American economy."--John Steele Gordon, author of" The Great Game "and "The Business of America: Tales from the Marketplace"On "The Global Bankers: ""Roy Smith confesses to a twenty-year love affair with global banking. With a combination of a practitioner's insight, a broad perspective, and an engaging style, he explains what a seductive mistress international finance can be - and how it affects the world in which we live." --Paul A. Volcker, former chairman, Federal ReserveOn"The""Wealth Creators: 5 Success Styles of the Multi-millionaires" "If you've ever wondered how the extra-rich got that way, you will find a great variety of enlightening answers in" The Wealth Creators". Roy C. Smith writes from an investment banking perspective, and it's the investment bankers who know." --Martin Mayer, author of "The Bankers"On "The Money Wars: The Rise & Fall of the Great Buyout Boom of the 1980s" "Smith has written a challenging book that punctures many widely held assumptions about the mergers and acquisitions process."-- "Publisher's Weekly"

About the Author

Roy C. Smith was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for more than twenty years and is the Kenneth Langone Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at New York University's Stern School, where he has been for the past twenty. He is the author of several books, including "The Global Bankers," "The Money Wars," and "The Wealth Creators."

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Paper Fortunes: Modern Wall Street; Where It's Been and Where It's Going 30 Oct. 2010
By George Melville - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paper Fortunes: Modern Wall Street; Where It's Been and Where It's Going

Roy Smith is my MBA finance prof at NYU Stern. He is a phenomenal Guy. When it comes to Wall Street, his partnership position at Goldman Sachs gives his a clear view. In this book, he held nothing back. Every finance student, every MBA and every money manager should read this...
By Steven H Propp - Published on
Roy Smith was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for twenty years, and is also the author of books such as Global Banking, The Money Wars: The Rise & Fall of the Great Buyout Boom of the 1980s, Street Smarts: Linking Professional Conduct With Shareholder Value in the Securities Industry, etc. He wrote in the Introduction to this 2009 book, "The story of the transition of this industry from there to here is an extraordinary one... Many of these leaders made contributions that shaped the future of their firms for many years to come. Their stories make up much of the fabric of this book, which on the whole is aimed at providing a wide-angle historical look at the capital markets industry as it traveled from where it was back in the 1960s to where it is today." (Pg. 6)

He notes, "the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation to determine whether [CEO Richard] Fuld or others at Lehman had committed fraud in their statements as to the health and viability of the firm, and whether Lehman needed more capital when it said it didn't, during its last months of duress. Many Wall Street bankers would be unable to deny a certain amount of sympathy for Fuld, thinking how easily they, too, could have ended up in his shoes, had circumstances and timing been a little different." (Pg. 25)

He criticizes former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson's actions during the crisis: "Offended by the moral hazard of bailouts, he wanted to draw a line at Lehman, and did. He and [Fed chair Ben] Bernanke claim they had no authority to guarantee Lehman's assets, even briefly--but who was checking? Paulson's flip-flopping on TARP also came in for criticism. First he asked for $700 billion to stabilize the collapsing asset-based securities markets... Then he switched the strategy in favor of partially nationalizing the larger banks in the country, then suggested that having used about half of the fund, he was finished and would let the incoming administration decide what to do next... Finally, choosing to support the so-called healthy banks by large injections of government-owned capital may not have been the best way to aid them... Maybe it would have been better after all to have helped the distressed banks get rid of the troubled assets by forcing their sale to TARP." (Pg. 41-42)

He observes, "Certainly in retrospect it is obvious that no one was watching Merrill's trillion-dollar balance sheet and worrying about the increasing mortgage-exposures that were occurring while the market was softening." (Pg. 345) He suggests, "Citigroup had become something of a zombie, unable to get itself into a profitable mode, staggered by the weight of troubled assets that it had been unable or unwilling to sell, and stuffed to the gills with government capital that it is supposed to repay within a few years... The government's role, originally described as passive, was proving to be anything but." (Pg. 373)

He also argues, "Many Americans ... were convinced that any bonuses at all for top executives of Wall Street firms would constitute 'excess compensation.' But none actually got any: no Wall Street CEO taking TARP money received a bonus in 2008, and the same was true for most of their senior colleagues. Not only did those responsible receive no bonuses, but the value of the stock in their companies ... dropped by 70 percent or more, leaving them, collectively, with billions of dollars of unrealized losses. That's pay for performance, isn't it?" (Pg. 376)

Smith's apologetical defense of Wall Street is a rather unusual one among books on the crisis, but it is very much worth reading, to get a full picture of the 2007-2009 crisis.
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