In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, zum beispiel, "Critics will see Lehman's fading legacy within Barclays as good riddance." Well, OK, but please know that on my end, at least, there are no hard feelings. I think fondly of the days when I learned to double-stripe my Barclay's checks, changed my dollars into pounds, and was able to fly from Paris to London though broke thanks to my Barclaycard, the first time I ever used a credit card. And then Nixon devalued the dollar by going off the gold standard and my pounds bought more than bucks on the continent.
The Journal's Francesco Guerrera goes on. "After all, Lehman's aggressive, risk-taking culture produced the reckless bets that destroyed the firm. And Lehman's brand of investment banking -- pugnacious, scrappy, and paranoid - is an anachronism in an era when the chief executive of Goldman Sachs grows a beard in an apparent bid to soften his and the firm's image." Now hold on. I please guilty to the charge of nourishing a "risk-taking culture" that has sometimes led to "reckless bets." On the other hand, I bet a sawbuck on California Chrome to cop the Derby, doubled my bet on the colt at the Preakness, and sat oiut the Belmont,because I don't believe we will have another Seattle Slew for another half a decade, and I invite anyone to review the recent performance of my so-called "aggressive" portfolio, which consists of American Express, Berkshire Hathaway, Caterpillar, Disney, Exxon, Goggle, Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, Pepsi and Wells Fargo. In any event, I intend to eschew facial hair whatever the heck they're doing at Goldman.
"And yet, Lehman brought a lot to Barclays." So don't trade all your Lehman green-and-white for Barclay blue just yet!
"It is possible that Lehman's ethos will survive as its disapora finds employment elsewhere." Possible? It's a sure thing, as fast as you can say Michael Milken, Drexel Burnham, or Jock Derrida.
"Wall Street [is] less risky, less indebted and (probably) much better regulated than preimplosion Lehman, but desperately less profitable." May I point out that "desperately" delivers the knock-out punch in that graf, and that the parenthetical "probably" blunts the force of that first clause? I would quarrel with "preimplosion" but I do love the word, especially in its unhyphenated form.
The take-away: until its untimely demise in 2008, Lehman's long-term record at fixed-income investing, equities, and mergers-and-acquisitions advisory, remains a shining light in Times Square as on the downtown street that begins with a graveyard and terminates in a river.