Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

No Shame on Wall Street

The inventors of the financial weapons of mass destruction, and those who stood idly by as the inflated bonuses kept rolling in, have not exactly been banished from Wall Street — many simply changed jobs. February saw taxpayer-subsidized insurance giant AIG hiring Thomas Russo as its general counsel. Russo's résumé includes 15 years at Lehman Brothers, where he served as its chief legal officer. His duties at the firm that failed catastrophically in 2008 included chairing the operating-exposures committee as part of a portfolio that gave him major influence over the bank's risk-taking. Russo's appointment follows the trend of the previous year, when Tom Montag, Goldman Sachs' former head of sales and trading in the Americas, became Bank of America's global president of banking and markets. Montag had privately referred to a financial product Goldman was selling as "one shitty deal." Dick Fuld, the disgraced former chief executive of the now defunct Lehman Brothers, last year joined the boutique investment firm the Matrix Advisors. And in May, he also registered as an employee with the investment-banking firm Legend Securities. That could be a comedown, however: he's also said to have switched from flying on private jets to traveling on public airlines.