Ace Greenberg Once Made Paper Clips Disappear

“I was just shown the results for our first quarter. They were excellent. When mortals go through a prosperous period, it seems to be human nature for expenses to balloon. We are going to be the exception. I have just informed the purchasing department that they should no longer purchase paper clips. All of us receive documents every day with paper clips on them. If we save these paper clips, not only will we have enough for our own use, but we will also, in a short time, be awash in the little critters. Periodically, we will collect excess paper clips and sell them (since the cost to us is zero the Arbitrage Department tells me the return on capital will be above average). This action may seem a little petty, but anything we can do to make our people conscious of expenses is worthwhile…Bear Stearns is probably going to sell stock to the public, and there is one guarantee that I would like to give the potential buyers of our stock – they are going to get the fairest shake from us that management can give any public shareholder. This place is going to be run tight, and the reasons are not all altruistic. We are not going public for the perks. We are going public for a number of reasons, and one is that we want the stock to appreciate.” [BI, earlier]

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5 Responses to “Ace Greenberg Once Made Paper Clips Disappear”

  1. guest says:

    I don't remember this. Then again, I don't remember a lot of things.

    [goes back to puffing on blunt]

    -j cayne

  2. Former BSC says:

    " the potential buyers of our stock – they are going to get the fairest shake from us that management can give "

    I don't feel that my unvested shares from the 2005, 06, 07 bonus pools were given much of a fair shake.

  3. Guest says:

    There were not enough paper clips in the world to offset the idiotic bets these guys made on mortgage backed paper.

  4. I Guess I'm A Geezer says:

    Ace was well known for putting a bounty on the heads of traders mis-marking their book. If you ratted out the dick in FICC who was cheating, you got a % of the mis-mark total….that day! Ace was doing this long before Enron killed the golden goose.