A pair of BSAM’s most successful hedge funds were run by Ralph Cioffi, one of the firm’s top traders, and Matthew Tannin. The funds traded in the kinds of exotic assets Mr. Marin and Bear Stearns were experts in, collateralized debt obligations. When the housing market on which these bundles of mortgages were based seized up, the funds tanked and Bear Stearns had to spend $3.2 billion bailing them out, the second-largest intervention in Wall Street history (though it would pale in comparison to what was coming). When asked about these events, and how Mr. Marin comported himself, Mr. Schwartz was insistent. “I do not want to talk about that,” he said from his car Tuesday morning, on the way to a meeting. “If you want to talk about the ferris wheel and Rich, great. Every article doesn’t have to be dredging up what happened at Bear Stearns. Rich is a good guy, a creative guy, a good business man. I don’t want to reminisce about what happened at that time. It’s frankly a disservice to drag it back up.” [NYO]
James Cayne and Alan Schwartz, who served as chief executive officers at Bear Stearns before the firm collapsed in 2008, will testify on May 5 along with former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, the commission said today in an e-mail statement.
Since recent events have demonstrated the government’s inability to ask the right questions, and we want to actually get something out of this thing, let’s come up with a few now to send their way. I’ll start: Mr. Cayne. When confronted about the fact that your office smelled like pot, you attributed the scent of marijuana to “a new leather couch in my office,” and later demanded a fellow executive come take a whiff, asking him, and I quote, “does the couch smell like pot or not?” Did you realize at the time just how genius that was or, in a rare moment of self-awareness combined with a seriously paranoid trip,* did you sweat bullets figuring no one would buy it?
Geithner, Bear Stearns Executives to Testify for Crisis Panel [Bloomberg via DI]
*That’s the last time you buy from a degenerate first year in the alley behind 383 Madison.
Any Wall Street veteran worth his salt knows that the most important weapon with which to line his arsenal is a fall guy. Inevitably he’s going to fuck enough shit up that someone’s going to have to get fired and wouldn’t it be a shame if it were him? Holding senior execs accountable for their own gaffes and pratfalls would be as patently absurd as Goldman’s prop desk just up and deciding to stop front running clients. Luckily, former Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz knows of this rule, and is planning on buddy system’ing it up at his next gig. The Post reports that Schwartz will be taking erstwhile Bear MD Richard Metrick with him upon leaving Bearpont Morgan Chase in August. The duo doesn’t know exactly where it’s going, but is said to be mulling offers from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Warburg Pincus, and KKR. Other requirements Schwartz rumored to be putting in his next contract are included but not limited to immunity following the takeover of whatever firm he takes down, and peanut butter M&M’s.
Bear’s Schwartz Mulling Job Offers [NYP]
Charlie Gasparino reports that former Bear CEO Alan “We’ve Got Liquidity Coming Out Of Every Orifice” Schwartz will leave Bearpont Morgan Stearns at the end of the summer. Schwartz has apparently been “working on some deals” at Bearpont, but decided–as did senior executives at the firm– that the fit wasn’t quite right. According to Gasparino, Amphibious Al has not yet decided what to do next, though a small boutique firm, major bank (please say Lehman), and private equity shop are all in the hopper.
Earlier: Alan Schwartz Declining Offer From JPMorgan Cayne?
Like many of the former Bear Stearns workers not currently employed, erstwhile CEO Alan Schwartz will be taking the summer off to plot his next career move. (Things are slightly different for Schwartz in that he has actual job offers, but whatevs.) Supposedly he’s deciding between staying with the newly formed Bearpont Morgan Chase, where the slot for a “We are drowning in liquidity” guy remains unfilled, or heading over to private equity, possibly with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. According to the Post, Schwartz has told friends that he’s being “judicious” about the decision, though that quote was surely taken out of context and has less to do with Big Al’s career trajectory than a late season summer share, having missed the deadline to join Jimmy Cayne at bridge camp.
Bear’s Schwartz To Mull Bids Over Summer [NYP]