Eliot Spitzer

Earlier today, Bloomberg ran a sobering report: as those of you who cover the brothel industry for your company know, Nevada’s whorehouses have taken a serious hit, “dwindling to about 19 from roughly 36 in 1985,” thanks to the state’s “flagging economy, decreased patronage by truckers squeezed by fuel cost and growing use of the Internet to arrange liaisons.” According to area madam Susan Austin, of the Mustang Ranch, “clients don’t have the discretionary income they had six years ago…the ones that come in, they aren’t spending quite what they were spending before.” One man bucking the trend? Denis Hoff, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch. He appeared on “Market Makers” this morning to let Stephani Ruhle and the Bloomberg TV audience know that not only are his brothels surviving, they’re thriving. Read more »

Earlier this month, the Times reported that Mayor Bloomberg and his advisers had been “floating the possibility of mayoral runs to at least five boldface figures,” including Chuck Schumer, Mort Zuckerman, Ed Rendell, Edward Skyler, and Hillary Clinton. Strangely left off the list? A woman who some might say is actually Hizzoner’s most worthy successor and who conveniently announced her intent to run today: Kristin Davis, the woman who once supplied Eliot Spitzer with hot young tail. Read more »

Asked by newsman Noam Laden to respond about Dupre’s pregnancy with asphalt scion Thomas “TJ” Earle during an appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s WABC radio show yesterday, disgraced ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer answered: “I just don’t respond to that stuff, except to [say to] anybody who is pregnant, congratulations and good luck. Having kids is the best thing in the world. So whomever it may be, that’s always my attitude.” [NYP via Daily Intel, earlier]

If it feels like it’s been forever since we last heard from Eliot Spitzer’s former gal-pal Ashley Dupré it’s because it has. What’s she been up to since July 2010, when she told reporters she was focusing on getting her real estate license and writing a dating column which sadly did not continue past its debut? Becoming a small business owner and shedding her old skin, which she’d appreciate if you didn’t bring up in conversation. That (hooking for $2,000/hr) was then, this (being a New Jersey-based entrepreneur) is now. And while the new venture “represents a continuation of her evolution,” rest assured “special underthings” and swimsuits will always have a place in her life. Read more »

We’ve talked a little before about how I don’t understand Wall Street research. Let’s start slow: why publish research? There are I think three, or three-ish, possibilities:

1. To inform your investing clients (asset managers and such) about your best views on how they should manage their money, so that they can manage their money well and thus one day have more of it,
2a. To induce your investing clients to do trades that generate trading revenues for you,
2b. To induce your investing clients to do trades that optimize your book (i.e. slapping a Buy on whatever you need to sell and vice versa), or
3. To induce banking clients (corporate issuers) to pick you as an underwriter.

So, #1, ha ha ha. Choosing between #2 and #3 is harder and if you wanted to be serious about it you might ask questions like how much revenue does trading bring in versus underwriting (more!), how good is that revenue (market making for pennies using your capital: probably not as good as risk-free 7% IPO gross spreads), and how much does research influence trading (meh?) vs. how much does it influence underwriting (meh?).

This weekend, though, we got kind of a strange data point via this FT article about the JOBS Act and the research settlement. In brief, as we’ve discussed, the JOBS Act lets banks basically do whatever they want for research on “emerging growth” companies, including in particular publish research pre-IPO and have bankers and analysts and the company all in the same room pitching business and generally scheming. But there’s a catch, which is that the ghost of Eliot Spitzer, in the form of the global research settlement, still restricts that activity, so all the banks subject to the settlement (the bulge-bracket ones) are disadvantaged vis-à-vis their smaller cousins. But, the FT points out, the big banks have a trick up their sleeves, which is to make all the small banks sign an agreement preventing them from publishing research ahead of the big banks, as a condition of joining the syndicate for any deal: Read more »

My time in the financial industry entirely postdated the global research settlement, which means that I have a different view of sell-side research from some of the olds. As far as I can make out, there are people who think that investment bank research was once a demonic scheme in which research analysts – larger-than-life figures whose recommendations were irresistible to the retail investors who in this vision bought all of every pre-2003 stock offering – swindled those besotted retail investors into buying crap stocks at inflated prices so that the banks could get gigantic investment banking fees. Whereas I always thought that investment bank research was a sort of cute endeavor of unclear commercial purpose, taken skeptically by the institutional investors who buy most of every post-2003 offering, made fun of by bankers, and conducted by people whom we never saw because, among other things, our network was set up to prevent them from emailing us and vice versa.

Perhaps before the settlement giants roamed the halls of research divisions, defrauding investors with abandon, but once their email was cut off from the bankers’ email they retreated into mousy irrelevance? Unclear. In any case THEY’RE BACK BABY, sort of: Read more »

“You know what I would like to see?” Spitzer asked the crowd. “I’d like to see a petition with a hundred million signatures, submitted to the White House tomorrow morning, saying, ‘Give us a treasury secretary who understands reform.’ Bring Paul Volcker in. Bring in Joe Stiglitz. Bring in Paul Krugman. Bring in Robert Reich…Spitzer, who was booted from the network after the program failed to offset a ratings slump, told Capital on his way out the door that he has no plans to embark on another media venture anytime soon. “Right now I’m having loads of fun,” he said. [Capital NY]