As we have discussed at length, when it comes to the art of regulating one’s emotions while investing, there are two models to choose from: The Dead Inside paradigm, wherein you remain calm, cool, and collected, maintaining the same expression on your face whether you’ve lost $1 billion on one trade or made three times that much on another; and The Bill Ackman. The mega-successful Pershing Square founder imbues emotion in everything he does, particularly when it comes to his job. As a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, in the past Ackman has been known to: cry at shareholder meetings; get extremely heated to the point of his face becoming “flushed,” his eyes “misty” when meeting with SEC investigators; pen “long, emotional, late-night missives” to top SEC brass; and erupt on directors of companies with such passion that his “furious outburst” could be “heard in an outside hallway.”
As there are few on Wall Street who exhibit such raw emotion while conducting business, and there is a propensity by some to employ tactics that will put them in the power position when facing foes, perhaps it should not come as too much of a shock that recently, a reporter asked Ackman whether or not the waterworks or displays of indignation are pre-planned, in front of a mirror. For those who’ve long known Ackman has more integrity in one salty tear than most have in their entire body, his answer will not come as a shock, but to set the record straight, for anyone holding out hope of seeing him do a little regional theater at some point in the future: Read more »
Gang, something’s come up in across the pond that needs our immediate attention. I’ll get right to it: at issue is whether or not “high powered financial adviser” Amanda Daughters should be allowed to have her job back at Aqua Financial Solutions, the firm she founded and was fired from by the chairman a couple years back. She’s currently appealing the decision but ahead of hearing what an employment tribunal has to say, why not give Daughters a trial by jury of her peers? Here’s the rub: Read more »
It was a particularly windy day in Westport, CT and I delicately placed the mounted bird in my passenger seat, gingerly wrapping the seat-belt around its midsection without mussing the feathers. Carrying the bird in and out of the post office and several shipping stores became more hilarious each time. People stared. I smiled back. Finally though, when I’d reached the last place in the area that I could try before getting back to the office on time, I wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer. The clerk gave me a look of disbelief when I placed the bird on the counter and I said, “I need to ship this to Japan.” He just laughed at me. I then looked at him sternly and said, “This is no laughing matter. This bird needs to make it to Japan in flawless condition or I will lose my job.” The guy looked back at the bird and then back at me. By then I had used my acting skills and summoned some tears. Finally he agreed to try and crate the bird for shipment. I still don’t know to this day if it made it past customs, but I was satisfied that I had not given up on my task. [Dealbook, related]
All Frank Farricker is saying is that if he’d bought the winning Powerball ticket? He would’ve acted like it meant something to him, unlike Mr. It’d Kill Me To Crack A Smile over here. Read more »
If you watched the HBO version of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book last week, what kind of tears did you shed while watching? Read more »
SO. MUCH. CLARITY.
Drown them in his tears, that is. (For those of you keeping up at home the answer is yes, this is the second time on record the former IBM exec has cried in public re: Chiesi, the fishnet-wearing analyst he traded all kinds of tips with if you’re picking up what I’m throwing down and I think you are.)
In an interview with Fortune, Moffat came across as emotional, repentant, and chastened. He wept describing the embarrassment he’d brought upon IBM, his colleagues, and family. While he showed little self-pity, he rebuffed the notion that he hadn’t paid a price for his crimes, noting that by leaving IBM he was giving up an estimated $65 million in lost stock options and pension that he would have collected when he retired at 60. “The biggest thing I’ve lost,” he said, “is my reputation.” Moffat was not allowed by his lawyer to discuss his case or his relationship with Chiesi, but when told that Fortune intended to write about the affair, he said this: “Everyone wants to make this about sex. Danielle had an extensive network of business people. And she added clarity about what was going on in the business world…I know in my heart what this relationship was about: clarity in the business environment.”
Oh, god, and there’s also this: Read more »
As you’re likely aware, one of the most important skills to master when you’re in this money making game is to be able to regulate your emotions. You can’t freak out every time you lose a little cash, and on the flip side, it’s probably a good idea to avoid doing an end-zone dance on the days you make it rain. Many of Wall Street’s most successful investors have perfected the art of staying cool and calm, with the best of the best being basically dead inside. Then you have Bill Ackman.
The Dead Inside model is not the one he’s chosen to follow over the course of his career. On the contrary, Bill is stuffed to the gills with emotion, and often feels compelled to let them out. No, scratch that. Letting his salty tears flow is not a choice, just like Ackman’s passion for standing up to institutions like MBIA and saying “J’accuse!” wasn’t a choice, it was his duty.
Obviously these raw and uncut displays of what Bill’s feeling haven’t prevented him from doing pretty well for himself. They have, however, caused a certain amount of agita for those around him. Bill’s visible tears at last year’s Target shareholder meeting were deeply distressing to Joe Nocera, who hasn’t yet evolved to the point where he’s comfortable seeing a grown man cry. And in Christine Richard’s Confidence Game: How A Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street Bluff, we learn of a couple other instances in which Bill’s inability to keep it locked up– one the adorable quirks we love most about him and probably the source of his success!– resulted in some minor and major fallout (making an employee uneasy and the enacting of the aforementioned Nut Kicking Rule, respectively). Richard writes: Read more »
When big money mangers make decisions that result in clients getting screwed, most people assume said managers don’t really give a rat’s ass. They still have their vaults of hundos to console them, and while they often write letters and release statements saying they’re sorry, that they want to regain investors’ trust, and so on and so forth no on really buys it. No one feels their pain or sees their contrition on a visceral level and I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these guys actually cry. Such is not the case with Larry Fink. This shit keeps him up at night. It makes him shout things like “I never said we’re perfect!” It hurts his mother, and in doing so, it hurts him.
Today, the investors who bought equity in the [Stuyvesant Town] deal have also lost their money, including major BlackRock clients—most notably the $200 billion California Pension and Retirement System (calpers), the nation’s largest pension fund, which effectively lost $500 million. At press time, calpers was weighing whether or not to retain BlackRock as a real-estate adviser.At the mention of these blunders, Fink, who has been sprawled in his chair, suddenly stiffens. His voice takes on a harsh tone that is leavened only by his visible anxiety. “When you manage money, you are going to make mistakes. You are not going to be 100 percent perfect. Our job is to minimize those problems, to cauterize them,” Fink says, his voice rising. “We’re not perfect, and I’ve never said to anyone that we are going to be perfect. Our investors had all the information we did and they did their own due diligence.” He exhales deeply. “Our real-estate division is struggling because of bad performance, and we’re making changes. I don’t care if the whole industry blew up, our job is to do better than the industry, and we didn’t in real estate,” he says. “I am not making excuses. I lose sleep over these problems.” The Stuyvesant Town loss was “an embarrassment,” he says. Then his voice drops to a whisper. “I mean, my mother gets her pension from Calpers.”
Larry Fink Is a Real Human Being With Feelings and Emotions [NYM]
The former McKinsey director pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Mr. Kumar told the court that he had leaked to Mr. Rajaratnam that Advanced Micro Devices was planning to acquire ATI Techonologies. The leak occurred in March 2006 before news reports about the deal had surfaced. He said that Mr. Rajaratnam told him, “Anil, you are a hero.”
Kumar, visibly crying, also apologized to his colleagues “for the shame they have suffered,” but did not specify if he was talking about shame as it related to insider trading, or for the rap AK wrote and recorded while at the firm.
Read more »