Bloomberg tries its hand at our old “imagine you are inside the head of John Mack” trick. And they find the same thing in there that we did: a bright neon side flashing "Goldman Sachs was here."
Ten years ago, John Mack tried to turn Morgan Stanley into Merrill Lynch & Co. Now the firm's chairman and chief executive officer is chasing Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Mack was president of Morgan Stanley in 1997 when he and then-CEO Richard Fisher sold it to Dean Witter, Discover & Co., seeking to blend their investment banking prowess with Dean Witter's herd of stockbrokers. At the time, New York-based Merrill Lynch, the biggest brokerage, was the top U.S. securities firm.
Today's Wall Street titan is Goldman Sachs, which last year produced a record $9.54 billion in profit through bigger trading bets and by building divisions in private equity and hedge fund investing. Mack, 62, drove a 70 percent jump in first-quarter earnings by increasing trading risks, profiting from investments and adding hedge funds of his own.
"He's trying to copy Goldman, but that's what he knows and what he does best,'' said Jon Fisher, who helps manage $22 billion, including Morgan Stanley shares, at Fifth Third Asset Management in Minneapolis. "If Goldman is putting up the best numbers, then if you're a competitor why wouldn't you do what they're doing?''
Poor Mack. Doesn’t he know trying to be Goldman is the old Blackstone?
Mack's Morgan Stanley, With Record Profit, Still Chases Goldman [Bloomberg]