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Lehman Brothers Suffers Quant Flashback

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Lehman Brothers is hosting a conference call, uh, right now, quite whimsically called "Turbulent Times in Quant Land.” Obviously, Lehman Brothers does not have its own hedge fund, per se, so the advice to be proffered from LEH analysts will probably be along the lines of “sell Goldman” and not “everything’s cool with us, 27% is nothing to worry about, it’s a blip.” With no plans to listen to the call, we took a gander at the report the Brothers attached. A lot of numbers, a lot of charts, some things about naughty portfolios “misbehaving” and then BAM, THIS:

We like to believe in the rationality of human beings (and particularly quants) and place our faith in the strong forces and mutual incentives we all have for orderly functioning of the capital markets. As drivers of cars down dark roads at night, we learn to have faith that the driver approaching on the other side of the road, will not swerve into our lane to hit us. In fact, he is just as afraid of our swerving to hit him as we are of his swerving to hit us. We both exhale as we pass by each other headed into the night in our respective opposite directions, successfully avoiding both of our destructions.

Yes, somehow Lehman Brothers managed to come up with the perfect storm of one analyst who happens to be a card carrying member of the workers of the world, one analyst who dabbles in peyote usage, one analyst who’s been taken hostage, one analyst who’s out to argue the point that even if you’re not drunk, another driver on the road could be, and, therefore, you’re never really safe and we should repeal these provincial DUI laws and one analyst who’s…Carney, to write this report?
Turbulent Times in Quant Land [PDF]