Morgan Stanley commodities chief John Shapiro has decided to follow Michael Lewis advice about what "the really shrewd people" do when times get tough on Wall Street. They "abandon the big firms for which they have happily worked for many years, and sneak off," according to Lewis.
Shapiro is stepping down from his positions as the head of Morgan Stanley's huge commodities trading desk. He's been with the firm since 1984, and gets credit for building its energy-trading business. But lately Morgan Stanley has seen a sharp decline in revenues from commodities. Shapiro's surprise retirement will inevitably be read as a signal that things haven't improved.
As the Wall Street Journal tells it:
The firm recently said a decline in commodity revenue from the first to second quarter of this year was due in part to wrong-way bets in the power sector. But a person familiar with the matter said the overall commodities business in the first half of 2008 is running on a par with the first half of the prior year.
Writing on the wall seen.
Morgan Stanley's Shapiro Resigns as Commodities Chief