Just as CNBC gets ready to premier The Last Days of Lehman Brothers, we learn from Roddy Boyd that the still-delusional Dick Fuld appears, at least on the surface, to be plotting a comeback. The disgraced Gorilla has, since May 6, has kept his Finra license at a tiny brokerage firm called Legend Securities.
Never heard of Legend? Neither has most of Wall Street.
Despite a website that advertises a full-roster of “Institutional Services,” calls to Legend’s sell-side competition resulted in a fair amount of head-scratching. Spokesmen at three large, global investment bank’s who asked not to be identified given their firm’s long-standing policy of prohibiting comments on competitors, said their equity, option and corporate-bond trading desks had no electronic record of buying or selling securities where Legend was the counter-party. Two of these firms said their computer systems had no record of Legend at all.
Calls to a few hedge funds that are regularly active in the equity, equity-linked and corporate-credit sectors drew blanks; no one had heard of the firm.
Legend, which also goes by the name StockTrade and has offices next to a TGI Friday’s in lower Manhattan, seems to have a roster of characters with dubious backgrounds. Many have been involved with bucket shops and penny stock pushers. Boyd put together a spreadsheet of current and former Legend employees and it doesn’t look pretty. As far as Dick’s involvement with the firm, it’s not entirely clear. He may just be using Legend as a place to keep his Finra license active.
Rather, Legend seems to have taken the easy road. It has grown from the legions of small client-trading shops and penny-stock brokerages that cluster around in lower Manhattan, New Jersey and Florida. These firms offer big commissions for their brokers to trade in low-priced stocks that their internal trading desks frequently control. Many of the brokers almost certainly knew each other from brokerages that were in varying degrees utter disasters.
Dick Fuld pays a lot of lawyers a lot of money to keep him economically and socially viable in spite of his many, many mistakes. If he was unwilling to do the necessary work himself to look into what he was becoming voluntarily affiliated with — even if in name only— then they should have done that for him.