Financial Services Employee Living In Relative Squalor Takes On Adversity And Wins

Back in February, Bloomberg ran a deeply distressing story about financial services employees whose lives had been turned upside down as a result of bonuses being slashed last year. There was a guy who who was forced to sell two motorcycles in order to keep his labradoodle and bichon frise in the $17,000/year lifestyle they'd grown accustomed to. Another had to turn down an offer to attend a wet tee-shirt contest in New Orleans. One man had to start shopping at Fairway and buying discounted salmon. All harrowing, to be sure, though none could quite compare to the story of Andrew Schiff, whose situation we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy. Schiff had almost too many woes to mention but they included having to scale back his Connecticut summer house rental from four months to one; the pressures of paying private school tuition for two kids; traffic (“Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity. ‘I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,’ he said”); and living in a smaller Brooklyn duplex than he wanted. "I'm crammed into 1,200 square feet," he told Bloomberg. "I don't have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand. [I want] 1,800 square feet...three bedrooms, maybe four." But what we want and what we can have are often two very different things, and when one is hovering around the poverty line, it's difficult to imagine a way out of cramped quarters and washing the dishes in a sink, like some kind of hobo. Sometimes, though? Miracles happen. The director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc. has purchased a condo at 35 Woodhull Street in nearby Carroll Gardens for $1.23 million, according to city records...Besides more space, the four-bedroom, three-bath condo has “a huge private terrace off the master bedroom” and “jaw dropping views of Manhattan and the harbor.” There are 10-foot ceilings, “rich walnut wood floors,” and built-in speakers with an iPod deck, according to the listing. But what of the kitchen? Well, as Mr. Schiff and Ms. Barnes relax to the lulling whir and gurgle of their new dishwasher[!!!], they can gaze with pleasure at the stone counters, glass-tiled backsplash, Shaker cabinets, Liebherr and Bosch appliances and a Bertazzoni range. Lest anyone get too excited, though, Schiff would like to make it clear that the new digs are far from luxurious and actually quite similar to tenement house-living, pointing out to the Observer that the condo is "a walk up...about 50 yards west of the BQE." Andrew Schiff Finally Buys Own Brooklyn Apartment on Measly $350,000 Salary [NYO] Earlier: Nightmare On Wall Street
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Back in February, Bloomberg ran a deeply distressing story about financial services employees whose lives had been turned upside down as a result of bonuses being slashed last year. There was a guy who who was forced to sell two motorcycles in order to keep his labradoodle and bichon frise in the $17,000/year lifestyle they'd grown accustomed to. Another had to turn down an offer to attend a wet tee-shirt contest in New Orleans. One man had to start shopping at Fairway and buying discounted salmon. All harrowing, to be sure, though none could quite compare to the story of Andrew Schiff, whose situation we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy.

Schiff had almost too many woes to mention but they included having to scale back his Connecticut summer house rental from four months to one; the pressures of paying private school tuition for two kids; traffic (“Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity. ‘I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,’ he said”); and living in a smaller Brooklyn duplex than he wanted. "I'm crammed into 1,200 square feet," he told Bloomberg. "I don't have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand. [I want] 1,800 square feet...three bedrooms, maybe four."

But what we want and what we can have are often two very different things, and when one is hovering around the poverty line, it's difficult to imagine a way out of cramped quarters and washing the dishes in a sink, like some kind of hobo. Sometimes, though? Miracles happen.

The director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc. has purchased a condo at 35 Woodhull Street in nearby Carroll Gardens for $1.23 million, according to city records...Besides more space, the four-bedroom, three-bath condo has “a huge private terrace off the master bedroom” and “jaw dropping views of Manhattan and the harbor.” There are 10-foot ceilings, “rich walnut wood floors,” and built-in speakers with an iPod deck, according to the listing. But what of the kitchen? Well, as Mr. Schiff and Ms. Barnes relax to the lulling whir and gurgle of their new dishwasher[!!!], they can gaze with pleasure at the stone counters, glass-tiled backsplash, Shaker cabinets, Liebherr and Bosch appliances and a Bertazzoni range.

Lest anyone get too excited, though, Schiff would like to make it clear that the new digs are far from luxurious and actually quite similar to tenement house-living, pointing out to the Observer that the condo is "a walk up...about 50 yards west of the BQE."

Andrew Schiff Finally Buys Own Brooklyn Apartment on Measly $350,000 Salary [NYO]
Earlier: Nightmare On Wall Street

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Dick Bové: Wells Fargo Is Managed Great If You Don't Take Into Account The Horrible Customer Service I've Received On Several Occasions, For Which Heads Should Roll

Picture this. You're world-renonwn bank analyst Dick Bové, famous for, among other things, issuing a report in summer 2008 about which banks were "next" to fail, not rolling over and taking it when Citigroup tried to screw you good, and standing by Ken Lewis when literally no one else (including his board) would. When you walk into rooms, people notice. More often than not, they ask you to pose for pictures, kiss their babies, sign their tits. Some have fainted in your presence. You're the fifth Beatle, Justin Bieber, and George Clooney, all wrapped into one devastating little package.  It should go without saying that an appearance by you at your local branch bank, to cash six-figure checks, as you often do, would be call for a red carpet and the crème de la crème of customer service, right? Apparently wrong. The following is an accounting of Dick Bové's experiences as Wells Fargo customer. (Originally he banked with Wachovia, who he had only good things to say about. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the degenerates he's encountered at WFC.) * "Dick Kovacevich, Wells retired CEO, felt strongly that customers should be greeted when they entered the branch and that the visit should be a positive experience. I can honestly state that no one ever greeted me when I entered my local branch. In fact, on one occassion, when I needed to speak with a platform person, I never got the opportunity. The bank officer made me wait a bit; came out of his office and entered the public bathroom; and left the bank." * "On a second occasion, I entered the branch with a low six figure check. I needed some information concerning more than one issue related to the deposit. After searching out an employee, I was told that he could not handle the transactions...It is interesting to note that no one at the branch suggested any investment to me but simply deposited the check. No one ever called me to indicate that there was over six figures sitting in a no interest checking account." * "What my Wells Fargo experience suggests is that a successful bank is one that keeps seeking new customers and selling them more products and not getting bogged down by offering service...My interaction with Wells has been an enlightening experience." Does Dick Bové "rate banks based on one person's anecdotal experience"? No, at this time he does not. If he did though, a bank--if you can call it that-- named Wells Fargo would be up shit's creek right about now. Because in the scenario in which DB did assign ratings based on his own interactions with management, WFC would have a giant red "U" across its chest, for "unacceptable" and caution tape around its buildings which would in turn be condemned and schedule for demolition at 9AM.