Paul Volcker Tells Wall Street, “Wake Up, Gentlemen”

While those on Wall Street and Washington pretend to listen to the needs and concerns of middle America, they have been shown to be ineffective time and time again in developing and implementing sound financial practices and regulations. America is increasingly aware of just how deeply embedded and incestuous the Wall Street-Washington relationship has become. Who within this Wall Street-Washington circle “gets it?” Paul Volcker.

Volcker called out our financial and political operatives a few months back in calling for an effective reinstitution of Glass-Steagall to separate commercial and investment banking activities. I highlighted that call by writing, “Volcker Launches Bombshell on Wall Street and Washington.”

Although Wall Street and Washington may pretend not to hear Volcker’s shots across the bow, they do so at their own peril. Why? America listens and hears Volcker loud and clear.

What is Volcker saying now? Volcker spared nobody in the course of a recent tongue lashing of the financial establishment. Volcker bellowed, “Wake up, gentlemen, ” in a recent Wall Street Journal sponsored financial symposium. The WSJ highlights Volcker’s alarm this morning in writing, Paul Volcker: Think More Boldly:

Does financial innovation contribute to economic growth?

That became a hot debate at the Future of Finance Initiative after former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker chastised the largely private-sector group for the timidity of its proposals, and said the ATM was the only financial innovation he can think of that has improved society.

What about the boards charged with overseeing these financial behemoths? Volcker weighs in:

You want boards of directors to be informed about all of these innovative new products and to understand them, but I do not know what boards of directors you are talking about. I have been on boards of directors, and the chance that they are going to understand these products that you are dishing out, or that you are going to want to explain it to them, quite frankly, is nil.

How about Wall Street leadership and compensation? Volcker pulls no punches in drilling those charged with running our banks. He offers:

If it is really true that financial weaknesses brought us to the brink of a great depression that would have ended your livelihood and destroyed a lot of the global economy, then let me explain.

You concluded with financial-services executives showing cultural sensitivity and responsible leadership. Well, I have been around the financial markets for 60 years, and how many responsible financial leaders have we heard speaking against the huge compensation practices?

America hears Volcker loud and clear. Those in Washington and Wall Street may want to adjust their hearing aids so they too can pick up on Volcker’s warning, appreciate his wisdom, and take real action.

Will they?

About Larry Doyle 522 Articles

Larry Doyle embarked on his Wall Street career in 1983 as a mortgage-backed securities trader for The First Boston Corporation. He was involved in the growth and development of the secondary mortgage market from its near infancy.

After close to 7 years at First Boston, Larry joined Bear Stearns in early 1990 as a mortgage trader. In 1993, Larry was named a Senior Managing Director at the firm. He left Bear to join Union Bank of Switzerland in late 1996 as Head of Mortgage Trading.

In 1998, after 15 years of trading and precipitated by Swiss Bank’s takeover of UBS, Larry moved from trading to sales as a senior salesperson at Bank of America. His move into sales led him to the role as National Sales Manager for Securitized Products at JP Morgan Chase in 2000. He was integrally involved in developing the department, hiring 40 salespeople, and generating $300 million in sales revenue. He left JP Morgan in 2006.

Throughout his career, Larry eagerly engaged clients and colleagues. He has mentored dozens of junior colleagues, recruited at a number of colleges and universities, and interviewed hundreds. He has also had extensive public speaking experience. Additionally, Larry served as Chair of the Mortgage Trading Committee for the Public Securities Association (PSA) in the mid-90s.

Larry graduated Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1983 from the College of the Holy Cross.

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