Tuesday, December 04, 2007

American Leadership Crisis in Finance and Investments

Here is an article from the New York Times, "A Lurid Aftermath to a Hedge Fund Manager's Fast Life" by Andrew Ross Sorkin. The article is in the Tuesday Dec. 4, 2007 issue. It describes how Seth Tobias, who ran a $300 million hedge fund, chased after gay strippers, did cocaine, and died under questionable circumstances.

Seth Tobias sounded more like a mafioso than a businessman. Or is there really much difference between Wall Street and organized crime? There is a serious leadership crisis on Wall Street. Part of the problem is that Wall Street does not understand that simple morality is a part of competence: if you are immoral in finance, you are incompetent in finance.

Seth Tobias is not the only questionable character on Wall Street. Citigroup just recently sacked Charles Prince, their CEO. Prince participated in the sub-prime mortgage scam and cost Citigroup billions. Citigroup has been plagued by poor performance and financial scandals for years, in Japan and in Europe for example.

Confucius said you cannot hold onto ill gotten gains. The message of Confucius is that there is power in virtue. On the flip side: there is weakness in immorality, and there is way too much immoral behavior on Wall Street.


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