“This is what happens, Larry.”

They call Los Angeles the "City of Angels", I don't think Standard & Poor's is finding it to be that exactly. As you all probably know by now, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit today in LA against S&P alleging they "falsely represented that its credit ratings of RMBS and CDO tranches were objective, independent, uninfluenced by any conflicts of interest that might compromise S&P's analytical judgment, and represented S&P's true current opinion regarding the credit risks."

Although the DoJ probe began in November 2009, Standard & Poor's should really have seen this coming when they decided to downgrade the US in 2011. The government has denied it, but this is 100% a clumsy attempt at retribution for the downgrade. And it bears some striking parallels to a similar case in Los Angeles that took place back in the early 90s, just about the time of our conflict with Saddam and the Iraqis.


What Kind of Banker Should You Be

I searched the site to see if this has already been posted, didn't see anything.

Net effect, follow the link, answer the questions and GS will tell you where your personality says you belong: Explore Goldman Sachs - Careers Quiz

Goldman Sachs offers many opportunities to make an impact. Use this quiz as a starting point to learn more about our divisions and find the ones that best suit you.

The WSO Advantage

Every step of your career we have you covered. Our products & services are listed below:

Financial Modeling Training

Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation, + more. Learn More.

Interview Prep Guides

50,000+ copies sold...for good reason. Learn More.

Resume Help from Actual Professionals

Polish Your CV to Land More Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Perfect Mentor

Realistic Mock Interviews. Learn More.

Video Library: 100+ Hours

Industry Insight & Specific Guidance. Learn More.

Research 1,000s of Firms Free

Interviews, Compensation + more. Learn More.

WSO Job Board

Exclusive $100k+ Positions. Learn More.

Happy Hours & Free Webinars

Don't Miss Out! WSO in Your City. Learn More.


Who Should Play the Next Halftime Show?

The halftime show is a grand Super Bowl pastime, notwithstanding a few complete flops over the years. Much like the commercials that some people make a sport out of viewing, the halftime has grown to the point where the spectacle sometimes overtakes the game itself in importance (in the minds of some).

For example, a lot of folks only remember the 2003 Super Bowl for Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction," but the game itself between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers was one of the best-played Super Bowl games ever.


It's official: Dell going private

Michael Dell and Silverlake announce $24.4bn deal @ $13.65/share (25% premium to $10.88 close on 1/11/13). 45 day go-shop available.

MSFT to contribute $2bn loan.

Debt financed by BAML, Barcap, CS, RBC

Dell itself was advised by Goldman Sachs

Silverlake advised by BAML, Barclays, CS, and RBC


Is VIX the Play for 2013?

I remember the summer of 1998 when crude oil was putting in new lows almost daily. At one point it went below $12 a barrel, which is roughly what it cost at the time to pull it out of the ground. Think about that for a minute: for a brief time oil was worth more right where it was beneath the Saudi sand than it was in the tank of your car. I remember going over Unleaded Gas charts with clients and telling them, "You see where the lowest point gas has been in the history of trading on the chart? Yeah, take your pen and make a mark on your desk about two inches below the sheet of paper, cuz that's where it's trading right now."

It's easy to look back on that time and say, "Well, duh. Of course you should've been buying. How much lower could it go?" and you'd be right. (just for your reference, gas at the pump was as low as $.70 a gallon in some places) But I can tell you that it wasn't an easy sale for a lot of people. It was just so low that many clients, some pretty sophisticated, wanted nothing to do with it. Fortunately I built a huge position and it began the roll that led to my retirement a year later.

I'm starting to wonder if we're not seeing a similar opportunity in today's VIX. The VIX has been stupid low for the past couple years. Even after yesterday's 14% jump, the VIX remains below its 50 and 200 day moving averages. With the market putting in 6-year highs and rallying more than 5% YTD, I wonder if everyone has been lulled into a false sense of security and is about to lose a big chunk of their ass to the bite of the VIX.


Netflix Cutting the Cord

I'm obsessed with Netflix. Not the stock, but the product itself. Frankly I find myself throwing it on even in the background sometimes while doing random work on weekends or something like that, just for noise that is different than music. Saw this gem in the FT today regarding Netflix.

There is one crucial difference between the series and other expensively produced TV shows featuring A-list film talent more familiar to audiences from their appearances on the big screen. House of Cards , a US political drama, will be aired only on Netflix, the subscription video service, and all 13 episodes will be made available simultaneously around the world Friday.

Make 30K or more as a SA

I made just under 35K this summer working as a SA. Here's the reason why, and why most SA's get paid less than they should.

1. Internship compensation laws vary by state
2. In New York interns can get dicked around, thus BB firms (and possibly smaller as well) make interns sign an agreement accepting "Premium Pay" often on their first day during training (before you learn you have to read all the small print)
3. What this really means is you give up the overtime you would be legally entitled to if you were a full time employee (this usually translates to 1/2 hourly wage for all hours over 40 hours a week, as opposed to the usual 1.5x hourly wage normal employees are entitled to


Is Facebook Use Declining in North America?

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, this post is meant mainly to ask the question: is Facebook still actually gaining new users? And if so, how many of those are really in North America? I've been trying to make sense of their user growth lately to hopefully find an area where the actual data given explains the empirical data I see around me... that no one who doesn't have a Facebook is just now making the move to get one, and if anything it's more long-time users leaving. More from my blog: huntingforcommoncents.wordpress.com

Facebook recently announced its Q4 earnings and gave some insight into how the company is faring in the often talked-about mobile world, the Facebook Gifts space, and other tidbits that gave us a look into the growth trajectory of the company in the next year or two. Facebook reported revenues slightly above expectations (1.58B vs 1.52B estimate) and earnings of $0.03 (or $0.17 on an adjusted basis, excluding stock-based compensation), but what people really care about is how well mobile is doing.


For-Profit Company Seeks Social Change

When I was in college, there always seemed to be a select group of people who eschewed finance and tech positions to work for non-profits. In fact, any sort of "non-profit" work was seen as a badge of honor -- indeed, the very designation that an organization is a "non-profit" is popular among 20-somethings.

But Purpose, a B-corporation -- the designation for a for-profit company that carries out a social agenda -- brings forth the question of whether the non-profit model is really the most effective tool for eliciting social change.


Connect For A Cause Launches Nationally

You guys might remember a series I did a year ago about the Launchpad start-up accelerator in New Orleans and some of the companies that were coming out of their IGNITION incubator. One of the companies I highlighted that would be particularly useful to prospective finance professionals was Connect For A Cause - a networking service where you could bid to have lunch with BSDs and the money goes to the charity of their choice.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that Connect For A Cause just launched nationally last week, and they've got some high-profile folks signed up around the country. At the moment in New York, you can bid on lunch with Shai Goldman of 500 Startups, and shortly after his auction Jeff Silverman of Laconia Ventures is on deck. I know I'd be willing to spend $50 (and a hell of a lot more) for an hour with either one of those two.

Here's how it works: You go to the Connect For A Cause website and choose your city (or any city, if you're willing to travel). You can either choose from the professionals who've already signed up, or you can ask Connect For A Cause to get in touch with someone you'd like to meet who isn't on the list yet. Then you bid on lunch. High bidder wins it, and lunch is then arranged.


Frustrated With Corporate Banking

Monkeys,

I have been working at a regional corporate bank (as a corporate credit analyst) for almost 2 years now (first job out of UG).

Work on corporate finance deals ranging from 1MM to 10MM in a generalist role for a variety of industries.

I have interned with couple of BBs in IBD, but due to the economic environment at that time, I wasn't able to secure a full time position.


Can The Big Game Predict Big Profits For Wall Street?

When it comes the Super Bowl, everybody has their traditions. Whether it's making a favorite homemade dip, a gathering of friends at a particular sport's bar, or just simply watching the commercials. Heck, even WS has one, the Super Bowl Market Indicator which has an 80% accuracy predicting the direction of the S&P 500 over its 45 year history. Further Benjamin Alamer, Professor of Sports Management at Menlo College and author of Sport's Analytics claims to already know this year's winner! So what does this mean for the S&P 500? Read on to get the answers to this question and more ...