12/22/12

mod (Andy) note: "Blast from the past - Best of Eddie" - This one is originally from December 2010. If there's an old post from Eddie you'd like to see up again shoot me a message.

When Tim Schultz interviewed me for the Playboy article, he asked me at one point what I thought was the one thing regulators needed to make them more effective. I think he was expecting me to say something like FISA-style wiretapping authority or larger enforcement budgets or something along those lines, so you can imagine his shock at my eventual answer.

"Ovaries."

I meant it then and I mean it now. The clearest thinking and most insightful regulatory strategies are coming from women these days, and have for some time. Elizabeth Warren, Sheila Bair, and Brooksley Born could probably fix the whole mess given enough time, and the crisis never would have happened if we'd listened to Born back in the late 90's.

This is a bitter pill for the men of Wall Street to swallow, and I imagine many of you are squirming while you read this. But the fact is, if we had more women at the top of the regulatory structure, especially gifted women like Born and Warren, the destructive financial innovations that drove us to the edge would never have been allowed.

This isn't something I talk about a lot because I know it's not a popular view and, let's face it, Wall Street is still an old boys club. But I was reminded of my conversation with Tim when I saw this excellent short video from TED about female investment bankers in Iceland who left their firms to form Audur Capital and apply traditionally feminine values to investment strategy with outstanding results.


Like it or not, fellas, Wall Street would be in a lot better shape if we had more women calling the shots.

Comments (39)

12/30/10

good joke. bitches can't hang with the streets.

12/30/10

video isnt working for me, but didnt women simply not invest in anything they didnt understand? and that meant they didn't invest in anything? (forgot if this was the joke or the actual thing).

The women on trading floors are just as money hungry if not more than the guys, and where there is money to be made the people who reach the top posts will naturally be these types of people, be they men or women. Im sure you could find men under which this would not happen as well.

12/30/10

Thanks for your article. And I found the video link that works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsmgvrcH94U

12/30/10

Thanks, np1128. I swapped out the videos so it should work better now. Sometimes TED videos take forever to load.

12/30/10
12/30/10

Predictable, but still hilarious responses.

I honestly don't have an opinion either way on this issue. But I did hear of this group of angel investors that invest only in companies founded/led by women. http://www.goldenseeds.com/home/. I'd be interested to see what their returns are like.

12/30/10

Eddie, when are you going to post your next booze-related topic ?

12/30/10

Eddie, when are you going to post your next booze-related topic ?

My recent Four Loko death vigil wasn't enough?

12/30/10
Edmundo Braverman:

Eddie, when are you going to post your next booze-related topic ?

My recent Four Loko death vigil wasn't enough?

I meant something more refined, like your review of rums..

12/30/10

I read somewhere that their periods attract bears. The bears can smell the menstruation.

12/30/10

@SAC- As a matter of fact, a PR firm for several liquor labels just sent me 6 bottles of premium tequila to sample. Yes, it's good to be me. I'll write up a review shortly.

@GorillaJuicehead- This market could use more bears.

12/30/10

This too is a bear...

More is good, all is better

12/30/10

Could it be that Sheila Blair and Elizabeth Warren being two of the more lucid actors in the current crisis be a mere coincidence? Seems like a small sample to me.

That being said, the Street could use some more risk-averse and protective regulators such as the aforementioned women. By protective I mean going back to Glass-Steagall and rolling back some of the excess financialization we've been subject to, not putting a cap on bonuses and banning prop trading and other such counterproductive nonsense.

12/30/10

I am all for having more women in finance. The problem is--they don't really want to play in our sandbox.

I am assuming you all have read the article on Goldman getting sued by a female VP for discrimination. Goldman has a part-time plan for working mothers, and this lady was in markets. She took maternity leave, then worked part-time for a while, then took maternity leave again, and then bitched about not getting promoted.

Front office roles are not conducive to family life for anyone. If you're going to work in banking or markets, you are going to have to give up a few things. If you're a woman, and you decide you want a family, unfortunately, that's probably going to mean a promotion.

I like having women in the office. I like having women on the trading floor. If they weren't around, half of the guys wouldn't behave at all (though, we might have a bit less peacocking). But I don't like the idea of holding a job for someone that plans on working part-time or taking maternity leave for 2-3 years. That just means more work for the rest of us. And we cannot legally fill the position.

If you were a hiring manager, and you have two equally well-qualified candidates in front of you of different genders, how do you make the decision? While you may concoct some other reason for taking the male (when explaining the decision to HR), you must be conscious of the fact that the woman has a much higher chance of leaving the firm in the next 5 years. While most hiring managers would never admit it publicly, this is simply the fact of the matter.

Regardless, women think differently than men (on average). But I cannot be sure that the subset of women who participate in high finance think differently than their male counterparts, so I'm not convinced that ovaries are the answer to our problems.

12/30/10

Like it or not, fellas, Wall Street would be in a lot better shape if we had more women calling the shots.

I call foul sir!

12/30/10

Where do you come up with this shit? Sheila Bair? She headed the FDIC during the credit crisis. Really? Let's get the Captain of the Titanic to pilot another ship. I've read some pretty scathing criticisms of Bair (most notably in Too Big to Fail). She doesn't strike me as a heavyweight.

Warren has made some questionable calls as well.
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/0...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487045...

If she is the clearest thinker out there, all is lost.

Even if you are right about Warren, your basic argument is ridiculous. Every capable woman can be offset by a dipshit (How did Erin Callan do as CFO of Lehman) - as is the case with men. And a fucking sample of 3??? You can do better than that. That's like saying that all banking CEO's should be Greek because Jamie Dimon has done so well.

Best Response
12/30/10

The issue here IS NOT anything having to do with women. This issue here is MEN...

Better said the lack of heterosexual males with attached spinal chords working on Wall Street today.

Wall Street (along with the vast majority of the American power structure) now features a sort of male presence which IMHO has no place on Earth. To reference these guys as anything man-related is an insult to all living things, not just those of us with quantifiable testosterone levels.

Their nail polishing, chest waxing, gossipy, dollar worshiping ways are more conducive to a roadside whorehouse ten miles outside Bangkok then to the world's financial center.

The best way to put it is to say that they are feminized, in lacking the time honored male traits of pride, honor, dignity, faith, strength, courage, patriarchy, etc...better known as the skills that pay the bills.

That having been said, if the "men" of Wall Street continue to act like sniveling little girls, I have absolutely no qualms with any of the aforementioned women running the show.

12/30/10
Midas Mulligan Magoo:

The issue here IS NOT anything having to do with women. This issue here is MEN...

Better said the lack of heterosexual males with attached spinal chords working on Wall Street today.

Wall Street (along with the vast majority of the American power structure) now features a sort of male presence which IMHO has no place on Earth. To reference these guys as anything man-related is an insult to all living things, not just those of us with quantifiable testosterone levels.

Their nail polishing, chest waxing, gossipy, dollar worshiping ways are more conducive to a roadside whorehouse ten miles outside Bangkok then to the world's financial center.

The best way to put it is to say that they are feminized, in lacking the time honored male traits of pride, honor, dignity, faith, strength, courage, patriarchy, etc...better known as the skills that pay the bills.

That having been said, if the "men" of Wall Street continue to act like sniveling little girls, I have absolutely no qualms with any of the aforementioned women running the show.

Long time lurker, can't believe I finally registered, but this was so dumb that I felt I had to put a word in.

Clearly we need more leaders like Fuld, Cayne, Mozilo, Cassano and Stan O'Neal who were proud, faithful, strong, courageous and patriarchal enough to be blindingly arrogant, macho, stubborn and territorial.

12/30/10

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/feminine-val...

I posted this two weeks ago; you should see the responses to mine, lol.

12/30/10

@Buyside CFA- appreciate the comment. If you are wondering why it was unpublished initially, it's because we've updated the SPAM filter and comments with vulgarity need to be approved. Since I'm not only of the opinion that women heading the regulatory structure of Wall Street would be a benefit but that vulgarity is also an extremely necessary tool of modern discourse, your comment is now published.

By the way, get fucked. (just kidding)

12/30/10

Don't worry fellas, most American women don't want to come near the street unless it's to grab your credit card on the way to Neiman-Marcus.

I think it is crap that maternity leave means no promotions. I don't want anyone to pick up my workload but it shouldn't deter women from making ranks (within reason...). It's a biological disadvantage in the workforce. I hate to say it but the old boys club won't be finding ways to address this anytime soon... It's up to the next generation of women in the workforce.

I hate the female moral superiority values that Halla is throwing out there. Throwback to the Victorian era where women only had that going for them as a means of power and influence. Not the situation today, thank god.

12/30/10

I hate to digress again but every time I hear or see the word "Iceland", I can't help but think of the guy in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34mHZgP9vkc

12/30/10

Women are more risk averse than men in general. If women would have been in charge of wall street, the crisis would have been less severe.

However the pre crisis overall returns may very well have been lower as well.

The excessive risk taking however isn't a male vs female issue. Its simply a problem as old as corporations.

Not the people that would perform the best at a job are given that post, but rather the people that are best at getting the job, get the job. CEOS arent neccessarily good at what they do. They were good at getting to the top, which usually takes excessive risk taking, and alot of ambition. And ideally some aspects of the dark triad.

On the female issue. Front office banking fucks ur personal life. It fucks it for males as well. Everyone has to chose between a personal life and front office. You can't have your cake and eat it. Sorry.

And on a last note, I think all positive action programs are a huge pile of bullshit. There is no clear evidence that more female executives enhance performance in any way. And when I say evidence I mean peer reviewed studies published in renowned scientific journals not some bullshit you read in an ordinary newspaper.

12/30/10

You guys have heard of this study right: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1206053/...

12/30/10
baddebt88:

You guys have heard of this study right: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1206053/...

That doesn't surprise me. I've had girls at school tell me the exact same thing when we talk about this.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

12/30/10

The daily mail. Really? Lol

12/30/10

Alan Greenspan loved hiring women. He said it wasn't because they were any better or worse at the job. That's a world of argument in itself. It's pure value. If you are concerned about them getting knocked up just hire liberals. No-harm, no foul. They will just kill the baby.

12/30/10
silentdud:

Alan Greenspan loved hiring women. He said it wasn't because they were any better or worse at the job. That's a world of argument in itself. It's pure value. If you are concerned about them getting knocked up just hire liberals. No-harm, no foul. They will just kill the baby.

Are you talking about abortions?

Are we living in the dark ages and women who don't want to have children have no ways to prevent the pregnancy?

More is good, all is better

12/31/10

Ever went to a mall? womans and mens are always bound to sell you a bridge and then some; few places are ethical and actually sell you something you really need and tell you where to get the other sutff they don't sell. Pretty much the reason I spent 1400$ in boutiques approved by the girlfriend but instead because she's ethical enough to bust the bubble of every sellers trying to sell anything I don't need.

A.L.

12/31/10

Technically, lower prenatal testosterone (reflected by a high 2D:4D ratio) is corellated with higher risk aversion.
But I would imagine that women going into IB/Trading or any other high-pressure high-stress occupation tend to have a lower (masculinized) 2D:4D ratio, and thus lower propensity for risk aversion than what is normal for most womenfolk.
This doesn't necessarily mean they are butch-looking, as that is determined by hormonal influence in puberty (particularly androgen exposure), but they would be more likely to "think like a man", so really - the benefit of risk aversion associated with estrogen would probably be quite insignificant.

More is good, all is better

1/4/11
Argonaut:

Technically, lower prenatal testosterone (reflected by a high 2D:4D ratio) is corellated with higher risk aversion.
But I would imagine that women going into IB/Trading or any other high-pressure high-stress occupation tend to have a lower (masculinized) 2D:4D ratio, and thus lower propensity for risk aversion than what is normal for most womenfolk.
This doesn't necessarily mean they are butch-looking, as that is determined by hormonal influence in puberty (particularly androgen exposure), but they would be more likely to "think like a man", so really - the benefit of risk aversion associated with estrogen would probably be quite insignificant.

I did not expect that level of understanding of human biology in WSO (I think I learned something non-finance!)but if I may summarize your statement by borrowing a quote from Boiler Room " Dont pitch the bitch" women are generally risk-averse. Sure we might have avoided the tech-bubble but would it be worth it if it meant none of the commercial benefits of the internet had come to pass? not for me.

1/5/11
down on the upside:
Argonaut:

Technically, lower prenatal testosterone (reflected by a high 2D:4D ratio) is corellated with higher risk aversion.
But I would imagine that women going into IB/Trading or any other high-pressure high-stress occupation tend to have a lower (masculinized) 2D:4D ratio, and thus lower propensity for risk aversion than what is normal for most womenfolk.
This doesn't necessarily mean they are butch-looking, as that is determined by hormonal influence in puberty (particularly androgen exposure), but they would be more likely to "think like a man", so really - the benefit of risk aversion associated with estrogen would probably be quite insignificant.

I did not expect that level of understanding of human biology in WSO (I think I learned something non-finance!)but if I may summarize your statement by borrowing a quote from Boiler Room " Dont pitch the bitch" women are generally risk-averse. Sure we might have avoided the tech-bubble but would it be worth it if it meant none of the commercial benefits of the internet had come to pass? not for me.

Humans are fascinating creatures :)

I don't think that "none of the commercial benefits of the Internet" is necessarily the cost of risk; I also think most people have no clue about risk management and that neither excessive risk no blind risk-aversion are good in the long run.

More is good, all is better

12/31/10

What did Shelia Bair do that was smart or helpful? She was the head of a bank regulatory agency while the banking system collapsed. After the crisis she had several muddled plans that were all shot down. Elizabeth Warren has also done nothing other then create a new layer of bureaucracy which i am sure will be as ineffective as the ones that came before it...nothing new or innovative there.

The ovaries line was somewhat snappy but in my career I see no evidence that women on wall st are any smarter or less-greedy then the guys. Not that they are any worse, just basically the same.

12/31/10

@Bondarb- When it comes to Bair, I'm inclined to agree with you. I think she's sharp, but she went along with some pretty terrible legislation (TARP) and sat idly by while the taxpayers were gang-raped.

When it comes to Warren, however, I'd drink her bathwater. She is a very, very sharp lady whom the financial world would do well to listen to on a regular basis. You say she creates another layer of bureaucracy and you're right - and it's a necessary layer of bureaucracy after all the regulatory strip-mining accomplished by Bob Rubin and his crew of mental pygmies.

Liz Warren is the sharpest regulator on the Street right now, and it's a shame her boss doesn't have bigger balls to take on the GOP cronies who are in the banks' pockets.

12/31/10
Edmundo Braverman:

@Bondarb- When it comes to Bair, I'm inclined to agree with you. I think she's sharp, but she went along with some pretty terrible legislation (TARP) and sat idly by while the taxpayers were gang-raped.

When it comes to Warren, however, I'd drink her bathwater. She is a very, very sharp lady whom the financial world would do well to listen to on a regular basis. You say she creates another layer of bureaucracy and you're right - and it's a necessary layer of bureaucracy after all the regulatory strip-mining accomplished by Bob Rubin and his crew of mental pygmies.

Liz Warren is the sharpest regulator on the Street right now, and it's a shame her boss doesn't have bigger balls to take on the GOP cronies who are in the banks' pockets.

Being the 'smartest regulator' (a proposition with which I do not necessarily agree) is like being the straigtest guy in Yale's theater program--you're still gay, just a bit less so than the rest of your kin. Warren is still a regulator, and so far as I can tell, there is no good reason to be a regulator.

That said, she is a professor at Harvard Law, and as such, is quite clever. Some of her ideas are sharp, but I wouldn't go so far as to conclude that just because she is good for Wall Street, that all women are good for Wall Street (or even that more women would be good for The Street). Your reasoning represents a classical fallacy called either a 'hasty generalization' or 'proof by example.' Consequently, your argument is flawed, and your conclusion is invalid.

1/2/11

eh never mind

1/4/11

Realistically, women can be every bit as competetive as men, they're usually just really sneaky about it. And as far as 'emotionally stable', and better at managing risk .........uh, have you ever SEEN the batty things they do when PMSing? If banks wanted stable, boring, low risk taking people, they would find dude like that. Fact is they don't and putting some woman on some board of some gov't agency isn't going to change a thing

Get busy living

12/22/12

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12/22/12

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