Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Blaming it on the Brooklyn College Guy
Who was responsible for bringing the global financial system to its knees? According to Princeton alumnus Michael Lewis, and MIT alumnus Jake DeSantis (one of the only current or former traders at AIG's Financial Products division willing to speak to Lewis on the record), it was Brooklyn College alumnus Joe Cassano (pictured above), a cop's son whose status insecurities caused him to yell a lot at his underlings over issues as trivial as who left the weights on the Smith machine1. So claims Lewis in his Vanity Fair article on the implosion of AIG's Financial Products division, "The Man Who Crashed the World" (Hat Tip: Real Clear Markets). Allowing a number of AIG F.P.'s traders to impugn Cassano anonymously was apparently the price Lewis had to pay for his access, but the article is worth reading anyway, as Lewis's Wall Street articles usually are.
1Given Lewis's familiarity with sports as well as finance, while reading the anecdote about the Smith machine, I wondered if Lewis would bring the Smith machine up later in the article as a metaphor for hedging risk, but no dice.