This happened seven days ago and I’m still agog.
Only the French could make head or tails of this. They have something called l’esprit de l’escalier or “staircase wit”. It’s the feeling you get when you think of exactly the right words to say in a conversation — but only after it’s over and you’ve already left. I.e. at the bottom of the staircase on your way out the door.
Well all I have to say after last week’s events is, I didn’t know that Sandy Weill spoke the French! Citigroup really ought to have disclosed assets like that in its 10-K.
In cased you missed it, the following from Reuters:
[Sandy Weill] the former Citigroup Inc CEO, who was in many ways the architect of the “too big to fail” giant bank system, dropped a bombshell on Wall Street on Wednesday by proposing that universal banks should be broken up because they are too big and complex to manage.
This is as if:
- Pope Benedict declared that, actually, a little bit of divorce never hurt anybody.
- Queen Elizabeth got YOLO tattooed on the side of her neck.
- NBC got the Olympics right.
Wall Street veteran Sandy Weill, once chairman of Shearson Loeb Rhoades, had long pitched financial services all under one roof. To justify the 1981 merger of his Shearson brokerage with American Express, he claimed in a Time magazine interview that “a typical consumer may have a stockbroker in California, a banker in New York, an insurance agent in Maryland and a real estate agent jetting back and forth from Chicago to Boston.” It’s an old Wall Street ploy — pitch a dream and use the premium valuation to do deals.