So how were senior people on Wall Street feeling during this period of volatility? In general, I was surprised at how positive senior bankers were. There is a sense that the most heinous horrors are in the rear-view mirror. Everyone feels good to have survived. Brian Moynihan, chief executive of Bank of America, chided me for being too pessimistic. Ken Moelis, founder of Moelis & Co, (Ive always wanted to meet someone who had their name over the door) was almost ebullient. He talked about the growth of his company and the value clients place on unbiased advice from a professional who is prepared to say: No, this is not the right deal for you to do now. Moelis & Co recently acted for the special committee of GLGs board of directors when the hedge fund was acquired by Man Group. And Ed Forst, co-head of Goldmans investment management division, displayed admirable composure despite market pyrotechnics. A source outside the firm murmurs: Ed is highly competent. I see him as one of the contenders who could eventually replace Blankfein.Morgan Stanleys New York headquarters are at 1585 Broadway, which is in the tourist-thronged Times Square neighbourhood. This plebeian backdrop is an interesting juxtaposition with the firms patrician pedigree. Morgan Stanley teetered on the edge of a precipice in September 2008 when, like other broker-dealers, it faced a panic-induced liquidity crisis. The firm survived but the experience left an indelible impression on senior management. Today Stanley is, in a way, recreating itself. This is not an easy task for new chief executive James Gorman and his team given the unrelenting public hostility to banks and the difficult market conditions. It was lovely to see Greg Fleming, the recently appointed president of investment management and global research. I consider Greg a friend and despite the relatively short time we have known each other (four years), the startling events we have witnessed have created a remarkable bond. Greg was formerly co-president of Merrill Lynch in its heady heyday and then as the downward spiral began and the flames were engulfing the ground floor of the building, Greg pushed chief executive John Thain to sell the firm to Bank of America. I also met with Colm Kelleher, co-president of Morgan Stanleys institutional securities business and Jack DiMaio, global head of interest rates, credit and currency. Jack became famous in the 1990s as one of the top traders at CSFB and was a key part of the 40-person team (along with John Walsh, Ben Cohen and Nasser Ahmad) that Bob Diamond tried to hire at Barclays Capital in the spring of 2001. The team was bid back by an aghast Stephen Hester, CSFBs head of fixed income at the time, who allegedly offered hefty guaranteed bonuses as well as a future share of the revenues of the US fixed-income business.
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