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Opinion

2007 in Quotes

January
"The share price hasn’t moved for a decade. Working for Citigroup has put an extra five years onto my working life. You make a pact with the devil when you work for an investment bank, I know, but you at least expect him to keep his side of the bargain."
One disgruntled Citi banker bemoans having his retirement plans indefinitely delayed. Later in the year he was just happy to still be in a job


February
"I’ve seen a portfolio manager from an investment house having a meeting with the company saying: ‘I own a million shares but I don’t know what you do, tell me about your company’. For a CEO that’s disrespectful. We go the extra mile. We joined the National Chicken Council because we wanted to become experts in the chicken industry. I guarantee we’re the only buy-side firm on the National Chicken Council."
Kevin Richardson of activist fund Prides Capital. As 2007 progressed most market participants were playing their own game of chicken
March
"It is about amoral asset-strippers after a quick buck – casino capitalists enjoying huge personal windfalls from deals at the same time as they gamble with other people’s futures."
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the UK trade union association the TUC, puts the knife into private equity. By the end of the year the casino was shut


April
"I kinda want them to have a medium-sized catastrophe"
A Europe-based head of securitization showed little sympathy for continuing US sub-prime woes. The catastrophe went extra large


May
"Triple B CRE CDO notes fall somewhere between financial toxic waste and a practical joke."
One commercial real estate investor does not mince his words on the risk profile of one particular CDO asset class. How right he was


June
"I believe that you are a better captain of a ship if you have experienced a storm before."
A leading structured finance CDO manager. By the end of the year many CDO ships had hit the rocks and forced even the most exalted bank captains overboard


July
"I got home on Friday night and said to my wife, ‘Honey, I had a great year last week"
A Wall Street bank president on the manic levels of global M&A activity, and the record fees that went with it. Soon the year lost its gloss


August
"Gosh, what a stellar panel. Tell me, have those guys even done any deals this year?"
A department head questions the pedigree of certain panel members at the Barcelona ABS conference. They certainly weren’t doing any more deals for the rest of the year


September
"SIVs represent an oasis of calm in the sub-prime maelstrom"
The award for least prescient headline of the year goes to...Moody’s


October
"People are actually being nice to us for a change!"
A balance sheet lender sees an upside to the stalling of the CMBS market


November
"In the old days, and by that I mean three months ago..."
A structured finance analyst demonstrates that financial markets wait for no man


December
"Question: What would Jimmy Cayne bid for an MBO of Bear Stearns? Answer: four spades."
Bear’s former CEO just couldn’t live down his participation in a July bridge tournament

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