In a financial system where most bank analysts are “little more than cheerleaders,” one has spoken out at the risk of being mocked and alienated by Wall Street.
Longtime bank analyst Mike Mayo became a joke on Wall Street, and all because he tried to do the unthinkable—correct the broken banking sector. His attempts resulted in the media mocking him, banks avoiding his calls and his co-workers ostracizing him. In his new book, “Exile on Wall Street,” Mayo gives an account of his experiences and offers suggestions on how to fix a flawed financial system. —NH
“Exile on Wall Street” excerpt in The Wall Street Journal:
Taking a negative position doesn’t win you many friends in the banking sector. I’ve worked as a bank analyst for the past 20 years, where my job is to study publicly traded financial firms and decide which ones would make the best investments. This research goes out to institutional investors: mutual fund companies, university endowments, public-employee retirement funds, hedge funds, and other organizations with large amounts of money. But for about the past decade, especially the past five years or so, most big banks haven’t been good investments. In fact, they’ve been terrible investments, down 50%, 60%, 70% or more.
[...] Over the years, I have pointed out certain problems in the banking sector—things like excessive risk, outsized compensation for bankers, more aggressive lending—and as a result been yelled at, conspicuously ignored, threatened with legal action and mocked by banking executives, all with the intent of persuading me to soften my stance.