Remember When We Didn't Like Wall Street?

From Der Spiegel:

Anshu Jain, 46, listened stoically and silently to the remarks of shareholders at the annual meeting of Deutsche Bank at the end of May. Many were troubled by the fact that the bank had reported its biggest ever loss in 2008, €3.9 billion ($5.6 billion), for which Jain, as its top investment banker, was responsible.


Deutsche Bank, like all major investment banks, took great risks in the boom years, speculating with securities that we now call toxic, because they have poisoned bank balance sheets.

While many shareholders at the annual meeting discussed the causes and effects of the financial crisis, and while politicians around the globe debated the introduction of stricter regulations to impose tighter limits on the risky activities of investment bankers, Jain saw the crisis as an opportunity. His first step was to get customer accounts back into the game, followed by a return to speculative investment in proprietary trading.

"What we will see is five to six formidable global players in investment banking," the normally reserved banker told the British trade publication Euromoney in early May. "Sales and trading will continue to drive the lion's share of profits."

Apparently speculation has worked out for Deutsche Bank. Thanks to Jain's good timing, CEO Josef Ackermann was able on Tuesday to announce a profit figure in the billions for the first half of the year. The bank has also apparently set aside billions in reserves to pay bonuses to its investment bankers.


Read the rest of the article here.

Thank goodness the banks are back. Because in tough times, it's the underhanded who created much of the crisis that suffers the most.

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