Morgan Stanley, in an effort to stave off death, has become a bank. While this is a good move, as it allows them to accrue investor capitol, I was interested to see what effect it had on the employees of that venerable institution, so lately high flying stock market traders, so I drove to my local office. The employee lot was filled with Porches and Benz’s, all with for sale signs in their windows. Inside, behind the teller windows were a dozen or so men and women in four thousand dollar suits and five hundred dollar haircuts, looking slightly dazed as they stared at deposit slips and cash drawers.
I walked up to one fellow with slicked back hair, French cuffs with ruby cuff links, a beautiful hand painted silk tie and a Brooks Brothers suit. His lower lip trembled a bit as he asked, ” Can I help you, sir?” You could tell he had a hard time with the ‘sir’ part as he eyed my tee shirt and jeans.
“I’d like to open an account, you know, invest in your new bank.”
At the word ‘invest’ he perked up. “An investment account? Very good sir. We have some wonderful opportunities in derivatives that I can get you in on early. In fact, even with the ban on naked short selling in effect, through the creative use of ‘puts’, I think we can get you some great returns, especially in commodities like oil and corn, not to mention precious metals.”
“Whoa, dude.”, I said, “I just wanna put two fifty into a checking account.”
He smiled indulgently, “No problem. Although it’s a little less than I usually work with, I think we can get you going with a quarter million dollar investment. In fact, I think we can leverage that small sum into some real money in as little as six or seven months. back in the old days, I shorted General Mills and turned a quarter mil. into one point five in a week.”
“Uh, that’s great, but I was talking about two hundred and fifty dollars, not two hundred fifty thousand.”
That did it. He broke down right there at the teller window. “Oh, God! What am I gonna do? Last week I was flying Business Class to Tokyo, Berlin and London. I was looking at making two million in just bonuses, for Christ sakes! Now, I’m opening a joint fucking checking account for pennies! Less than pennies! I’m gonna have to sell the Rolex, the Jag, everything! I’m gonna lose both the Fire Island and Santa Monica houses! Hell, I’m gonna lose my Manhattan condo too! Jesus, how did this happen!?” He burst into tears.
It was very uncomfortable, I’ll tell you. “There, there,”, I said consolingly, “You’ll get back on your feet again. Don’t worry. This is just a hiccup. Why, I’ll bet in a year you’ll be running companies into the ground again, wiping out little old ladies savings, all that good stuff.”
He sniffled, wiping his eyes with a monogrammed silk handkerchief, “You think so?”
“Sure! Why, you may even avoid prison and get a golden parachute!”
He actually came around the counter and hugged me in gratitude. Man, I gotta get me one of those suits…the fabric felt great. By the way, I didn’t open the account with the two hundred fifty bucks; I scored his Rolex instead.