Morgan Stanley is trying to look appealing: it wants to recruit 400 people, ideally without having to pay a huge premium. Now is not, therefore, the time to let it be known that it has been a mess for the past decade.
This, however, is what analyst Dick (the dagger) Bove, is saying. Bove says departing chief exec John Mack should put a good distance between himself and Morgan Stanley after changing his strategy more frequently than Anne Widdecombe changes her hairstyle.
Bloomberg points out that Morgan Stanley shares are now 34% below their closing level on the day on 30 June 2005 that Mack was named chairman and CEO. Goldman and JPMorgan shares are up 71% and 22% over the same period.
Bove says Mack's replacement, James Gorman, is 'cerebral' and capable of devising a coherent strategy. However, Brad Hintz at Sanford Bernstein says that -
There is no doubt that Gorman is a brilliant strategic thinker and an expert in managing retail brokerage, but having combed through his background, we can find no operating experience in either investment banking or sales and trading, which pro-forma for the successful integration of MSSB JV will still generate more than 50% of the firm's revenues. This is potentially troubling-investors recall too clearly that "on the job training" of Mr. Purcell in Morgan's investment banking and sales and trading franchises led to the famous "lost decade" of Morgan Stanley.
...which begs the question whether traders will want to join Morgan Stanley with Gorman at the helm?
Morgan Stanley's current strategy - one which looks more like the old Merrill Lynch (Gorman's alma mater) than Goldman Sachs. (DealJournal)
"Mack is a great guy. But the stock options from all my years at the firm are under water." (Financial Times)
Headhunters Spencer Stuart are understood to have searched for possible external candidates for the role...Mr Chammah ruled himself out because of his desire to stay in London for family reasons. (Telegraph)
Your new Aussi overlord wants you to get up in his face and mix it up. (Dealbreaker)
The Dutch voluntary code, released by banking group NVB on Wednesday, calls for bonuses for management board members to be capped at the level of their base salary and gives scope to "claw back" previous payouts. (CNBC)
Geithner wants pay in equity that can be clawed back. (CNBC)
'Vomit' and 'crap': the UBS employee emails on CDOs. (Wall Street Journal)
More on Hogarth Davies Lloyd, Nomura, and the 'absurd fee.' (Bloomberg)
Why banks have a defective business model and must be broken up. (Financial Times)
Bank of China VP says Wall Street is 'myopic' and the real economic crisis has only just begun. (Bloomberg)
Young people are all for big bonuses. (Leftfootforward)