Reuters reports that Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack told his staff Thursday that although he remained confident that the firm was well-placed to come through the current market turmoil, he is continuing to explore options to ensure that it doesn't meet the same fate as Lehman Brothers.
Well, there could be a few runners for that accolade (Bear Stearns, Citi, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, UBS, etc), but at least in Germany the 'dumbest' bank has been officially annointed. It's state-owned German lender KfW Bankengruppe.
Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain received the plaudits this week for moving quickly to save his firm by merging with Bank of America. Thain's actions contrasted with the indecisiveness displayed by Lehman boss Richard Fuld, which, in the end, caused the demise of the firm he had done so much to build.
There's been a lot of talk this week that the broker-dealer model will soon be history. The demise of Lehman Brothers leaves just two large stand-alone securities houses - Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Incredibly, the question now is how long can even these great franchises survive ?
Small comfort though it may be in the scheme of things, at least Lehman Brothers' London-based staff will get paid Friday - as long as they continue to rock up to work. Bloomberg reports that administrators for the firm have managed to negotiate a loan to enable them to pay Lehman's City staff their September salaries.
As US stocks fell again Wednesday (the falls in the S&P since October has now taken care of around 50% of the gains in stock seen in the bull market which lasted from October 2002 to October 2007), Bloomberg reports that former AIG CEO 'Hank' Greenberg has seen the value of the stake he controls in the company drop by around $2.4bn this week alone (taking the fall to $5.9bn this month!).
Here's a selection of some of the more lighter stuff that's making the news this gloomy week.
Here's a CNN newsclip from Monday. The crew were filming live outside Lehman's New York HQ.
Here's our Highly Placed Professional's view on the impact of the current market turmoil.
CNBC reports that TowerGroup reserch director Ralph Silva told its 'Squawk Box Europe' that 'there is insufficient margin in the banking industry to sustain the number of banks we have. We need to see at least one third of the banks around the world disappear'.