Friday, May 29, 2009

The Mind of Wall Street - Part II

I just started reading a book called “The Mind of Wall Street,” by Leon Levy. Levy died in 2003, but had a fifty year career on Wall Street and was one of the early partners at Oppenheimer and Company. Levy is a value and contrarian investor who incorporates the psychology of the market into his investment process.

An interesting bit of information is that according to Levy, the concept of the adjustable rate mortgage was conceived by Gene Fenton, an employee of Oppenheimer and Company. Fenton, in true Wall Street spirit, constructed it so that it could only adjust upwards. Of course, this concept did not catch on too well given the one sided nature of the product.

Some time later, Marion Sandler, another Oppenheimer and Company employee, came along and changed it so it would adjust either way. If you don't recognize this name, years later Marion and Herb Sandler went on to fame with Great West Financial, a leader in the mortgage market. The Sandlers sold out to Wachovia at the peak of the housing bubble.

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