Monday, May 25, 2009

The Mind of Wall Street

I just started reading a book called “The Mind of Wall Street,” by Leon Levy. Leon Levy was one of the first partners at Oppenheimer and Company. Levy died in 2003, and was a value investor incorporating much behavioral psychology into his investment process.

When I saw the book at the store, I saw the title and the name Levy, and my eyes skipped over the first name and I assumed that Gus Levy was the author. Gus Levy was in charge of Goldman Sachs in the early 1970’s.

Oppenheimer and Company has an interesting history. The firm was founded in 1951 after Max Oppenheimer left the firm Hirsch and Co. Levy joined soon after that. Oppenheimer catered to many German refugees at the beginning, and in the first few years more German was spoken at Oppenheimer than English.

Another interesting tidbit recounted by Levy was his accounting of the ethnic divisions that used to exist on Wall Street. The major street firms were broken down as follows:

Merrill Lynch – Catholic.
Brown Brothers, Morgan Stanley – WASP
Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers - Jewish

This book should be an interesting read, and I will post on it over the next few weeks.

1 comment:

Ed Dowling said...

The company had a good reputation back then. I wonder if the book explains why Oppenheimer became such a nightmare for so many investors? From what I know the original guy's at Oppenheimer and Co would never have been involved with a scam to rob their customers money. The current Oppenheimer & Co defrauded about 1 billion dollars of auction rate securities from their customers. Though many of their competition, after they were exposed, repaid their customers Oppenheimer & Co refuses to do the same. They now act like the money they have stolen is really theirs. I feel sorry for the people still with this firm who think they are invested with a company of integrity like the original firm. This Oppenheimer & Co. operates more like an organized crime family then a legitimate investment co. I wish someone told me this before Oppenheimer & Co. robbed my savings which I have been fighting for 1 1/2 years to get back.