I first read William Cohan when I bought The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co, and followed it with House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street.  (Don’t you love those titles?)

His work is indepth, interesting as hell, and very well written.

He also writes in the Opinionator section of  The New York Times Opinion Pages and yesterday, he blistered Wall Street and recommended the most thoughtful action possible to change the behavior of those who work there.  He suggests we curtail high risk behavior on Wall Street by assigning personal responsibility. Make them responsible.  Really responsible.

Prior to the 1970’s Wall Street Firms were partnerships.

every partner signed an agreement requiring him (and rarely her) to put his net worth on the line every day.

His cure is simple . . . do it again.

To my mind, its central feature should be that each of the top 100 executives at Wall Street’s remaining “systemically important” firms be personally liable for the risks they take. Not just their unexercised stock options or restricted stock, but every asset they have in their possession: from their cars to their fancy homes to their bulging bank accounts.

And just so you know, William D. Cohan, a former investigative reporter in Raleigh, N.C., writes on alternate Fridays about Wall Street and Main Street. He worked on Wall Street as a senior mergers and acquisitions banker for 15 years. He also worked for two years at GE Capital.


Read the full article here: Make Wall Street Risk it All


And I do recommend that you read every word.  Very well written, highly informative, he’ll make you understand why NONE of the new controls are going to make a positive difference in your life, and won’t really make a whit of difference in the way of doing business on the street.