Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quotes of the day

The number of [the 400 richest Americans] whose wealth declined this year is 85 compared with 314 in 2009, while wealth increased for 217 members. The total worth of the 400 rose by 8 percent to $1.37 trillion, still below the 2008 total of $1.57 trillion.--Margaret Collins and Alexis Leondis

A Gold Coast mansion belonging to J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon is under contract, about three weeks after the asking price was slashed to $6.95 million. The 13,500-square-foot property at 25 E. Banks St. has been on the market since April 2007, with an original asking price of $13.5 million. Mr. Dimon has reduced the price several times, most recently in late August, when he dropped it 27% to $6.95 million, from $9.5 million.--Andrew Schroedter

The nice thing is that I couldn’t get hired at Blackstone now. I didn’t get the grades.--Steve Schwarzman, Blackstone CEO

Do you remember from your school days those students who, when confronted with a complex issue, would acquire a look on their faces somewhere between consternation and dread, immediately thrust a waving hand up into the air and blurt out in a worried voice, “Do we have to know this for the test?” I can be fairly sure that none of these people ended up as successful traders. ... As I see it, all traders are ultimately self-taught. There are no required classes, readings, homework assignments or even a syllabus with recommendations. Tests are administered on a daily basis, frequently with multiple tests on the same day. Worst of all, everyone is graded on an unfavorable curve in which there are more Fs than As. Against this backdrop, education counts, but skill and experience count even more. An insatiable curiosity helps, as does a willingness to explore unfamiliar territory. Great trades, insights and strategies present themselves in somewhat random fashion and, as Louis Pasteur observed, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”--Bill Luby

[The apostle] Paul is afraid people will think too much of him (the opposite of our fears), so as a matter of principle he dislikes talking about inaccessible matters. If he must be judged, he wants to be judged by what he does and says, not by claims of visions and revelations that are inaccessible to public scrutiny. ... In this fallen world, it is a mercy that great grace is accompanied by great weakness, as well as the other way around.--Don Carson

The SEC filed civil fraud charges against Goldman in mid-April, the same day it released a watchdog report accusing the agency of mishandling an investigation into Stanford's alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme. The report by SEC Inspector General David Kotz said the regulator suspected as early as 1997 that Stanford was running a Ponzi scheme but did nothing to stop it until late 2005. The timing "strains credulity," Kotz told a congressional hearing on Wednesday examining the SEC's handling of the Stanford case. Kotz's report went largely unnoticed. Stanford is in a Texas jail awaiting trial on 21 criminal charges related to his alleged Ponzi scheme involving the issuance by his Antiguan bank of certificates of deposit with improbably high interest rates. The SEC filed civil charges related to the matter in February 2009. Some Republican lawmakers accused the SEC of suing Goldman to help Democrats pass the landmark Wall Street reform bill, which was winding its way through Congress in April. Kotz is probing whether the SEC's lawsuit against Goldman was politically motivated, a charge the SEC vehemently denies. He expects to complete his Goldman report by the end of next week. At the Senate Banking Committee hearing, the top Republican, Richard Shelby, said the Stanford case represents a "major failure" by the SEC. He also suggested the timing was suspect and seemed intended to draw lowered scrutiny. The SEC, still recovering from missing Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme, is under pressure to root out fraud after the U.S. housing collapse and Wall Street's ensuing meltdown.--Joe Rauch and Rachelle Younglai

For too long, we've measured our efforts by the dollars we spent and the food and medicines we delivered. But aid alone is not development.--President Obama

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