Hair Vests & Frank Quattrone

I was inspired to write this piece after I read this article from BusinessWeekOnline. In it Timothy Mullaney argues that the world is a better and wiser place after the Internet bust and Quattrone was nothing more than colouring. We are all more learned and better people from having our pension funds raped.

I would argue that this attitude is very myopic:

  • Quattrone was a key mover in promoting successful technology IPOs, which contributed to the boom. That in itself makes him a historical agent of change a la Michael Milken
  • Wisdom is not passed from generation to generation. Fund managers got burned with the junk bond and related financial instruments boom which brought about the savings and loans scandal. Biotech in the mid to late 1980s was as hyped and slow to deliver as the dotcoms. I once read an article by a financial journalists who said that The City (what us people in the UK call our financial district in London) has a memory of eight years. By my reckoning we are mid-cycle
  • The article is almost like sack cloth and ashes for a publication that trumpeted the new economy, its heroes like Jean-Marie Messier and follies like Enron, a very Catholic confession of new economy indiscretions for a publication with the Calvinist soul of an old money industrialist