Exile on Wall Street by Mike Mayo

1) The author was previously a bank analyst and his career was affected because of his desire to voice out against the financial institutions. Many of the banks had much room for improvement. He started off his career as an analyst for bank deals with the Federal Reserve. Due to this, he often respects and sees the importance of the Central Bank in regulating financial markets, ensuring the stability of financial markets and efficient capital allocation. After 5 years in the Federal Reserve, he worked at UBS as an analyst. He became very adept in analysing financial statements and determining intrinsic value of an entity. Despite becoming rich, he didn’t want to lead a life for the endless pursuit of money at the expense of morals etc. Mayo produced analyst reports that were not favourable to his employer, even though he believed that these reports would be in the best interests of their clients. After UBS, he moved to Lehman as an analyst. Although he loved the work, he didn’t like the party lifestyle of the bankers. The firm was not happy with his reports and Mayo was overlooked for promotion. His next job would be assuming the title of head of banking research at Credit Suisse First Boston. The market loved stock activity, even though this could be detrimental for their clients. Mayo was pessimistic about the market due to banks absorbing too much credit risk with their current loan portfolios. When CS merged with another investment bank, Mayo was fired. He eventually landed up at Prudential Securities to perform research. It was better as he could finally voice out his true opinions in the analyst reports without getting into trouble. At that time, his reports were heavily criticized by the top banks. Due to a change in business structure, he left Prudential. His next company would be Deutsche Bank. He did earn during the 2008 financial crisis by entering in a few short positions. This proved that some the previous reports issued were true.  Mayo didn’t have a good impression of Citibank at that time due to their performance during the financial crisis. There was excessive executive compensation for top management and greed was prevalent throughout the industry at that time. Mayo pushed for more disclosures, more regulation and for banks to have greater accountability after the 2008 subprime crisis.

2) ‘I don’t go to work each day or even each year consciously thinking about the grand purpose I serve. Like most people, I simply think about doing a good job. I still have major professional goals. But, mostly, I think I’ve learned that the work is its own reward. The meaning of life? For me, it’s getting up every morning, kissing my wife, hugging my kids, and heading off to work.’ Mike Mayo

3) Moral of the story: have convictions in whatever you do. Stand up and fight for what you believe it. Do not be so concerned about what others think of you. Do what you feel is right. Learn to love your job and be energetic and passionate about it. Develop your skillset by learning the necessary from your job.

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