Thursday, June 25, 2009
Reports are circulating of an effort now underway by a none-to-happy crowd of movers and shakers on Wall Street who are now doing something about their growing image problem.
It seems that dashing the dreams of millions of retail and real estate investors over the last few years who, someday, planned to live off of their steadily rising assets wasn't the best gambit for investment companies and big banks, public relations-wise.
After dutifully following the investment advice coming out of New York, the masses are now afraid to turn on CNBC and even more fearful of what their financial futures hold.
Of course, seeing a return to "business as usual" in some parts of Wall Street will probably thwart their effort to thwart this "populist backlash", but their chances of achieving success are quite good, given their track record.
After all, they've been largely successful in getting millions of Americans to continue buying stocks a full nine years into a bear market.
Bloomberg has the details in this report:
Wall Street’s largest trade group has started a campaign to counter the “populist” backlash against bankers, enlisting two former aides to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to spearhead the effort.Internal papers recommend using local investment companies, largely untainted by last year's financial market meltdown, to get the word out to both the public and to elected officials.
In memos of confidential meetings with top financial executives, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association said it began this month the “execution phase” of the operation, which pledges to “embrace change” and accountability. The plan targets policy makers and the media in New York, London, Washington and Brussels and calls for a “city-by-city, grass roots” approach.
The securities industry “must be perceived as part of the solution, which will allow it to better defend against populist overreaction,” the documents, prepared for a June 17 meeting of SIFMA’s board, said.
The board meeting minutes and staff-written papers, obtained by Bloomberg News, outline the program crafted by polling, lobbying and public relations companies paid at least $85,000 a month. The memos provide a glimpse, in often candid language, into how Wall Street is grappling with its pariah status.
“It is imperative that in this historic period of reform, the industry be recognized as playing a positive role in seeking change and providing solutions to the problems we face,” one of the documents said. “There is currently widespread skepticism about the industry’s commitment to this needed change.”
Is it just me, or has the business model gap between the investment business and the real estate business just narrowed significantly?