Tuesday, September 29

Happy Birthday!

Katie turns another year - and bravo! Life is hard to find one's place and make a go of it.  And keep it interesting.  Her Op-Ed project effecting thousands of contributors and millions of readers.  

Last week I had dinner with Nick, who is now 64 and my first boss at "the mighty First Boston" as he likes to say. He founded First Boston's financial institutions group (or FIG) which became the firm's profit centre by the time I arrived - each of us producing several millions of fees per year and, from my perspective, all blood, sweat and tears.   Nick and I re-connect around his son (also named Nick) who is a writer for the New Yorker magazine covering mostly financial and business subjects.  I wrote to congratulate him and - bang! - Nick Sr on the phone. Nick one of the few remaining old-style bankers, putting his clients above all else and not driven by fast, easy gains like today's trading floor. Fuckers.  Nick was an unusual fellow even back in those 80s .. he was once told (or so rumour has it) not to roller-skate to work since "this unbecoming of a banker's profession."  He was one of the few guys who seemed to care about us Analysts and we all wanted to be assigned to his projects.  Nick left the clipper in late-1990, calling us into his office and noting "it's time to tell the kiddies" and so he went to JP Morgan to set up the Corsair funds, which today oversees billions.  I recall a discussion in 1990 - on 59th Street and Fifth in a black town car - as commercial banks like JPM granted limited regulatory permissions to be investment banks for the first time since '33.  "It is all over" he said gloomily. "this is the beginning of the end for all of us."

Nick and I swap memories of people, parties, deals and the last twenty years.  How unusual that I first met him when he my age now.  The last time together, I asked for  money for my non-profit Help The World See or '94.  Of all the things I have done, he exclaims, HTWS interesting:  "It is not easy to do things differently, and I am proud of anybody that does."