Back when Google filed to go public in 2004, a bunch of investment banks came sniffing around Google looking to "help" all the newly minted millionaires. Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS, all the top tier brand names. And thanks to Eliot Spitzer (with some help from Jonathan Rosenberg), I didn't fall for their pitch.

Before he was governor, Spitzer was the attorney general for the state of New York. And he made it his business to ferret out corruption and double dealing in Wall Street investment banks. Thanks to Spitzer we learned in 2002 that the top investment banks were selling their retail clients securities that they knew were garbage but needed to sell from their investment arm. Nice bit of double dealing. And we learned in 2003 about "market timing", a coy word for the simple fraud of letting privileged customers buy securities at below market prices. He also uncovered the scandal around Dick Grasso; the guy in charge of regulating the NYSE who was getting paid the outrageous sum of $140 million dollars by the people he was supposed to be regulating. The same Grasso who'd failed in oversight on double dealing and market timing.

A lot of people hate Spitzer. Wall Street is glad to see him go, for obvious reasons. And from what I've read he wasn't particularly popular with anyone, you hear words like "abusive" and "arrogant". He's a fucking idiot for hiring prostitutes and the fact he's throwing around $80,000 or more on hookers raises troubling ethics questions.

But I'm still thankful to Spitzer for the work he did as attorney general. I found a way to handle my own investments that doesn't involve getting advice from crooked investment banks and am much better off for it.

  2008-03-13 15:54 Z