Monday, September 14, 2009

One Year Ago - September 15th, 2008 7:30pm

This time last year I was an equity analyst at Lehman Brothers. As the firm collapsed, I sent a series of notes to my friends and family with my take on the situation. To coincide with the anniversary, I have been publishing those observations here one year later. [Photo: "Lehman Brothers" stripped from a podium]
Tales From the Crypt II
Originally written Monday September 15th, 2008, 7:30pm
So here we are after a day of controlled turmoil in the markets and what is certainly a difficult period ahead. Thankfully things have been orderly but to my mind the real test comes if Lehman has to fire sale some of the mortgage assets it has that every other bank has but have not been able to place a value upon because these are assets that are frozen because no one really knows what they are worth.When I left Lehman at 4pm it was clear that pink slips had been issued to whole departments and divisions - but not ours (yet). The Crypt is full of rumors that Barclay's is interested again and even B of A is exploring some complicated three-way deal involving the best of Merrill and the best of Lehman, but nothing may come of this.I expect that I will quickly learn whether I have some sort of job and, more importantly, whether my contract will be honored. I'm "fine" in the worst case (i.e., unemployed and uninsured by Wednesday) but very fortunate in the latter case. As I read the internal announcements, the latter is not out of the question and the former seems quite harsh (I think there's some sort of severance even for new employees). It all depends on how quickly a deal can be signed and to what extent key people have already got offers. I got many headhunters calling today, but they are trolling for experienced research analysts and I am not that. On the plus side there appears to be demand for my experience and not many "me's" are going to be laid off from Lehman since I'm not a Wall Streeter, really.Plus I can collect unemployment for up to six months - about $1800/month it turns out - which seems pretty decent all things considered.I got an official email asking me to report to work tomorrow at 8 for business as usual. And that's what I'll be doing. I suspect the media will have moved on. :)

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