Meredith Whitney is so 2010. Alexandra Lebenthal – she’s the face of muni bonds for 2011.Yesterday Lebenthal appeared on CNBC, where she told Meredith Whitney to stick to banks and leave the muni bond market to the experts.
Lebenthal is fed up with Whitney’s gloomy predictions of a wave of defaults by states, cities and other other borrowers.
Because bond holders “have long enjoyed strong protection in the courts… [and] come first in line ahead of police, fire, trash collection and other obligations,” mass defaults are unlikely Lebenthal argues.
But apart from being a finance whiz and top female Wall Streeter, Lebenthal also has a pretty sweet life…
Her father Jim Lebenthal 'is to municipal bonds as Donald Trump is to real estate and Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani to fashion, only with a great sense of humour.' And she became president of his company at only 31 years old!
Lebenthal graduated from Princeton in '86, with an A.B. in history, and also had time there to fall in love with her future husband Jay Diamond.
And after she graduated, she discussed her college paper on the SEC with former SEC Chair Athur Levitt
Lebenthal has kept a copy of one of her junior papers about the SEC, which she later told former SEC chair Arthur Levitt. That's pretty cool; most of us don't get to talk about our college essay on a major insitution to that institution's chief.
Lebenthal rose quickly to become a star on Wall Street, and now sits on a ton of boards in the arts and business
She was named one of New York's 100 most influential women by Crain's New York Business and one of the top 50 Women in Wealth Management. She's a board member of The School of American Ballet; a former board member of The Bond Market Association and The Securities Industry Association; she's a member of The Committee of 200, a leading organisation for female businesswomen.
'If I have a meeting where it's going to be mostly with older men, and maybe there's a little exclamation factor where I'm going to have to negotiate, I'll wear a big choker, a bigger cuff, like Wonder Woman … I use my jewelry as armour,' Lebenthal has said.
And as she set to rebuilding the family business as the economy collapsed, she even managed to squeeze in writing a novel about the financial collapse
She has three children and her daughter is already modelling but is getting an education on saving and philanthropy in the process
'I like having nice things, but I'm a saver,' Lebenthal told New York Social Diary, 'Charlotte actually models and with the money she earns from her job, she can spend a third, she has to save a third and she has to give away a third.'
And her days consist of morning exercise, followed by lunches at Barneys, parties downtown and dinners at the Four Seasons
If you read through Lebenthal's twitter pages, it's clear the lady works hard but also plays hard. In some very high-class establishments too...