It’s hard to believe it’s only been one year since Bear Stearns went down. Back then the Dow Jones industrial average was at 12,145, Hank Paulson was warning about the moral hazard from bailouts, the chief executives of all our banks were certain that the market was underestimating their financial health, and there were rumours that the market was being manipulated by short-sellers.
The collapse of Bear Stearns didn’t change all of that. It would take several more months, the collapse of Fannie, Freddie, Lehman and Merrill to make the world wake up to the devastation that the banks brought down upon themselves through derivatives and housing bets.
But that explosive weekend last March, when the Federal Reserve arranged for Bear Stearns to be rescued by JP Morgan at just $2 a share, will forever stand as a marker for the beginning of the collapse. We all know this story all too well.
A less-known story is what happened to all those Bear Stearns’s employees. Many wound up at J.P. Morgan. Others have left finance all together. Some are still collecting unemployment. Dow Jones’s Financial News recently reported that three-quarters of Bear’s most senior bankers left the bank since the acquisition one year ago this week. Of the top 50 executives, only 13 remain at J.P. Morgan.
CNBC has a rundown of the where nine of the top executives landed. Jimmy Cayne is playing bridge. Alan Schwartz is an outside adviser at Rothschild. Warren Spector still seems to be out of a job. You can read the fates of other top executives here.
But what about the rank and file? Wall Street Journal reporters Mary Pilon, Kate Kelly and Robin Sidel tracked down a host of the lesser lights of Bear Stearns. They’ve landed a variety of jobs, including one guy who is doing mortgage sales for Citigroup in Dallas (which sounds like a joke from a Michael Lewis book). It’s a great read about what happens after the smoke has cleared.
If you worked at Bear Stearns or have friends who did, let us know what’s happened in the past year. Send us an email: [email protected]