Before Curt Welling became a senior fellow at the Tuck School of Business and CEO of the non-profit AmeriCares, he spent decades as an investment banker on Wall Street. Naturally, he has some thoughts on bank regulation, the financial crisis, and greediness on the Street.
Welling, who worked at First Boston, Bear Stearns, and eventually as CEO of SG Cowen, laid out those thoughts in an interview with OneWire‘s Skiddy von Stade.
“You had people on Wall Street who were smarter and much more numerous than anybody regulating them,” he said of the years leading up to the financial crisis. “That’s a bad system, so that system has to be dealt with.”
As for whether or not Wall Street, and Americans, are becoming greedier, he said, “there has certainly been a rise in the social permission to indulge in self-interest, particularly in the United States.”
But when it comes to doling out blame for the financial crisis, Welling thinks the government deserves “at least a significant amount” of responsibility because of the poor quality of regulation that existed.
“The marketplace behaves the way the marketplace behaves,” he said.
“Capital markets are essentially morally agnostic; it’s the actors who are playing and the size of the playing field and the rules that shape the play that determine what’s permissible and what’s not.”