Summary of When Bankers Started Playing With Other People’s Money

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Wall Street was once a bastion of fiscal prudence, collaborative decision making and personal accountability. That centuries-old culture changed in the space of two decades. By the late 1980s, Wall Street had earned a reputation as a “casino” in which brash traders could win outsize rewards for gambling with other people’s money. Author William D. Cohan, a former investment banker and author of Why Wall Street Matters and House of Cards, outlines how one New York Stock Exchange member’s 1969 filing for an initial public offering drove rule changes that revolutionized the way Wall Street conducts business. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in how Wall Street became what it is today.

About the Author

Former investment banker William D. Cohan is the author of Money and Power, House of Cards, The Last Tycoons and Why Wall Street Matters.



On May 22, 1969, the principals of investment banking and brokerage firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) filed for an initial public offering (IPO) designed to raise much-needed capital and bestow competitive advantages. However, DLJ was a member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and the IPO violated the exchange’s centuries-old rule against membership for publicly held corporations, a stipulation that allowed the NYSE to sign off on every single stockholder of its member firms.

DLJ’s principals knew their...

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