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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Plain-talking bank chief points finger at greedy
By Hal Weitzman in Chicago

Paul Purcell, the chairman, president and chief executive of RW Baird, the middle-market investment bank, is famous in the financial industry for having a "no asshole" rule.

This, he explains, refers to "anyone who puts themselves ahead of the client or ahead of the firm". Mr Purcell welcomes each new employee by telling them he will not tolerate such behaviour.

"In a polluted work environment - and this is especially true on Wall Street - people end up spending 25-30 per cent of their time positioning internally to make more money," he says. "So when you get rid of those people, everyone else focuses on being more productive."

Mr Purcell is quite specific about who caused the downturn. "It's all about the greed of fixed-income people," he says. "Go back and look at the history of Wall Street - Drexel Burnham, Salomon Brothers, Kidder Peabody, Bear Stearns, Long-Term Capital Management, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch - the fixed-income guys blow up every firm." So true so true..

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