Saturday, April 7, 2012

D.C. Bee Friends

WSJ highlighted UBS CEO Robert Wolf's friendship with President Obama.  The piece closed with a quote from Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein::

To some financial clients, the (Obama) friendship is a plus. David Rubenstein, a UBS client who worked in the Carter administration before going into private equity and founding Carlyle Group, says, "It's always nice to talk to someone about what people in the White House are thinking. But Robert also has a good feel for what firms are doing and thinking. If a Republican were president, I don't think his business would suffer."
Rubenstein likely has carte blanche access to the White House.  Early in the Obama Presidency David Rubenstein was a frequent visitor. Rubenstein dined with Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.  I imagine Rubenstein's loaning his copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to the Oval Office helped maintain his access.

Rubenstein kindly offered a UBS endorsement, given his multibillionaire status.  I bet that made UBS Wealth Management Americas happy

Senator Phil Gramm, the man who deregulated finance in the late 1990's alongside President Bill Clinton, served as Vice Chairman of UBS.  Here's how UBS spun Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

As Chairman of the Banking Committee, Senator Gramm steered through legislation modernizing the nation's banking, insurance and securities laws.
Gramm and Clinton's modernizing led to private equity's explosive growth.  It also resulted in a postmodern financial implosion.  Phil Gramm stepped down as Vice Chair of UBS in February 2012.  He'll now serve as a consultant to the firm.

Obama just signed the JOBS Act, which creates a new market for UBS and Wall Street, crowdfunding and easier equity raising.  In a Gramm-Clinton like manner, the bill's provisions could lay the foundation for the next financial crisis.  Will it happen in less than a decade?

Where will Phil Gramm be, should it hit?

Gramm added:  “I will be working in a few targeted areas for the bank next year and hope to find some noble work yet to be done before I settle into my rocking chair on the front porch of Goat Cave Ranch."
Rather than highlight Gramm's role in the near collapse of the global financial system, Robert Wolf offered:

Wolf said: “Over the years, Phil has become a great friend to me and other senior leaders at UBS. His humor, candor and keen insight will be sorely missed at our firm and in Washington. We all wish Phil our best and thank him for his years of dedicated, hardworking service to UBS.”

Gramm, Wolf, Obama, all good friends.  That's the way the Government Corporate Monstrosity works.  Sure it gets heated when the Reds and Blues compete for the right to send billions to their friends, but once the election is over, the GCM hums.  There's honey to raid.

Update 6-30-12:  The Motley Fool cited the JOBS Act's fraud potential, calling it a Pandora's Box.  .