Monday, March 29, 2010

How Wall Street looked to a high school student in the 1980s

There are many visions of Wall Street. Over the years and much has changed. Let me take you down memory lane just a little bit. For some this tour may be unclear, for some it may be a little clear and for others it may be crystal clear. Back in the 1980’s I started my journey on Wall Street.

I was a senior in high school at Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, N.Y., and had joined a Co-Operative education program (Co-Op). I’m not sure how many of these exist today. I had the opportunity to work one full week with pay and then go to school the following week. A high school student stepping on to Wall Street for the first time was an experience like no other.

The first adjustment to the adult world was being told that I could address the adults by first name as opposed to “Mr” or “Mrs” or “Ms.” As I did with my High School teachers. I was very fortunate to work for a well-established firm called, The Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. As it is today, it was then that the firms wanted to ensure that students experiencing the firm for the first time got very familiar with the industry and the firm. Training back then, involved visiting a room where you were equipped with a cassette tape player, cassettes, booklets and headphones. I remember hearing words like “manifold” referring to trading tickets. You don’t here that too often now if at all. The training tapes gave information about the various departments and the company itself.

I did not feel completely out of place as I also found number of other High School Co-Op students working in my same section at the company. I handled the “manifold” tickets relative to trades that had been entered. I worked in the section called “Ticket Check Off”. The Department was called Government Bond. Here I saw trade tickets relative to what I would soon learn were Fixed Income trades such as Treasuries as well as Money Market Instruments such as Certificates of Deposit and Bankers Acceptances.

As I reflect back now what was most interesting was that that I not only got to “see” the manifold tickets relative to these instruments I also got to see the instruments themselves. This was the 1980’s and many of the instruments of the day were in physical form. I got to see US Treasury Notes with the interest payment “coupons attached”. We would attached a one copy of a multi-ply manifold ticket to the Treasury by using what then a “T-Pin” which I have not seen in ages. I was informed one day I would be delivering some Treasuries to the Federal Reserve Bank down the street (we were located on Broad Street across from the NY Stock Exchange). We had an armed Security Guard Accompany us. I later realized that as many of the instruments of the day were in “bearer” form they could literally be cashed by whoever said it was theirs.

Working in Government Bond was an excellent learning experience. I got involved with the daily proof and reconciliation. We reconciled with a group of individuals that were enclosed behind a window called “The Cage”. We ran a calculation tapes on huge calculators that took up most of a desk and used two copy calculator tape (on copy being a carbon copy). We would balance the general ledger tickets that had passed throughout the day.

There were no personal computers as we know them today. For me as a High Schooler, my taste of the Internet was during my "school week" I was able to go into a High School Room and dial-up an on line services. I would need to dial the number on the telephone and then put down the handset on some acoustic couplers (shaped like the phone mouth and ear piece) that was attached to a printing (not display) terminal. The Session information would print out on the long printer as opposed to on a display system. News and other other information would print out. That was it for the "The Net" in those days! Read more on the Technology of those days on my latest Blog.

As with most High School Students of the day, the highlight was lunch time. Most interesting enough lunch was free. Not only that, on those occasions when we had to work late we also got free dinner via a “supper pass”. For me the work, the experience and the food, was the life!

More Information:

Organizations helping Youth in Financial Services and Information Technology at the High School and College Level in New York (Local Chapters have links to their respective National Offices):

Urban Financial Services Coalition New York Chapter

BDPA Information Technology Thought Leaders New York Chapter

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Davis Guggenheim and Leslie Chilcott: Straight From Sundance: Waiting for Superman Clip

Documentary Director Davis Guggenheim and Producer Leslie Chilcott sat down with at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to talk about their latest film "Waiting for Superman"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Authors@Google: David Wessel - "In Fed We Trust"

David Wessel visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to present his book "In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic". This event took place on September 23, 2009, as part of the Authors@Google series.

For more than twenty years David Wessel has been The Wall Street Journals insider at the Federal Reserve, the ultimate protector of the financial system on which the entire economy relies. With continual access to its chairmen, governors, policy makers, and staffers, Wessel has an insiders view of the biggest ongoing story of our time. IN FED WE TRUST: Ben Bernankes War on the Great Panic is Wessels authoritative and penetrating account of what Fed chairman Bernanke and his team knew (and when), what took them by surprise, what they were thinking at critical moments as they labored to prevent economic calamity, and more.

Race and the Subprime Crisis: The Future of Minority Neighborhoods

Some critics blame the Community Reinvestment Act for the mortgage meltdown that prompted the current deep recession. Others point to the abuses of subprime lending and Wall Street manipulation. Yet questions about the impact of the economic collapse on African American communities—and about the future of neighborhood stability, consumer access to credit, and the role of race in public policy—remain unanswered. As the federal government acts to reverse the economy's decline, what have we learned, and what does the future hold?

These are some of the issues that will be covered in the Milano and the Center for New York City Affairs 2009 Nathan W. Levin Lecture.

Featuring a keynote by Hon. Maxine Waters, U.S. Representative (D-Calif.)

And a discussion with: James Carr, COO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
Sarah Ludwig, Executive Director, NEDAP.
Louis Prezeau, President & CEO, City National Bank.

Moderated by: Darrick Hamilton, Assistant Professor, Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy.

Established in 1989 in honor of the late Nathan Levin, a trustee and acting president of The New School, the Levin Lecture explores the issues of race, poverty, and public policy.

This event is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Holman's World PowerPoint on Web Hosting Services

Holman's World PowerPoint on Web Hosting Services

My Powerpoint Presentation on Banking Convergence - Domestic and Global Systems

My Powerpoint Presentation on Banking Convergence - Domestic and Global Systems presented at the National BDPA Information Technology Thought Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. August 2000

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chris Gardner at the Berkeley 2009 Commencement Convocation

Chris Gardner, the self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist whose homelessness-to-riches story inspired the 2006 autobiography and feature film, "The Pursuit of Happyness," delivers the keynote address at this spring's Commencement Convocation, an annual event honoring all graduating seniors.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why They're Billionaires, and You're Not

Why They're Billionaires, and You're Not

Posted using ShareThis

Two reports came out this week: Forbes' annual World's Billionaires list, and the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds, which tracks average household net worths. Compare the two, and you get a nice snapshot of how billionaires fared in 2009 versus us mere mortals. Click on the Title or Original Post to read more

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Video Explanation of Subprime

Subprime from Marketplace on Vimeo.

The Federal Housing Administration is being criticized for underwriting subprime loans, which critics say could lead to another wave of loan failures. Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch explains subprime lending and its inherent risks.

A Video Explanation of Repo 105

Repo 105 from Marketplace on Vimeo.

For one of the clearest explainations of how exactly the aggressive bookkeeping technique worked, watch the video above from Marketplace senior editor Paddy Hirsch.