They all wanted to be like Mike (remember the Michael Jordan commercials from yesteryear?)
In this case, they were every Wall Street firm. And Mike was Goldman Sachs. There was this envy of by every Wall Street firm to be as successful as the secretive Goldman Sachs. It was strong in equities, bonds, investment banking. And so, when Stan O’Neal took control of Merrill Lynch, the idea was that he wanted to compete with the likes of Goldman. More risk was taken on, a big cultural shift was underway. In one year, Merrill went from a firm with 45 billion to $6 billion exposure in subprime mortgages to one with $55 billion. It went overboard with collateralized debt obligations.