The Unseen Wall Street Of 1969-1975

Overview

From long, firsthand experience as president of his own financial advertising agency, Alec Benn offers a unique, inside look at America's investment community, at a time of changes so profound that their impact and implications are still with us. Based not on public relations handouts (although he himself has written them) but on frank, revealing talks with people who actually participated in the events of those tumultuous seven years, on official oral histories (hitherto concealed), and on his own keen ...

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Overview

From long, firsthand experience as president of his own financial advertising agency, Alec Benn offers a unique, inside look at America's investment community, at a time of changes so profound that their impact and implications are still with us. Based not on public relations handouts (although he himself has written them) but on frank, revealing talks with people who actually participated in the events of those tumultuous seven years, on official oral histories (hitherto concealed), and on his own keen observations, Benn shows how those events and changes really occurred. He reveals that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was in far greater peril of collapse in 1970 than anyone, except a few insiders, has ever known. He exposes how many of the most significant changes ever to affect investors really came about. And he provides new insights into the people who caused, influenced, or sometimes opposed the reforms we now take for granted, as well as into the impact of historical figures such as Richard Nixon and Ross Perot. Informative, entertaining, and impeccably researched and documented, Benn's book gives us new information to help evaluate the investment world of today, and to appreciate how dangerous it was at another time, a time that some say appears uncomfortably familiar.

Among the many topics Benn examines in depth is the creation of the Securities Investors Protection Corporation, the agency that insures against loss of the cash and securities left by investors in their brokers' hands. He shows how stock brokers' commissions came to be competitive and low, instead of fixed and high (a special benefit for today's day traders), and how members of the New York Stock Exchange became able to sell shares in their firms to the general public, opening a bountiful source of permanent capital. He goes on to cover the creation of the Central Certificate System, which led to a dramatic increase in trading volume later, and how the NYSE was reorganized, benefiting not only members but investors as well. Benn also explores how NYSE member firms became authorized to sell annuities and other insurance products, in itself a billion-dollar business. Finally, in an especially telling chapter, he discusses how and why discrimination on Wall Street based on class, religion, race, and gender declined (and by inference, why in some places it still lingers.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567205930
  • Publisher: ABC-Clio, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

ALEC BENN, now retired, was president of Benn & McDonough, Inc., an advertising and public relations agency in New York City serving the financial and investment communities.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Some of the People of Historical Importance Who Appear in this book
1 How Members of The New York Stock Exchange Gained the Right to Sell Shares in Their Firms to the General Public Despite the Opposition of a Majority of the Members 1
2 How the Central Certificate System Was Introduced and Other Early Bumbling with Computers 10
3 The Hair-Raising Way Brokerage Accounts Came to Be Insured 23
4 The Desirability of Permanent Capital 42
5 Negotiating a Merger 48
6 Obstacles to the Merger 60
7 How and Why Ross Perot Saved The New York Stock Exchange from Possible Collapse 69
8 How The New York Stock Exchange Came Closer - Much, Much Closer - to Collapse the Second Time 74
9 How a Giant Investment Firm Very Nearly Went Bankrupt in 1971, Potentially Causing Investors to Lose Millions of Dollars Despite the Existence of the Securities Investors Protection Corporation 92
10 The Importance of Management Style 103
11 The Reality of U.S. Government Employment 112
12 How the U.S. Government Has Tried to Prevent Insider Trading - And Why It Has Failed 116
13 The Twists and Turns toward the Reorganization of The New York Stock Exchange 124
14 How NYSE Commissions, Traditionally Fixed and High, Became Competitive and Low, Despite the Opposition of Most Members of The New York Stock Exchange 133
15 An Unintended Consequence of the Imposition of Competitive Commission Rates: A Boom in Soft Dollars 138
16 How a Defiant Stockbroker Virtually Single-Handedly Enabled All Members of The New York Stock Exchange to Sell Annuities 141
17 The Biggest Stock Fraud in the District Attorney's Memory 144
18 A Cliff-Hanging Merger Meeting 151
19 Deja Vu 158
20 How and Why Discrimination Based on Class and Religion Declined on Wall Street 162
21 The Different Reasons for the Decline in Racial and Gender Discrimination on Wall Street 169
22 Significance 176
23 Aftermath: The Perils of Partnerships 181
Appendix 183
Notes 191
Selected Bibliography 209
Index 211
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