We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.
— Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
My addled synapses immediately flipped back to Monty Python in reading the transcript for the Morgan Stanley subprime conference call today. First, however, the jaw-drop moment from CFO Colm Kelleher in explaining the firm’s $3.7-billion writedown:
"These exposures did not come out of our client-facing activities, these were a proprietary position we put on. As markets continued to decline our risk exposure swung from short, to flat to long."
Whoa, $3.7-billion in subprime damage via the proprietary desk. Color me impressed.
And what happened to those involved? Pace Python Holy Grail, a spokesthingie for Morgan Stanley told Bloomberg, "The people responsible for the losses no longer work at the firm". Isn’t it almost time someone sacked the people in charge of sacking?