Monday, January 19, 2015

Robert Albertson, one of the last standing outspoken bank analysts, speaks out

On today there is an article, "Large U.S. Banks Are Too Small:  Robert Albertson", that is interesting here.  Robert was one of my friends in business for many years.  While his demeanor is a bit off putting or intimidating to some(not me at all), he is one of the last really intelligent and outspoken bank analysts still standing who is not afraid to be interesting and not looking for a one off attention builder.  Most people in the business already know him or know of him.

He worked for Goldman Sachs for many years, then ran a small hedge fund that specialized in bank stocks, and after the 9/11 attacks he joined Sandler O'Neill(a modest sized financial services research, trading, and advisory house) which was decimated (building 2, a floor in the eighties), to participate in their rebuilding process.  Robert no longer follows individual financial services stocks and his role is Chief Strategist.

I enjoy hearing someone who has real opinions and happen to agree completely with some of what he says, understand sympathetically most of what he says, but disagree with his wholesale condemnation of the flawed Dodd Frank bill.  Dodd Frank is damaging in many ways just because of its complexity(community banks and small regional banks are especially burdened by legal and accounting expenses) and because of its overreach, as an example one could look at its draconian regulations on individuals doing business as expats, something that big corporations can expensively afford to maneuver but are incredibly burdensome to entrepreneurs and small businesses.  That said, directionally speaking, better consumer protection regulation and limitations on unhedged speculative trading by FDIC insured banks are rational and needed pursuits, even if there is some overreach there as well.

What Albertson says overall will be viewed negatively by many in the political arena, especially as the Democratic left and the tea party Republicans meld on some financial services issues, in their perhaps well meaning lack of knowledge, their intransigence, and self dealing.  That's of course an opinion here, and others would see Robert's remarks and perhaps what is said here as heresy.  There are intelligent differing opinions of course, but they are hard to find in Congress.

I hope that any reader who wants to do so can find this article today, as an automatic link wouldn't work here and the link coding was miles long.  A link did work on my Facebook page but that page is not widely known, on purpose.  A search for Robert Albertson on the Bloomberg page brings this up even if is not on the home page.


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