Reform won't kill Wall Street

by Andy Serwer, managing editor

(Fortune) -- Observations, questions, and commentary on today's business news headlines:

  • Financial Reform: Okay, so here we go. One point worth making is that the notion that this reform will "kill" Wall Street is ludicrous. A Wall Street Journal story noted that some analysts are estimating that "it could cut the profits of major financial institutions by roughly 20%." Well, that's until the firms come up with new lines of business or figure out a way around the regs. On the other hand, I do think the famous line Ken Lewis uttered as CEO of Bank of America in the teeth of the financial crisis in 2008 about "...the end of the golden age of investment banking" is also probably true. These guys just won't be -- can't be -- as unfettered as they were before.
  • Markets: Sloppy and choppy these days, right? Bottom line is that traders are nervous that Europe's troubles will slow, disrupt, or even reverse the global recovery. China isn't looking as appealing as it was three months ago either. Throw in Thailand, and no wonder fear is the emotion of the moment. You get Nomura, for instance, saying that the Fed now won't raise rates until June 2011, not March 2011. If the Dow falls down toward 8500 again, watch out for the double dip. But you knew that.
  • I gave a speech to the Judicial Conference for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday in Washington. Had lunch with Chief Judge Paul Michel and Chief Justice John Roberts. The Chief was very cordial, busy. (More on this later.) Justice Roberts gave a talk in which he praised Judge Michel, who is stepping down next month. Speaking of next month, here's an excerpt from my speech: "Remember we are now coming up on the third anniversary of the commencement of the global financial crisis, which sadly enough has not abated. Although there certainly were warning signs earlier and, by the way, warning stories before -- and I take umbrage at those who say the media gave no warning of the impending crisis; all major news organizations did warning stories but were little heeded since there was much money to be made at that point. In any event, it was June 2007, you will recall, when those two Bear Stearns hedge funds blew up. I think one could see pretty clearly then that we were heading into some sort of thick soup ... the only question was how deep would the tureen be? So we really have been in crisis mode -- in our own journalistic way -- to one degree or another for nearly three years straight, with ultra-high-burner periods like September 2008, Madoff, and March 2009, and with all sorts of medium-burner events sprinkled in between, including most recently the FAST Crash two weeks ago and the ever-unfolding euro crisis."
  • Endnotes: Didn't you love seeing Jeff Katzenberg sitting next to Tom Cruise at the Lakers game at Staples the other night? I e-mailed him to ask if he was having a good time. His reply: "Yahhhh baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  •  To top of page