Jack Grubman earned $20 million per year as a sell-side telecommunications analyst at Salomon Smith Barney, but was from the outset prized by the firm for his ability to generate huge investment-banking business for the company. He resigned yesterday amid regulatory questions as to whether his calls were designed to provide retail investors information or to attract the big bucks from corporate transactions.
His letter of resignation included the regret that he "failed to predict" the collapse of the telecommunications sector, including companies that he held as "strong buys" all the way down to bankruptcy, such as WorldCom and Global Crossing. If he was actually paid those enormous sums for his analytical chops, Salomon hardly got its money's worth.
Grubman came to Salomon from AT&T
Given this kind of access, is there any wonder that he had no incentive to rock the boat with, say, actual research? He was paid far too well to be a "pawn," but he will go down as the poster boy of a hopelessly corrupt Wall Street analyst. His willingness to sell the retail investor up the river in order to keep investment banking deals coming to Salomon meant his services were valued by his company. It barely seemed to matter to Salomon Smith Barney that one of its analysts put misleading and inaccurate documents in the hands of its retail investors -- its own customers.
Frankly, I hope Grubman tips well at restaurants, because those are the very kinds of people he deceived for his money.