Wall Street Versus America : A Muckraking Look at the Thieves, Fakers, and Charlatans Who Are Ripping You Off
Gary Weiss, one of the business world's most dogged investigative reporters, has written the definitive book about the dark side of Wall Street--not just a few bad apples, but the whole rotten barrel.
This is the outrageous, riveting, darkly funny story of what really happens in every corner of the financial system: from Internet tip sites and boiler rooms, to fee-happy mutual funds and hedge funds, to the bluest of blue-chip securities firms. With vivid anecdotes and character studies, Wall Street Versus America will show you how investors are consistently victimized--while sleepy regulators, biased arbitrators, and the media all look the other way.
You'll learn, for instance, how respectable institutions such as Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley push the ethical envelope, and how Washington, under both Democrats and Republicans, simply has not kept up with innovations in Wall Street greed.
Never mind Enron--corruption, fraud and towering incompetence are Wall Street's daily bread and butter, insists this lively j'accuse. Ex-BusinessWeek reporter Weiss (Born to Steal: When the Mafia Hit Wall Street) details the myriad ways the financial industry preys on small investors. Scraping the bottom are the boiler-room operators who peddle worthless microcap stocks over the phone and the "paid research" outfits hired by companies to tout their stocks under the guise of independent analysis. But the author finds plenty of chicanery at the pinnacle of Wall Street probity, blue-chip mutual funds, which, he contends, charge exorbitant fees and pay kickbacks to brokers to steer customers their way--while yielding a markedly worse return than market indexes. He also pillories the industry's toothless watchdogs--the New York Stock Exchange, a business media addicted to hype and puffery, and a do-nothing Securities and Exchange Commission. (Weiss's savaging of oft-lionized ex-SEC chairman Arthur Levitt is particularly vicious and funny.) The author sometimes meanders, and his cures for the rot--empowered short-selling and investor grousing on the Internet--seem pretty feeble. But Weiss's wise-guy attitude and muckraking chops make for a devastating broadside. (Apr. 6)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 29, 2007
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