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Bear Stearns: R.I.P

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 8, 2010 12:09 PM |

As of today, Bear Stearns is no longer.

What? I bet you’re thinking Bear was taken over by JP Morgan in spring 2008 and ceased to exist when the takeover was approved a few months later. You’d be right. I am right also.  How so?

As with many mergers and takeovers, the name of the acquired firm continues to be utilized within certain divisions. That is exactly the case with Bear Stearns, as those two storied names continued to be utilized in the Private Client Services unit at JP Morgan. Until today.

In the annals of Wall Street history, Bear Stearns will mostly be known for its unceremonious demise. That said, the arrogance of Bear’s last CEO, Jimmy Cayne, runs counter to the longstanding philanthropic nature of this once proud firm.  While Wall Street in general and Bear in particular are easily vilified, few people know and appreciate that the Senior Managing Directors at Bear donated 4% of pre-tax income each and every year. What other firms have senior managers (totaling approximately 250 individuals) committing what amounts to 8% of after-tax income to charity?

Those to whom much is given, much is expected.

While the Bear Stearns name is no longer as of today, many individuals who worked at Bear over the years have made a profoundly positive impact on their communities and the world at large.

For those who would like to take a walk back in time and get a taste of the charity and philanthropy promoted by Bear legends Ace Greenberg and John Slade, I submit an October 2008 editorial, “The Long, Illustrious (Jewish) History of Bear Stearns,” by Rick Greenfield of the Jewish Ledger.


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