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Hats Off to Paul “Spider” Scialla

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 20, 2013 7:57 AM |

Goldman Sachs Partners Scialla Twins Leave for Home-Design Firm I would like to take a break from my regular writing on the twists and turns of our economic landscape to pay tribute to a young man with whom I had the good fortune of working at Union Bank of Switzerland back in the late ’90s.

Yesterday, while making my regular visits to various financial sites, I did a double take when I saw a photo on Bloomberg of a man with piercing eyes. Without initially seeing the caption connected to the photo, I immediately thought “I know that face.” 

To my pleasant surprise, I scrolled down to the photo and the story attached to see that the man was none other than a junior trader with whom I had worked named Paul Scialla (on the left in the photo above with his twin brother Peter).

I smiled and was quite pleased to read the story.

Paul Scialla, or as we called him, “Spider,” possessed instincts even back then as a young man in his early twenties that made it obvious to me that he would be a very successful Wall Street trader. Spider got along with everybody. He was a sponge in terms of absorbing information and learning about risk. He was not easily rattled, even when absorbing the daily ritual of good-natured but at times abrasive bantering directed his way by some of our traders and salesmen.

It was at UBS that I first heard the phrase of people “being thrown under the bus.” Shortly thereafter, I scratched my head when hearing a salesman inform me that he viewed the UBS motto as “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” I knew I had work to do in growing our biz there. While laughing on one hand, I also knew phrases like these were an indication of a challenging culture within that organization. I did not know whether to laugh or cry when a senior trader informed me, “LD, you think this is bad? This is ‘the best’ shop I have ever worked at.”

My stay at UBS was relatively short-lived as the takeover of the firm by Swiss Bank in 1998 brought about the demise of our trading business. Such is life on Wall Street. That said, the demise of our biz was actually not a bad thing for Paul Scialla as he quickly landed at Morgan Stanley where he made a name for himself as an outstanding trader. A few short years after that, he moved to Goldman Sachs and developed a reputation as one of the top mortgage traders on Wall Street. I could not have been more pleased.

I write about Paul today and congratulate him as he and his twin brother and partners take their entrepreneurial spirit away from Wall Street as the founders of a business to promote wellness within the residential, hotel, and office space industry. I wish them well.

I know it is easy to vilify Wall Street at large and Goldman Sachs specifically for an array of shortcomings. That said, I maintain that Wall Street is filled with endless numbers of truly good people with exceptional talents. Paul Scialla is one of them.

Hats off to “Spider.”

Larry Doyle

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I have no business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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