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One Year Later: An Insider's View of Lehman's Collapse

With the one-year anniversary of the firm's fall on Sep. 15, 2008 approaching, former Lehman Brothers bond trader, Lawrence MacDonald, offers his take on why the firm should not have collapsed.

A former Lehman Brothers bond trader, Lawrence MacDonald, offers his take on why the firm should not have collapsed, in a story posted on Yahoo's news site.With the one-year anniversary of the firm's fall on Sep. 15, 2008 approaching, MacDonald, described as one of Lehman's most profitable bond traders, blames CEO Richard Fuld and president Joe Gregory (and the board) for not heeding warnings in 2005 that the property market was on the verge of collapse.

"It was 24,992 people making money and eight guys losing it," said the man who rose from a humble pork chop salesman to top-notch Wall Street trader -- once his team made 250 million dollars in a single day," MacDonald told News Agency AFP.

According to the article, Lehman was heavily leveraged at the top of the market in 2007 -- its net tangible equity was $17 billion but its total investment was $750 billion -- a good chunk of it in mortgage-backed securities that turned "toxic."

Decisions were made on the 31st floor and MacDonald said he had no access to management there. To speak up, would have been suicide, MacDonald told the AFP reporter, though he did talk to his immediate bosses.

McDonald is now managing director of Pangea Capital Management and has co-authored a top-selling book, "A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Incredible Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers." The book was published in July.

The book, published in July points the finger of blame at Fuld and his board, accusing them of taking dangerous risks in pursuit of short-term profits.With the one-year anniversary of the firm's fall on Sep. 15, 2008 approaching, former Lehman Brothers bond trader, Lawrence MacDonald, offers his take on why the firm should not have collapsed. Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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