It was just about twelve years ago that I began my career in the investment industry at Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. At the time, Bear was a behemoth in the industry, doing more business on the New York Stock Exchange than any other firm in the world. As a kid fresh out of college aspiring to an investment career, I was in awe and felt very fortunate for the opportunity to be a part of such a prominent Wall Street icon.
During my short tenure at Bear (I stayed less than a full year) I was fortunate enough to make a trip back east to the company’s headquarters in New York. I saw the company’s main trading desk where the now-former chairman and Wall Street legend, Alan “Ace” Greenberg, still works today (as part of JP Morgan). I took a tour of the New York Stock Exchange with one of Bear’s top floor traders and witnessed the business of Wall Street first-hand. All in all, my experience at Bear was a great introduction to the industry.
Obviously, back then I never would have dreamed that Bear would eventually be wiped out, seemingly overnight, by what essentially amounted to a run on the bank. Above is a copy of the first trading ticket I ran at Bear (sell 50 shares of MRK at the market). I keep it because it reminds me of the feelings of opportunity and excitement that inspired me to pursue an investment career in the first place. And I won’t forget them.