A Bear executive's Wall Street comeback

Posted by: Ben Steverman on June 30, 2008

By Matthew Goldstein

Former Bear Stearns executive Richard Marin certainly knows a thing or two about hedge fund failures. Marin was the chairman of Bear Stearns Asset Management when the division’s two big hedge funds imploded last summer, an event that led to the recent indictment of former Bear executives Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin. Now he’s returning to Wall Street with a new business venture that’s helping hedge fund managers share information about managing risk.

Marin recently launched Pointwalk Solutions Network, a New York-based company that “creates and manages networks of senior executives in the financial services space.” One of Pointwalk’s first initiatives is a networking group for hedge fund chief operating officers. The new network provides a place for hedge fund managers to share information and compare notes on issues such as “operational risk’’ and asset “valuation.’’ Marin says his clients decide which topics they want to discuss. Although Marin concedes he did learn a thing or two from last year’s hedge fund debacle. “There were a lot of lessons learned and a lot of those lessons are very instructive to a lot of people,’’ Marin says.

To be fair, Marin had no direct role in the day-to-day management of the failed Bear hedge funds. He wasn’t implicated in the June 18 indictment filed against Cioffi and Tannin, who federal prosecutors allege misled investors about the performance and viability of the funds.

But the sudden collapse of the Bear funds did give his Marin his own 15 minutes of fame. He lost his job after The New York Times ran a story about his personal blog, “Whim of Iron.’’ On the blog, Marin offered up movie reviews and other personal observations. The most blog post that caused him the most difficulty with his bosses at Bear was one in which he described the hedge fund ordeal as “trying to defend Sparta against the Persian hordes of Wall Street.’’ Public access to the blog was blocked soon after the story ran. Marin says all he’s trying to do is “get on with my life.’’

Reader Comments

383 and Mad

July 1, 2008 10:51 PM

This guy is half an idiot. I can't believe he wasn't indicted like the other guys. When he was at BSAM he should have known what was going on in the funds, it was a small shop - I mean, what the hell else should he have been doing? He must have cut a deal with the Feds.

Any client of Rich Marin gets what they deserve.

anonymous

July 2, 2008 1:52 AM

Maybe it's me ... but how does Marin (the CEO of BSAM at the time of the collapse of Cioffi's funds) get off scot free with "no direct role" ... while it is true he did not "manage" the funds, was it not a fact that he was SUPPOSED to be managing Cioffi and others who REPORTED DIRECTLY to him while he was busy blogging as a part-time movie critic?

Exactly what kind of deal did Marin cut with the SEC is what I'd like to know. Any company that would do business with Pointwalk Solutions should have their head examined.

Something smells very rotten in all of this.

WTF

July 2, 2008 11:47 AM

Rich Marin should be indicted along with Messrs Cioffi and Tannin. A complete lack of risk management and outright fraudulent information given to investors was widespread at BSAM, not limited to the Cioffi funds. I know for a fact that a year before the Cioffi blow up, an employee of BSAM reported to Mr Marin that another hedge fund was misrepresenting risk to investors, among other things, and nothing was done.

BSAM was tiny, consisting of the Cioffi funds and only two other reasonably large hedge funds along with some long only mutual funds. How can it be said that Marin had no direct role when he had ultimate responsibility as CEO?

Pinnnacle of Arrogance

July 2, 2008 12:09 PM

Is this some kind of paid article by Marin's PR company??? In WHAT world is a CEO of a division not held accountable for day-to-day operations?

While it would stand to reason that Marin did not have day-to-day oversight over the management of Cioffi's fund itself, did he not have the responsibility of managing Cioffi???

True, Marin was removed from his job (though from what I know, he was kept on as a "consultant" for a while only because BSAM was in such a mess that he had to be on hand to help unravel it). But his incompetence and dare I say, gross negligence of the situation ultimately cost the jobs of THOUSANDS of Bear employees.

This is the ultimate travesty. I'm sure he got a fat severance package too.

Oh ... and the initiative of his new venture is to provide advice on risk management? IS HE KIDDING ??? Sort of like allowing a known pedophile operating a daycare center.

Whim of Irony, indeed ... (for those not in the know, that was the name of Marin's blog)

Pinnnacle of Arrogance

July 2, 2008 12:10 PM

Is this some kind of paid article by Marin's PR company??? In WHAT world is a CEO of a division not held accountable for day-to-day operations?

While it would stand to reason that Marin did not have day-to-day oversight over the management of Cioffi's fund itself, did he not have the responsibility of managing Cioffi???

True, Marin was removed from his job (though from what I know, he was kept on as a "consultant" for a while only because BSAM was in such a mess that he had to be on hand to help unravel it). But his incompetence and dare I say, gross negligence of the situation ultimately cost the jobs of THOUSANDS of Bear employees.

This is the ultimate travesty. I'm sure he got a fat severance package too.

Oh ... and the initiative of his new venture is to provide advice on risk management? IS HE KIDDING ??? Sort of like allowing a known pedophile operating a daycare center.

Whim of Irony, indeed ... (for those not in the know, that was the name of Marin's blog)

WTF

July 2, 2008 1:58 PM

He has teamed up with the former COO of BSAM, probably also no direct role in the day-to-day management of the failed Bear hedge funds, and Neil Allen, who was fired from DLJ back in 98 when the prop trading group he ran blew up. Hard to find this kind of talent.

Simply Aghast

July 3, 2008 8:34 AM

The website is HILARIOUS. Could be a great MasterCard "priceless" promo.

Watching your company be sold for $2 because you were too busy playing movie critic whilst your hedge funds were imploding - $25 - including snacks;

Starting a company and appointing yourself as Chairman to advise companies on managing risk ... Priceless (or more accurately, Totally Delusional!)

383 And Mad

July 8, 2008 11:39 PM

WTF, Simply Aghast, Anonymous, Pinnacle

Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity - I am glad I am not the only one who sees the utter absurdity of Rich Marin and Robert Adler passing themselves off as risk management experts. Of course they knew what was going on at the Cioffi funds!!!!

Like pedophiles running a daycare center - the analogy couldn't be more apt.

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About

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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