Sunday, March 20, 2016

Someone Didn't Meet Investment Banking Thresholds In San Francisco

Investment banking is a fast-paced, high-powered business. Deal flow drives egos, reputations, and compensation. Bankers place large amounts of capital into circulation. The bigger the deal, the harder they work. They do not waste time with small deals. That is why it is so hard to believe some San Francisco blowhards who have claimed in my presence that their small-time reputations came from really big deals.

The Dummies book series describes the revenue threshold separating investment banks from business brokers. Small businesses don't need the specialized services of expensive investment bankers when they are better off finding a generalist intermediary. Most entrepreneurs who have bought or sold a small business figure this out on their own. Hilarity ensues when someone who has never owned a business tries to claim they know how this works.

I met the biggest lying phony of a lifetime a few years ago in American Legion Post 911 in San Francisco. The Legion took forever to shut that phony Post down but its sad legacy lives on in the denials of its former prime movers. The lying phony once claimed on Yelp that he had hired Goldman Sachs to sell his unspecified business, which of course never existed. Try getting a Goldman banker on the phone for any deal worth less than $100M or so and you'll be lucky if they don't just bust out laughing. Maybe a young top-shelf i-banker would take a deal under that threshold if they were totally stupid, or if they worked for a managing director who wanted to force them out for lack or revenue.

Another pathological liar crossed my path around 2012 through some investor relations events that I no longer attend. The guy's claimed record of bulge bracket deals in remote islands made no sense, especially after he started promoting penny stocks. That's a step down in prestige and income from globetrotting i-banking. His further connections to "deals" with companies having no verifiable revenue or visible operations made me shake my head. I can't be around people with such bizarre notions of successful deal-making.

Glib talk about deal thresholds can fool a lot of otherwise intelligent people. It doesn't fool me. I just love studying financial minutiae. Red flags fly fast and furious when someone within earshot brags about closing deals that can't be verified with simple sleuthing. The SEC doesn't always pursue small-fry liars like the Legion Post 911 idiot or the island-hopper. I enjoy picking up the trail where regulators leave off.