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Page last updated at 21:48 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 22:48 UK

Lehman one year on: winners & losers

In the 12 months since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the economic turmoil has benefited some and hurt others.

The BBC spoke to an academic and a pair of Wall Street veterans to find out who the winners and losers were.


Martin Evans is a Professor of Economics and Finance at Georgetown University and a research economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


Professor Martin Evans talks to the BBC


William Cohan is the author of "House of Cards" and worked on Wall Street for 17 years. Amongst others, he was a managing director at JP Morgan Chase. He says the winners are clearly Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.

"Goldman, in particular, has managed to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, provide liquidity and capital to its clients, make proprietary trades for itself and take prudent risks during a time when the rest of the market remained shell shocked," said Mr Cohan.

Both have benefited from the reduced competition and, in the cases of Goldman and Morgan Stanley, profited by becoming bank holding companies with ongoing access to cheap financing.

"No wonder they are able to make money in this environment," Mr Cohan said. "Airlines could make money too if jet fuel were free."

Mr Cohan's losers are the American taxpayers: "They have coughed up $12tn to support the recovery of American Capitalism and have mortgaged their children's and grandchildren's future."

Joseph Tibman has worked for Lehman Brothers for 20 years and is the author of "The Murder of Lehman Brothers." He said the winners are those who survived.

"The largest traditional US commercial banks remain mired in problem loans, offsetting ongoing huge losses through one-time asset sale and volatile trading profits," said Mr Tibman. "They will likely emerge as winners, but are still in intensive care."

On the losing side are Dick Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers, and Henry Paulson, the former Secretary of the Treasury, said Mr Tibman. "Paulson will be remembered as the man blinded by moral hazard ideology. He sentenced Lehman to die, tragically miscalculating the impact this would have on the world.

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