Most big-name financial firms pay lip service to diversity, peppering their websites with smiling women and people of color who are in short supply in the mostly white-male trading rooms and executive offices of real life.
Suze Orman, the ubiquitous guru of personal finance, released a new book on Jan. 10, and her fans couldn’t part with their $16 a copy fast enough. In less than two weeks, “The Money Class” rose to fourth place among paperback advice books on the New York Times best-seller list.
Anita Hill sits at a tiny conference table in her office at Brandeis University, just outside Boston, as I quiz her on the obvious themes. Her testimony during hearings to confirm Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court? Admittedly a “terrible” experience, “but I want people to understand that I survived it.” Attacks on her character? A good thing for women in the workplace because now “they know what to expect” should they ever go public about harassment.
Is it possible that, even after the uncountable lessons of the past three years, investors have learned nothing? A popular financial planner and blogger made a very public disclosure of his personal economic meltdown last month, telling the story of how he got in over his head with a Las Vegas house that had two mortgages, no equity, and a date with destiny for a short-sale with Wells Fargo & Co.
If you’re like most consumers of business and financial news, you gobble up those useless lists of “Best Leaders” and “Most Admired Companies,” trusting that people in my line of work have the right formula to measure what’s “best.”
Fifteen years after female brokers sued Smith Barney & Co. in a lawsuit famously known as the Boom- Boom Room case, financial firms have set up harassment training, torn racy photographs from the walls and pulled the plug on company-paid outings to strip joints.
You have to admire three guys who can keep an insider-trading ring going for 17 years, pocketing $34 million even as they toiled at their day jobs -- at least according to prosecutors who filed a federal complaint last week.