The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, April 15, 2002  


Wall Street analysts remain under siege -- and deservedly so. The last "victim" of the new era of scrutiny is -- quite appropriately -- Jack Grubman.

The "Heard on the Street" column in The Wall Street Journal on Friday (April 12) reports that Salomon Smith Barney's telecommunications analyst Jack Grubman faces an arbitration case initiated by attorney Jacob Zamansky. [Ed.: Link requires registration.]

Zamansky's client, 60-year-old George Zicarelli, filed for bankruptcy after losing $455,000 on shares of Global Crossing Ltd., once a high-flying hyper stock. Zicarelli asserts he bought Global Crossing stock based on Jack Grubman's glowing reports about the company. The stock of Global Crossing once traded as high as $64, but dropped to 30 cents prior to the company's declaration of bankruptcy.

Zicarelli has the right attorney: Zamansky successfully won a settlement last July from Merrill Lynch in a case alleging his client, Debases Kanjilal, lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in InfoSpace, an internet stock that had been highly touted by then analyst Henry Blodget. InfoSpace closed at $1.37 on Friday.

In both cases the complainant asserted that the analyst's motivation for maintaining a buy rating on a poor-quality stock, even as the stock was rapidly losing value, was to secure investment banking and corporate finance business for the analyst's firm, and not to help individual clients make profitable investments.

According to the Journal, "Zicarelli is seeking $10 million in damages, which the suit claims is half of Mr. Grubman's annual salary, though that figure isn't public."

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