This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Oct. 8

Stocks in this article: SIRI TWX BP GPS PEP AIG VIA

3. AIG Praises Blind Watchdog

American International Group (AIG) may go down in history as being mostly responsible for one of the greatest financial catastrophes in U.S. history. But have no fear, the person whose job it was to prevent all that is walking away with a gold watch and a tidy health plan.

Robert Lewis -- AIG's "Chief Risk Officer" prior to, during and after the 2008 financial crisis -- is hanging up his obviously malfunctioning calculator and heading off into the sunset. And according to published reports, AIG CEO Robert Benmosche sent a note to employees thanking Lewis for his service, adding that his "hard work, leadership and dedication have been invaluable to the organization through tumultuous times."

Awesome, Bob. Simply awesome. Now excuse us while we go look up the definition of "invaluable."

Indeed, during his dinner speech at the going-away party, Benmosche may want to skip the fact that AIG received a $182 billion rescue package after the insurer became a giant black hole, sucking up every penny of financial risk it could find prior to the 2008 crisis. And he may want to avoid discussing how, as the chief risk officer of the world's largest risk aggregator Lewis could have, just maybe, raised a few questions before all that unpleasantness occurred.

In Lewis' defense, chief risk officers have always been the prettiest eunuchs in the financial executive boardroom. CROs at banks and insurers can go to conferences to talk about risk and hire consultants' measure risk, but they ultimately have very little to power to curtail risk taking.

Still, during hearings by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Lewis himself testified that, gosh darn it, he may have missed a few things. "What ended up happening was so extreme that it was beyond anything we had planned for," Lewis told the panel. "As it turned out, we were wrong about how bad things could get."

Well, as long as you put it that way...

TheStreet Says: Millions of Americans lose their jobs in the Great Recession, and this guy doesn't?!?

3 of 6

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,778.15 +421.28 2.43%
S&P 500 2,061.23 +48.34 2.40%
NASDAQ 4,748.3960 +104.0840 2.24%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs