Wall Street trading floors are not known for decorum. But it is striking how often a particular profanity turns up in those internal e-mails that become public after markets crash.
This month, court papers revealed that in August 2006, Nicholas Smith, a vice president at Bear Stearns, had referred to SACO 2006-8, a pool of mortgage loans that the firm was securitizing, as a "sack of" manure. But he used a four-letter synonym for manure, and not the one that rhymes with "slap."
The email was disclosed in an amended complaint that Ambac Assurance Corp. filed in July. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York unsealed the filing on Jan. 14.
Ambac, a bond insurer whose parent company went bankrupt last year, is suing EMC Mortgage, a former Bear Stearns unit now owned by JPMorgan Chase, in a case that dates from November 2008.
Smith's email brings to mind a now-infamous televised Senate hearing last year in which it came out that a Goldman Sachs trader had described a CDO using an adjectival version of the same scatalogical obscenity. Sen. Carl Levin taunted the Goldman witness by repeating the word several times, and the company later banned profanity from emails.
And of course there is Henry Blodget, the dotcom-era Merrill Lynch analyst, who recommended to clients an Internet stock that he privately called a "POS." To be clear, he was not using the shorthand for point of sale card-swipe