"optic" = seeming "narrative" PLUS "Wall Street"

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 27 23:21:17 UTC 2010

This is a very US-centric answer. Continental Europe has universal
banking; there is no distinction between commercial and investment banking.

"Investment banking" goes back to the late 19th century.


On 4/26/2010 5:17 PM, Baker, John M. wrote:
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> Poster:       "Baker, John M."<JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "optic" = seeming "narrative" PLUS "Wall Street"
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>          As to the meaning of "investment bank," at least, I can give an answer:  an investment bank is a large broker-dealer that participates in corporate transactions such as public offerings and mergers and acquisitions.  An "investment bank" is distinguished from a "commercial bank" that accepts deposits and makes loans.  Unless the context otherwise indicates, a "bank" is a commercial bank.
>          I don't have time at the moment to research the term's history, but it certainly predates the Great Depression.  However, it's essentially an American term, so a different meaning in international use is not surprising.  The British counterpart, more or less, is a "merchant bank."
>          Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are still investment banks, notwithstanding the change in their regulatory structure.
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Victor Steinbok
> Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 4:37 PM
> Subject: Re: "optic" = seeming "narrative" PLUS "Wall Street"
> The "Wall Street versus Main Street" is a moderately old juxtaposition.
> http://bit.ly/9lnMaM
> Sylvia Porter. Automation on Wall Street. The Spartanburg
> Herald-Journal. Oct. 14, 1961. p. 3/6
>> This is the way it will be in the Wall Street and Main Street of
>> tomorrow for the tens of millions of us who will be buying and selling
>> stocks and for the brokers who will be serving us.
> But "Wall Street" as a semi-generic markers (e.g., "Wall Street lawyer"
> and "Wall-Street man") predates WWI easily. "Wall Street" as a
> stand-alone is only slightly younger.
> There is also a question as to what is meant by "investment bank". For
> example, in 2008, UBS "shed" its investment bank subsidiary and GS and
> Morgan Stanley "reformed" into bank holding companies so that they can
> no longer be called "investment banks".
> http://bit.ly/bBuuU1
> Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley give up investment bank status
> Published: 8:55AM BST 22 Sep 2008
>> Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have given up their cherished
>> investment banking status to survive the financial turmoil that the US
>> government is tackling with a $700bn (£400bn) bailout plan.
>> The Federal Reserve approved the two bank's transformation into bank
>> holding companies regulated by the central bank,
>> _effectively_ending_Wall_Street's_investment_banking_model_ and
>> subjecting the two to much tighter regulation. In return it gives
>> Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley greater access to central bank funds
>> and makes it easier for them to buy retail banks.
> What is more interesting about "investment bank" is that its application
> to a private entity is fairly recent--older use that appears to have
> been dominant in /international/ news refers to singular government
> entities, e.g., British Foreign Exchange and Investment Bank (NYT, 1876)
> or China Investment Bank (1980).
> Here's an odd one:
> Business men play ball like old professionals. The Norwalk Hour - Aug 2,
> 1901. p. 1/6
> Wall Street Nine Defeats Main Street Team by Only One Run
>> "Oh, there are some others who can play ball," was the confident
>> comment of a Wall street "fan" after the game on the Fair grounds,
>> yesterday afternoon, when  some one spoke of league teams and other
>> things. And he was right too. The game that many went to see did not
>> turn out the comedy of errors that was expected, but a hard-fought
>> contest, and the Wall street business men walked away with the scalps
>> of their Main street opponents hanging at their belts. The score, 5 to
>> 4, tells the closeness of the battle.
>       VS-)
> On 4/26/2010 2:17 PM, Baker, John M. wrote:
>>           I think that, for many decades before 2008, "Wall Street" meant
>> "large investment banks," of which Goldman Sachs was and is perhaps the
>> premier example.
>> John Baker
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