I know alot of great folks at Bear Stearns.  The analysts, salesmen, and strategists at the firm  — now a chapter in history — have always provided great research insights, excellent execution of trades, and outstanding customer service.  

Joe Baudo, a young salesman I know at the firm, has always provided us everything we asked for, volunteering to get an analyst or two on the phone on those occassions where it might have been helpful.  He did this, not because we had the ability to pay the firm big bucks today (we are a small, young firm), but because he was more interested in a long term relationship and hoped that with our future success, we might become a more meaningful client down the road.

With Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers both reporting strong results this morning, the sector is poised to get a significant bounce following yesterday’s fears that other firms would follow in Bear’s footsteps.  In the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey’s Building and Loan escapes near disaster when his friends and associates calm their nerves and a run on the bank is averted.  While a similar happy ending didn’t occur with Bear Stearns this past weekend, history does indeed suggest that high profile financial failures often accompany bear markets and sometimes even mark their bottoms.  Why this is the case, I’m not so sure.   Perhaps it represents a final flushing out and cleansing of a disease that threatens the livelihood of an entire system.  In this case, perhaps it was an overgrown boil of infected mortgage loans.   

As we move into Easter weekend, I’m reminded of the countless sacrifices that others have made on my behalf, sacrifices that have given me an education, freedom, and a faith to know that there is more to life than a single job or a few decades here on earth.  This morning, my heart goes out to the employees at Bear Stearns who, through no fault of their own, may have lost much of their life savings in this week’s carnage.   While Wall Street is everything that man is — greedy, fearful and at times downright despicable — we also know how to reach out to folks in need.   

Joe, whether you stay at JP Morgan Chase or move elsewhere, we’ll be sure to follow.