Monday, 10 January 2011

Colm Kelleher on Morgan Stanley's near-death experience

I recently interviewed Morgan Stanley's Colm Kelleher. We talked mainly about the bank's near-death experience. Here are the edited highlights.

Fowke: Colm, a lot of people think that Morgan Stanley's near-death experience was all about the bank nearly going out of business and then becoming a bank holding company. That's not true, is it?

Kelleher: It's a misconception. What actually happened is that Morgan Stanley nearly died. I mean, all the staff. In a mad occult experiment out in the astral desert, the mystic desert, that is, of our burning love. It was a disaster. But it wasn't reported by the media.

Fowke: Colm, mate, I didn't report it. I missed that one myself. How did you keep it so quiet?

Kelleher: Frankly, Michael, we were ashamed. No one wanted to talk about it.

Fowke: You were trying to compete with Goldman Sachs, weren't you?

Kelleher: It's no secret that we envy Goldman.

Fowke: Really? You would put it as strongly as that?

Kelleher: Mike, we can't get the shamans. Goldman has the pick of all the best ones. We just get the scraps. And I blame you to some degree.

Fowke: Why?

Kelleher: Everyone knows how close you are to Lloyd Blankfein. A lot of Goldman's success is down to you and your contacts in the world of spirit.

Fowke: Well, that's ancient history now. I'm working more with Bobby Diamond these days. Though he hasn't paid me yet.

Kelleher: Right. So, yeah, we were trying to compete with Goldman. We knew we couldn't match them shaman for shaman. So we went into the desert.

Fowke: Astral desert, you say? Or was this the physical desert?

Kelleher: Probably a bit of both.

Fowke: Tell me more.

Kelleher: Well, we started off travelling through the smoke rings of our minds -

Fowke: Obviously.

Kelleher: Yeah, and, er, we reached the astral desert. But it became physical. I mean, after a while, we could literally feel the sand beneath our feet.

Fowke: I get that a lot. I'm surprised you did, but ...

Kelleher: It was unbelievable, at first. An amazing experience. Then it really did become unbelievable - in a bad way.

Fowke: What happened, Colm?

Kelleher: We summoned the ghosts of the dead financiers.

Fowke: Oh my God.

Kelleher: You see, we thought we could bring them over to our side. Somehow convince them that Morgan Stanley was the bank they should be doing business with. Then it wouldn't matter how many shamans Goldman had.

Fowke: Yeah.

Kelleher: Unfortunately, we misjudged just how temperamental they are. Well, they're downright dangerous.

Fowke: Yeah.

Kelleher: Is that all you can say?

Fowke: Well, what do you want me to say, Colm? It was a bloody stupid thing to do. Why didn't you ask me about it? I could have advised you.

Kelleher: No, not while you were in tight with Lloyd. You would have told him. Then there would have been a mob of Goldman guys coming down on us. I mean, the ghosts nearly killed us.

Fowke: You're serious, aren't you?

Kelleher: Serious as a heart attack, Mikey.

Fowke: This is news to me. I would have thought the dead financiers would have -

Kelleher: I think they wanted to keep it quiet as well. A couple of our shamans really put the boot in.

Fowke: Yeah?!

Kelleher: Oh yeah. We gave as good as we got.

Fowke: I still think you're lucky to be alive.

Kelleher: I know I am. Never again!

Fowke: Never again?

Kelleher: No way, man. I've learnt my lesson. We all have.