For some of Wall Street's most seasoned players, the crises
change - but the game remains the same
By Josh Friedlander
April, the four managing members of Ramius Capital Group met in
the office of founder Peter Cohen and decided it was time to
accelerate the deleveraging of the firm: returning all the
money Ramius had borrowed from brokerage firms. "What we saw
going on around us - private equity deals, leverage in real
estate, covenant-light deals - we saw the world galloping out
of control," says Cohen, the former chief executive of Shearson
Lehman Hutton and onetime right-hand man to Sandy Weill.
Cohen, 61, and his fellow Ramius partners had been through
enough market cycles to recognize that the party couldn't go on
forever. During the 1980s, Tom Strauss, 65, who runs the firm's
funds of funds, was president of Salomon Brothers, and Morgan
Stark, 68, was president and chief executive...