One can decide whether Treasury auction irregularities are a very big deal or not after indiscretion is observed in the stock market. Apart from that, auction irregularities are discovered if clients find out that unauthorized bids have been submitted in their accounts. However, it is only after the aggrieved clients report the matter to the concerned authorities that the issue of whether the auction irregularities are a big deal or not can be verified (Linda 22).
The 1991 August disclosure triggered a crisis because Solomon failed to provide a “long when issued position.” This means that the company failed to commit itself to buy Treasury securities yet its clients had already issued the securities to them. In every occasion, the company managed to outwit treasury department regulations that limit every firm’s bid and award to a maximum of 35% of the entire issues.
The crisis is best explained as an organizational failure. This is because as much as Mozer’s actions were unusual, there was a need to modify certain aspects of the company’s culture. This is because the perception of the outsiders was that the company was deeply corrupt even though this was the action of a few disgruntled elements. This called for a re-assertion of the company’s traditional values in order to avert the occurrence of such a crisis in the future. Without this, then permissiveness was likely to take hold of employees who desire to make money at all costs.
The scandal was actually a clear indication that the company had lost its way or sense of direction. The money culture in the streets had infiltrated the company. People started thinking of how they could make millions for themselves at the expense of the company’s reputation and their own careers. The individuals seized the opportunity and capitalized on the inherent flaws. There was a need to ensure that all employees uphold moral principles since the company failed to establish standards where characters with Wall Street egos would not have thrived. Following this failure, it was up to the company to reclaim its reputation through internal reorganizations in order to avert a crisis of this nature in the future (Linda 23).
As Maughan, my concerns upon assuming leadership on August 18 would have been to take time to address the existing management issues. It would be critical to deal with management issues even before dealing with the auction irregularities because management was the source of the problem. If you deal with a problem and forget about its source, the problem is likely to reoccur. By focusing on management reorganization, I would get rid of the rotten eggs and get in new and fresh blood that is not part of the awful breed. In addition to this, I would ensure that senior management who are well versed with the oversea markets and communities take charge of the foreign branches (Linda 24).
The new management was very effective in handling the crisis. To begin with, on September 25 following the end of the third quarter, Buffet and other top company executives met over 350 clients in New York and globally via satellite. Buffet assured the esteemed customers that the company had already gone past the crisis. He assured them that he was confident there would be no criminal charges against the company from the government. This is because theirs was an isolated case of a few disgruntled elements. Apart from that, in comparison to E.F. Hutton, Drexel, Lambert, or Burnham, Salomon had not stonewalled or acted strangely by circling the wagons. Maughan also likened the former top Solomon Managers to drunk drivers who recklessly drove the company resulting in a dent that had since been pulled out by the current sober drivers.
Upon meeting the company customers, Buffet and Maughan separately met with Congress and the company shareholders. They briefed these important parties on the crisis at the company and the steps are undertaken to address and avert such an occurrence in the future. Buffet used over $500,000 in advertising letters to the company shareholders. He also advertised a letter in the mainstream newspapers where he insisted on the value of integrity amongst Solomon’s employees. The company also tasked Cooper and Lybrand to audit its risk management systems upon which it introduced a more formal risk management process. By the time the year was ending, some of the company’s important customers such as the World Bank had started trickling back (Linda 25).
The crisis was not really over until May 20, 1992, when the US Justice Office announced it had decided not to take criminal action against Solomon. Amongst its major consequences was a renegotiated settlement between the SEC, national treasury, Federal Reserve Board, and the Justice Department that Salomon would pay $290 million to a public fund that would be used to pay any incriminating damages claims. The company was also suspended for two months from any trading activities with the Federal Reserve Bank; however, the Federal Reserve reinstated the firm as a primary dealer. At the end of 1992, Salomon posted a whopping $1.02 billion in pretax profits. This was the best that had ever been posted by a security firm publicly held in the USA (Linda 26).
Linda Grant, “Taming the Bond Buccaneers at Salomon brothers” Los Angeles Times, Feb 16 1992: 22-26. Print.
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