Financial career of Richard Norris Williams


M

Mark Dixon

Guest
Besides surviving the Titanic and being a star tennis player, Richard Norris Williams is often described as being a "successful investment broker." But I recently came across a short article (http://x3etfhell.blogspot.com/2009/11/history-of-douchebags-nov-19th-2009.html) -- not very well sourced, I admit -- which suggested this description might not tell the whole story.

Here is the relevant section:

He became a partner in an investment firm called C. Clothier Jones & Co. in 1929. His business partners in the small $5 million firm ($61.5 million today) were some of the brightest, most successful investors in the world.

Of course, after the stock market hit the skids in 1929, the company took a hit. But thanks to the rally in first half of 1930, C. Clothier Jones & Co. was in better shape than ever.

He was on top of the world in the spring of 1930. But just like the year before, market speculators pushed stocks higher than they were worth. By late summer, the rally turned into another massive sell-off.

When October came around, Williams and his partners were doing everything they could to stay in business. Their investments turned to dust, and they were so incredibly over leveraged the only course for them was to fudge some numbers and blatantly lie to shareholders.

Williams left the country in mid-October to get married in Europe. By the time he returned, he was a wanted man, for market manipulation. Four of his colleagues and large investors in the company had ended their own lives in that single week.

Is anyone aware of a fuller account of Williams' financial career?

Mark E. Dixon
Wayne, PA
dixon_mark@verizon.net}
 

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