Aka “It can be good to be a Wall Street broker-dealer…”
Brokerdealer.com blog update courtesy of WSJ and reporter Randall Smith
When Microsoft went public in 1986, its chief executive and largest shareholder, Bill Gates, wound up with a broker at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm that had led the company’s initial public offering.
The San Francisco broker, William Hobi, was so excited to have Mr. Gates as a client that he put a vanity license plate on his Porsche for a few years with the letters MSFT, the trading symbol for the company’s stock.
Times may have changed, but technology billionaires still set the engines racing among Silicon Valley brokers. Social media I.P.O.s, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and acquisitions like Facebook’s planned $18 billion purchase of WhatsApp have created more than a dozen billionaires, by one count of Forbes magazine data.
Competition to handle their money is intense. “Every day I get a connection request from a wealth manager on LinkedIn,” said Michael Cagney, the founder and chief executive of Social Finance, or SoFi, an online student-loan platform in San Francisco that might go public in the next year or two. Mr. Cagney sold another financial software company, Finaplex, in 2007 and runs a hedge fund.