2000 Hall of Fame

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Induction Speech for Martin S. Fridson

Inducted November, 2000

Close friend Alden Toevs, Executive Vice President, First Manhattan Consulting Group presented FIASI’s Hall of Fame award to Martin S. Fridson. Mr. Toevs' introductory remarks follows.

It is my great pleasure to introduce Marty Fridson on his induction to the FIASI Hall of Fame. I am Alden Toevs, head of First Manhattan Consulting Group’s risk practice. Marty and I met in 1984 when he became part of a golden period in Morgan Stanley’s fixed income history. We were both hired by Bob Platt, who also found and mentored Rick Bookstaber, Jim Tilley, and Joe Langsam, among others.

During the heady days of the 1980s — for me securitization structures, derivatives, mortgages, and for Marty, high grade and high yield credits — we refined our analysis and writing skills together. A hallmark of our training under Bob, really an important life lesson that has served us both well, was to advocate what is right to the best of our abilities and never shill for a trading desk.

The worse loss of talent Morgan Stanley had during that period was Marty, who moved in 1989 to Merrill Lynch to head what is now known as the Global High Yield Group. Little did Morgan know that they would lose an annual annuity on 1st team Institutional Investor All American Awards. Marty started his winning string of II awards during his Morgan years and as best as I can remember it remains unbroken to this day. I do think the only advice in this arena I can offer you, Marty, is to give II a newer photo.

Marty has been coined the “dean of the high yield market” by II; “one of Wall Street’s most thoughtful and perspective analysts” by the New York Times — but then Marty is a Democrat and we know how the NYT loves Democrats; but, to Marty’s credit he has gotten Ross Perot to ink these words, Marty is a “fascinating insightful analyst on the subject of building wealth.”

I must say that I envy Marty as an author — all five of his books are commendable. My favorite is Financial Statement Analysis, part of any real analyst’s core curriculum. His latest, How To Be A Billionaire, is on my bedside table; I know now that I’ll never be a billionaire and why.

Marty is a very complex person — no one can characterize him in a sentence. His insights in credit and his broad ranging authorship have little in common — other than he always finds a new perspective that once seen or read leaves one never thinking about the issue the same way again. Marty, you are one of the best debunkers of popular myths that I know.

And, we haven’t talked yet about his virtual joke site — here I was ahead of you — I’ve already invested and lost money in Gigawit. My advice: keep your business instincts in check here.

In honor of your induction into the FIASI Hall of Fame, I close with some “light verse” that won’t match the least of the scores you have published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Playbill.

A financial analyst I was born to be
Despite many topics that interest me
Financial statements are luscious poetry
To read them well, you best pay Marty’s royalty

(i.e., for a copy of Financial Statement Analysis)

It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the FIASI board and membership to introduce Martin S. Fridson, past president of FIASI and the newest member of its Hall of Fame.

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