The FOX Business Network has learned that Fuld is looking to jump start the consulting business he started after Lehmans bankruptcy three years ago by pitching himself as a financial handy man, willing to help private equity players run businesses theyve acquired based on his many years running Lehman Brothers.
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According to people who have firsthand knowledge of Fulds activities, hes having mixed results with the business plan. One personal friend of Fuld says he has a little consulting firm with a few clients and that hes confident he can grow the business because in the investing world people need help.
Another person with knowledge of Fulds activities says hes telling people, mainly private equity executives, that I can help you run your business.
Fuld, through his attorney, didnt return repeated calls for comment.
One reason Fuld might be facing an uphill battle in getting his new business on track is that Lehmans demise still hangs over his reputation. Fuld was once widely regarded as among the most savvy Wall Street executives during his long career at Lehman, much of it as its CEO, where he helped rebuild the firm after several high-profile market debacles.
But Fuld couldn't overcome the market debacle the ensued in 2007 and 2008, when firms like Lehman made outsized bets on investments tied to real estate, and the firm began to implode. Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy in September 2008, touching off the wider demise of the financial system and a massive government bailout.
The Securities and Exchange Commission launched a massive investigation into whether key Lehman executives like Fuld, and his former chief financial officers Erin Callan and Ian Lowitt, misled investors about the health of the firm in the months leading up to Lehmans bankruptcy. (Attorneys for Callan and Lowitt didnt return calls for comment.)
People with direct knowledge of the SECs activities tell FOX Business that while investigators are having a difficult time coming up with enough evidence to file a civil fraud charge against Fuld or any of the people running Lehman at the time, the investigation has not concluded. Instead of filing charges, the SEC might issue a report providing an autopsy of Lehmans bankruptcy.
The inability to bring a case against Lehman and its top officials has many analysts who covered the firm during those dark days leading up to the financial crisis in 2008 baffled. One analyst who regularly met with Lehman executives during that time says he believes executives misled him about the amount of liquidity on the firms balance sheet, or if the firm had assets that could easily be converted into much-needed cash.
Maybe these guys at the SEC are afraid of losing, this analyst says.
Meanwhile, Fuld keeps trying to move his business forward. One friend tells FOX Business that hes more concerned with civil litigation from Lehman investors than he is with regulatory charges. Another person who knows about Fulds activities says he reaching out to just about everyone he met while on the Street looking for business.
Its almost comical, this person said.