Jefferies CEO Expressed Doubts About Sam Bankman-Fried in July

Rich Handler, a restructuring expert, said SBF was "over his head" in trying to rescue crypto outfits.

AccessTimeIconNov 10, 2022 at 2:49 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 10, 2022 at 3:59 p.m. UTC
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Even as he was being feted by some as this generation's J.P. Morgan – who essentially was a one-man central bank before the Federal Reserve ever came into being, Sam Bankman-Fried's attempts to be the lender of last resort to crumbling crypto companies raised concerns from at least one highly experienced traditional financier.

"He seems in over his head," Jefferies Financial Group (JEF) CEO Richard Handler emailed to an associate on July 7. "Our expertise in rescuing financial services companies might make it worthwhile to meet [with] him and begin a relationship. Just a thought.

“What he is going through is not going to pass as quickly as he might wish and you can quickly become the rescuee versus the rescuer if you’re not careful,” Handler continued.

Experienced at restructuring, Handler has worked for Jefferies for 32 years and has been its CEO for the last 22 years. He has helped bail out financial-services firm Knight Capital and retail currency brokerage FXCM.

Further emails posted by Handler revealed that Bankman-Fried never responded to his repeated entreaties for a meeting.

Handler ends his Twitter thread with a numbered list of conclusions. Two notable ones: “Just like a broken clock, even a Boomer can also be right sometimes," and "Arrogance and hubris destroys everything, every time."

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.