The first, last, and only point of Paul Gigot’s weird anti-Fannie and -Freddie screed in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, from what I can tell, is to a settle a bunch of personal scores related to a dispute that seems to have gotten under Gigot’s skin way too deeply.
How else to explain Gigot’s snide portrayal of the late Jonathan Gray, who covered Fannie (FNM) and Freddie (FRE) for Sanford C. Bernstein until his untimely death last October? I knew Jonathan for many years. He was simply one of the best financial services analysts I’ve seen; no one did better, more independent analytical work. Jonathan was tough and skeptical when he thought circumstances warranted—I recall he was very hard (correctly) on the thrifts in the early 1980s—without falling into the trap of becoming permanently cynical about every company he covered.
Jonathan was talented, upright, and highly respected throughout the industry. Gigot does himself no favors by implying otherwise.
It’s one thing to have an honest investment disagreement. Those happen every day on Wall Street. It’s another to reduce the disagreement to the level of personal hit job—particularly when the object of your attack isn’t around to respond.
Paul Gigot ought to be ashamed of himself.
Tom Brown is head of BankStocks.com.