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Kellogg Finance Conference Ventures Into 'Twin Storms' Of Leverage And Liquidity

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Executive Summary

With another market plunge on Wall Street serving as the backdrop, experts at the Kellogg School's Finance Conference on Nov. 19 appeared subdued during most of the day's program. As the Dow Jones fell more than 400 points, ending under 8,000 for the first time in nearly six years, the title of keynote speaker Leo Tilman's presentation - "Financial Darwinism: Create Value or Self-Destruct in a World of Risk" - would have seemed a shot across the bow, if the demise of his former company, Bear Stearns, hadn't already served that function earlier this year. Tilman, until recently the chief institutional strategist for Bear Stearns, told attendees that "Static business models," rather than what he called the media's facile narrative of investor greed and complacency, was most responsible for the current banking crisis.

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