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Saturday
Dec032011

Wall Street Analyst Tries to 'Save the Big Banks From Themselves'

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mike Mayo says he is on the front lines of Occupy Wall Street's battle, which is unusual coming from a Wall Street analyst.

A widely-followed managing director of brokerage firm CLSA, Mayo, 48, says the "intersection" between Occupy Wall Street protesters and Wall Street analysts is "bigger than anyone realizes."

On the 10th anniversary of Enron's collapse this week, Mayo lamented that three failures that contributed to the Texas energy company's bankruptcy still remain: faulty incentives, accountability and government regulations.

"The abuses in our financial system haven't gone away even after Enron and WorldCom, even after the mortgage crisis," he told ABC News. "The same problems that got us into what were the largest corporate bankruptcies at the time are still in place."

Enron's $65.5 billion bankruptcy in 2001 was the largest before WorldCom surpassed it in 2002 when it was worth over $100 billion, according to Business Insider. But in 2008, the $327.9 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Washington Mutual and nearly $700 billion bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers would dwarf both.

Mayo, based in New York City, is careful about describing how he feels about Occupy Wall Street, which has rallied against what the movement sees as "corporate greed" and a wide range of economic issues.

"My concerns sound like some of the same concerns of Occupy Wall Street," he said.

But Mayo, who has worked for a total of six banks, never mentions the Occupy Wall Street movement in his book, Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst's Fight to Save the Big Banks from Themselves, released weeks ago by publisher Wiley. He said he finished his book long before the Occupy Wall Street movement started in September—at the time of Enron's collapse, when he was fired by one of his previous employers, Credit Suisse.

"This is my story—written because the problems that I started writing about the time of Enron still exist today," he said. "Hopefully the book brings more visibility to the issues in a way that is accessible to the person on the street."

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ABC News Radio