Book of the Month

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

By Greg Smith, New York Times Guest Op-Ed, March 14, 2012

Editor's note: Greg Smith is resigning today as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Excerpt: [....] It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.

It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave [....]

Also see:

A Public Exit From Goldman Sachs Hits at a Wounded Wall Street, by Nelson D. Schwartz, New York Times, March 14
and:
Goldman director quits 'morally bankrupt' firm, by Juliette Garside and Jill Treanor,
Guardian.co.uk, 14 March

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html?_r=1&hp

The things that narcissists think but do not say....
By Daniel W. Drezner, ForeignPolicy.com, March 14

[....] The fact that this op-ed has already spawned its own satire suggests that it's not going to have much of an effect on the larger debate on Goldman Sachs.  Which is a shame, because such a debate would be pretty useful when thinking about Big Finance (though see Gabriel Sherman's excellent New York essay on this topic from a few weeks back).  Indeed, this is a teachable moment for how to compose a memo, or a mission statement, or an op-ed that will provoke a deep debate over corporate culture.  Let's see where Smith went wrong: [....]

Goldman Sachs boss goes on a muppet hunt
By Jill Treanor, guardian.co.uk, 22 March 2012

Lloyd Blankfein trawls company emails for abusive use of the term 'muppet' after resigning London-based employee decries what he claims is its widespread use

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