Goldman Sachs resignation

March 16, 2012 | By | Reply More

At the New York Times, Greg Smith, a Goldman Sachs employee explains his recent resignation:

Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

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.

Fair enough,  but it seems as though Greg Smith hung around, participating in this system he portrays as unethical, long enough to accrue a substantial nest egg.  It would certainly seem that he could have made a financial killing in ten years at Goldman Sachs.   Nonetheless, I applaud his article because he could have simply left Goldman without writing the article, which would deny us the benefit of his observations.

Then again, the article does seem like cheap talk for one who might be seeking to “repair” his career before moving to whatever comes next.    You could just imagine people looking at Smith suspiciously when he admits that he once worked for Goldman Sachs, at which point he would pull out this NYT article, turning an opportunist into a hero with a bit of deft writing.   I want to believe that the author is gallant, but my gut won’t allow me to do so.   Nonetheless, I appreciate his insights.

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Category: Corporatocracy, Noteworthy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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