Morally bankrupt

Image representing Goldman Sachs as depicted i...

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Greg Smith’s condemnation of Goldman Sachs‘ culture as “morally bankrupt” splits my friends into three camps;

  1. Those like me who take the buy at face value and accept that the firm he joined 12 years ago has lost its moral compass in that time.
  2. Those who think it never had nor ever should have had a moral compass and see its behaviour as the hallmark of free market capitalism
  3. Those who thing he’s a whingeing git who was happy to take the money during the good times and is now setting himself up for a second career.

I don’t know the guy, the NYT article is well written  but a combination of a GS mind and top journos can make sure the pitch is appealing. Nonetheless, I don’t reckon Greg Smith an opportunist.

I interviewed myself for Goldman Sachs and know a few people who work there. I do not reckon the culture I saw in those days (2004-5) or the people I know there, match the idea that Goldman Sachs is , has been and will continue to be proud to be morally bankrupt.

What I reckon is that something has gone wrong with a bank that has lost sight of its purpose and has substituted profit generation for value generation.

If that is the case then Greg Smith has acted wisely. If he has asked GS to look at itself and its regulators to review its behaviours then he has helped not hindered his former employer.

But if I am wrong , if Goldman Sachs is and continues to be proud of its obnoxious behaviour, then its customers need to strike and strike hard at its profit base – there are other banks.Its reputation as an honest deal maker- not cheap but fair – is challenged by Smith’s NY article.

Let’s hope that not just Goldmans but its principal rivals are capable of understanding that the fundamentals of a sustainable business model are, as Greg Smith points out, dependent on treating customers fairly.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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