Evil exists. People do bad things, that’s true. I’ve been particularly disgusted with revelations about Goldman-Sachs. Not surprised mind you, just disgusted. The latest information gleaned from the op-ed of Greg Smith just reinforces the cynical view that folks have of investment bankers. No longer is the client paramount. The bottom line is the companies is paramount. Times have changed. As Smith says, “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.”
How is this happening? According to Smith, “a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.” Nothing illegal here. But ethics? Morality?
Something is very very wrong here.
The reading snippet from today, Thursday, involves casting out of demons and the misunderstanding of the typical casual and uninformed (albeit ancient) Fox news observers:
“Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.” (Luke 11)
That’s it in a nutshell. Greed trumps decency. Greed trumps a healthy customer relationship. Banking regulations and wall-street-watches have become the Beelzebul of our time. Driving out the demon-greed from Wall Street is looked upon as something bad. Well I can tell you “muppets” out there, the cure is better than the disease. As Smith concludes in his op-ed, “Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again…”
and so it goes…