For this posting, the readers' comments which follow Susanne Craig's article in DealBook are reflective of Goldman Sachs's problems. The comments highlight the difficulties GS has in attempting to change their corporate culture, one based on accumulating as much wealth as they can at the expense of the rest of society. Why would GS want to protect their reputation when they have a rotten one to begin with.
Goldman Sachs to Fine-Tune Its Practices
by Susanne Craig - DealBook
8:57 p.m. | Updated
Goldman Sachs, after a nine-month review of its business practices, has concluded its operations need only a fine-tuning, not a complete overhaul.
The Wall Street investment bank, which has been criticized for putting its own interests ahead of those of clients, plans to detail new rules on disclosure and financial reporting on Tuesday, as suggested by the study. The rules are aimed at bolstering internal controls, improving transparency and burnishing its reputation.
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2.DrewChapel Hill, NCJanuary 11th, 20117:49 amWow. This is really swell of the fellas at GS! One has to wonder, will the new disclosure rules and "fine tuning" of business practices work as well as their rating agencies? How about the Abacus deal?
Why any fool would consider touching a business deal with these shysters with a ten foot pole is beyond human reasoning. One day, reality will catch up with thee guys, and I hope I am around to see it happen.
http://www.rollingstone.com...3.EdwardsFloridaJanuary 11th, 20117:49 amLETTER FROM GOLDMAN SACHS:
"America, we get it, now. Yes, indeed, we understand that you are sick and tired of huge, powerful, unimaginably wealthy corporations wielding huge, powerful, unimaginable influence in our nation. And because we hear you loud and clear, we have deigned to fix it ourselves. Nope, no need at all for Congress or anyone else to fix it for us, we've got this one. Trust us. Yessiree, we'll fix it right up so that everything is hunky dory! Why, all that's needed is just a little bitty touch here, and an oh-so-small adjustment there, and, lo and behold, we are all set to go.
This time, we'll do much better. We promise. Yes, indeed, we'll do much, much better we've ever done...I mean, much, much better than, er, ever. Yeah, that's it. That's the ticket!"4.George C. SimpsonBrooklynJanuary 11th, 20117:49 amTranslation: We can suck every dollar out of the global economy if we just get smarter about the lies we tell so next time we don't get caught stealing from our clients, corporations, the American taxpayer, the average investor, the U.S. government, foreign governments, and pretty much anyone with money in their pockets.5.EdwardsFloridaJanuary 11th, 20117:49 amConsider this simple little trick. A huge corporation buys up a million of its own shares. It then sells covered calls on those shares. The corporations can then "manipulate" its press releases and guidance, etc., to ensure that those calls become very profitable for them, either expiring worthless...or hitting some strike price that gives the corporation a significant gain PLUS the percentage gained from writing the call option.
That way, you give them $1000 of your money, they can gain, each and ever month, if they so choose, perhaps 2-5% on your money, but pay you MAYBE 2%...if you leave it with them for a year or two.
It's subtle manipulation, but it's still manipulation.I view statements from Goldman as a strategic tool to try and convince investors to trust them again after they were exposed for allowing an outsider to select paper garbage, sold it to thier customers and bet against those customers.
Millions of people know what they did which was dirty tricks for making more money. The promise to be less dirty could be just another dirty trick to look trustworthy. I may be wrong, but I would not take a chance.8.RCMinnesotaJanuary 11th, 20117:50 amThe problem with GS and Wall Street in general is the relationship with the government and access to tax dollars through various schemes including those devised by the Fed. This relationship should be terminated, to force GS and others like it to compete for business just like any other private institution. Anything else is just a variation on the same theme.
Has Mr. Blankfein been doing his duty? Perhaps he might answer "Yes. My duty to myself and my friends". That might be how many people would answer whether they worked on Main Street or Wall Street. But would it be an honest answer? It's relevant here to recognize that while it might be a frank answer, for someone with the mandate given to Mr. Blankfein through the host countries providing the infrastructure in which his operations are "nestled", it would not be an honest answer for "frank" and "honest" are not the same words and they don't have the same meaning -- even if your dictionary or thesauraus should imply they do.
Before concluding that honest and frank are so close that this comment is just another weazel a la GS Abacus mortgages, please give a thought to the person in history who struggled to get the word "honest" in to English in the face of a then prevalent "frank". He or she would have had to make a case for its capacity to shine a light on something very necessary to his or her civilization that the word "frank" does not.
It's a pleasure to do one's duty to oneself and one's friends. But it's not all one's duty in a complex interconnected world in which the direction of all our futures is significantly affected, for better or worse, by financial decisions whose impact is felt both high and low and by old and young and at every level and age in between.
So, how about defining honesty as "the discipline of avoiding either falsehood or deception and of being reciprocally open about intents and evolving intentions"? That puts the bar of honesty at a higher level than frank.
I seem to recall that Henry Waxman got this point across to Mr. Greenspan once in a memorable moment captured in the PBS documentary, The Warning, with NYT's Louise Storie reviews elsewhere in the Ney York Times.
Perhaps GS needs some coaching in honesty. Some fine-grained distinctions between the words "frank", "honest", "authentic", and "accurate" are available at:
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