Wednesday, March 14, 2012

'Toxic and destructive'

An op-ed piece in the New York Times today has ruffled a few feathers on Wall Street for daring to expose Goldman Sachs by a former employee.

Take a read and you'll see why we're so many of us lost so much in the Great Recession.

Here's a sample from the article written by a former Goldman Sachs trader named Greg Smith:

"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." 

Or this:

"What are three quick ways to become a leader (at Goldman Sachs)?  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." 

The essay provoked hundreds of responses at the end of the story. They're worth checking out, too.

The article was so incendiary and, apparently, too truthful that the Wall Street Journal devoted a good chunk of the top of their website to it this afternoon.  In fact, the WSJ had six different stories/videos devoted to the op-ed piece, including one titled: "Experts: 'Just Resign and Move On.' "

The main WSJ story had hundreds of responses, too. They're worth looking at.

For more responses, you can go to the Digg entry.

The upshot is that Smith exposed a trend on Wall Street to take whatever you can from whoever you can, be it the government clerk with a 403(b) or a corporate secretary with a 401(k) or the government itself.

Actually, Goldman Sachs was willing to screw over its competitors for some extra bling. And, obviously they're not the only ones.

If you haven't seen it, check out "Margin Call" on DVD. It, too, is revealing about the 2008 meltdown. It shows how a Wall Street firm was willing to sell junk to longtime buyers just so they could avoid collapse. Again, another game of hot potato, with the one holding it at the end getting burned.

For anyone who has continued to throw money away on Wall Street by way of automatic deductions for your 401(k) retirement plan, you may want to rethink that position.

Until Wall Street shows you the money, don't show them anymore of yours.

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