Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge

I just.

Gillian Tett has a book called “Fool’s Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan and How Wall St. Greed Corrupted Its Bold Dream and Created a Financial Catastrophe.” It’s a pretty good book about the creation and rise to prominence of synthetic CDOs, and I’m sure the subtitle isn’t her fault, but it’s always bothered me, because how exactly was the “bold dream” of creating synthetic CDOs “corrupted” into … like … selling more synthetic CDOs? If you think synthetic CDOs are a Bad Thing, they were a Bad Thing at their creation. This is not an orphanage that was taken over by bandits and turned into a source of black-market organs. It was a financial derivative that was sold to people looking to buy financial derivatives.

Similarly, Greg Smith spent twelve years flogging equity derivatives to “two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia” and is just now discovering that they’re designed to make money for his employer? I imagine his contacts at these hedge funds reading his op-ed today and being like “holy shit, Goldman was trying to make money off of us?” Wait no I don’t. I’m pretty sure they wanted to make money too.*

I actually think that the equity derivatives business – whose fields Greg and I both tilled, though in different bits of it and I don’t think we ran into each other – is an interesting one to think about in the context in which Greg sort of failed to think about it. A starting point in my thinking is that it is pretty zero-sum. Whereas if I sell you a stock and take my commission and the stock goes up you are like “yay” and I am like “yay” and the issuer is like “yay” and we’re all friends and go golfing with each other, if I sell you a call option and I am a dealer and am replicating it then there are basically two possibilities which are (1) I replicated it more cheaply than I sold it for or (2) not. In the case of (1) you would have – in a sense – been better off not buying it (and maybe replicating it yourself by like buying stock); in the case of (2) I would have been better off not selling it. This is not exactly right! Dealers are probably mostly better at replicating than clients are, there are legal things, portfolio effects, blah blah blah. But it’s not a terrible first approximation if you want to feel bad about selling equity derivatives. I always had this nagging sense that selling a client a 60-delta call for X% edge was an X% rip-off because they could have just bought 60 deltas of stock on their own and saved X.**

But clients can figure that out too: even the “muppet” clients (Greg’s word) can usually bring themselves to ask “well why don’t I just buy stock instead?,” and this guy was dealing with various numbers of the thingiest things on the planet – the whole wide planet! – so presumably they had even better questions. And the answer to those questions can’t really be “because we enjoy having money and would like you to give us some.” It needs to be a story, a story about how the derivative works for the client. So when Greg says:

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.

That just rings false. Now I’m sure not one single minute is spent asking questions like “how can we teach this client to grow as a husband and father?” or “how can we improve this client’s widget-manufacturing supply chain management?” But if sales people aren’t asking “how can we offer this client products that they will think offer them a good risk/reward proposition,” then they are not likely to get many clients. And, in my experience, the best way to get clients to think that your products offer them a good risk/reward proposition is by offering them a good risk/reward proposition. Banking on client stupidity is not much of a long-term strategy.

That’s, like, your job as a salesman: to think about how to build trades that will get your clients to do them and give you lots of money. You can talk about that in terms of “helping clients,” or you can talk about it in terms of “making the most possible money off of them,” but they’re the same thing. The successful salespeople feel that intuitively: whatever your vague musings about zero-sum-ness, they really – and plausibly – think that their job is to find win/win solutions that help clients and make money for the firm. Those who have trouble with that quit in the New York Times.

Also, just, this. I mean, this:

My proudest moments in life — getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics — have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.

Maybe if he’d gotten the Rhodes, or won a gold medal for regular tennis at the goyish Olympics, he’d have made MD and would still have a job.***

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs [NYT]
Related / endorsed: Bankers versus bitching rights, a graphical representation [FTAV]
Earlier: Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes

* Also, like, not to be too much of a dick, but, the fact that this epiphany hit Greg Smith after twelve years on the job may explain why he’s apparently at least a sixth-year VP, which to me suggests that he was at a dead end. And everyone’s all “huge Goldman EXECUTIVE (or ‘partner’ or ‘golden boy’) and HEAD of blahbittyblahblahs resigns!!!” No. He’s an “executive director,” which sounds nice but which at Goldman is just the term used outside of the US for VPs. And that is quite a few rungs from “partner.”

As for being the head of “the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” one of my very favorite things about banking is that you’re pretty much the head of something as soon as you walk in the door, because clients like to deal with the heads of things. I had a similarly impressive pseudo-title (“executive director and head of the North American X business for Y industry”) when my “business” consisted of me and one analyst. [UPDATE: Amazingly, Greg’s “business” consisted of him and zero analysts.] I never went to a first client meeting where I wasn’t introduced as the head of whatever we were talking about that day. Sometimes I introduced the analyst as the head of something or other. And sometimes I’d go to meetings with senior bankers who didn’t really know who I was and they’d introduce me as like “this is Matt, he runs our global capital markets business.” What did it hurt?

** I consoled myself with tax structuring, which is zero-sum in a different way.

*** Random question: will he lose his undelivered RSUs? Will GS enforce a nondisparage against someone who clearly has access to the press? You can see why this might be of interest to me.

(hidden for your protection)
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315 Responses to “Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge”

  1. Guest says:

    He's just throwing extra "like's" in there to mess with us, right?

  2. Bob Sugar says:

    It's not "show friends". It's "show business".

  3. Prick says:

    Hmmm…that's funny cause I also enjoy receiving head.

  4. string says:

    I'm not sure that ED is like VP for Europe, GS still has VP's in Europe, ED is the thing you become after VP before MD

    • _m___Me___m_ says:

      I thought ED was the thing you got when you drank loads of Cristal and you can't get the ping pong paddle in your pants to perform…

    • Texashedge says:

      ED is what happens around the age you become an MD

  5. bluehorseshoe says:

    who else wants to see a cohn/blankfein duet of "man or muppet"?

  6. Guest says:

    Bess will you write an article about this letter?

    -guy that knew Matt loved Goldman Sachs but my goodness man

  7. guest says:

    "Maybe if he’d gotten the Rhodes, or won a gold medal for regular tennis at the goyish Olympics, he’d have made MD and would still have a job"

    well done

  8. VanillAnalyst says:

    But if sales people aren’t asking “how can we offer this client products that they will THINK offer them a good risk/reward proposition,” then they are not likely to get many clients.

    Thank you for making Greg's point.

  9. guest says:

    give the money back ping pong boy

  10. Kermit says:

    It ain't easy being green…or an equity-derivatives banker

  11. PermaGuestII says:

    Bravo, Matt.

  12. LB and GC says:

    Good perspectives from Matt, who used to run our global capital markets business.


  13. wsa says:

    it's truly impossible to make it through one of matt's postings.

  14. Silverman says:

    Can i apply for his job. I got a sliver in TT for Jewish community sports event in Brooklyn (Jewish World Cup) .

  15. shubik says:

    After Goldman's behavior leading up to the financial crisis (e.g.,, you can't just refute the claim that Goldman rips off its clients by saying it "rings false" and is "not much of a long-term strategy."* Ok, equity derivatives are largely zero-sum, but you can make money from your clients without totally ripping them off.**

    * Your footnote about titles at Goldman (putting down Smith, but who really cares) just reinforces the idea that Goldman misleads its clients–in this case in a somewhat harmless way, but still.

    ** I wouldn't end a post where you defend Goldman with a footnote about how you're worried about Goldman taking away your RSUs if you say bad things about Goldman.

  16. Beaker says:


  17. derp says:

    Where are the clients' ping pongs?

  18. Guest says:

    Matt, could you be any more pro-anythingtodowiththeevilpracticesofbankers? You don't have anyone fooled, we know you're just casting lines for potential exit opps you sly dog.

    And I have a feeling you manipulate the thumbs up/thumbs down statistics too in the comments for your articles… but other than that, good work.

  19. Pedantic Guy says:

    I read this whole article as: "Listen boys, I'm really not sure if this blogging thing is going to work out, so if I ever come calling/this new PR guy doesn't work out (I am, after all, a journalist as well now) remember who was there for you in your time of need."

    Also, if being "too much of a dick" is what allows you to come up with points such as * and "[M]aybe if he’d gotten the Rhodes, or won a gold medal for regular tennis at the goyish Olympics, he’d have made MD and would still have a job," the by all means Matt, be as big a dick as you can be.

    –Guy who agreed with most of what Matt said

  20. Guest says:

    Good job, Matt. See you are still washing Lloyd's jocktrap.

    • Lloyd B says:

      Matt, you forgot the fabric softener last time. Make sure that doesn't happen again.

    • ThisIsJournalism? says:


      That's not fair. You should have written:

      Good job, Matt. See you are still washing Lloyd's jockstrap … on your knees in a manner that apes Andrew Ross Suckup.

    • b-chan says:

      The jockstrap in question is rumored to have been worn by Jesus during his time in the desert and as such, it is infused with the sweat of the Gods, the saltiest of nectars. It was recovered from the Nazis after much adventuring.

  21. Guest says:

    Wait, why didn't Bess write this story… I mean, come on.

  22. Stavroster says:

    If he goes down to the gulf and buys a shrimping boat he might watch too much TV.

  23. inlovewithpmco says:

    Maybe he should go to JPM's UK desk and join the Intramural basketball squad

  24. Guest says:

    "That’s, like, your job as a salesman"

    But they're not, like, a "salesman". They're an investment advisor. And it is not just a customer who is subject to "caveat emptor", it is an advisory client, and as it turns out, there are legal differences that are, like, kind of important. As Goldman has already found out, to the tune of several hundred million dollars.

    With an advisory client, you have to put the client's interests first, ahead of the firm's. How does that work with zero-sum products like options? Well, let's see – if the firm has reason to believe that the option is likely to be a losing prospect for the client, then selling it to the client would be putting the firm's interests over the client. If it looks likely to be a winning prospect for the client, that would be fine, but then the firm loses money, so why would they sell it to them? In short, if a zero-sum product is being sold to a client, I see it as being highly likely that the client is being taken advantage of – something which is not just a bad business practice, but illegal.

    I find it telling that Matt – a Goldman veteran – goes the whole article without demonstrating any awareness of the difference between a customer and an advisory client, and demonstrates no knowledge of the fiduciary duty standard. If that is true of Goldman as a company, I would say that Greg's observations are likely spot-on.

    • Pedantic Guy says:

      Sigh. The only telling thing here, guy who the equities desk in Dallas told to fuck off, are your comments– you've obviously never traded a day in your life. In response to your whole paragraph, one word: Market Making.

      –Guy who suspects the this "Guest" probably doesn't know know what market making is and would explain it to him, but he has a job and work to do (coincidentally, I also suspect "Guest" also lacks a job).

      • PermaGuestII says:

        Also pretty evident that he doesn't know the difference btw GSAM and GS&Co.

        • Guest says:

          The difference between GSAM and GS & Co. exists only in the mind of a lawyer. The two businesses are located at the same addresses, run by the same parent company, and populated with people who know each other and eat lunch at the same places. There is effectively no separation between them.

          To Pedantic Guy, I am perfectly aware that "market making" is the line of business that most investment banks consider themselves to be in these days. And that was the entire point of the original op-ed: that other considerations, specifically the well-being of clients, have disappeared in favor of how much the firm is making through the buying and selling of securities. All the responses here, yours included, have only reinforced the original point, that the trading desks think they run the firm, because they do, and they don't care a bit about clients, so consequently neither does the rest of the firm.

          That obviously is a toxic situation for clients. If the advisory arm were actually serving their clients' best interests rather than acting as a dumping ground for the "market makers", they wouldn't so much as pick up the phone with their own trading desks, because they would know perfectly well that the people on the other end of the line were only looking to take advantage of their clients. (How is that any different from an external broker? Because the internal brokers have access to client flow information – don't pretend they don't, of course they do – and are particularly well positioned to take advantage of clients.)

          • Guest says:

            "The difference between GSAM and GS & Co. exists only in the mind of a lawyer."

            Well maybe a lawyer and a few regulators. And folks who run banks and work for them. And their clients. Auditors. And most people in this debate. Maybe Matt Taibbi but I'm not sure.

            Basically everyone except you.

          • Guest says:

            Wow, you're really doubling down on your ignorance? "The difference between GSAM and GS & Co. exists" in the "mind" of the SEC and the '40 Act, you dolt. Smith was an equity derivatives salesman, not an "advisor" and nowhere near a fiduciary.

          • PermaGuestII says:

            A word on this. GSAM, like JPMAM, MLAM, and every other asset management arm on the Street, does not do business with or through the GS&Co. trading desks. Legally prohibited from doing so, I believe. And having worked for many years at a former bulge bracket (where Asset Management didn't even use the same computer systems as the broker-dealer) I can assure you that not only are the Chinese walls in place between the Asset Management arms and the rest of the firm effective but the two cultures tend to dislike each other so much that interaction below the C-suite level is minimal. The Asset Management people are the folks on the other elevator bank whom you only recognize because you see them coming through the lobby turnstiles at 7:00 in the morning like everyone else; or they're the people at the "other building" downtown/in Princeton/etc.

          • streetman says:

            Thank you, PG, and you are correct. However, at my firm they got in around 9:00…

          • a friend says:

            Its' fairly clear that you actually don't understand what market-making actually means, you don't understand how the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 works or when someone has duty to act as a fiduciary or to be mindful of suitability, you have obviously never read a derivative confirmation and you fundamentally fail to understand how investment banks are structured or do business. When can you start?

            -NYTimes Business Section Editor

    • Account Executive says:

      lol…couldn't get past' "investment advisor"

    • Another Guest says:

      Mr. Guest,

      Mr. Smith was registered as a General Securities Representative and an Equity Trader, but not an Investment Adviser Representative, according to his FINRA record which you can look up here:

      Those of us who really do know the difference would appreciate it if those who just make assumptions would check facts before spouting off and making genuine Investment Advisers look like dolts.

      Best wishes,

      Another Guest

    • Guest says:

      Wow you're a retard! Clearly you don't understand the difference between the buy side and sell side of the industry.

      Greg and Matt most definitely were not "financial advisors" they were sell side market makers. They executed trades for a customer. Your local Edward Jones idiot who you go to for financial advise is a "financial advisor". He is supposed to recommend investments to you. Recommending investments and executing trades are not the same thing, and you're too stupid to figure that out.

  25. ThisIsJournalism? says:


    Nice bit of writing …

    … For a member of the Goldman Sachs Public Relations Staff.

    To which offshore account has Goldman directed your compensation for this (ahem) effort?

  26. guest says:


  27. ThisIsJournalism says:

    *** Random question: will he lose his undelivered RSUs? Will GS enforce a nondisparage against someone who clearly has access to the press? You can see why this might be of interest to me.

    Yes, Levine, you're clearly terrified Papa Lloyd will give you a second bris sans anesthetic unless you spew out this tripe to prove your Goldie bona fides. Otherwise, Papa Lloyd just may tell the IRS about those island bank accounts of yours and then where would you be, son?

    You're terrified of Papa Lloyd and the Goldie Hit Team. Your abject fear screams out from this copy.

  28. nom says:

    this post seems like one big ad hominem.

  29. Mexi_Cant says:

    Matt you've blossomed. I have been a hater prior but I thoroughly enjoyed this article and would like for you to be happy for writing especially well today.

    P.S. No Homo

  30. PermaGuestII says:

    If the standard in a particular industry is for a person in a certain position to be called "x", and a company goes along with that standard, yes.

    Do you get upset that Union Pacific calls the guys who drive their trains "engineers" even though a BS in engineering is not a job requirement?

  31. Suck it Andrew Ross Sorkin says:

    Ya okay, thats it. Andrew Ross Sorkin to the unemployment line, Matt to Dealbook editor in chief. This was brilliant.

  32. Guest says:

    "What did it hurt?"

    Hello Mr. Levine, don't worry about that brain tumor, this is Phil, he runs neurosurgery.

    Well, he doesn't, in fact he is an intern, but patients feel better speaking to the head of neurosurgery. No harm no foul.

    Perhaps while they were thinking that they were dealing with a more senior member of the team, they didn't mind paying those outrageous fees.

    I know Perma, everyone does it. Still stupid.

  33. Cynic says:

    Matt nice move on the dance floor.

    "Sometimes I introduced the analyst as the head of something or other. And sometimes I’d go to meetings with senior bankers who didn’t really know who I was and they’d introduce me as like “this is Matt, he runs our global capital markets business.” What did it hurt?"

    Matt your argument is disengenious – you prove Greg's very assertions just by this alone. You deserve the Noble prize for genious. Just to be clear misrepresentation of fact is fraud – good luck if you think that is ok no matter the hurt or not.

  34. Pratt says:

    Kiss ass

  35. David Wolfe says:

    From the parent of a student who is joining Goldman Sachs full-time after graduation in July 2012.

    In his NYT Op-Ed, Greg Smith fails to address whether Goldman Sachs is continuing to deliver superior returns to its clients. Like many, I have sat in corporate America. I have sat with hedge fund managers. I have sat with many, but not all of these people. But the greed culture is endemic. Goldman does not have a monopoly on this. Many hedge fund managers, private equity managers, and corporate executives continue to get paid fat salaries even if their investors and shareholders lose.  Frankly I don't think your coveted clients care too much whether you are a nice person as long as you deliver good returns.

    So Goldman may not be the altruistic workplace in which the author once believed, or he might have just found out how tough it can be at the top, as he made his way closer to the top. I joined a bank straight out of undergraduate school and concluded on around day 5 that banking wasn't for me, so, unlike Mr. Smith, I have not been paid well for my banking efforts ahead of making a series of self-serving altruistic remarks in public.  Goldman is really no different today than the way it has always been. I suggest that Mr. Smith joined Goldman from Stanford because the investment banking and consulting jobs paid the best.  I would challenge him if he joined Goldman for the kind of altruistic reasons he looks back on with rose tinted glasses.

    I hope for Greg Smith's sake that Goldman has afforded him sufficient wealth to take his altruism to a non-profit organization. I hope he can close his eyes and ears as these organizations discuss how to squeeze money out of willing donors from firms like Goldman who have the funds to support the extraordinary work done by great people who rely on successful people like Smith to continue to fuel the money machine that funds their good work.  I would further suggest that it is the "good" people at Goldman who I have met who tend to make many of these significant donations.  Mr. Smith is no better than his ex-colleagues and he has no right to judge who are good and who are bad people.  How does he know for sure that his beloved Middle Eastern money mangers and his hedge fund buddies are good people, and yet his ex bosses are bad? Who exactly does he think he is to make this judgment? (cont…)

  36. David Wolfe says:

    (…cont) For my part, I am a liberal, taxpaying, philanthropic entrepreneur, and I abhor the culture that Smith wrote about. But he is delusional if he thinks he is the first to leave for these reasons, though history may show that he was one of the first to attempt to destroy the hand that fed him.

     What upsets me the most is that he has created turmoil among young Stanford students and their peers who are graduating this year and joining the firm he just left. They, like Mr. Smith, have been through grueling interviews and internships, and they are lured by the culture and the potential financial rewards.  Mr. Smith's article smacked of a guy trying to offload some guilt in a very damaging way.  Damaging… Not just to the institution, but also to the younger people in the firm who probably helped make Smith enough money so that he can offload in public.

     I suggest a few hundred dollars spent on a therapist would have been more rewarding for this ” born again” altruist.

     I have a daughter who, like Smith, is joining Goldman from Stanford. I have a daughter who, like Smith, won a bronze medal in the Maccabiah games in Israel for distance running. One of my daughters is joining a caring profession and is worried about her earning potential, safe in the knowledge that her dad or her sister can probably help because we make more money. But that, Mr. Smith, does not mean we don't care. No sir…  What it actually means is that my wife has been able to teach kids with special needs her entire life without worrying about income. It means I’ve been able to hire and train hundreds of young people who have gone on to achieve great things.  It means that every night I go to bed satisfied that, on balance, I'm a good person.

     I hope Mr. Smith can do that too and I hope that one day he'll realize that he wasn't a bad person because he chose to work at Goldman or a great person because he chose to leave.  I also hope that one day he will realize that though his article was couched in terms that purported to share something important with the world, it really only served to tell us something we know and accept. I trust most people will focus on the fact that 4 major banks just failed liquidity tests, that our economy needs to grow, and that there are people all over the world who need us to be successful so we can help fund their long term infrastructure and short term needs.

     Most of all I hope Mr. Smith's article joins the mountain of self-serving articles that I've read and ignored over the years.

    And I hope my daughter loves her time at Goldman and loves living in Manhattan. I hope that her mentors aren't tainted by the kind of self-loathing that drove Mr. Smith to upset the daughter I love and of whom I am so proud.  Because make no mistake Mr. Smith, the only reason you got my attention is because this is personal. Good luck, Mr. Smith. I hope you find what you are looking for. I hope you find yourself again.

    • G. Smith says:

      You should be proud of your daughter, she can suck the chrome off of a trailer hitch.

    • Kermit says:

      Can I please have your daughter's phone number?

    • Guest says:

      TL; (cont)

    • uninvited guest says:

      Lots of vitriol for a guy you've never met because you think he's going to hurt your 20 something daughter's feelings. Or is that all there is to it? Sounds a bit like you're getting ready for a defense of your daughter's choices at one of them liberal cocktail parties. Your daughter is probably savvy and resilient. She decided to join GS despite all the negatives thrown at them before Mr. Smith showed up (by people your friends read, undoubtedly). It's probably accurate to say the she and her classmates' main goal is to make good money, and in that realm GS is the mothership. She can expect to work hard and as far as that bonus is concerned, expect to be disappointed. She knows this by now, or should. As for you, maybe take your own advice about having no right to to judge who are good and bad people.

  37. Cynic says:

    Dear Mr Wolfe so….. let me get this right…. you are very upset because

    1. your daughter reads or hears about a letter
    2. the letter alleges the way things are at a company
    3. you do not contest the accuracy of what is in the letter
    4. you accept the status quo I quote from your letter " it really only served to tell us something we know and accept"
    5. your daughter questions or is upset by the alleged behaviour that is happening at the company – I suspect the alleged behaviour is not congruent with her current belief systems
    6. you become angry with and then attack my Mr Smith in this blog as this has "become personal" to you as your daughter and her class mates are upset
    7. as a defense of the company, you loosely talk about the charitable works and donations of the company / employees of the company with out telling us any proportion of the earnings. Is it like the employees take 90% of the upside and donate 10% to charity? Doubt it – so why even raise this point?

  38. Cynic says:


    8. you defend this alleged action by pointing to others like HF and PE managers and corporates, and say they are greedy too. As you probably might suspect, if a member of the community happens to have to defend themself in court for murder, a compelling defense is not to say that other people committ murder too.
    Please Mr Wolfe you sound smart and eloquent so at least be logical in your argument. My wish is that you copy your and my argument into a letter and give this to your daughter and all her classmates and let them decide for themselves. I know and accept that the system is not perfect but I suggest it is wrong to defend a system with logical and immotive arguments.

    PS I work in the HF industry, but also donate a proportion of my time, energy and effort to volunteer only charities and applaud you for your similar work.

    • zeitguest says:

      you're missing the point. the fulcrum of this whole issue is the idea that there's some kind of deception involved. leaving aside the dramatics of mr. smith, none of the clients involved are/were in any way deceived about their relationships with their coverage. i, too, work in the hedge fund industry; I, too, do a substantial amount of volunteer work, and I believe that this guy's clients were (on the whole) a bit smarter than he, and that in all likelihood neither he, nor any of his colleagues, ever sold them anything THEY DIDN'T DECIDE TO BUY. and i can guarantee you the basis of their decision was never, "but ping pong Greg at GS said we'd make money!"

      not in any way part of the argument, but yeah, smells like he wasn't getting the nod to MD and was slated for a RIF at some point. bit of a childish response ("oh yeah? well you guys are all a-holes!!") but i can see why he was disappointed.

      • Cynic says:

        Thanks Zeitguest. In the above post I was tangentially just dealing with a few of the points arising from David Wolfe's post because he was getting personal – which was I fealt was wrong on at least two different levels.

        Zeitguest your argument above is a whole lot more convincing than genius Levine's. Quick question hand on heart what % of Bank sellers of CDO's really believed that their real money clients understood the risks packaged into the products? 10%? 15%? And yet they still sell them the product and fast forward a few years and there's murder on the dance floor. Right. NOW THAT IS THE CORE ISSUE – just with ping pong smith the products are easier to model.

        Another quick question if you have time – do you see anything wrong about lying to a client about a work title and thus responsibilities? Simple Yes or No.

  39. James says:

    Did you read "Fools Gold?" – the fact that they stopped pushing most of their BISTROS was because they didn't feel they could accurately apply correlations to the product and didn't have enough history. The BISTRO team and JPM knew the product was flawed and moved away from it. Others picked it up.

  40. Smitty says:

    This is easily one of the most tone-deaf responses to a criticism of the finance industry I've ever read. Memo to investment bankers: people are not disgusted with the fact that you make money; people are disgusted with HOW you make your money. It is entirely possible to make oodles of money while discharging your ethical and fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of your clients. But striving to grab every last penny on the table leads to morally bankrupt shit like the Abacus deal. Goldman Sachs should be roundly criticized for pretending to act in the best interests of their clients when said interests and the interests of Goldman often conflict.

    The whole tenor of this sycophantic post smacks of a snake-oil salesman trying to justify his existence.

    • Whoops says:

      Still not getting the difference between advisory clients and counterparties, eh?

      • guest says:

        I know, right? I'm tired of pointing it out. There are a lot of very smart people who are incredibly stupid when it comes to this subject, but it doesn't prevent them from opining anyway.

  41. im_new_here says:

    He may have only won the bronze in table tennis, but he wins the gold for kvetching!

  42. Banalyst says:


  43. Black Scholes says:

    I never had an opinion on Levine until today. What a shallow yet douchey reply, full of irrelevant cheap shots. No wonder he's a punching bag.

  44. Neil Smith says:

    Well why don't I just buy stock instead. Good insight to equity derivatives. Greg Smith's letter was rubbish but not as rubbish as your article. Mr Wolfe's daughter can teach you.

  45. uninvited guest says:

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