How can you not love listening to Lloyd Blankfein? He spoke at this Merrill conference […]
Book excerpt: Adam Baldwin’s “Heroes and Villains of Finance” is a fascinating dive into the history of money as an institution, highlighting the fifty most significant figures that, rightly or wrongly, are responsible for the financial landscape we live in today.
The phone call lasts just a few seconds. The words “congratulations, you’ve become a partner,” […]
Back in December 2007, things weren’t going so well for Matthew Marshall Taylor. He’d just been fired from Goldman Sachs and not only was he out of a job, but his prospects for finding a new one didn’t look so hot, on account of the fact that Goldman planned to put a note in his file detailing the reason he’d been let go– “for building an ‘inappropriately large’ proprietary trading position”— and it seemed unlikely anyone at the firm would be open to serving as a reference for him moving forward. Three months later, however, one bank told MMT that there was room for him at their inn. Morgan Stanley, apparently having decided the incident at Goldman was but an asterisk in what would be a long and fruitful career, told Taylor to come on down, employing him for over four years until he left in July of his own accord and not because of any legal issues relating to his work at Goldman Sachs.
Taylor was accused yesterday by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission of concealing an $8.3 billion position in 2007 that caused Goldman Sachs to lose $118 million. Goldman Sachs fired Taylor in December 2007 and cited “alleged conduct related to inappropriately large proprietary futures positions in a firm trading account,” in a so-called U-5 form, according to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority document. Morgan Stanley, which had employed Taylor before he joined Goldman in 2005, re-hired him in March 2008, according to the records.
Taylor, who handled client-related equity derivative trading at Morgan Stanley, left the firm in July, according to Mark Lake, a company spokesman in New York. His departure wasn’t related to the CFTC complaint filed against Taylor yesterday in federal court, according to a person familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity because the information is private. Taylor concealed the position by bypassing the firm’s internal system for routing trades to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and manually entering fabricated futures trades in a different internal system, according to the complaint. Goldman Sachs, which wasn’t identified in the CFTC lawsuit, said Taylor allegedly made the trades while employed at the firm.
Anyway, since MMT is a free agent at the moment, if any other banks would like to overlook the blip, please do get in touch directly. Citi, BofA? At least just think about it. He was good enough for Morgan Stanley, he should be good enough for you.
Morgan Stanley Hired Goldman Trader Accused Of Hiding Position [Bloomberg]
CFTC Charges Matthew Marshall Taylor with Fraud for Fabricating and Concealing Trades from His Employer and Obstructing Their Discovery [CFTC]
According to an incredibly distressing report by Bloomberg today, Richard Kimball Jr., he of topless pool parties, topless and bottom-less Halloween parties, and what sound like orgies in the backyard-fame, is no longer a partner at the firm.
Goldman Sachs, which is scheduled to announce its new class of partners next week, has 407 members of that elite group, down 31 in about nine months, according to a company filing. That’s because 33 people listed as part of the partnership in a February document weren’t included in a filing released Nov. 2…Names dropped from the latest list include investment bankers Jason G. Cahilly, who specializes in advising media and telecommunications companies; Alastair J. Hunt, who works with businesses involved in natural resources; Kevin A. Quinn, a specialist in semiconductor firms and Richard A. Kimball Jr., who worked with the health-care industry.
Although rumors circulated a while back that Goldman was considering simply de-partnering Kimball, a painful process that nevertheless allows neutered ex-partners to still gain access to the building, we’re told that he has in fact left the bank entirely.* So the position is up for grabs and while it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to fill his considerable shoes, that’s not a good enough reason to not give it a try.
Goldman Sachs Partner List Drops 31 Since February, Filing Shows [Bloomberg]
Earlier: Goldman Sachs Managing Director Richard Kimball Finds Finds New Apartment Board Not Hell-Bent On Ruining His Good Time; Goldman Sachs Considering Punishing Richard Kimball For His Prudence, Joie De Vivre; Goldman Partner’s Neighbors Scandalized By Shirt Optional Parties; Goldman Sachs Supposedly Not Happy With Topless Story; Banks Advising Employees To Avoid Flashy Hamptons Homes This Year, Vague About Whether Or Not Pulling A Kimball Is Okay
*Whether to start his own hedge fund or design a line for La Perla is unclear at this time.
…when Falcone and five LightSquared colleagues met over a meal of white-truffle pasta and Barolo at a Washington restaurant in January, they failed to come up with anything they could have done differently, according to a person who was there who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.– Falcone Waits For Icahn Doubling Down On Network
When JPMorgan, which earned the most of any of the six banks over the four quarters, decided to thank employees for their performance this year, it sent 161,680 individually wrapped buttercream-frosted, chocolate chip, oatmeal-raisin and sugar cookies to retail branches and call centers in the U.S., U.K., Philippines and India.– No Joy On Wall Street As Biggest Banks Earn $63 Billion
Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.–Bankers Join Billionaires To Debunk ‘Imbecile’ Attack On Top 1%
American International Group Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche, 66, a Kappa Beta Phi member who disclosed in October that he was undergoing treatment for cancer, was there. He looked energetic, the two attendees said. In 1930, the dinner was beefsteak. This year, the meal featured lobster salad, shrimp, pigs-in-a-blanket, lamb chops and pistachio ice cream.– Wall Street Secret Society Kappa Beta Phi Adds Dealmakers With Lehman Rite
Wall Street headhunter Daniel Arbeeny said his “income has gone down tremendously.” On a recent Sunday, he drove to Fairway Market in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn to buy discounted salmon for $5.99 a pound.–Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen For Coupons
The clam-juice cocktails at the private Stock Exchange Luncheon Club, where brokers lined up three deep at the raw bar, contained tomato juice, cooled water from boiled chowder clams, ketchup, celery salt and the option of a freshly shucked clam. Add vodka and they called it a Red Snapper.–How America Ceded Capitalism’s Bastion To German Boerse Seizing Big Board
As someone once said, you can find out a lot about a man or woman’s character during moments of great crisis. Do they fall apart? Do they become shells of their former selves? Do the worst parts of them come out? Do they turn their backs on everything they supposedly once stood for? Or do they, even in moments of darkness, rise to the occasion and demonstrate the morals and values they held when times were good are the very same ones they choose to live by when times are bad? For Bloomberg News reporter Max Abelson, Hurricane Sandy was a test. Would he turn in an article containing few if any reference to the food people consumed during the natural disaster? Or would his commitment to bringing readers exhaustive details re: what his Wall Street subjects eat (see above, here, and here) burn ever bright, to the extent that sources and interviewees elaborating on their situation beyond provisions would find themselves cut off and told, “Just the food and drink, toots. I got a lotta calls to make”?
Luckily for us, it was the latter.
Herewith, an accounting of things stuffed down the gullets of Wall Street over the last two days:
* Murry Stegelmann, Kilimanjaro Advisors: expensive wine, green tea.
“I had to go to the wine cellar and find a good bottle of wine and drink it before it goes bad,” Murry Stegelmann, 50, a founder of investment-management firm Kilimanjaro Advisors LLC, wrote in an e-mail after he lost power at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29 in Darien, Connecticut. The bottle he chose, a 2005 Chateau Margaux, was given 98 points by wine critic Robert Parker and is on sale at the Westchester Wine Warehouse for $999.99. “Outstanding,” Stegelmann said. He started the day with green tea at Starbucks, talking with neighbors about the New York Yankees’ future and moving boats to the parking lot of Darien’s Middlesex Middle School.
* Wilson Ervin, Credit Suisse: the most depressing breakfast ever.
Erin…went to the bank’s office at 11 Madison Ave. afterward to work on evaluations of managing directors and financial regulation. He ate a lunch of Raisin Bran, coffee and a banana from the 7-Eleven downstairs, he said.
* Pablo Salame, Goldman Sachs: sushi, the piece of which Abelson or his research assistant counted.
* Wilbur Ross, WL Ross And Co: a painting.
“I was scheduled to come back Sunday night, and I decided not to, because everything during the week would be canceled anyway,” said Ross, chairman of private-equity firm WL Ross & Co. “I’m stuck in Palm Beach.”
He stayed in touch with colleagues using a fax machine along with phone and e-mail. His Florida home includes a painting by Rene Magritte of petrified blue apples, an image that is also depicted on a custom-made Van Cleef & Arpels watch he owns, he told Bloomberg News this year.
* JPMorgan employees: many of the culinary delights its cafeteria offers on a regular basis but NO DUMPLINGS.
JPMorgan, which sent out more than a dozen hurricane updates to its employees featuring detailed weather maps, kept parts of its 270 Park Ave. cafeteria open yesterday. Danishes and scones were available near the salad bar, and the bank’s deli had sandwiches with grilled vegetables. The dumpling bar was closed.
Wall Street Finds Sandy Silver Lining In Wine, Monopoly [Bloomberg]
Related: Things People Have Eaten in the Presence of Bloomberg Reporter Max Abelson [Daily Intel]
[Stephen Foley via Felix Salmon]
As many of you know, here at Dealbreaker we consider ourselves the preeminent scholars on Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn’s grundle. Specifically, the grundle-to-face conversations he reportedly enjoys having with employees on the trading floor. So we were more than a little delighted to hear that Greg Smith’s book, Why I Left Goldman Sachs, contained a passage describing Cohn’s preferred position to assume while havin’ a chat. Sayeth Smith:
Gary had a very distinctive signature move, one he had become famous for within the firm; I must have seen it ten or fifteen times in action. It didn’t matter if the person he was talking to was male or female; he would walk up to the salesman or saleswoman, hike up one leg, plant his foot on the person’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face, and ask how markets were doing. Gary was physically commanding, and the move could have been interpreted as a very primal, alpha-male gesture. I think he just thought it was comfortable.
For those who have made claims that Smith’s book is light on details that any exposé worth its salt would include, please note that reporters at investigative powerhouse Bloomberg News would probably nod approvingly at the above, based on an article they penned last year.
Cohn, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, can be intimidating, two former colleagues said. He would sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face, and ask how markets were doing, they said.
“I landed in New York at JFK International close to midnight on the day the […]
Something you may have picked up on is that next week, Grand Central Publishing will release Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, by former employee Greg Smith. Should you buy the book? That depends on you ask. Some people, like the ones who made Smith famous, say no. Others, like those who enjoy vivid descriptions of a naked Lloyd Blankfein and edge-of-your-seat ping pong matches, would probably say yes. One group of people who’d prefer you save your money? Goldman Sachs. As previously mentioned, the bank embarked on a Discredit Greg Smith tour last month which has involved equating him with a first or second or third-year analyst who thinks people care about all the crazy stuff he was privy to when in fact it wasn’t crazy and no one does; leaking unflattering performance reviews that suggest he was “unrealistic” about his abilities and earnings potential; and generally painting a picture of someone who was a nobody at the firm (“My first reaction [to hearing about his Op-Ed] was, who is he,” the firm’s head of HR told Bloomberg TV this morning), who wrote his book out of spite for not receiving the bonus he thought he deserved, and whose claims re: The Firm should not be trusted.
For the most part, a number of people– from current to former employees to those familiar but not intimately familiar with Goldman– have concurred with their assessment of young Greg. Of course, every now and then you have some individuals who speak out of turn and who should probably consider sleeping with one eye open.
There are a lot of people who acknowledge these things internally, but no one is willing to say it publicly,” Smith, who was a vice president when he left Goldman Sachs, said in the “60 Minutes” interview. “And my view was the only way you force people to change the system is by saying it publicly.” Seven former Goldman Sachs partners and managing directors, positions that are more senior than vice president, said in March interviews that Smith shouldn’t be taken seriously because he was a junior employee and may have been disgruntled about his pay or career. All asked not to be identified because they didn’t want to risk ruining their relationship with the firm. Six of the seven said they agreed with Smith’s criticism of how the firm has treated clients under Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, 58, and President Gary D. Cohn, 52, and that current members of the management committee would, too. Even so, they said they don’t expect the board of directors to take action or that anything will change because the bank has made money and outperformed most rivals.
What? He shouldn’t be trusted because of X, Y, Z but, having said that, he does make some excellent points? Do you hear yourself talking? This is what happens when you don’t stick to the script!
Goldman Sachs Op-Ed Wasn’t a ‘Betrayal,’ Smith Tells 60 Minutes [Bloomberg]
*And will lucky if they’re not eating out of feeding tubes..
Goldman Sachs found no support for claims by Greg Smith, a former employee, that the […]
Mr. Smith outlines moments when he came into close contact with Goldman’s chairman and chief executive, according to pages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Smith tells of one near-encounter when he saw Mr. Blankfein, sans clothes, after taking a shower at the gym. Mr. Blankfein was “air-drying,” Mr. Smith writes, something Mr. Smith took not as a display of power but as something men of an older generation tend to do. Another up-close-and-personal moment with the big boss came when Mr. Blankfein and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chief Executive Warren Buffett walked through the Goldman trading floor the day after Mr. Buffett’s $5 billion investment as Goldman was reeling in 2008. In the book, Mr. Smith says he had a co-worker snap a photo as he stood near Mr. Buffett.
Greg Smith: I Saw Blankfein Naked [Deal Journal]
On Monday morning, Grand Central Publishing will release Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, a memoir penned by former Goldman employee Greg Smith, based on his op-ed for the New York Times entitled, “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” When Smith’s piece came out last March, few if any senior executives inside the bank were pleased, in part because it came as a total shock. No one at Goldman had known Smith was planning to have his resignation letter printed in the paper. No one had known he had issues with the firm’s supposedly new and singular focus on making money at all costs. No one, at least at the top, even knew who Greg was. Obviously all this left the bank at a competitive disadvantage in terms of fighting back and for the time being, Smith appeared to be handing Goldman its ass. Getting cocky, even. Perhaps thinking to himself, “When all of this is over, I could be named the new CEO of Goldman Sachs.” As anyone who has ever won a bronze medal in ping-pong at the Maccabiah Games will tell you, however, winners are determined by best of threes. And that anyone going to to the table with Goldman Sachs should be prepared for things to get ugly.
Which is why it should not have come as a surprise that after getting hydrated, regrouping, and coming up with a plan of attack, Goldman kicked off round two with a delightfully bitchy, exceptionally underminery comment to the press re: Smith’s tale being no more interesting than that of a disgruntled first-year analyst who thinks he’s got a story to tell and then followed it up with a leak of Greg’s less than flattering performance reviews to the Financial Times. What probably did come as a surprise, however, was today’s breathtakingly aggressive Bloomberg piece re: Mr. Smith wherein:
* He’s described as a petulant child with unrealistic expectations for his career advancement
* It’s suggested, by saying outright, that his op-ed complaints about the firm were nothing more than him having “an axe to grind” on account of not advancing beyond vice-president, as demonstrated by the fact that as of 2010, he was happy with the firm, wanted to become a managing director and had no intention of leaving
* People are left to connect the dots re: Smith and lady bosses (“Goldman Sachs put a different managing director in charge of Smith as it considered giving him a sales job. The report says he ‘found the transition difficult and considered the female MD who ran the desk a peer at not his boss”)
Relatedly, as we head into the final game of the set with a tie score, the following is a tremendous anecdote from Chapter 3 of Why I Left Goldman Sachs involving an actual game of ping-pong, John Whitehead’s Business Principles, and the lessons one learns as a first-year at GS about allowing a client to enjoy the sweet taste of victory despite knowing full-well you could wipe the floor with him or her and bring home the gold, if you so chose.
After hearing of my past sports success, Rudy immediately fired off an e-mail to Ted Simpson, saying “Springbok will be representing the New York desk at the Ping-Pong tournament.”
Simpson wrote back: “Who’s Springbok?”
In response, Rudy e-mailed him a photograph of a springbok, the actual animal. You had to be there, but I thought it was hilarious.
So I flew to Boston on Goldman’s tab– the justification being that while there, I could meet with Prakash and talk Israeli tech stocks– and met Ted Simpson.
The backstory of the annual Goldman Sachs Ping-Pong Tournament, Ted told me, was that the same guy, an Indian portfolio manager from Putnam, had won it five years in a row, and that winning the tournament was the highlight of the guy’s year. But from the moment I walked into Jillian’s- a pleasure palace replete with free-flowing alcohol, spicy chicken wings, bowling alleys, plasma TVs, and dozens of Foosball, pool and table tennis tables– and saw my alleged competition practicing, I knew he didn’t have a chance against me.
I’m not trying to brag. But competitive table tennis, like every sport, has its levels. Any number of internationally ranked players could have (and had) made mincemeat out of me, yet simply put, the Putnam portfolio manager (let’s call him PPM) and I were not in the same league. I was confident he wouldn’t be able to return my serve, and if it came to a rally, he wouldn’t be prepared for the kind of sever spins I could put on the ball. I could see he was a very good basement player, nothing more. I could have beaten him in my sleep.
The tournament draw was posted. Thirty-two people, and PPM was seeded number one. Since the organizers knew I was good, I was the number two seed. Play began.
I was rusty– I’d been working such long hours since joining Goldman that I’d barely picked up a paddle– but soon I remembered my form. And nobody gave me a serious challenge. PPM and I plowed through our halves of the draw, heading toward an inevitable confrontation. I watched a couple of his matches. PPM’s opponents were easy pickings: recreational players dressed in jeans and polo shirts. And PPM, looking very professional in his special sneakers and running shorts, T-shirt, and headband, was mopping them up. Of course he’d brought his own paddle– a serious player would never show up without his own stick. And of course I’d brought along my trusty Donic Appelgren blade, red on one side, black on the other.
Ted Simpson and I were looking on as PPM took down another player. “So what are we thinking here?” I asked Ted. “I”m going to meet this guy in the final, and if play properly, I’m going to beat him twenty-one to two. What’ the right course of action?”
Ted looked thoughtful. “Well,” he said after a moment, “this guy is one of our biggest clients; he takes this stuff really seriously.” At that moment, PPM whaled away at a forehand that just clipped the table edge and skipped off, unreturnable; he raised his arms in victory. “We need to make it a close game,” Ted said. “Get some good rallies going.”
I told Ted I had been thinking along the same lines. That I should beat PPM, because it was obvious I could beat him, but that I should keep it close. Not embarrass him. I knew how to do that, I said. You just make a few unforced errors here and there.
“Hmm,” Ted said.
“You have a different idea?” I asked.
“Well, the guy is one of our biggest clients,” he repeated, giving me a significant look.
“Maybe,” he said. And then: “Watch for my signal.”
I gave Ted a look– he was smiling– and took my Donic out of its case.
The match began. A crowd had gathered to watch us play. Everybody was having fun– except for my opponent, who was taking the match very seriously. When I won a few points in the early going, I could see him getting upset.
So I eased up. I could have really turned on the heat, hit some crazy shots past him that would have whizzed by his ear– but I didn’t. My whole plan was to keep the ball in play. To give the crowd a good show, instead of slicing the ball back when PPM smashed it at me, I would lob it up for him so he could smash it again. Smash, lob. Smash, lob. Oohs and has from the onlookers. After three or four exchanges like this, I’d either hit it into the net or give PPM such an easy pop-up that he could make a legitimate put-away on me. I was letting him show off for his fellow clients a little bit. He loved it.
The matches were best two out of three, and my plan was to squeak out a win in the second game, then maybe win by just a little more in the third. But when I was ahead 15 to 12 in the second, Ted Simpson caught my eye. He gave a little shake of the head, and then, using his left hand as a shield, gave me a quick thumbs-down with his right. I’m quite sure nobody but Ted and I knew what was going on. I nodded. After all, wasn’t putting the client first number one of John Whitehead’s 14 Business Principles?
The Putnam portfolio manger was very magnanimous in victory– as i was in defeat.
Earlier: Greg Smith: Goldman Sachs Interns Taught Harsh But Important Lessons By Demanding But Affable Managing Directors; What Else Does Goldman Sachs Have In Store For Greg Smith?; Goldman Sachs Unimpressed By Sophomoric Writing Efforts Of Former Employee; Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes; Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge; Goldman Sachs Accuser Greg Smith (Might Have) Lied About That Which He Holds Most Sacred
So how’d Harvey do? I found Goldman’s co-CFOed earnings call this morning a bit awkward […]
You needed to be very entrepreneurial and creative. Adding value as an intern often began with getting coffee for the desk every day; frequently, interns also did breakfast and lunch runs. You would literally take a pen and pad and go around to the ten or fifteen people on the desk and take everyone’s order. It’s a strange concept, but Wall Street looks at attention to detail as an indicator of how people are going to do in their job. If a kid keeps messing up the lunch order, he’s probably going to mess up something else down the line.
I remember one managing director– a few years after I’d started working at the firm– who was very sensitive about his lunch orders. He didn’t eat onion or certain other things. One day he asked an intern for a cheddar cheese sandwich, and the kid came back with a cheddar cheese salad. The kid handed it to him so proudly: “Here’s your cheddar cheese salad.” I was sitting next to the MD, so I remember the incident well. He opened the container, looked at the salad, looked up at the kid, closed the container, and threw it in the trash. It was a bit harsh, but it was also a teaching moment. The managing director joked about it with the kid afterward; he didn’t make a big deal about it. The lesson was learned.
Chapter 1: “I Don’t Know, But I’ll Find Out” [PDF]
Earlier: What Else Does Goldman Sachs Have In Store For Greg Smith?; Goldman Sachs Unimpressed By Sophomoric Writing Efforts Of Former Employee; Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes; Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge; Goldman Sachs Accuser Greg Smith (Might Have) Lied About That Which He Holds Most Sacred
Three years after Fabrice Touree was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly misleading investors, the (soon-to-be) Dr. of Economics and Love will go to trial, assuming finals don’t pose a conflict.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan set the July 15 trial date at the end of a hearing in which an SEC lawyer argued that she should reinstate some claims against Tourre that another judge dismissed earlier in the case. Last year, U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones threw out some of the SEC’s claims after Tourre argued that he couldn’t be held liable under U.S. securities law for transactions that occurred outside the country. The SEC argued today that the claims should be reinstated because of a recent appeals court ruling that applied a broader definition of “domestic securities transaction” than the one used by Jones. Tourre’s case was assigned to Forrest last week.
Tourre, 33, who is studying for a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago, wasn’t present in the courtroom today. His lawyer, Pamela Chepiga, told Forrest that she will check with her client to make sure there is no conflict between his exams and the trial date.
Goldman Sachs’s Tourre Gets July 15 Trial Date [Bloomberg]
As you may have heard, eleven short days from now Grand Central Publishing will release Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story. The book is the memoir of former Goldman employee Greg Smith, who in March of last year penned an op-ed for the New York Times called “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” a resignation letter of sorts in which Smith detailed the ways the firm had disappointed, sickened, and ultimately failed him, from opting for “shortcuts” over “achievement” to becoming, in the twelve years he worked there, a place that only cares about one thing and one thing only: “making money.” While perhaps another person would have turned a blind eye and said nothing, Greg had an obligation, as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist and a Maccabiah Games bronze medal finisher in ping-pong, to say ENOUGH. To violate his employer in the most gruesome fashion possible (that is, publicly), in front of clients and other interested parties. To let the world know this place he worked at for over a decade could continue to be a criminal enterprise but that he was moving on.
The piece, as you might have imagined, did not please many people at Goldman Sachs nor did the $1.5 million deal Smith scored shortly thereafter to write the book. In September, a spokesman for the firm issued a delightfully bitchy, exceptionally underminey comment to the press re: Smith’s tale being no more interesting than that of a disgruntled first-year analyst who thinks he’s got a story to tell and yesterday, amazingly and almost unbelievably but you must believe it because here it is, leaked details of Greg’s performance reviews to the Financial Times which, spoiler alert, are less than flattering.
Two people who managed Mr Smith said he was a solid performer but did not merit promotion to managing director, a distinction he apparently sought in 2009 and 2010. They also said he reacted badly to his bonus award in January this year. At the time one of his managers wrote in an email: “Greg Smith off the charts unrealistic, thinks he shld trade at multiples. We told him there’s v little tolerance for reactions like that and he needs to tone it down.”
Ignoring for a moment that the manager quoted sounds like one of those horrible people who oh so cleverly discusses humans as financial assets, and has probably told people “I’m short Greg Smith” in the past, is this strategic attack on a former employee not the most wonderful thing to come out of GS since Hank Paulson used voicemail to apologize for telling 80 percent of the firm they were worthless pieces of crap not worthy of cleaning the lining of his birds‘ cages? Particularly because they maintain he is so insignificant they’ve barely given him or his book any thought at all? And does it not get you excited for what’s to come in the run-up to October 22, i.e. what other ways Goldman has planned to humiliate and discredit Mr. Smith? Some ideas we assume they have already thought of include:
* Revealing the nickname he gave himself in firm emails (Agent Smith)
* Getting eyewitnesses to tell reporters that after getting shafted on his bonus, he was seen flying into a fit of mad rage, whipping his ping-pong paddle out of his holster, and screaming obscenities at passersby on the trading floor before he was restrained by Gary Cohn
* Leaking the original draft of his book he was working on circa 2009, entitled Why I Became A Managing Director At Goldman Sachs: A Success Story
Goldman’s ‘Muppet Hunt’ Draws A Blank [FT]
Earlier: Goldman Sachs Unimpressed By Sophomoric Writing Efforts Of Former Employee; Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes; Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge; Goldman Sachs Accuser Greg Smith (Might Have) Lied About That Which He Holds Most Sacred
What do you know about soon-to-be Goldman Sachs CFO Harvey M. Schwartz? Probably not much, but luckily Bloomberg profiled the guy today and came back with a couple moderately amazing tidbits about longtime chief financial officer David Viniar’s successor. Such as one, the fact that he likes his women with some gunshot wounds (“Schwartz…lives with Annie Hubbard, whom he met in 2003, a year after she was shot helping subdue a hostage-taker at an East Village bar”) and two, to date he is the only known Goldman Sachs executive to play a role in a chick lit novel that went on to become a major motion picture (Jon Winkelried’s cameo in The Notebook, which was left on the cutting room floor, sadly does not count).
Schwartz and Hubbard make an appearance in the best-seller “Eat, Pray, Love,” where they’re credited with helping author Elizabeth Gilbert buy a house for a friend in Indonesia. “I sent out this e-mail to everybody that I knew, and I got an e-mail back from Annie saying that her boyfriend, Harvey, would like to contribute $10,000 to the cause,” Gilbert said in an interview.
In addition to his generosity, shareholders will also be happy to hear that there’s no risk of Schwartz pulling a Jimmy Cayne, i.e. working on his golf game in moments of minor to major crisis (“Jim Rothenberg, who plays with Schwartz about three times a year, said Schwartz’s high-teens golf handicap is a reassuring sign he’s not playing too much. ‘I wouldn’t say Harvey’s a good golfer, which is a good thing if he’s going to be CFO of Goldman Sachs,’ he said.”)
Each year, after a long and very comprehensive background check, a lucky group of Goldman employees are abducted from their desks, blindfolded, gagged, and led by candlelight through a dark hallway and into a subterranean conference room. Standing on the table before them are Lloyd Blankfein, Gary Cohn and the rest of the management committee, who ask if they are prepared to pledge their devotion to the firm above all else. Those who agree have their nether regions dipped in a vat of gold, genuflect before Cohn’s groin, and, at the stroke of midnight, are inducted into the Brotherhood of the Sach. While there are many ways that becoming a member of the club will change one’s life, the most important one involves the partaking of astronomical profits on payday. As a result, when people are not invited to join the group, they tend to get very upset. For instance, hedge fund manager David Tepper, who became a billionaire many times over after leaving the firm, was still so upset about the snub twenty years later that he bought and bulldozed the house of the guy who passed him over. Others probably wouldn’t have even gone to the trouble of buying the place first, and operated the wrecking ball themselves. Which is why we say in full seriousness that the Partnership Committee might want to watch its back.
Goldman Sachs has begun vetting potential new partners and is expected to appoint a smaller number of bankers to its upper echelons this year, according to senior executives involved in the process… The nomination process for new partners ended during the summer. The internal vetting process began earlier this month and is expected to last until mid-November when the new class of partners will be announced. The vetting process is known within the bank as “cross-ruffing”, in reference to a manoeuvre from the card game bridge and typically sees a team of partners deployed to every division to talk to employees who know the candidates.
Bloomberg has a story today about how, while one side of Morgan Stanley made lots […]
Back in 2009, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar, whose face may not be as recognizable to you as that of Lloyd’s but whose voice you’ve likely found just as if not more soothing each time you hear it during the firm’s earnings calls, decided he was ready to move on after a three-plus decade long career with The Firm. Normally, that would have been just fine; people would have wished Viniar all the best as he happily waved good-bye to all his colleagues and friends from the gondola lift made of fluffy clouds and money that transports all Goldman Sachs executives to retirement.
Unfortunately for DV, however, it was around the time that he started to think about leaving that Goldman hit some unfortunate rough patches that included “a civil fraud suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission over marketing of mortgage-related securities, a federal criminal probe on the same matter, and a civil suit brought by a hedge fund that bought a Goldman CDO.” And while other higher-ups– no names: Jon Winkelried— would have thought nothing of abandoning Lloyd in his time of need or what kind of message it would have sent that a top official was calling it quits, David “Bones” Viniar is a little more loyal than that. Lot more loyal in fact (“He’s so loyal he’s only going to do anything when the timing is appropriate,” one person said at the time, adding that “David will do whatever the firm asks of him”) and so he stayed. Stayed by Lloyd’s side during his darkest hour. Stayed when the Goldman needed him most. And although some might have hoped he’d forget about wanting to leave; that he could be tricked into staying “just one more year” and another and another and another after that; that that good-bye he put on hold would stay on hold forever; that, if all else failed, Gary Cohn could put him in a sleeper hold with his legs…that good-bye has come.
Goldman Sachs today announced that Harvey M. Schwartz, the global co-head of the Securities Division, will become Chief Financial Officer at the end of January 2013. After a distinguished 32 year career at the firm, including 12 years as the Chief Financial Officer, David Viniar has decided to retire and will join the Board of Directors as a non-independent director at that time. The firm expects to appoint additional independent directors to its board in the near term.
Back in May, we reported that there was a bit of tension between some growing first year analysts and higher-ups at Goldman Sachs. The issue was that the li’l fellas, antsy to leave the nest, were making arrangements with private equity firms and hedge funds for the following year, when they still had a little more than twelve months left until their two year commitment to GS was complete. And while Mama Lloyd and Papa Gar want nothing more than to see their babies succeed, they also felt like the kiddos were jumping the gun a little bit (and were in violation of the rule that when you live under their roof, you play by their rules, namely that no analyst shall take part in recruiting until six months from the time they’ve finished the two year program). To set an example, a bunch of particularly bad analysts were kicked to the curb and while it probably did put the fear of God into the others, who’ve remained on the straight and narrow ever since, it didn’t make anyone very happy. So now this is happening:
Goldman Sachs is doing away with two-year contracts for most analysts hired out of college, according to communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by a Goldman spokesman. Analysts also won’t get bonuses for completing the program, which has been around for a quarter of a century and has been viewed as a meal ticket to a lucrative Wall Street career.
The New York company’s decision came after executives grew frustrated that many graduates weren’t staying with the firm after completing the two years, and after Goldman fired a handful of analysts over the past year for signing on to work at other financial companies in violation of their contracts. Goldman has been reaching out to employees over the past two days to inform them of the changes, which will take effect for analysts who will start in 2013. “We think the historic two-year program is no longer the best approach for hiring and developing the careers of analysts in our banking and investment-management divisions,” said the Goldman spokesman. “Making this change allows us to emphasize the longer-term career opportunities available at the firm.”
No more fighting, no more sneaking around, no more need for anyone to put their foot down. If you want to leave after a year (or sooner), if you think you’re grown up enough to make it out there on your own, by all means, go. That’s your call and no one’s gonna stop your or beg you to reconsider.* But if you decide you want to stay, be it for two years or twelve or twenty, Gary Cohn’s thighs appreciate your commitment to the firm and look forward to working with you one day.
*It’s a mistake, of course, but it’s yours to make.
Back in March, a young man named Greg Smith published an Op-Ed in the Times called “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” Greg wrote that despite joining a firm that, in the beginning, cared about “teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by clients” and not “just about making money,” he’d ultimately come to be sickened by a place that, twelve years later, he couldn’t even recognize. A place that, on Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn’s watch, had lost its way. A place that, he’d come to see, was devoid of any sort of morals, whatsoever. A place that needed to take a long hard look at what it had become. A place that, he predicted, was not long for this earth. Because unlike Smith, whose proudest moments in life– “being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist and winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics,” respectively– involved hard work and no short cuts, “Goldman Sachs today,” Smith wrote, is all “about the shortcuts and not enough about achievements.” Goldman Sachs 2.o, one might say, hasn’t worked an honest day in its life and that didn’t feel right to Smith anymore.
The piece, which was said to come as shock to Goldman, did not please many people on the inside, nor did the $1.5 million deal Smith scored shortly thereafter to write Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, out October 22. Here’s how Greg’s publisher describes WILGS:
From the shenanigans of his summer internship during the technology bubble to Las Vegas hot tubs and the excesses of the real estate boom; from the career lifeline he received from an NFL Hall of Famer during the bear market to the day Warren Buffett came to save Goldman Sachs from extinction-Smith will take the reader on his personal journey through the firm, and bring us inside the world’s most powerful bank.
And while higher-ups at GS may have been initially worried about the potentially damaging revelations that would appear in the book, apparently time, a slap in the face and an order to ‘get it together you pustulant milquetoasts’ by the ghost of Lucas van Praag has resulted in this delightfully bitchy, exceptionally underminery comment from 200 West:
“Every day, some young professional, after a decade in a post-collegiate job, reassesses his or her career and decides to move on and do something else,” David Wells, a Goldman Sachs spokesman said Dealbook in an e-mailed statement. “Others can better judge whether Mr. Smith’s particular career transition is of unique interest.”
Regardless of whether or not Goldman is correct in its assessment that Greg’s sounds like the story dozens of analyst finishing their first year would tell of the “epic” stuff they witnessed during their 12 months of banking (+previous summer internship, during which things got pretty crazy) or if his particular career transition is indeed of unique interest, Dealbreaker will be hosting an evening of dramatic readings of select chapters, with yet-to-be secured GS alum/raconteur/boulevardier Lucas van Praag standing in for the part of Mr. Smith. Venue and ticket pricing to follow.
Former Banker Promises A Peek At Goldman Sachs [Dealbook]
Earlier: Resignation Letter Reveals Goldman Sachs Is In The Business Of Making Money, Hires People Who Don’t Know How To Tie Their Shoes; Jewish Ping-Pong Tournament Participant / Sixth-Year Goldman Sachs Vice President Is Looking For His Next Challenge; Goldman Sachs Accuser Greg Smith (Might Have) Lied About That Which He Holds Most Sacred