“At first I thought it was a friend of mine pulling a prank. I thought […]
If you read a lot of media coverage of Goldman Sachs earnings you get the […]
Goldman insiders said Schwartz, who is 6-foot-4 and holds a black belt in karate, has […]
This Dragon Systems lawsuit that’s bopping along in a Boston court gives me the absolute […]
On Monday, as a bevy of banks were settling a zillion dollars of mortgage lawsuits […]
If you’re a true believer in vulgar Volckerism – “banks shouldn’t be allowed to make […]
With President Obama sort of signing the fiscal cliff tax deal into law comes this unsurprising tidbit from an unsurprising corner:
On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being standard, 10 being elephantiasis, how big do you think the balls are on the guy who calls up a hedge fund manager 23 seconds after his meeting with fellow board members concludes to leak inside information about that company and then, after being convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy, tells the company, which paid his legal fees, he doesn’t owe them a dime? And that maybe if they put everything into an excel spreadsheet, he’ll think about tossing them a couple dollars, but probably not?
Unlike the life-changing partnership ritual that takes place every two years, the managing director promotions, announced today, are more of a light pat on the ass that says, you’re doing a pretty okay job so far, but don’t get cocky. You’ve graduated from VP (a title which is now, amazingly, described to the layman as “the level attained by the disgruntled former employee Greg Smith”), and that’s something to be proud of, but stay hungry for the reach-around.
How can you not love listening to Lloyd Blankfein? He spoke at this Merrill conference […]
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