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, defined 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. Read more »
Speaking on CNBC, Blankfein said he hasn’t read Smith’s Book, “Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story,” which hit bookstores on Monday. He noted some reviewers said it wasn’t worth the hour and a half it would take to read. [Deal Journal]
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.
Having pored through every piece of empirical evidence regarding GC’s G-T-F tendencies at least 500 times, one of our research assistants noticed that Greg’s prose sounded moderately familiar. Read more »
Some Investors Open to Higher US Tax to Shave Deficit (Reuters)
In recent weeks, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon became the latest Wall Street heavyweights to say they would be willing to pay more in exchange for a deal to balance the country’s books.
AIG’s Benmosche On Why Capitalism Still Works (NYM)
As its vaguely omnipotent name suggests, American International Group contained a little of everything: a small bank, an airline-leasing company, and a terrifyingly vast array of international companies that underwrote everything from cows in India to satellites orbiting the Earth. To the emergency team that came in following the crises, the impulse was to get rid of everything, to disassemble this Frankenstein monster once and for all. This was the idea behind Project Destiny. Benmosche had a different one. “Say you’re sitting there, you have gangrene,” he says to me one morning, before I’ve even had coffee. “And I don’t have any instruments. All I have is an ax. And I’ve gotta grab the ax and cut that sucker off. But the ax is dull. And it makes a mess. That’s what they did, in the beginning. They whacked that sucker off. And they kept hacking. But there was value in the body that was left. The body could produce things. And it owed people. What are you going to do, kill the body? Want it to be so ugly and deformed that it could never live? No! What you do is you clean it up, make it more cosmetic. Maybe we can help them get a prosthesis. Maybe they can run in the Olympics one day, like a double amputee, as we saw. Can you imagine that? A double amputee running in the race.”
Goldman Bonus System Corrupted In 2005, Smith Book Says (Bloomberg)
Before 2005, the company determined workers’ annual awards “not just on how much business you’d brought in, but also on how good you were for the organization,” Smith, a former vice president, writes in “Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story.” “From 2005 until the present day, the system has become largely mathematical: you were paid a percentage of the amount of revenue next to your name,” a figure that could vary from 5 percent to 7 percent, wrote Smith, 33, without saying how he learned about such a change. “The problem with the new system was that people would now do anything they could — anything — to pump up the number next to their name.”
129 Minutes With Goldman Turncoat Greg Smith (NYM)
With the book done, Smith says he’s looking forward to resuming a normal life, possibly as a speaker and pundit. Among other things, he’d like to meet a woman. “I’m not anti-capitalism at all,” he says. “I want Goldman to be admired. I just don’t like this notion that ethics and capitalism are different things.”
Argentina orders evacuation of ship seized by hedgie Paul Singer as collateral for unpaid bonds (AP)
Argentina announced the immediate evacuation Saturday of about 300 crew members from the ARA Libertad, a navy training ship seized in Africa nearly three weeks ago as collateral for unpaid bonds dating from the South American nation’s economic crisis a decade ago. Only the captain and a few other members of the crew of 326 sailors will remain on the three-masted tall ship, a symbol of Argentina’s navy.
Girl, 9, in black and white costume shot as relative mistakes her for skunk (NYDN)
A 9-year-old girl was shot outside a Halloween party Saturday night in Western Pennsylvania, taking a bullet to the shoulder from a male relative who mistook her for a skunk. The condition of the girl wasn’t released Sunday, but police in rural New Sewickley Township said she was alert and talking as she was flown to a hospital in Pittsburgh, 30 miles away. Neither the girl nor her relative was identified. She was spotted on a hillside around 8:30 p.m. wearing a black costume and black hat with a white tassel, according to the Beaver County Times. The relative who accidentally injured her was carrying a shotgun. Police Chief Ronald Leindecker said the man wasn’t under the influence of alcohol, and was unsure whether he would be charged. Read more »
Half A Dozen Former Goldman Partners Will Be Forced To Fight The Urge To Attend Greg Smith’s Book Signing Next Week*By Bess Levin
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 or she 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 GS (“My first reaction [to hearing about his Op-Ed] was, who is he,” Edith Cooper, head of HR told Bloomberg TV this morning), who wrote his public resignation letter and book out of spite for not receiving the bonus he thought he deserved, and whose claims re: The Firm are baseless and 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 the bank’s assessment of young Greg. Of course, every now and then you have some individuals who speak out of turn, who threaten to fuck up the mission, and who should probably consider sleeping with one eye open. Read more »
Goldman Sachs Is Over Greg Smith, Who They’d Like To Remind You Never Even Earned A Set of Steak Knives While At The FirmBy Bess Levin
Goldman Sachs found no support for claims by Greg Smith, a former employee, that the firm has stopped putting clients first, said Edith Cooper, global head of human capital management. “As we looked into his claims I was very pleased to see there wasn’t merit,” Cooper, 51, said on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle. [...] “Quite frankly, he got to a point where he was not comfortable being at Goldman Sachs. We have done everything we could to make sure his claims were not valid. I am confident in suggesting that we have not found anything substantive. Instead, we have moved on.” [...] Goldman Sachs says that Smith, before he resigned, was denied a promotion and a $1 million pay package he had sought. The firm also says that Smith was the lowest-paid among the vice presidents who started in the same training class, and that a third of those classmates had been promoted to managing director. [BloombergTV, Bloomberg]