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Goldman Sachs's Business Practices: Preserving "Intimacy And Esprit de Corps"

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As you may have heard, Goldman Sachs today released a 63-page report detailing what percentage of revenue comes from the bank's own trading and investing, as well as other disclosures attempted to show pull the veil of secrecy back just a bit and show the world that while yes, ritual sacrifice in the basement of 200 West and a Buffalo warehouse is standard, Goldman Sachs is a friendly squid with nothing to hide. The second page of the document (via Deal Journal) kicks things off with "The Goldman Sachs Business Principles," such as:

Our assets are our people, capital and reputation.
If any of these is ever diminished, the last is the most difficult to restore. We are dedicated to complying fully with the letter and spirit of the laws, rules and ethical principles that govern us. Our continued success depends upon unswerving adherence to this standard.

We stress creativity and imagination in everything we do.
While recognizing that the old way may still be the best way, we constantly strive to find a better solution to a client's problems. We pride ourselves on having pioneered many of the practices and techniques that have become standard in the industry.

Our business is highly competitive, and we aggressively seek to expand our client relationships.
However, we must always be fair competitors and must never denigrate other firms.

We consider our size an asset that we try hard to preserve.
We want to be big enough to undertake the largest project that any of our clients could contemplate, yet small enough to maintain the loyalty, the intimacy and the esprit de corps that we all treasure and that contribute greatly to our success.

Another reason for the report was to show that contrary to what some people believe, Goldman Sachs loves its clients and that business about a buddy system between the prime brokerage and prop desk in order to facilitate front running of client trades? Baseless rumor at best. Sure, there were times when lines were flirted maybe occasionally crossed by accident. But that was the old Goldman Sachs. The new Goldman Sachs respects boundaries. Having said that, some clients like it when things are taken a little further than others are comfortable with and so, a formal chart has been devised so that GS can keep track of who's down for anything and who's not, called The Matrix.

Read The Goldman Sachs Business Practices Report [Deal Journal]


Goldman Sachs Can Fix This

A week ago today, a man named Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs. As a sort of exit interview, Smith explained his reasons for departing the firm in a New York Times Op-Ed entitled "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs." The equity derivatives VP wrote that Goldman had "veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say I identify with what it stands for." Smith went on to note that whereas the Goldman of today is "just about making money," the Goldman he knew as a young pup "revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients." It was a culture that made him "love working for the firm" and its absence had stripped him of "pride and belief" he once held in the place. While claiming that Goldman Sachs has become virtually unrecognizable from the institution founded by Marcus (Goldman) and Samuel (Sachs), which put clients ahead of its own interests, is hardly a new argument, there was something about Smith's words that gave readers a moment's pause. He was so deeply distraught over the differences between the Goldman of 2012 and the Goldman of 2000 (when he was hired) that suggested...more. That he'd seen things. Things that had made an imprint on his soul. Things that he couldn't forget. Things that he held up in his heart for how Goldman should be and things that made it all the more difficult to ignore when it failed to live up to that ideal. Things like this: