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Morgan Stanley Joins Goldman Sachs In FirmScaping

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Back in August, it was revealed that Goldman Sachs had added a disturbing element to its cost-cutting efforts: plant murder. The lobby philodendrons? Gone. Boston Ferns by the elevator? To the dumpster. The third floor Geraniums that lined the windows? Left for dead.

The While every bank on Wall Street is bracing for serious reductions in staff, compensation and "extras," Goldman had been the only one to date that choose to commit genocide to help its bottom line. Employees were, understandably, shocked by the decision, which reportedly "provoked disquiet at the bank," with some putting their jobs on the line to "block the move, leading to a stand-off between the plant pickers and staff. In some cases, a solution was found only after employees agreed to sign forms guaranteeing to take responsibility for particular plants."

At the time, other institutions scoffed at the seemingly heartless move to save a few bucks, claiming you'd never catch them following suit. And yet? According to the Times, Goldman is not alone.

James P. Gorman, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley, faced questions about plants at a town hall meeting this summer. An employee told Mr. Gorman that he had noticed decidedly less greenery around the office. "Every dollar we don't spend is a dollar available for the bottom line," Mr. Gorman responded.

What could have caused such a drastic decision to remove bush en masse? Are Goldman and Morgan Stanley really the monsters they appear to be vis-a-vis plants, as some in the media would have you believe? Or was the idea born out of a slumber party at Lloyd's, where a frustrated Gorman confessed that he was fresh out of ideas about how to keep shareholders happy, to which LB responded by pulling a recent issue of Cosmo out of his nightstand, with the article "How To Please A Shareholder," and the section penned by an anonymous hedge fund manager re: "loving the sleek sexy look of an investment bank sans bush" highlighted, with the words "try this" in the column? Multiple sources within the firm say it's the latter.

Employees might not like it but you can bet the new look has piqued David Tepper's interest.

Goldman Sachs Draws Up Deeper Cuts [Dealbook]
Earlier: Layoffs Watch ’11: Goldman Sachs’ Philodendrons In The Line Of Fire



James Gorman Can’t Wait To Pick Up The Check At The Next Bank CEO Kaffeeklatsch

It's the least he can do, what with all these fixed-income trading billions.