Goldman Sachs has its admirers...doesn't it?
Who says we don't have consciences. We all do, but some of us don't let them get pricked, whilst others get them pricked quite a lot. Working in today's banking world must be a hard place for anyone. I've known plenty of people leave employment with banks because they just could not stand it any longer. Their consciences troubled them. Clients may be sold policies they don't need or want (PPI just one type), there are investment "vehicles" that have poor performance and there are other inadequate financial dealings. There used to be an institute of bankers for a level of professionalism. Now the only such body in the UK is The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland. They have an interesting section on "ethical dilemmas" which challenge a person's professional integrity. More biased towards a bank's position that a customer's I feel, though.
Anyway, Greg Smith, who headed Goldman's equity derivatives business in Europe, has resigned because he could no longer work there "in good conscience". He said it was common to hear talk of ripping off their "muppet" clients. "The environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it," he wrote in the New York Times. "I knew it was time to leave when I realised I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work," he wrote. "It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as 'muppets', sometimes over internal email."
Muppets? Of course, Goldman Sachs don't hold with this view. They think it is all neat and dandy in corporate world. One rogue banker? Well, if Mr.Smith is to be believed those emails exist and damningly refer to muppets. Which clients are the muppets? Perhaps that will leak out and Goldman Sachs can start eating humble pie.
A lot of large corporations obtain their business in parasitical ways. They latch onto other companies and just suck cash out for themselves with little or no regard for the integrity of the work done or the value of it for the client. Trenton City Council in New Jersey is just one organisation sitting up and querying what is being bought in its name. It has refused to approve a $42,000 (£26,855) contract for paper products after baulking at its $4,000 charge for paper cups. The National Health Service has been saddled with a bogus computer and there are other tales of woe.
Most companies operate in decent hardworking ways offering customer true value for money. But there are others which operate very close to the wire when in comes to integrity. There seems to be a fine line between legality and illegality for some. Pity.
read more: Goldman Sachs director quits "toxic bank" for sake of his conscience