by ilene - February 15th, 2010 11:10 am
Here’s the full article by Simon Johnson that Joe at Business Insider referred to in the last post. One of the most outrageous aspects of the financial crisis fall-out is that we let this behavior go on and on after it became apparent, even to outsiders, that conflicts of interest, unethical activity, and perhaps out-and-out fraud, were the rules in government-financial sector marriages, no matter what the official explanations. - Ilene
Courtesy of Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario
At 9:30 pm on Sunday, September 21, 2008, Goldman Sachs was saved from imminent collapse by the announcement that the Federal Reserve would allow it to become a bank holding company – implying unfettered access to borrowing from the Fed and other forms of implicit government support, all of which subsequently proved most beneficial. Officials allowed Goldman to make such an unprecedented conversion in the name of global financial stability. (The blow-by-blow account is in Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail; this is confirmed in all substantial detail by Hank Paulson’s memoir.)
We now learn – from Der Spiegel last week and today’s NYT – that Goldman Sachs has not only helped or encouraged some European governments to hide a large part of their debts, but it also endeavored to do so for Greece as recently as last November. These actions are fundamentally destabilizing to the global financial system, as they undermine: the eurozone area; all attempts to bring greater transparency to government accounting; and the most basic principles that underlie well-functioning markets. When the data are all lies, the outcomes are all bad – see the subprime mortgage crisis for further detail.
A single rogue trader can bring down a bank – remember the case of Barings. But a single rogue bank can bring down the world’s financial system.
Goldman will dismiss this as “business as usual” and, to be sure, a few phone calls around Washington will help ensure that Goldman’s primary supervisor – now the Fed – looks the other way.
But the affair is now out of Ben Bernanke’s hands, and quite far from people who are easily swayed by the White House. It goes immediately to the European Commission, which has jurisdiction over eurozone budget issues. Faced with enormous pressure from those eurozone countries now on the hook for saving Greece, the Commission will surely launch a…
by ilene - January 12th, 2010 1:54 pm
It looks like Goldman Sachs was starting to worry about all those stories claiming that the firm trades against clients’ interest, takes positions that are different from what they told clients, and favors some clients with advance word of its market views.
So it sent an email making it perfect clear: Goldman is totally doing those things.
A senior Goldman executive sent an e-mail to clients on Tuesday warning that the firm may have shared investment ideas with the firm’s proprietary trading group or some clients before sharing them with others. It said it may trade ahead of disclosing those idea to clients, and may trade out of positions or change its mind about the ideas without warning.
Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times obtained a copy of the email.
It was basically a big fat caveat emptor to clients. Some highlights:
- "We may trade, and may have existing positions, based on Trading Ideas before we have discussed those Trading Ideas with you."
- "We will also discuss Trading Ideas with other clients, both before and after we have discussed them with you."
- "You should not consider Trading Ideas as objective or independent research or as investment advice."
- "Any opinions that we express when we discuss Trading Ideas with you will be our present opinions only and we will not have any obligation to update you in the event of a change of circumstances or a change of our opinion."
We may from time to time discuss with you Trading Ideas generated by our Fundamental Strategies Group. As part of our commitment to managing conflicts of interest appropriately, this message is to explain how the Fundamental Strategies Group interacts with other parts of our organisation and how that impacts on the Trading Ideas.
The Fundamental Strategies Group is a group of cross-capital structure desk analysts employed by our Securities Divisions to assist our traders. They develop Trading Ideas in conjunction with traders. We may trade, and may have existing positions, based on Trading Ideas before we have discussed those Trading Ideas with you. We may continue to act on Trading Ideas, and may trade out of any position, based on Trading
by ilene - December 21st, 2009 10:22 am
Inside story of Too Big To Fail, with Andrew Ross Sorkin
1. Behind the scenes moment by moment account of financial crisis.
2. The story we know becomes a human drama about what many of these people knew in advance, but didn’t tell us.
3. Big, big, big surprise, how close we were to the financial abyss.
4. Remarkable surprises--the incestuous nature of these relationships between 20 or 30 men, how those relationships ended up impacting billion dollar decisions.
5. Dominoes of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and then General Electric would have fallen, but Paulson, Geithner "E-Harnony," and Bernanke stopped it.