Sam Antar makes a good point here. Looking out for shareholders was not the objective of the lawsuit brought by the SEC against Goldman Sachs. Whether it would have, should have, or could have been considered is another matter, and apparently not going to be addressed. What we have here (and seemingly everywhere within our financial system) is not a real operation of law, but more of a political sideshow. - Ilene
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s settlement of a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) over a certain subprime mortgage product sold to investors misses a key issue concerning the company’s duty to provide timely and transparent disclosures to its own shareholders about government subpoenas, investigations, and pending enforcement actions against the firm. In this particular case, Goldman did not make timely disclosures about the regulator’s investigation and pending lawsuit against the firm, right under the SEC investigator’s noses.
Goldman Sachs chooses to keep shareholders in the dark about SEC investigation and pending enforcement action
During the summer of 2008, the SEC started investigating Goldman’s marketing of a certain subprime mortgage product, known as ABACUS CDO, to investors who lost over $1 billion from that transaction.
At that time, Goldman Sachs knew that the SEC was investigating its failure to disclose material information to investors in violation of SEC Rule 10b-5 in connection with that transaction. However, Goldman Sachs did not disclose the SEC’s investigation in its financial reports.
In July 2009, the SEC sent Goldman Sachs a Wells notice informing Goldman of its intention to file a lawsuit against the company. Still, Goldman Sachs chose not to disclose the SEC’s pending enforcement action in its financial reports.
On Friday, April 16, 2010, the SEC filed a surprise lawsuit against Goldman Sachs and Executive Director Fabrice Tourre alleging securities fraud in connected with the company’s marketing of the ABACUS CDO to investors. That day, Goldman Sachs shares plummeted from $183.31 per share to $160.30 per share or about 13%, wiping out about $12 billion of shareholder wealth.
Clearly, investors deemed the surprise news of the SEC complaint against the company as material information, unlike the management team running Goldman Sachs.
When we look at the genuinely successful business people of our time, that happy band of folks who’ve created true shareholder value, enriching themselves and their followers to an astonishing degree, we find an extraordinary thing. The vast majority of these people are not particularly interested in money and their companies are generally not dedicated to some New Age declaration of shareholder value maximisation.
Greed is not a quality that seems to drive the world’s greatest creators of shareholder value and creating shareholder value is not the aim of the companies that are best at it. In fact we can pretty much guarantee the alternative: wherever you find over-rewarded executives presiding over companies whose main aim is to increase their market capitalisation we should pick up our skirts and get the hell out of it. Corporate greed is bad for ordinary shareholders.
If you read Warren Buffett’s shareholder letters, for instance, you can’t help but notice that the people whose companies he takes over all, by and large, continue to work for him despite being made rich beyond the dreams of our avarice. They tap-dance to the workplace everyday and lead their companies through a set of values far removed from the value enhancing conceits of management consultants.
What seems to set aside great business people and their businesses from the pond life that mainly occupies executive positions is that they focus on things other than making money. These generally involve doing stuff that people actually want to pay good cash for, rather than an obsession with growth. Indeed, the last thing we should want is running our companies is people who are greedy for money, since the opportunities for unscrupulous executives to cheat us shareholders are huge.
Welch on Shareholder Value
The dangers of the concept of shareholder value are outlined by Jacques Reland who quotes Jack Welch with approval:
“On the face of it Shareholder Value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder Value is a result, not a strategy. Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products”
Welch, of course, was the man behind the elevation of shareholder value to cult status in his time as CEO of General Electric, so this looks like…
Greece/IMF/EU talks continue. According to Greek government officials, some kind of announcement may be made today. The market is hoping to hear something that’s orders of magnitude stronger than any bailout announcement we’ve gotten so far, or otherwise the feeling will be that it can and will fall through again.
Of course, there are fresh violent, anti-austerity protests going on today in Athens. The fact that it’s May Day, a day for celebrating anti-capitalism only adds to the tension.
New reports suggest the criminal probe into Goldman Sachs is not just a perfunctory follow-on to the SEC charges, but rather a truly separate thing that’s wider than Abacus, and that started before the SEC’s investigation. HUGE.
With just five days before the election, UK’s The Guardian has endorsed the Liberal Democrats, the country’s biggest third party. Its leader, Nick Clegg, has surged thanks to a string of strong debate performances, Gordon Brown’s disastrous campaigning, and a lingering sense of unease with the conservatives.
As the FT reported first yesterday, the EU has judged that the Irish government granted Apple "undue tax benefits" and moments ago announced the specific size of the penalty when it ordered the tech giant repay up to €13 billion ($14.5 billion) plus interest. According to the EU, the Irish deal slashed Apple taxes from 2003 to 2014, and allowed Apple to avoid tax on almost all EU profit, lowering its effective tax rate on European profits from 0.005% to 1%.
“The commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled...
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By SG Value Investor. Originally published at ValueWalk.
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Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer. One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."
Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.
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