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DÉJÀ VU

DÉJÀ VU

By James Surowiecki, The New Yorker 

A major Wall Street firm is accused of misleading clients by concealing key conflicts of interest. E-mails suggest that an employee touted its wares in public while slamming them in private. The scandal is front-page news, and observers anticipate severe damage to the firm’s reputation. We could be talking about Goldman Sachs today. But we could also be talking about Citigroup or Merrill Lynch in 2002, after the tech bubble burst. Then there was widespread anger at banks’ dodgy practices and reckless behavior, and an insistence that investors and regulators needed to be more vigilant. So why are we going through this all over again?

 

In the middle of the past decade, it seemed as if Americans thought that Wall Street could do no wrong. But just a couple of years earlier people thought that Wall Street could do nothing right. High-profile analysts had put “buy” ratings on the stocks of companies that they privately called “pigs.” WorldCom and Enron committed outrageous accounting fraud, the latter abetted by the venerable Arthur Andersen. There was so much bad behavior that it was hard to keep track—I.P.O. spinning, mutual-fund late trading, Adelphia, Tyco. There was shock that companies whose viability depended on reputation had so casually exploited their clients, and a sense that it would take a long time for the banks to win back trust.

Continue Deja Vu here.>>

Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

 


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