Build a Bonfire, Build a Bonfire
Put the Bankers on the top
Put the Tories round the bottom
Then we’ll burn the bloody lot!
Updated children’s song
Anyone with a smidgeon of doubt that the world of high finance is peopled by scum should read the letter from resigning Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith.
“I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.
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 e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.
It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.
These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.” Greg Smith ex Goldman Sachs Executive
The letter has provoked a lot of reaction.
“Those financiers who had spent the previous 15 years demanding that Washington get off the back of business suddenly found that there was case for government, after all – even if that only amounted to a willingness to write big cheques that would guarantee their annual bonuses. Rightly, ordinary voters were disgusted: privatising gain and socialising losses is not the way American capitalism (or any other form of it) is supposed to work.
To rub salt in the wound, once the immediate crisis was over, Wall Street insisted that the burden of clearing up the financial mess that Wall Street created be shouldered by ordinary voters – through cuts in public spending.” Larry Elliot, Guardian 15/3/2012
We will wait a long long time for the Tories to do anything about this because the majority of their party funds come from these same nasty greedy bastards. Bite the hand that feeds them? Hardly. Which PM set in train the deregulation of the City and unleashed the greedy? Why, the blessed Margaret Thatcher. And which NewLabour PM did absolutely nothing to rein them in? The Reverend Blair. And which NewLabour Minister said he was comfortable with the idea of people being ‘filthy rich?’ Peter Mandelson.
We cannot rely on our political leaders. We will have to organise and mobilise. Without customers - these companies die.
And it will only be at the point of dying that some of these monsters will realise that they cannot take it with them.