So, Greg Smith, who ran equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Goldman Sachs, has resigned today.
Normally, this would not be particularly newsworthy, except for the fact that he published his separation letter on the OP/ED page of the New York Times:
TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.
To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.
But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.
I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.
Truth be told, I’m not impressed.
This guy as been a Vampire Squidling for over a decade, so I see this as kind of self serving.
If he were claiming law breaking, it would mean something, but he is mostly complaining how the brokers trash talk:
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.
He’s not claiming any law breaking (Yeah, right), just that there is a insane macho culture at Goldman that sees the clients more as marks than as partners in success.
How the f%$# can you work at a f%$#ing brokerage for ten f%$#ing years, and not f%$#ing realize that it’s a f%$#ing testosterone f%$#ing hormone filled f%$#ing cesspool after being there two f%$#ing
Seriously, just f%$#!
Whoever wrote, “Why I am leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader,” got the crux of the matter.
I will issue a correction if this guy does something like working for a regulator, but my guess is that this is all about providing himself plausible deniability, or possibly pimping a book, or maybe he’s hanging out his own shingle.
Here’s a thousand years on what I’m seeing:
Why I am leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader
H/t FT/Alphavill for the Pic
[update]Matt Taibbi thinks that this guy is for real, so if you want want an opposing opinion, and I think that it is well argued, go read.