goldman sachs

Grace on Wall Street

Wall Street sign, Vacclav / Shutterstock.com

Wall Street sign, Vacclav / Shutterstock.com

When Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman stepped up this year to defend Goldman Sachs – a company that was reeling from former employee Greg Smith’s New York Times op-ed decrying the change in culture at the company (and is now reeling from a sex-trafficking website scandal) – Gorman intimated the need for compassion by noting “there but for the grace of God go us."  

This got my attention immediately. Not because Gorman, in the lead up to the “grace of God” intimation, asked that Smith’s commentary not be emailed around by Morgan Stanley staff. Not because Gorman suggested that the New York Times was out of line for printing public opinion. 

No, Gorman got my attention because while it was out of line for Morgan Stanley’s CEO to suggest grace in considering Wall Street culture, that phrase has been a mantra of mine ever since my youth.

Exec to Goldman Sachs (via the New York Times): 'I Quit.'

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Protester at an anti-poverty demonstration outside GS's London offices, October 2012. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A long-term employee of Goldman Sachs today resigned in the most public of places — The New York Times. Greg Smith, an executive at the banking giant wrote that he was leaving because

the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money

and that

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.

The global banking crisis and the ensuing bailouts did a number of things — not least to paint all employees of the big banks with the same brush — they were all money-grabbers, not caring about who they took money from or how they invested it.

Must-Read du Jour: "Nuns Who Won't Stop Nudging"

Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.

Sister Annunziata, in a favorite photo from her days in Rome.

All of my life, religious sisters have had a special place in my heart and imagination.

I love nuns. LOVE them.

So a story in today's New York Times caught my eye (and my heart) immediately when I saw the headline: "Sisters of St. Francis, Quiet Shareholder Activists" and then the even-better headline on the story's web page at NYT.com: "Nuns Who Won't Stop Nudging."

Chris Hedges' Occupy Wall Street Statement

Chris Hedges. Image via Wiki Commons.

Chris Hedges. Image via Wiki Commons.

Chris Hedges' statement on Occupy Wall Street read in part:

As part of the political theater that has come to replace the legislative and judicial process, the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to a $550 million settlement whereby Goldman Sachs admitted it showed "incomplete" information in marketing materials and that it was a "mistake" to not disclose the nature of its portfolio selection committee. This fine was a payoff to the SEC by Goldman Sachs of about four days' worth of revenue, and in return they avoided going to court. CEO Lloyd Blankfein apparently not only lied to clients, but to the subcommittee itself on April 27, 2010, when he told lawmakers: "We didn't have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients." Yet, they did.

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