Goldman Heir On Greg Smith Op-Ed: ‘Spot On’
Goldman Sachs just ain’t what it used to be. Even according to a guy with the last name Goldman.
Henry Goldman III, the great-grandson of Goldman Sachs‘ founder Marcus Goldman, told Business Insider that he thinks Greg Smith’s op-ed in The New York Times criticizing the investment bank’s “toxic” environment was “spot on.” Smith’s piece, which also served as his resignation letter from the firm, argued that Goldman’s once client-focused culture shifted to one that valued profit above all else.
“I thought the article was a reflection of Wall Street in general and ‘let buyer beware,'” Goldman told Business Insider. “It’s certainly something friends of mine have discussed ad infinitum.”
Though Goldman’s voice may be one of the most authoritative on the issue, he certainly isn’t the first person to chime in following Smith’s op-ed and claim that the firm has changed for the worse. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said that when Goldman went public in 1999 and “became a trading operation,” it started focusing less on its clients.
“That changed the mentality, I’m afraid,” Volcker said of Goldman Sachs at the Atlantic’s Economy Summit Wednesday. “It’s a business that leads to a lot of conflicts of interest.”
Hank Greenberg, the Ex-AIG CEO, expressed similar sentiments in an interview with Bloomberg Television Thursday.
“[Goldman's IPO] was a change in culture and that change in culture then continued on and you didn’t have investment bankers running the firm, you had traders running the firm and traders have a short term memory,” Greenberg said in the interview. “That change really has changed the culture of Goldman Sachs, it is not the Goldman Sachs that represented companies as an investment banker.”
Still, not everyone is jumping on the Goldman-hater bandwagon. In a memo to his staff Thursday, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said of the reaction to the op-ed: “I want to be clear that I don’t want anyone here to seek advantage from a competitor’s alleged issues or hearsay — ever,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
You can add billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the list of Goldman supporters too. He visited the company headquarters on Thursday and met with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and other employees.
“The mayor stopped by to make clear that the company is a vital part of the city’s economy, and the kind of unfair attacks that we’re seeing can eventually hurt all New Yorkers,” Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor told Bloomberg News.
© 2012, agentleman.