Just How Sorry is Goldman Sachs?

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa . . .

It is not everyday that the head of a major Wall Street bank issues an unsolicited and unspecified apology. In fact, in my 23 years on Wall Street I do not ever recall a Wall Street CEO issuing an apology in the manner that Lloyd Blankfein did today. What did Blankfein say? From a Bloomberg report, Goldman, Buffett Establish $500 Million Small-Business Program:

Blankfein, speaking at a conference today sponsored by Directorship magazine, apologized for Goldman Sachs’s role in some of the activities that led to the financial crisis, without providing specifics.

“We participated in things that were clearly wrong and we have reason to regret and we apologize for them,” Blankfein said at the New York event. The magazine named him its CEO of the year.

Wait a second. Blankfein admits that Goldman participated in activities that led to the crisis? Get Lloyd back in here and ask him for specifics.

“Things that were clearly wrong?” Like what? Lloyd, you are not getting off this easily, and neither should your firm get off so easily. You ran the show during this period. Does the buck stop at your desk?

Answer the questions: What activities? How were they wrong? Why are you regretful? How much did you make from these wrong activities?

The fact that you have the chutzpah to think you can issue a blanket, unspecified apology in an attempt to curry favor with the American public is the height of hubris and rings very shallow. I would go so far as to say your apology is mere words and talk. Talk is cheap.

Lloyd, rectify Goldman’s activities. Qualify and quantify these activities. Make restitution. Just how sorry are you? Let’s open this up to readers and ask them what activities they might think your company engaged in which you now admit were wrong.

Readers, please share your opinions. What do you think Blankfein was referring to when he stated that Goldman “participated in things that were clearly wrong”?  I’ll get the ball rolling with a few possibilities:

1. Manipulated the equity markets via computer programs connected with high frequency trading.

2. Ran over Tim Geithner in the settlement of open positions with AIG.

3. Facilitated insider trading on behalf of hedge funds.

4. Intentionally misled lesser prioritized clients via trading huddles.

5. Abused privileged information provided by former Goldman execs now in government positions.

6. All of the above.

7. Other . . . please share your opinions.

Let’s send Lloyd a message that unspecified apologies are mere pandering. Without further substantiating his statement, he has only dug a deeper hole for the firm most vilified on Wall Street.

About Larry Doyle 522 Articles

Larry Doyle embarked on his Wall Street career in 1983 as a mortgage-backed securities trader for The First Boston Corporation. He was involved in the growth and development of the secondary mortgage market from its near infancy.

After close to 7 years at First Boston, Larry joined Bear Stearns in early 1990 as a mortgage trader. In 1993, Larry was named a Senior Managing Director at the firm. He left Bear to join Union Bank of Switzerland in late 1996 as Head of Mortgage Trading.

In 1998, after 15 years of trading and precipitated by Swiss Bank’s takeover of UBS, Larry moved from trading to sales as a senior salesperson at Bank of America. His move into sales led him to the role as National Sales Manager for Securitized Products at JP Morgan Chase in 2000. He was integrally involved in developing the department, hiring 40 salespeople, and generating $300 million in sales revenue. He left JP Morgan in 2006.

Throughout his career, Larry eagerly engaged clients and colleagues. He has mentored dozens of junior colleagues, recruited at a number of colleges and universities, and interviewed hundreds. He has also had extensive public speaking experience. Additionally, Larry served as Chair of the Mortgage Trading Committee for the Public Securities Association (PSA) in the mid-90s.

Larry graduated Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1983 from the College of the Holy Cross.

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2 Comments on Just How Sorry is Goldman Sachs?

  1. The $500 million though is really a drop in the bucket compared to the kinds of numbers this company throws around. Its almost insulting in a way, but at this point we are the dog underneath the table and are willing to take whatever scrapes these people want to toss our way.

    So are we supposed to get excited about this? I wouldn’t exactly say that, but I wouldn’t completely scoff at it either. They didn’t have any reason or were mandated to do this in anyway. Of course its a blatant PR move, but its not a bad one. Its really in their best interest too for as the economy soars so do their profits. Its really just a win win situation for everyone involved. Some more money possibly in line with the kind of money they’ve been paying out in bonuses would have been nice, but who are we really to complain.

    I don’t really blame Goldman Sachs for the financial crisis, they were simply going about their businesses. Looking back at it, things could have been done differently of course, but hindsight is always 20-20. Its refreshing to see someone step up to the plate and admit that they didn’t handle things as well as they could have. Is it sincere? Probably not, but at this point its all we’re going to get and its better than nothing.

    Check out my blog on the Goldman Sach’s penance offering at…. http://www.thedebtgazette.com/2009/11/goldman-500-million-penance/

  2. Isn’t it sweet that this Blankfein slimebag is giving $500 million to small businesses as a means of indicating how “sorry” he is for years of malfeasance?

    That happens to be $500 million of YOUR money, stolen via derivatives schemes concocted by Goldman and/or TARP money skimmed off the top.

    In 2006, Goldman Sachs paid its approx 300 partners approx. $15 BILLION dollars in bonus money alone, so their little “gift” of $500 million is like a tiny fraction of money they STOLE from USA investors through phony profits generated via multi-years of their derivatives schemes, notably shorting the housing market, shorting the gold/silver market, shorting tech stocks back in 2000, etc.

    Until those GS weasels are indicted and incarcerated, then their little “token” gestures of “compensation” for past crimes are entirely laughable and truly contemptible.

    And one more important point:

    Let’s face facts: the only way any firm can generate the kind of gargantuan profits, year after year, that GS generates is via INSIDER INFO.

    Sure is nice to have a GS proxy (Rubin, Paulson, Geithner) sitting in the US Treasury, year after year, passing inside info to the Boys at GS head office, huh?

    Let’s just pray that these GS slimebags are thwarted in taking control of the State of California via their latest proxy, Meg Whitman, who sat on GS Board of Directors and stole millions, thanks to inside info passed to her regarding GS sponsored tech IPO’s.

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