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Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus
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Bloomberg Visits Tarnished Goldman Sachs

You know it's been a bad week when the mayor of New York City and the man whose name appears on their market data terminals has to stop by the office to cheer everyone up.

Buck up, fellas. In an unscheduled visit, Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- and namesake of those expensive terminals -- stopped by the offices of Goldman Sachs one day after an op-ed from a former co-worker revealed some unsavory practices inside the 143 year-old investment firm.

As New York magazine tells it, Bloomberg was bucking up a firm that is very important to the economic climate of NYC. After all, last moth was bonus season, which adds tons of revenue for New York. After all, traders need to buy expensive lofts and pricey sports cars and rent small shops in SOHO for their girlfriends who can sell $600 handbags. As Stu Loeser, the mayor's spokesman, explained: "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."

Fear of the Goldman Sachs reputational contagion has spread. In a memo to his operating committee, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned his JPMorgan minions not to gloat over the damage that is spreading from Greg Smith's explosive farewell op-ed. Here's the memo, according to the Wall Street Journal:

To: Operating Committee

From: Jamie Dimon

Today's New York Times op-ed by a Goldman Sachs executive is generating a lot of discussion around the street. I want to be clear that I don't want anyone here to seek advantage from a competitor's alleged issues or hearsay - ever. It's not the way we do business. We respect our competitors, and our focus should be on doing the best we can to continually strengthen our own standards.


Noble -- or is someone frightened of a little blowback?

One of the best pieces about the Goldman Sachs trader's tantrum and finger pointing came from Choire Sicha of The Awl, a web publications whose motto could be aimed at Goldman clients: "Be less stupid." A veteran of Gawker's early days, Sicha looks at the barrage of charges against Goldman Sachs and thinks they had it coming. A few choice cuts:

This is a firm that researches its opponents as deeply as any mafia. This is a firm that thinks nothing of sending a former programmer to jail because he was trying to back up some opensource software and included chunks of what the firm considered proprietary software; they stopped at nothing to ruin him along the way. This is a firm that's been nearshoring in Utah for years, so as to capture a highly immobile and not coincidentally highly moral worker population. This is a firm that got vast, disgusting concessions from the City of New York because they pretended they were going to move out of downtown -- and then, even after receiving them, expanded their New Jersey headcount, due to more concessions on the other side of the river. This is a firm that practices surveillance-level research on its negotiation counterparties, and has no qualms about bringing their information and forensics to bear in negotiations.

Ouch. We await how Goldman Sachs will respond the various charges and if their clients will wise up and take their business elsewhere. AT will keep an eye on this one.

Phil Albinus is the former editor-in-chief of Advanced Trading. He has nearly two decades of journalism experience and has been covering financial technology and regulation for nine years. Before joining Advanced Trading, he served as editor of Waters, a monthly trade journal ... View Full Bio
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