When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Goldman Sachs and a fiduciary standard

I have little to add to Greg Smith's opinions re: Goldman Sachs, except that the response of Goldman Sachs was strange (if not myopic and narcissistic)--directed to its employees rather than its unfortunate customers or the general public (the purported audience of Smith's piece). However, a good point is made in Forbes:

Deeper Inquiry Of Greg Smith's Assertions: Might Goldman Sachs Have Intentionally Precipitated The Financial Crisis? - Forbes: "In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Congress held hearings as to how and why it happened.  The Dodd-Frank Act attempts to impose systemic protections from a mechanical standpoint.  While in committee, the Bill also attempted to impose behavioral protections by requiring brokerage firms be held as fiduciaries to their customers.  The industry’s powerful lobby ensured that requirement didn’t make it out of committee.  Instead, Congress directed the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to “study” the issue.  Currently, the SEC is headed by Mary Schapiro, who is formerly the head of FINRA, the brokerage industry’s trade organization.  The current proposals by the SEC include a watered down fiduciary standard. It is the lack of a fiduciary standard that is at the heart of Mr. Smith’s assertions.  There is little doubt that the larger financial crisis stems from the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  Goldman Sachs has already pled guilty to civil charges that it defrauded customers. . . " (emphasis added)

Caveat Emptor!

    

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