Tag Archive for ‘Wall Street’
A new survey of the U.S. and U.K. financial services industry finds that the upswing in financial markets in the wake of the global recession hasn’t done much to improve public perceptions of leading financial institutions – mainly because the underlying behavior of those working in the industry has worsened over the years.
In “Arbitrage,” the new Hollywood film starring Richard Gere, the leading character’s wife asks: “How much money do we need? Do you want to be the richest guy in the cemetery?” Business Ethics columnist Gael O’Brien offers her views.
The head of the Ethics Resource Center says former Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith’s very public resignation – and accusations that the bank had lost control of its culture and “moral fiber” – are backed up by a recent survey which spotlights a historic decline in culture in all business sectors across the country.
A new report by Bloomberg News suggests that in July 2008, then-Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson met with “a dozen or so hedge-fund managers and other Wall Street executives” to discuss a possible scenario for placing mortgage enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into “conservatorship.” Pulitzer Prize-winner Jesse Eisinger says Paulson’s meeting with his former Wall Street peers draws “a picture of a Treasury Secretary who took care of his buddies while allowing the system to blow up.”
Reporter Jake Bernstein – who won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories on questionable Wall Street practices – says Margin Call is a “briskly paced and marvelously acted” film which tells “the story of a Wall Street that has evolved from an economic helpmate to an economic predator.”
Columnist Ann Charles says that in order to successfully integrate Corporate Social Responsibility into business, there’s a need to start changing the culture of Wall Street, and that change has to come from within. She shines a spotlight on some individual leaders who are working to change the rules of the game in the financial sector.
Cash bonuses paid to New York City securities industry employees declined by nearly 8 percent to $20.8 billion in 2010, as Wall Street firms shifted toward more deferred compensation and higher base salaries, according to an estimate released by the New York State Comptroller. For the average Wall Street worker, however, that still translated into a 2010 cash bonus of $128,530.
Reporter Jesse Eisinger suggests that Goldman Sachs’ announcement last week of a plan to increase transparency and disclosure does not resolve some big questions about the investment banks’ role in financial markets. “Could there be an argument that Goldman should break up into three smaller, more focused companies?” he asks. “It would be better for the financial system, and just might lead to the self-improvement that Goldman is searching for.”
The investment banking giant, seeking to repair damage to its reputation suffered in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, said its management and board had adopted and begun implementing 39 new policies and practices that represent a “fundamental re-commitment” by the firm to “reputational excellence” and increased transparency and disclosure.
It’s been over three years since credit markets started shaking with the early tremors of the subprime crisis, and two years since that spread into a marketwide collapse. Prosecutors, regulators, Congress and journalists have spent the year uncovering the financial shenanigans that brought the market to its knees. It’s been marked by a few blockbuster settlements and more revealing investigations — as well as by some noticeable inaction in the reckoning.