“I’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was when I broke your trust. Take me back.” That line, or a variation of it, has been uttered in more clichéd romantic movies than can be recalled. It’s also essentially what Goldman Sachs said last week at its annual investor’s meeting.
Roughly three years ago to the day, Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein was wiping sweat from this brow. The bank was just charged with defrauding its investors in a mortgage-backed securities deal known as Abacus, and Blankfein, sitting before shareholders at Goldman’s annual meeting, was taking plenty of heat.
The bank announced plans to undergo a “rigorous self-examination” to avoid an Abacus repeat. Goldman certainly took its time, but the deep look into the mirror is complete. Meet the new and improved Goldman Sachs.
The bank has adopted 39 initiatives designed to strengthen the firm’s business practices, ranging from greater balance-sheet transparency to programs aimed at eliminating conflicts of interest. Advisory deals are more scrutinized, complex transactions like derivatives trades are better examined and communicated with clients, and employee training is more robust, according to an internal report.
Moreover, Goldman had modified its view of a successful employee. Bonuses and promotions are now linked to a staffer’s track record in protecting the firm’s reputation, J. Michael Evans, a vice chairman who oversees Goldman Sachs’s emerging-markets businesses, told Bloomberg.
Goldman is sorry it broke your heart. Will you take it back?
Hot and Hiring (eFinancialCareers)
Hedge funds may be providing sanctuary for a lucky few investment banking traders looking for a way out of the bulge brackets, but it’s hedge funds-lite – or alternative mutual funds – that are fast becoming the hot place to work.
Branches for Sale (Bloomberg)
Bank of America is looking to offload roughly 40 rural branches in New York and Pennsylvania as it seeks to cut costs and trim assets. Local banks have expressed initial interest in purchasing the branches.
Marital Meltdown (eFinancialCareers)
If you’re a trader and your marriage is breaking down, you may want to step back from the markets. On the other hand, maybe your marriage is breaking down because you’re a trader.
They Still Got It (NY Times)
Don’t think lobbyists still control Capitol Hill? More than 70 lines in an 85-line bill aimed at exempting certain trades from regulation were essentially written by Citigroup. The bill “sailed” through the House Financial Services Committee, despite objections from Treasury officials.
Sexist? (Washington Post)
Investor Paul Tudor Jones is taking plenty of heat for his recently published comments where he noted that you will “never see as many great women investors or traders as men,” based on their role as mothers and wives. Some think his comments were overtly sexist, some think they weren’t.
Banker Vacations (eFinancialCareers)
With summer holiday season approaching, we put together a list of the hot resort destinations that rich bankers and not-so-rich bankers are looking to, whether in the U.S., the U.K. and Asia.
Buzz Around the Office
Taking a Stab in the Dark (York Dispatch)
A Pennsylvania couple found themselves behind bars after getting into a knife fight over which contestant would win this year’s "American Idol.” Candice Glover won, if you were wondering.
List of the Day: Resume Don’ts
When crafting your resume, avoid doing this.
- Writing it with only recruiters in mind.
- Worrying about applicant tracking systems.
- Being boring and bland.