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Smith was impressed that the higher ups sidelined interns who fudged answers. Interns dealing with supervisors, just like traders dealing with clients, were expected to be truthful. If they didn't know an answer, they were expected to say, "I don't know, but I'll find out."
than usual guffaw you'd hear around you whenever a trader was trying to impress a higher up. And facts most readers don't know: Hank Paulson is an ardent environmentalist and an avid bird watcher.
He was living a life most people only dream of $150 per person dinners, $500 a hand poker bets and a $2,500 a month Manhattan apartment.
A pharmacist's son from South Africa, Smith had parlayed a full scholarship to Stanford into an internship and then a job at Goldman Sachs. equity derivatives business for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Until he quit.
Smith had a front row seat as the bank reeled along with the world financial markets. Literally a front row seat in one case: Warren Buffet stood next to his desk the day he announced his $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs.
Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story, Greg Smith, Grand Central, 275 pages, $27.99(Photo: Grand Central Publishing)
And it makes some news items crystal clear: Although it seemed Paulson made a tremendous financial sacrifice when he left his job at Goldman and sold all his stock to serve as Treasury secretary, he was actually lucky to sell at the top of the market and, because, he had to sell to accept the government post, he avoided paying capital gains on $500 million.
it says, "Contents may not be tuna. May contain dog food."
Smith clearly explains financial terms such as structured derivatives those complicated financial products whose returns are often linked to interest rates, commodities or indices. He writes that buying a structured derivative is like going into a store and buying a can of tuna with "Bumble Bee Tuna" written on the front with the bee logo, but, when you go home and open it, you find dog food inside. You think, "How can this be? They told me it was tuna." But, when you look at the very small print on the back of the can, Bag Fendi Price
He said Goldman's culture slowly segued until partners only wanted business that could make the firm a lot of money. It was, Smith said paraphrasing rap producer Fendi Handbag Men Sean Combs, all about Fendi Tote Bags Replica
Smith says he was drawn to Goldman Sachs by its mantra of "always put the clients' interests first." Its storied history of interns past who went on to become senators, treasury secretaries and central bank governors didn't hurt either.
Smith says he "drank the Kool Aid" at this bank that took its culture and its fiduciary responsibility to clients very seriously.
Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story is an expanded version of Smith's op ed. Anyone who expected an expose will be disappointed, but Smith has written a field guide to the culture of Goldman Sachs and a fly on the wall account of Wall Street on the skids.
It took almost five years for Smith to come to the conclusion that venerable Goldman Sachs had morphed into a firm more concerned with helping itself than helping its clients.
Insider's account of Goldman Sachs culture
Story HighlightsAn insider look at how Wall Street lost its wayA business culture corrupted by the quest for yearly bonusesA career that begins in idealism ends a decade later in cynicism
After CEO Hank Paulson left to become Secretary of the Treasury and Smith started seeing things that didn't fit the corporate culture, he didn't blow any whistles immediately.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein responded to the column with a letter to employees that made Smith look like the cheese who stands alone. The letter said the company's internal polls show 89% of employees believe the bank provides exceptional service to clients.
The book is dotted with good observations: Smith describes the "partner laugh," a heartier Fendi Crossbody Bag Ebay
Greg Smith was one of the luckiest ducks on Wall Street last March before he quit his job at Goldman Sachs and lambasted the firm in an op ed piece in the New York Times.
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