Greed, a Goldman Sacks Credo

According to Andrew KcKeon, Gus Levy, one of the legends of 20th Century finance and an icon in the growth of Goldman Sachs, in response to a question about his firm’s motivations once said, “Yes at Goldman we are greedy. But we’re long-term greedy.”

While many ordinary Americans are still waiting for an economic recovery, Goldman and its employees are enjoying one of the richest periods in the bank’s 140-year history. Even in 2008, the most tumultuous year in modern Wall Street history, Goldman employees reaped rewards that most people can only dream about. Goldman paid out $4.82 billion in bonuses last year, awarding 953 employees at least $1 million each and 78 executives $5 million or more.

In a recent article, Goldman Sachs announced that it would eliminate cash bonuses for a small number of top officers, opting to pay them instead in so-called “shares-at-risk.”  The move only affects a small number of senior executives and could be interpreted, as a move to placate public anger, reduce the threat of potential government oversight, and engender some badly needed positive public relations capital for the battered bank.

Dismayed by Goldman and other Wall Street firms’ arrogance and contempt of ordinary Americans, a group of finance and accounting professionals have developed a website, http://www.zethics.com, where employees can submit information anonymously that allows investors and the public to determine whether publicly traded companies are run by honest and competent executives. 

To avoid being blind-sided by fraud and misconduct, zEthics.com gives officers and directors of public companies extended visibility into the company and its management team.

To overcome the growing hostility toward corporations, particularly those perceived as operating above the law, Goldman has a unique opportunity to ask their employees to disclose information on zEthics.com and let the public decide whether Goldman’s top 30 executives “adequately analyze or raise concern about risks.”

Do you think Goldman Sachs should be less greedy after accepting $10 billion of taxpayer funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)?

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About zethics
CEO and founder of zEthics, Inc. Thirty years of experience with finance and accounting background in public private sectors.

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