What I gleaned @ Goldman Sachs
The Wall Street firm is in the news (though not enough in the news for my liking) for possibly helping Greece cook the books and raise money via a clandestine currency swap and then a $15 billion dollar bond sale in 2002. The allegations are that the secret currency swap allowed the bonds to be sold for more, helping to conceal the state of Greece’s deficit and smoothed their entry to the Eurozone.
The word on the Street is that it was legal at the time. Word also has it that Angela Merkel is hopping mad. I just shake my head. I worked for the firm a short time in the 90s and I had also worked for two other US Investment banks so I like to think I have something to compare them to. In the hierarchy of investment banking in London the aggressive and chippy Morgan Stanley bankers like to trumpet they are the best of the best. Goldman’s employees do no such thing; they merely graciously accept that they are. Whilst CSFB et al live in shiny skyscrapers at Canary Wharf, Goldman Sachs have a secret banking building set back off Fleet Street, which I managed to snap on the No. 26 bus last week.
I have no insights to offer into the firm. They remain a mystery even if you have worked there and suffered their most intense induction for one whole week before you are let loose on the floors of Peterborough Court. I would suggest that secretive is just their bag. Why no-one seems to care that they have allegedly contributed to the concealment of a whole nation’s bottom line is beyond me.
Two Things I learned in American Investment Banks:
No-one likes Leipzig
Continental bankers favour highly-coloured trousers