Lean a continuación la carta de renuncia a Goldman Sachs de Greg Smith, quien durante casi 12 años fue funcionario de GS. No tiene desperdicio. Colocamos en primer lugar una versión resumida de la misma, en lengua castellana, y luego la edición original, en idioma inglés, publicada en la Carta de Lectores del New York Times en su edición del 14 de Marzo de este año. Goldman Sachs es el banco de inversión más importante del mundo y, según algunos analistas, el verdadero "gobierno mundial". Smith renunció asqueado ante algo que se convirtió en una cueva de estafadores y bandidos de todo tipo. Esta gentuza es la que ordena e impone los ajustes en Europa y en todo el mundo, y la que dice si una gestión de la economía es correcta o incorrecta. ¡En suma: la putrefacción del capitalismo en estado puro!

Magnífica ilustración de Víctor Kerlow en la nota original de Greg Smith publicada por el New York Times

Greg Smith: "Dejo Goldman porque antepone sus intereses a los de los clientes"

Greg Smith, uno de los ejecutivos de Goldman Sachs -responsable de derivados para Europa, Oriente Medio y África, deja su puesto en la firma. ¿Por qué? Porque el ambiente de trabajo es más tóxico que nunca y porque Goldman antepone sus intereses  a los de los clientes. Porque se han perdido los valores y lo único que le importa a la compañía es ganar dinero. El comportamiento en el banco no es ilegal, pero es inmoral, según Smith, que revela que nunca se plantea entre los gestores cómo ayudar a los inversores. 
"Me pone enfermo cómo se habla en el banco de timar a sus clientes. Durante los últimos 12 meses he visto a cinco directores referirse a sus propios clientes como marionetas". Así de duro se muestra Smith. "Goldman Sachs es uno de los bancos de inversión más grande e importante del mundo y es demasiado relevante para las finanzas globales para seguir actuando de esta manera”, destaca en su carta que publica hoy The New York Times
“La empresa ha dado un giro brusco desde que me incorporé y ya no puedo identificarme con lo que representa”, afirma Smith. Los valores que han permitido a Goldman ganarse la confianzade sus clientes en los 143 años de existencia de la firma, que no eran únicamente hacer dinero, ya no son la base de la compañía. Smith ya no cree en lo que se hace en Goldman, ya no se siente orgulloso, comenta. Y no puede mirar a los ojos a los recién incorporados al banco y decirles que la compañía es un buen sitio para trabajar.
La carta ha resultado tan escandalosa, señala el diario neoyorquino, porque Smith ha dicho en voz alta lo que muchos susurraban. Y es que hasta en Wall Street, donde lo más importante es ganar dinero, el cliente puede ir en segundo lugar, pero no en el último. Además, los bancos de inversión llevan luchando desde el inicio de la crisis en 2008 por recuperar la confianza de los clientes. La carta de Smith es un importante bache en el camino para conseguir lavar su imagen
Smith hace un repaso a alguna de las claves para ascender en Goldman Sachs. "Importa solo hacer dinero, no las ideas". Y es fundamental aplicar firmemente las consignas del banco, es decir, los argumentos de persuasión para colocar a los clientes acciones o productos de los que se quieren deshacer porque Goldman Sachs ya no les ve potencial, comenta. Y critica el abuso de productos opacos y complicados para los clientes. 
"Espero que esta carta sea una llamada de atención a los directivos de la compañía y que el cliente vuelva a ser el aspecto central del negocio. Sin los clientes no se puede ganar dinero. Ni existirías", concluye Smith. Sin embargo, un representante de Goldman Sachs citado por el periódico responde a la carta: "Estamos en desacuerdo con el punto de vista expresado, creemos que no refleja la forma en que se hacen negocios en la empresa. En nuestra opinión, solo tendremos éxito si también lo tienen nuestros clientes. Es en este principio en el que nos basamos". 

14 Marzo 2012.

Op-Ed Contributor

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

Published: March 14, 2012
TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.
To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.
But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.
I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.
When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.
Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.
How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.
What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.
Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.
It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.
It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.
These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.
When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a derivative was, understanding finance, getting to know our clients and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what we could do to help them get there.
My proudest moments in life — getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics — have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.
I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer.
Greg Smith is resigning today as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on March 14, 2012, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs


2 comentarios:

Mahesh dijo...

I would like to quote Noam Chomsky from an interview with him (http://priven.org/a-conversation-with-noam-chomsky-february-21-2012/):
This is an extremely atomized society. People are alone. It’s a very business-run society. The very explicit goal of the business world is to create a social order in which the basic social unit is you and your television set, in which you’re watching ads and going out to purchase commodities. There are tremendous efforts made, that have been going on for a century and a half, to try to induce this kind of consciousness and social order.
In fact if you go back say 150 years, in the early days of the industrial revolution, right here in Massachusetts, where it started, there was a very lively press at the time, probably the period of the greatest free press in the United States. All kinds of press – ethnic, labor, etc. And the labor press, which was extremely interesting, lively and participatory, had a great many harsh criticisms of the industrial system that was being imposed and to which people were being driven. One of the core criticisms was what 150 years ago they called the “New Spirit of the Age”: “Gain wealth, forgetting all but self,” which they considered savage and inhuman and was being driven into their heads. Well, 150 years later they are still trying to drive into people’s heads, “Gain wealth, forgetting all but self.” Now it’s considered kind of an ideal, but it’s also intolerable to human beings.

Anónimo dijo...

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