Until yesterday, Greg Smith was just one of the nearly 12,000 vice presidents employed by Goldman Sachs. Following his public resignation yesterday via a letter published in the New York Times' opinion section, he's ignited a fierce debate among Wall Streeters, past and present, over whether big banks operate with a conscience.
Smith, who was based in London, cited a shift from a client-first business model to one that puts the client last among his reasons for exiting after a 12-year tenure with the bank. He said the bank rewards profit-makers over those who exemplify the "culture" of the firm, and that teaching young analysts to "push the envelope" in the pursuit of profit will impact the firm's sustainability long-term. The problems, he said, stem directly from senior management.
Goldman Sachs executives Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn fired back with a letter to the firm's employees yesterday, saying they were "disappointed to read the assertions made by this individual" and Smith's sentiments are not representative of the feedback the firm itself has received from its employees. According to employer-ratings site Glassdoor.com, Blankfein's approval rating as chief executive is currently 94%, and overall employee satisfaction is 3.8 on a five-point scale. Glassdoor averages in these categories across all sectors are 62% and 3.1 points, respectively.
Whether or not Smith's assessment of Goldman's culture is accurate, his manner of quitting guarantees him one thing, said many. He'll probably never work in finance again.
Cry for Help (FINS)
Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said that with the growth in the market, the agency requires more staff and more funding to "adequately oversee the futures and swap dealers."
Crossing the T's (Fortune)
Recruiters believe hiring for compliance officers will soar this summer when the Volcker Rule takes effect. There will be plenty of opportunities at banks, hedge funds and private equity firms.
Continuing to Hire (Phoenix Business Journal)
J.P. Morgan will hire 200 mortgage operations employees through its Phoenix job fair next week. The company added nearly 1,000 positions in Arizona last year alone.
The Decision (WSJ)
If you're considering investing several years and thousands of dollars in getting an M.B.A., it's wise to consider when and where to go, and whether going at all is worth it.
Speaking of B-Schools (Poets and Quants)
U.S. News and World Report released its Executive M.B.A. program rankings yesterday, which pegged the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in the No. 1 spot.
No Poaching (Emirates 24/7)
Banks in the United Arab Emirates have reportedly come to an under-the-table agreement that prohibits firms from hiring staff hailing from other banks.
Need a New Silver Lining (China Realtime Report)
Another day, another survey indicating that Asia is no longer finance's hiring hot spot. A survey of 810 employers from ManpowerGroup casts hiring expectations at their weakest since the end of 2009, which follows this week's Robert Walters report indicating a decline in hiring in the region.
Buzz Around the Office
A public service announcement from director David Lynch circa 1991.
List of the Day: Going From Big to Small
Adjusting to a small workplace environment after leaving a large corporation isn't always easy. Here are a few tips on how to make that adjustment as smooth as possible:
1. Research the company and its employees in advance
2. Keep an open mind
3. Prepare to be creative when it comes to using company resources