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Monday, May 23, 2011

Goldman's Ethical Conflict of Interest: Obviated or Enabled?

According to U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Goldman Sachs “profited by taking advantage of its clients’ reasonable expection[s] that it would not sell products that it did not want to succeed and that there was no conflict of economic interest between the firm and the customers that it had pledged to serve.” (Cohen, p. 19). Not only was the bank secretly betting against housing-related securities while selling them to clients, in at least one case a client shorting such a security was allowed to have a hand in picking the bonds. What is perhaps most striking, however, is how little Goldman Sachs has had to pay for acting at the expense of some of its clients. One might predict on this basis that the unethical culture at the bank is ongoing.

The full essay is at Institutional Conflicts of Interest, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.