back to article Goldman Sachs in email muppet hunt

Goldman Sachs has launched an investigation into its corporate email following accusations from a former senior employee that there is a “toxic and destructive” culture at the merchant bank. Greg Smith, a former exec at the bank, alleged that employees privately referred to clients as “muppets” in internal email conversations …


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  1. NogginTheNog


    As a global financial company aren't they required to keep audited emails and stuff under such regs as Sarbanes Oxley, to name one?

    So this should be a good opportunity to test all that infrastructure out?! :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Audit?

      Indeed most banks have at least one legal shenanigan running where they are required to disclose any relevant emails.

      1. The Wegie

        Re: Audit?

        The regs say that emails have to be kept. They don't say anything about whether they have to be online or instantly available. It's going to be absolute chaos in whatever offsite tape store Goldie uses.

        Besides, anybody with any sense who wants to be rude about the client doesn't say so in an email that will be archived -- they send a Bloomberg instead.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Audit?

      Most banks use the enterprise vault system and we all know everything gets sucked into that abyss.

      I'm more shocked by the fact this dude believed Goldies weren't acting in the best interests of their clients. I thought everyone in the market was of the opinion that Goldies is a hedge fund that does a bit of banking.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Goldies in not acting in best interests of clients shock?

        "I'm more shocked by the fact this dude believed Goldies weren't acting in the best interests of their clients", AC

        I'm not, and you have to be kidding or being very naive, or expect us to be. The financial enterprise/client relationship is equivalent to the Vampire/victim relationship. As in they both are in the business of extracting as much blood as is possible while letting the client live. See this for an insiders account as to how Wall St really works.

        "Liar's Poker"'s_Poker

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Goldies in not acting in best interests of clients shock?

          Read the following sentence, the one you quote is clearly sarcastic. I work in the industry and the behavior is obvious to all. As I stated, they are perceived as a hedge fund that does a bit of banking.

    3. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: Audit?

      Sorbaines-Oxely is US law. Near as I can tell from the article, this is about the UK operation.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    No one wants to spend on IT

    It's a cost, never an investiment.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goldman Sachs

    The bottom line is that if Greg Smith's critique were an isolated complaint, then Goldman Sachs might be able to mount a defense. But the fact of the matter is that Goldman Sachs has had a history going back several years of damaging revelations consistent with Smith's allegations:

    El Paso in its sale to Kinder Morgan

    Fined By Federal Reserve For Alleged Foreclosure Abuse

    As any Google News search shows, the history of Goldman Sachs abusing clients just goes on and on and on and ...

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Goldman Sachs

      Im not defending GS. However all your googling shows is that negative news sells. Positive news generally doesnt.

      Using Occams Razor and the fact that GS is a reasonably sucessful global investment bank whats the most likely scenario?

      1. Most clients are satisfied.

      2. Most clients are unsatisfied.

      Post Crash hype to the contrary Investment Banks are like any other business if they dont have products people want to buy they go under. If they miscalculate the size and capabilities of their finances they also go under. In some cases Govts will prevent the 2nd. In no case that I know of does the 1st hold true for a significant period of time. (Loss Leaders and diliberate proping up by Soveriegn wealth excepted)

      I call both close friends and utter strangers muppets - without context the statement itself is meaningless.

      1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

        Re: Goldman Sachs

        You hinted at it, but I'll spell it out:

        3. Most clients are satisfied.... until the bottom drops out of the market and they found out GS has mismanaged their funds/misrepresented the investments/lied to them while getting filthy rich (GS, that is) in the process...

        Just a thought...

      2. Anonymous Coward 101

        Re: Goldman Sachs

        "I call both close friends and utter strangers muppets - without context the statement itself is meaningless."

        Yes - it the statement was in the context of "let's screw these muppet's over for a fast buck because we can get away with it" then that would be damning. But if it was along the lines of "we are going to have to hold our clients hands through this - they're muppets" then the difference is clear.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick! Delete any incriminating e-mails...

    ... before the Senate demand to see them.

    Where have we seen this before?

    1. Peter Murphy

      And thus a new Goldman-Sachs strategy was born...

      "Sorry, SEC. I meant to type:

      "find / -type f -exec grep -l muppet {} \;"

      "But my fingers slipped and I typed instead.

      "find / -type f | xargs grep muppet -exec rm -f {} \;"

      "Won't happen again. Honest."

      1. eulampios


        Good one. However, "shred" is easier to mistype :). The problem is that the whole mailboxes would be deleted.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And thus a new Goldman-Sachs strategy was born...

        You'll have to explain that to the Windows users on this forum ...

  6. Anonymous Coward 101

    How many people here...

    ...never say things implying that certain clients are of limited cognitive ability?

    Saying it in an e-mail is pretty stupid though.

    1. Dan 10

      Re: How many people here...

      Fair point - I've called project managers and the business all sorts of names, but it's usually over a brew rather than email.

      I may have made a similar mistake over IM though, if I'm honest...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How many people here...

      We had a case where a tech made some internally disparaging remarks in a trouble ticket. Those remarks were ultimately visible to the client. No grepping necessary - the client used it as ammo back at us.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many people here...

        At one company I worked at one of our lead developers wrote the following at the end of some patch-notes AFTER they had been QA'd

        "So sit back, light up a splif and stop worrying you nappy wearing fucktards".

        Got sent to clients in bible-belt America.

        Unfortunately he was a protected species at it was QA that got it in the neck.

  7. Onid

    So if they find an email along the lines of:

    To to toruru turiru - manamana - toruru toruru toruru -nn rrrr repa mngh nnnn..... Manamana turiru tururu rut tururu ....

    Does that become a sackable offence????

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: So if they find an email along the lines of:


      1. moiety

        Re: So if they find an email along the lines of:


        1. Onid

          Re: So if they find an email along the lines of:

          eigh rit to ru rit too nnnnggghhh.....

          /why u look at me strange??

      2. Mark 65

        Re: So if they find an email along the lines of:

        Und today vie poot de chicken in de poot

  8. Yamal Dodgy Data

    gonna be tough to audit since they've outsourced IT infrastructure to TCS

    -> After Taking A $10 Billion Bailout, Goldman Sachs Announces It Will Outsource 1,000 jobs <-

    I think the Muppet is safe.

  9. AnonymousNow

    Mark my words, the self styled "gods" (apparently of fraud) are going to attempt to crush, destroy and defame Greg Smith.

    Be prepared for the press release, "an exhaustive email search shows that only Greg Smith used the term "Muppets."

  10. AnonymousNow

    "But, it is unfortunate that an individual opinion about Goldman Sachs is amplified in a newspaper and speaks louder than the regular, detailed and intensive feedback you have provided the firm and independent, public surveys of workplace environments," Goldman Sachs said."

    Notice how the Goldman PR is changing the topic from the manner in which Goldman treats its clients to the manner the employees treat each other? Sure, there is comradeship among pirates as they are running schemes to steal everything from everyone else. This is not in dispute and is, in fact, what makes Goldman's massive ponzi schemes work.

    1. Jimbo 6

      My thoughts entirely

      His op-ed piece didn't state that GS was a sh1t place to work, it stated that it *treats its clients like sh1t*.

      No doubt the 99.99% of GS employees who aren't "disgruntled" are the 99.99% who would sell their own grandmothers into slavery if they needed the capital to cover a margin call.

      Spawn of Satan icon, natch.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hands up....

    .......who is surprised by this?

    We're all muppets to the money men. Nothing in the world matters more than money! How else can they "control" the commoner?

    Sad pathetic small people.

  12. Jim 59


    Just pay your tax.

  13. Onid

    One more thing....

    Greece ... 100% enabled by GS in what it's done all the way back to 1999 (uk documentaries mention some deals made in 2003 but there were more interesting stuff going back to 99-00)

    Not saying GS made Greece to fail but it could have prevented it with some prudence on it's part to tell the client their chosen course was self-destructive in the long run... They would have been entirely justified to say "you're a muppet if you think mortgaging ALL state income form public works for the next 20 years so that u have no revenue over the same period which is about 50% of GDP as it's about that percentage that is state owned, and basing all finances on the new low rates that euro membership would allow.

    It's like paying out all your income to get a house but you fiddle the books so that it doesn't look like that is what you are doing so that you can 'qualify' for the mortgage. You make your income look bigger by buying services from yourself through intermediaries (ie GS), inflating your apparent income but if u look closely u'll realise it's just the same money going round before ending up as mortgage payments... When payments need to be made u slapped everything on Credit cards (EU Loans/grants for public works and over inflated invoices) and somehow also got loans to cover the minimum payments further cooking the books to hide the situation... Meanwhile the fees GS was making out of all this affair further exacerbated the situation as they were in the order of astroludicrous.. and they are not fully apparent as they are disguised as services from other ventures etc...

    That's about the summary of what happened in Greece...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    toxic and destructive culture

    That's what banks are about, isn't it?

    "weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm".

    Then you'd be left with the clerks and the office staff: just ordinary folk trying to eat and pay the bills. Which might not be such a bad idea.

    I'm so old that I can remember bank managers being respected members of society!

  15. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    I didn't believe it

    Until they denied it - now I know that it must be true.

  16. Someone Else Silver badge

    I'm wondering...

    I'm wondering if, for a "review of internal emails", if "review" is spelled "L-A-U-N-D-E-R".

  17. Wombling_Free

    You mean this kind of investigation?

    "Goldman Sachs has launched an investigation into its corporate email"

    Investigation? Does it look like this:

    DEL /Q /F "C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Mailbox\First Storage Group\Mailbox Database.edb"

    DEL /Q /F "C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Mailbox\Second Storage Group\Public Folder Database.edb"

    Top tip! DON'T try these commands out. Well, unless you are a Goldman Sachs exec standing next to the server rack with a password scrawled on a postit note.

  18. Cpt Blue Bear

    That word you keep using...

    Meetings and correspondence with Mr Allinghon must be hilarious. Aside from sounding like a high school dropout trying to write a business letter (ie like most executives) he must drop some fabulous clangers if this is anything to go by:

    “The recent climate of Big Data and virtualisation has only extrapolated the issue of controlling the data deluge common to most corporate environments.

    Extrapolated? Er, that word you keep using, I do not think it means what you think it means.

    As for Mr Smith, I have only one question: exactly where were you when this toxic culture developed?

    1. Onid
      Thumb Up

      Re: That word you keep using...

      careful or you might be extrapolated next mate....

      LMAO - hadn't noticed that cheers...

  19. hungry thylacine

    Goldman Sachs will get to the bottom of this... let the sphincter clenching begin.

  20. P. Lee

    First Rule of Computer Use

    Do not type or forward or display anything which might embarrass you.

  21. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Um ...

    If you are looking for something you don't want to find, then, what was the question again ?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost of recovering emails

    “While investigating emails to tap into corporate culture will undoubtedly be revealing for the organisation, the sheer amount of work to recover past or deleted emails will be a vast drain on time and money if appropriate technology is not in place"

    You're kidding, all they have to do is restore the backup tapes, the kind of tapes any IT department keeps in order to restore from a hardware failure. Besides nowadays such organizations are required to keep such records under compliance rules.

  23. JaitcH

    An E-mail (and SMS) is Forever!

    In beats me that in this day and age that people don't know the liabilities attached to the use of e-mails, SMS, IM, etc.

    Our e-mail system has a multi-lingual dictionary covering all the languages our employees use but it also has a dictionary filter which blocks the use of certain words and combinations.

    For example, a word such as 'bugger' would be blocked,but 'debugger' would be allowed. working around the restrictions is difficult 'bug' 'ger' would get trapped whereas 'bug' 'screen' would be permitted. The whole package cost under $200.

    In our company case it is made easier since we all use Nuance Dragon Dictating so it makes it seem like you are talking to the other party.

    I have always found that talking to/treating others as you would wish them to speak or treat you is always the best maxim although I can see when working in an atmosphere that obviously permeates Goldman Sachs makes it difficult. It seems that the notorious Blankfein has forgotten that HE is the corporate standard.

    P.S. 'muppet' should be Muppet™ as it trademark of the late, talented, Jim Henson.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    anon in case work is watching.....

    Well, a look of the logs MAY come up with something...

    Unless the sender just happen to be using a email address, then used their ISP SMTP server as the outgoing server, and sent the email to someone elses email address.

    Of course since doesn't have a SPF record attached to it this would be allowed, hence why so much spam is generated and appears to come from the domain.

    However, if they were using a email address, which the domain is using for its mail servers, this could be a bit harder, but only occurs if the receiving domain is bothering to do SPF lookups.

    Of course if the sender of the orginal email was one of the usual unwashed masses who likes to use googles interface and the "send as" feature, which allows for so much inadvertent spoofing, then it makes the whole thing so much easier to do.

    By the way, I know that there are those at email addresses who do.

    I once had to figure out for a client at a job why they couldnt receive from an email from that address, and it was because it was failing the SPF lookup their server was setup to do, due to someone at a email address sending from google servers and happens to have an SPF record attached but is not configured to permit google servers as authorized sending server.

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