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高盛前高管Greg Smith:我为什么离开高盛

高盛前高管Greg Smith:我为什么离开高盛?Greg Smith在高盛工作12年,十载耕耘人未识,一朝辞别天下知。他说:高盛现在的文化是最有毒和最破坏性的。社会需要更多这样勇敢站出来的人。文末附辞职信英文原文。

导读:以下是高盛前高管GREG SMITH在纽约时报的公布辞职信全文《我为什么离开高盛?》,Greg Smith曾是高盛执行董事,高盛的美国股票衍生业务在欧洲、中东和非洲的主管。

我为什么离开高盛?

今天是我在高盛的最后一天。我在高盛工作了12年,最初在斯坦福读书时夏季来做实习生,然后在纽约工作了十年,现在在伦敦。我想我在这里工作了足够长时间,能够理解其文化发展轨迹,理解其员工和身份。说实话,现在的环境是我见过的最有毒和最破坏性的。

简单一点来讲就是,高盛的运行模式和赚钱理念把客户的利益放在次要位置,但高盛是世界规模最大、最有影响力的投行之一,它与全球金融的相关性太高,不能够这样做。从我大学毕业入职高盛至今,这家投行已经发生了转变,现在我不能够问心无愧的说我同意这家投行的立场。

文化曾经是高盛取得成功的重要原因,这一点对公众来说似乎有点出乎意料。过去高盛的文化一直围绕着团队协作、正直、谦逊,以及永远为客户的利益考虑。文化是高盛之所以能成为一个伟大公司的秘诀,帮助我们在过去的143年一直赢得客户的信任。过去高盛的文化不仅仅围绕赚钱,因为这一点不足以使一个公司在这么长的时期里屹立不倒。高盛的人一直为公司感到骄傲,对自己所从事的事业充满信仰。然而,在过去很多年,我环顾四周,发觉曾经使我热爱这份工作的文化已不复存在,我不再为它感到骄傲,我不再对自己从事的事业充满信仰。

但情况并不总是这样。十几年来,我面试并招募了一批批新人,悉心指导他们。我和另外9名同事被拍进一段招聘视频短片,在全球各大高校播放。2006年,我从数千名应聘者中挑选出80名学生同事进入夏季实习计划,训练他们买卖和交易。

我知道,当我认识到自己不再能看着学生们的眼睛,告诉他们在这个地方工作有多棒,这时候就该离开了。

当历史书中描述高盛时,它们可能会显示,高盛在首席执行官Lloyd C. Blankfein和总裁Gary D. Cohn的管理下,失去了对公司文化的掌控。我的确认为公司道德品行沦落是对高盛长期生存最大的威胁。

在我的职业生涯中,我有幸为全球两大对冲基金、美国五大资产经理,以及中东和亚洲的三个最具影响力的主权财富基金担任过咨询顾问。我的客户拥有的总资产基础超过了1万亿美元。我一直以来都以为客户提供对他们有利的建议为荣,即使有时候这意味着高盛能从中得到的利润相对较少。然而我的这一观点在高盛越来越缺少拥护,这也是现在对我来讲是时候离开的另一个原因。

高盛是如何走到成今天这个地步的?高盛对领导层的思维方式已经改变。曾几何时,领导意味着理念、树立榜样以及做正确的事,而现在,如果你能为高盛赚到足够的钱,你就能够得到升职,更具影响力。

哪三个方法能迅速在高盛当上领导?

1)挥动公司的“斧子”,这是高盛内部的说法,指的是劝说自己的顾客投资股票,或者其他我们自己极力避免购买的产品,因为它们看起来不可能有很高的利润。

2)“猎象”。在英语中,这个字面意思的实际意义是:让你的客户——他们之中有些人胸有城府,有些没有——进行一切能给高盛带来最高利润的交易。

3)为自己找到一个位子。坐在这个位子上,你的工作就是交易所有流动性差的含糊产品,这种产品有一个3个字母的首字母缩略语名称。

如今,很多高盛领导人的做法让人觉得,高盛原来的文化已经不复存在。我出席衍生品销售会议,会上没有花哪怕一分钟时间来讨论如何帮助客户,而仅仅讨论我们如何能够从客户身上赚取最多的利润。如果您是一位来自火星的外星人并且参与到其中的一个会议,你会感觉到,客户的成功和进步完全不是会议的议题。

在过去十二个月里,我见过5名主管将他们的客户称作“提线木偶”,有时也会在内部邮件中这么说。吸血鬼?不人道?就是这样。诚信?早就腐烂了。我不敢说那些行为是非法的,但有谁会明知投资不可靠或不符合客户需求,却依然将它推荐给客户呢?

让我惊讶的是,高盛的高层领导对以下这一点甚至记在心上:如果客户不信任你,他们最终会不再跟你做生意,无论您有多么地聪明。

如今,初级分析师最经常向我提出的问题是“过去我们从这个客户身上赚了多少钱?”每次我听到这个问题就感到厌烦,因为这事实上反映了他们从领导身上学到的做事方式。让我们想象一下10年后的高盛:这些整天被教导如何抓取眼球、如何赚取报酬的初级分析师,不可能成为对社会有用的公民。

让我惊讶的是,高盛的高层领导竟忽略了最基本的一点:如果客户不信任你,他们最终不会选择跟你做生意,无论你有多么地聪明。

如今,初级分析师最经常向我提出的问题是“过去我们从这个客户身上赚了多少钱?”每次我听到这个问题就感到厌烦,因为这事实上反映了他们从领导身上学到的做事方式。让我们想象一下10年后的高盛:这些整天被教导如何抓取眼球、如何赚取报酬的初级分析师,不可能成为对社会有用的公民。

我做分析师的第一年时,我不知道浴室在哪里也不知道怎么系鞋带。我所接受到的知道就是要努力学习,搞清楚什么是衍生品、学着理解金融、了解客户和让他们投资的动因、了解他们如何定义成功以及我们如何做能够让他们获得那种成功。

我希望我的离开能够唤醒现在高盛的董事会领导。再把客户重新摆在你们生意的重点上吧。如果没有客户,你们一分钱也赚不到。事实上,没有客户,高盛都不能得以存在。把那些道德败坏的人清理出高盛的大门。不管他们能为这家投行赚多少钱。把高盛的企业文化重新摆正,让真正的人才有足够的理由在这里工作下去,让那些只关心赚钱的人在这个投行无法立足,让客户对这家投行的信任一直坚定下去。(来源

Why I Am Leaving Goldman?

Greg Smith

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.



 

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