Goldman Sachs (GS) is getting the it's-not-me-it's-you treatment from one of its now former employees, and it's the story that replaced stress tests, the Fed, the three-year bull market and everything else as the topic of the morning on Wall Street.
In an Op-Ed Wednesday in The New York Times, Greg Smith, who "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," explains why he's leaving the firm he called home for nearly 12 years. In short: "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."
For its part, Goldman naturally disagreed. Bloomberg carried a response from the firm, which stated: "In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful. This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves."
Among those who work on Wall Street, the response was varied, but certainly quick, and Twitter was lighting up with talk of whether Smith was right, wrong, inappropriate, heroic, annoying or attention-seeking -- both "Goldman Sachs" and "Greg Smith" were trending.
On the whole, he didn't appear to be making a lot of friends in the professional trading and advisory community, while the takes from journalists and market commentators were more mixed. Again, that's based on the tweets, but he did have some sympathizers. (Worth noting here is that the pro traders in our Twitter stream appear to have largely moved on from the topic and have gone back to discussing trading and strategy.) With that said, here's a sample of what's been written out there in the world of no more than 140 characters.
* @EddyElfenbein - I find the Greg Smith letter to be extremely thin on details and long on moral posturing. (Eddy Elfenbein, editor of Crossing Wall Street)
* @margbrennan - Greg Smith's next rant will be about the day that the media began stalking him....or the day he was offered his own tv show/book deal/column (Margaret Brennan, anchor at Bloomberg Television)
* @TommyThornton - I'm pretty sure Greg from $GS is retiring from this biz - whether he knows it or not. #whatnottodo (Tommy Thornton, hedge fund trader)
* @SconsetCapital - Greg Smith - also NOT a banker. (Timothy Connolly, managing partner, Sconset Capital Management)
* @CapitalObserver - Re: Greg Smith's $GS takedown. On the one hand its the truth but on the other he clearly had to bone to pick. Didnt seem altruistic (Tsachy Mishal, portfolio manager at TAM Capital Management)
* @DavidFaberCNBC - $GS Truly astonished at Greg Smith's withering public criticism. Nothing he says rings untrue. (David Faber, reporter and anchor at CNBC)
* @ReformedBroker - Goldman Sachs Spokesperson: "Don't listen to Greg Smith, he's a total Muppet you guys." (Joshua Brown, investment adviser)
* @MattGoldstein26 - Goldman's greg smith gives new meaning to a noisy resignation in his NYT op-ed calling environ at firm "toxic and destructive" (Matthew Goldstein, investigative reporter and editor at Reuters)
* @Dan_Dicker - Look, anyone with experience trading either w/ or against $GS in any derivative mkt knows the #Smith op-ed is totally honest (Dan Dicker, trader, president of MercBloc)
* @herbgreenberg - Just when u thought there couldn't be yet another reality show, along comes, "I Quit Goldman Sachs!" (Herb Greenberg, commentator and reporter at CNBC)
* @petereavis - I play soccer with Maccabi Games guys. They're a doughty bunch. #gregsmith (Peter Eavis, reporter at The New York Times)
* @Brynjo - While I wonder about motives/circumstances surrounding attached, it does make me pause: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs: http://nyti.ms/xqbIA0 (John Brynjolfsson, chief investment officer at Armored Wolf)
* @grossdm - Sorry, but the NYT op-ed by Goldman guys is a new low. Bragging about winning a bronze? at the Maccabiah games? And in Ping Pong? Really? (Daniel Gross, columnist at Yahoo! Finance)