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“Not many antagonize Goldman just for the hell of it,”
July 9, 2013 6:37 PM   Subscribe

The Lonely Redemption Of Sandy Lewis
“The complicity on Wall Street is sickness!” Mr. Lewis says. He fixes you with his laser stare. “If you think the big firms are being honest” — his tone slides streetwise — “well, sweetheart, go think something else!” The temptation is to dismiss Mr. Lewis, 73, as a crank, except he once ruled as an eccentric genius of arbitrage, with a preternatural feel for the tectonic movements of the markets. He has railed for decades about venalities now on daily display. Rude truth is his currency.
posted by the man of twists and turns (7 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Verbatim, from a conversation with a security consultant to private bankers: "no one worries about compliance. It's cheaper to pay the fines."
posted by unSane at 6:41 PM on July 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thank you, Ronald Reagan for the whole deregulation meme, for this, the Greater Depression, which we are about to endure.
posted by MikeWarot at 6:57 PM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would love to see whistleblowers of this sort valued much more highly than they are in this country, and the industries they expose be held accountable . I've worked for several years with Wendell Potter, who is a former director of communications for CIGNA. Half of his best stories don't even get published, but all of them make me want to punch the insurance industry in the throat.
posted by deliciae at 8:08 PM on July 9, 2013


Verbatim, from a conversation with a security consultant to private bankers: "no one worries about compliance. It's cheaper to pay the fines."

Should be imposing lengthy bans on working in the securities industry.

Another issue is the sheer complexity of financial products. The enforcement agencies are set up around individual laws enacted giving them enforcement power over various types of investment vehicles. The laws and regulations clearly describe the vehicles to be regulated. Then the impetus is to design your investment vehicle to not fit the definition. Enactment is always behind the newest vehicles.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:13 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fascinating profile. I automatically assume that all of the top people on Wall St. are corrupt. I wonder how many Sandy Lewis' are left on Wall St. today.
posted by gen at 11:29 PM on July 9, 2013


"no one worries about compliance. It's cheaper to pay the fines."

I remember working for Citigroup and hearing two different things:

1) the IT groups had to have INSANE Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Every single thing we did had to have a trouble ticket number of some kind attached to it, with multiple approvals, even terminations (which ended up badly at least once that I can think of). They had systems that would record it, and then we'd have to justify it. (The people who reviewed the justifications were also a flat bunch of idiots, who would ignore the fact that there were attached spreadsheets of changes instead of the changes in the actual trouble ticket, and reject it three and four times, but that's a completely different issue.)

2) the traders and brokers were absofuckinglutely sacrosanct. If you tried to make a single change to their work processes to put in any kind of oversight, it sounded like an entire nursery of baritone infants have a mass diaper change requirement. For them, they'd just pay the fines.

But the third tier is this: no one in law enforcement seemed to care. You had to make a catastrophic fuckup, something absolutely fucking majestic, in order for an offense to attract the attention of law enforcement for financial malfeasance. (The one arrest I know happened in the office was actually drug related.)
posted by mephron at 2:47 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Ronald Reagan for the whole deregulation meme, for this, the Greater Depression, which we are about to endure.

I'm no great fan, but come along, Ronald Reagan has been out of office now for twenty four years. Plenty of time for democrats to reverse that train. Have they? Not so much.

No real surprise, of course. Clinton liked to take credit for the boom times following Reagan, and his household saw nothing wrong with building up Chelsea's college fund in...unusual ways.

In any event, I'd argue that the current depression has more to do with George and Barack's Excellent Adventures, coupled with the government's flooding the world with cheap money. (A child could have told them bubbles would result.) Wall Street's plenty bad, but our elected officials in both parties are enablers.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:19 AM on July 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


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