How complex are corporate structures?
August 2, 2013 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Visualisations of corporate ownership for six banks: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo.
posted by frimble (31 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
My God, it's full of stars!
posted by randomkeystrike at 10:35 PM on August 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Going through this much trouble to avoid taxes, it becomes clear that the ultimate purpose is not just to save money but also to tell the government(s) "FUCK YOU".
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:42 PM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Spoiler alert: The answer is really really complex.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:45 PM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow!

Longest chain I could find. What do I win?
posted by bbuda at 10:59 PM on August 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


a free checking account (with many limitations)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:02 PM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow! Man, a tax guy like me would be fully employed year round. How do I get job with Goldman Sachs?
posted by Mojojojo at 11:56 PM on August 2, 2013


My God, it's full of stars!
I believe the word I would use is frowned upon here.
posted by fullerine at 11:56 PM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would like to see this data over time, so I could watch the structure form and populate the map.

Also, the assimilated or destroyed corporate rivals.
posted by troll at 12:06 AM on August 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


t infuriating;dr
posted by Cranberry at 12:15 AM on August 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


How complex are corporate structures?

How fast are cars?

Well, judging by this Ferrari, Porsche and Corvette, I'd say pretty damn fast!
posted by mullacc at 12:44 AM on August 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth against the wall
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:50 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


fullerine: "I believe the word I would use is frowned upon here."

Just turn that frown upside-down!

Then sideways…
posted by Pinback at 1:00 AM on August 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


now show us the security schema for all of those dots, please.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:26 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Going through this much trouble to avoid taxes

some of it is tax related, a lot is regulatory (each state and each country will require their own sub for regulatory purposes.....), a lot is business related (co-ventures that permit co-investors), a lot is for liability (separate LLC for each major investment to block off risk)
posted by jpe at 4:11 AM on August 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was expecting it to look worse for "US" banks.

Instead of sizing the country by number of subsidiaries, I'd like to see the maps where each country and subsidiary is sized related to its share of profits.
posted by surplus at 4:41 AM on August 3, 2013


love how big merrie old britain is

ha ha ye olde gubmint is so weak that we bend topology and geometry to our will
posted by lalochezia at 5:38 AM on August 3, 2013


US domiciled financial companies are required to maintain a much more complex entity structure than foreign-domiciled corporation because the US, alone, imposes taxation on worldwide, rather than domestic, income of its domiciliaries, the US (virtually alone) taxes corporate capital gains at the full corporate income tax rate, rather than a lower (or zero) rate, and the US also makes it very difficult for foreign capital raised by US-based institutions to be directly invested in the domestic loan origination market. Without this entity structure it would be essentially impossible for a US financial company to raise capital or offer competitive pricing vs. foreign-based financial institutions.

Also, Goldman Sachs has tons of tax people. The best way to get a tax job at Goldman is to go to a top 6 law school, graduate in the top third or better, join the tax department of Sullivan & Cromwell, and move over to the client side (Goldman will have been your main client) a few years later.
posted by MattD at 5:43 AM on August 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Some things that are evil are complex. Not all things complex are evil. Sometimes they are just difficulty to understand.
posted by double bubble at 5:57 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to work as a secretary in finance (okay, my temp agency kept sending me there and in 2011 they were the only people hiring full-time). And every so often, whenever there was some cause to remind everyone of the corporate commitment to ethics, every single employee of the company had to sit through this dippy Powerpoint presentation and then be tested on it, to confirm that we all knew what was right and what was wrong. I didn't know a damn thing about finance and still don't, but it was still fairly easy to punt through these tests ("Question 3 - your college roommate who works at a rival bank just landed a deal with a company that mines for diamonds in Pakistan and wants you to help him re-invest the proceeds so it looks like it's coming from a British laundry, what should you do?"), so I didn't pay too much attention.

Now that I'm out (and looking to stay out), every so often one of these kinds of news pieces comes up, I can't shake the feeling that this kind of thing is vaguely in opposition to the very same corporate-ethics things I was doing, but I wish to GOD I'd paid more attention because I can't quite figure out how.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:04 AM on August 3, 2013


It's a pity they start you with Goldman Sachs, because none of the others are really half so interesting. Does anyone know the history of GS's relationship to New Zealand? NZ has substantially more Goldman Sachs subsidiaries than Australia or Japan, for example. Why on earth? It's not a tax haven, so that doesn't really explain anything.

I was also surprised that only one company seemed to have an outsized number of subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands. Of course, "number of subsidiaries" and "amount of capital" aren't particularly codependent.
posted by yoink at 6:26 AM on August 3, 2013


Credit union-----members.

It's a short line, pretty much staying in the same state. Not exciting to look at.
posted by headnsouth at 6:55 AM on August 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


@ headnsouth: CUs often have subsidiaries. A lot fewer, of course, but they still have them (probably for liability purposes when they have significant real estate holdings)
posted by jpe at 7:02 AM on August 3, 2013


lalochezia: "love how big merrie old britain is.."

Private Eye recently produced a report on corporate crime in the UK Where there's muck, there's brass plates. Unfortunately, it's not online, but some info here.

Essentially, the perception of the UK as a well-regulated, respectable company jurisdiction is completely at odds with the reality that vast majority of UK companies are subject to almost no oversight.
posted by Jakey at 7:41 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes jpe, and CUSOs are highly regulated and usually local as well. A few exceptions for large CUs like Navy Federal which has members all over the globe, but even so, an auto/home insurance subsidiary is worlds apart from this BS.
posted by headnsouth at 7:49 AM on August 3, 2013


How do I get job with Goldman Sachs?

I believe they have a position open for an entry-level scapegoat.
posted by Knappster at 10:39 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


My God, it's full of stars!

Stars? Assholes maybe.

Thank you Goldman Sachs for screwing the US.

Merrill Lynch doesn't do a bad job, either.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:36 AM on August 3, 2013


Goldman Sachs? Mustn’t let this pass... Matt Taibbi:

"The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates."

Rolling Stone magazine (2009)
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:53 AM on August 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know who runs the world? Halliburton. Those fuckers are everywhere, and the US supports them with your tax dollar.

Halliburton structure.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think you really want to be an accountant at Goldman Sachs. It's better to be one of their outside auditors at PwC.

Then Goldman will hire you as a consultant once you've played ball for a while.
posted by surplus at 1:32 PM on August 3, 2013


they all work really hard, though. I wouldn't want to be internal or external.
posted by jpe at 3:25 PM on August 3, 2013


...vast majority of UK companies are subject to almost no oversight.
Otherwise, would anybody want London as a "World Banking Capital"?

BlueHorse, is that Halliburton or HELLiburton?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:54 PM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


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