March 14th, 2012
05:00 PM GMT
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Editor's note: Goldman Sachs banker Greg Smith quit his job Wednesday, calling the investment bank "toxic" in an opinion piece in The New York Times. The firm responded with this memo.

March 14, 2012

Our Response to Today’s New York Times Op-Ed

By now, many of you have read the submission in today’s New York Times by a former employee of the firm. Needless to say, we were disappointed to read the assertions made by this individual that do not reflect our values, our culture and how the vast majority of people at Goldman Sachs think about the firm and the work it does on behalf of our clients.

In a company of our size, it is not shocking that some people could feel disgruntled. But that does not and should not represent our firm of more than 30,000 people. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. 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.

While I expect you find the words you read today foreign from your own day-to-day experiences, we wanted to remind you what we, as a firm – individually and collectively – think about Goldman Sachs and our client-driven culture.

First, 85 percent of the firm responded to our recent People Survey, which provides the most detailed and comprehensive review to determine how our people feel about Goldman Sachs and the work they do.

And, what do our people think about how we interact with our clients? Across the firm at all levels, 89 percent of you said that that the firm provides exceptional service to them. For the group of nearly 12,000 vice presidents, of which the author of today’s commentary was, that number was similarly high.

Anyone who feels otherwise has available to him or her a mechanism for anonymously expressing their concerns. We are not aware that the writer of the opinion piece expressed misgivings through this avenue, however, if an individual expresses issues, we examine them carefully and we will be doing so in this case.

Our firm has had its share of challenges during and after the financial crisis, but your pride in Goldman Sachs is clear. You’ve not only told us, you have told external surveys.

Just two weeks ago, Goldman Sachs was named one of the best places to work in the United Kingdom, where this employee resides. The firm was the highest placed financial services company for the third consecutive year and was the only one in its peer group to make the top 25.

We are far from perfect, but where the firm has seen a problem, we’ve responded to it seriously and substantively. And we have demonstrated that fact.

It is unfortunate that all of you who worked so hard through a difficult environment over the last few years now have to respond to this. But, our response is best demonstrated in how we really work with and help our clients through our commitment to their long-term interests. That priority has distinguished us in the past, through the financial crisis and today.

Thank you.

Lloyd C. Blankfein

Gary D. Cohn



soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Tad Pole

    HA ha hahha.. oh my.. that was funny.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  2. Tad Skeptical

    I'm sorry, we're they trying to say something??

    March 15, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  3. Charles Lee

    "what do our people think about how we interact with our clients? Across the firm at all levels, 89 percent of you said that that the firm provides exceptional service to them."

    A fox in the hen house would say the same thing. But from the outside view the fox is bad. GS you are the fox and your clients and the pubic are the hens. You have ripped all of us off and your own greed and then say yes you serviced us well. This is not 1984 but you speak very good double talk.

    its not how you see us but how we see you and what you have done and what you are doing. we the customers and public are the ones how says if you "provides exceptional service" or not not your greedy selfs.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  4. Christine Clairmont

    Goldman Sachs represents GREEDY/CORPORATE AMERICA. When they talk about clients, who are these clients? Greedy companies like Goldman Sachs only have respect for money. Money is the bottom line. Companies like these are addicted to money just like some people are addicted to drugs. They just can't get enough of it. They have to have more and more. Goldman Sachs reminds me allot of a GREEDY company I used to work for, UNITEDHEALTH CARE. I don't really know why the word CARE is part of the company name. Here is my story. You decide

    I am a 60 yr old women. I was terminated by UnitedHealthCare for not being able to meet my performance goals which constantly changed. At the time I was on Intermittant FMLA and had been for sometime,.which means there were days which I was ill and could not work. I was told that I did not qualify for a severance package. I was shocked. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Knowing that Mr. Bill McGuire, a former CEO, received a severance for his self serving performance. His severance package gives new meaning to the word Greedy/Corporate America. Below is one of the headlines that made the news about Mr. McGuire: .".....THIS IS A DISGRACE and it goes on everyday in Corporate America. UnitedHealthCare will not even give me the opportunity for an arbitration. I gave them 30 yrs of my life. I am in financial distress and have health problems, but I am tryingl do everything humanly possible to get what I feel I deserve.

    HERE IS THE ARTICLE:

    William McGuire. UnitedHealthcare CEO grew the company as well as the value of his own stock options, which were backdated to his advantage. When he jumped ship, those options were worth more than $1-billion. Compensation: $5-million a year for life and a $6.5-million lump sum payment. UnitedHealthcare's motto: "It just makes sense.".....

    March 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  5. Mukit

    beardherro hope good close.I, as a pro, could sit here and agree with your short list and add 100 other items to it to avoid. This is not what I was asking. My uqtseion was given your monetary opinions surrounding an ethical (non hurtful), moral (aligned with spiritual/or religious beliefs) and legal ( obvious) monetary views where would you allocate today's profits (my $23,000) and really any capital within current investment choices?You see here is the thing. I do like your posts, and some quite a bit, but most people have an opinion unbacked by action. it took you and I countless(i am too lazy to count) posts between us and I still don't have a solid answer. This is fine as I don't know " is a perfectly good answer. It illustrates the truth that either atheist or penitent unless one puts real capital at risk, one does not have an answer therefore one's opinion matters much less and that is simply the reality of world history. winner or loser at least they risked. I would rather hear the opinion of someone who lost, how they acted and what they learned than passionate musings of a person with multiple phDs. Monetary musings are like pulses, everyone alive has one or many. I am going to address your first choice below: I don’t know if they can be protected in the environment but ethically I would avoid:1) Gold since it is a tool of the usury and counterfeiting class. do the powers that be use gold as a tool of control, yes . but WHO CARES! If you know this you can benefit yourself and others. They use the media including the internet but you still post here on Max world.Gold is still valuable to both the elite controllers and to the people to preserve purchasing power and this goes to an earlier post today which I did not have time to address earlier.To go back to 1970 and review gold forward to 2000 and say it was not a store of value is LUDICROUS. The asset has been used for 6000 years as money so therefore you must go back for as long as possible to accurately gauge it. And IT HAS ALWAYS PERSERVED PURCHASING POWER!!! Go back to 1913. The 20 dollar gold coin is now $1474. That is only 100 years. It is absurd to say that gold is not a store of value simply because in very smaller time frames it performed differently to it's longer frames. From 1913 to 2011 gold has gone up 7,370 %. That is an annualized gain of 75.20 % over 98 years. Would you take that return? In the same time period the dollar has deteriorated by over 95% I would say CLEARLY that gold has kept its role as a store of value, and a unit of account. Now one could've had a government coin or a 1 oz coin from a private mint. In either case It was money despite its usage by controlling figures. 6000 years think I go with the numbers on that one.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  6. Sara

    ChristineClairmont: with all due respect, if you can't do your job and you can't meet the criteria set for you, then yes, you will lose your job. If you are on FMLA, you cannot be fired from your job just because you are ill and not able to work.

    Hence, there is obviously more to the story than what you are telling us, which is merely your side/your view. Sorry, no pity for you.

    PS: Why on earth are you using your real name? What were you thinking????

    May 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm |

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