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Goldman Sachs under fire: Is Wall Street cheering or cowering?

On Wall Street, Goldman Sachs is admired to a certain extent for its ability to generate profits. But the firm is also resented for a certain swagger.

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A Goldman Sachs sign is seen over their kiosk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday. Goldman Sachs has been the envy of many Wall Street firms, but some now think they are getting their just desserts.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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Is Wall Street enjoying the roasting of Goldman Sachs by Congress? Or, do financiers see the grilling of Goldman Sachs executives as a politically motivated witch hunt, which could just as easily shift to another firm?

A little bit of both could be happening Tuesday, as Goldman Sachs officials appeared before a Senate subcommittee and tried to explain their involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Internal Goldman documents, released by the Senate, show that the firm appeared to be profiting from the collapsing housing market – even bragging about it at times. That wouldn’t be surprising.

On Wall Street, Goldman Sachs is admired to a certain extent for its ability to generate profits. The Wall Street firm is known for its trading expertise and superior market intelligence. The firm is so dominant in some areas that many sophisticated investors feel they have to deal with them.

But Goldman Sachs is also known for a certain swagger – perhaps a feeling that the firm is king of the hill, able to hire some of the best people to manage a sophisticated trading machine.

“The major view of a vast number of agents around Wall Street is that Goldman Sachs is the firm they love to hate,” says David Kotok, chairman of Cumberland Advisors, an investment manager in Vineland, N.J.

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