Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) : Financial Markets
Check GMAT Club Decision Tracker for the Latest School Decision Releases http://gmatclub.com/AppTrack

 It is currently 19 Jan 2017, 19:57

### GMAT Club Daily Prep

#### Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

# Events & Promotions

###### Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

# Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!)

Author Message
Senior Manager
Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 385
Location: Europe
Schools: St. Gallen '09
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5

Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) [#permalink]

### Show Tags

08 Jul 2009, 05:21
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... HZ0H2Pqtr4

Quote:
July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley may never have the same leeway in commodities as they did when oil reached a record $147 a barrel last year. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission will consider greater regulation of oil, gas and other energy markets at hearings this month. It plans to review exemptions to trading limits that since the 1990s allowed Goldman and Morgan to build multibillion-dollar ventures in futures, swaps and over-the- counter markets. Goldman is one of the biggest players in the commodities markets. The consequences are obvious if they are restricted in ways in which they cannot exploit their trading strategies (which have been very profitable) to the same degree in the past. Senior Manager Joined: 30 Jul 2007 Posts: 385 Location: Europe Schools: St. Gallen '09 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Jul 2009, 05:30 and they may have lost their competitive edge if their algo trading code has been compromised: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/case-q ... dman-sachs Quote: Major developing story: Matt Goldstein over at Reuters may have just broken a story that could spell doom for if not the entire Goldman Sachs program trading group, then at least those who deal with "low latency (microseconds) event-driven market data processing, strategy, and order submissions." Visions of swirling, gray storm clouds over Goldman's SLP and hi-fi traders begin to form. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... IMch.ErnD4 Quote: July 6 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may lose its investment in a proprietary trading code and millions of dollars from increased competition if software allegedly stolen by a former employee gets into the wrong hands, a prosecutor said. http://www.businessweek.com/investing/w ... ts_of.html Quote: Prediction: The case of the stolen Goldman Sachs trading software will leave more tarnish on Goldman reputation than take profits from its income statement. It will also provide lots of amusement for those of who don’t work there or own the company’s stock. Taleb's Black Swan philosophy is so relevant these days Senior Manager Affiliations: ACA, CPA Joined: 26 Apr 2009 Posts: 441 Location: Vagabond Schools: BC WE 1: Big4, Audit WE 2: Banking Followers: 5 Kudos [?]: 86 [0], given: 41 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Jul 2009, 05:40 Can thy even do this ? Isnt sniffing packets illegal ? _________________ If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. Senior Manager Joined: 30 Jul 2007 Posts: 385 Location: Europe Schools: St. Gallen '09 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Jul 2009, 07:40 sniffing packets? i must've missed that in the article. but, i have no idea. here's the real bomb-shell quote though from the Bloomberg article: Quote: “The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways,” Facciponti said, according to a recording of the hearing made public today. what's to say that the program isn't already used by Goldman to manipulate markets?! Senior Manager Affiliations: ACA, CPA Joined: 26 Apr 2009 Posts: 441 Location: Vagabond Schools: BC WE 1: Big4, Audit WE 2: Banking Followers: 5 Kudos [?]: 86 [0], given: 41 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Jul 2009, 18:03 tht would explain the millions of $$thy are making in quant trading. There was even talk of increased bonus's in 2009 vs 2008! _________________ If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. Senior Manager Joined: 30 Jul 2007 Posts: 385 Location: Europe Schools: St. Gallen '09 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Jul 2009, 23:34 snipertrader wrote: tht would explain the millions of$$ thy are making in quant trading. There was even talk of increased bonus's in 2009 vs 2008! i'm really surprised no one else besides you and me have hopped on to this issue. if a major market player can manipulate the markets through a computer algorithm, this is just really really bad. the markets are beginning to resemble a rigged slot machine that always favors the house. and that's goldman. Senior Manager Joined: 30 Jul 2007 Posts: 385 Location: Europe Schools: St. Gallen '09 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Jul 2009, 00:38 snipertrader wrote: Can thy even do this ? Isnt sniffing packets illegal ? I'm starting to understand better what Goldman/Aleynikov may have been up to: (caveats: this is still all speculation, but speculate we must) http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/ ... nt-Trading Quote: From DKOSer Ezekial: ...GS, through access to the system as a result of their special gov't perks, was/is able to read the data on trades before it's committed, and place their own buys or sells accordingly in that brief moment, thus allowing them to essentially steal buttloads of money every day from the rest of the punters world. Two things come out of this: 1. If true, this should be highly illegal, and would, in any sane country result in something like what happened to Arthur Andersen... (2. ... is way off point....) SUMMARY: Goldman Sachs may just possibly have used security access codes and built a system to acquire trading information PRIOR to transaction_commit time points at NYSE. The profitability of this split-second information advantage would have been and could have been extraordinary. Observed yielding profits at$100,000,000 a day.

Then, seems one Sergey Aleynikov got himself arrested. NYTimes says its about "secret sauce" Goldman Sachs quant math. We'll consider Mr. Aleynikov's STORM patent with distributed processing agents. Recalls Triple Hop's text indexing tools. Nothing to do with quant math.

The big ticket, the magic wand for a rogue quant shop is technology to grab off FIX PROTOCOL, OCX, or SWIFT messages that precede every transaction_commit at the Exchanges.

Grabbing information is way hotter for conquering Wall Street than owning a crystal ball.

...

Nice telecom system control. Uses servers -- or cycles at the switches -- to monitor packets in real time. One big trick is getting this software to run on the distributed assets of the system -- which in turn depends on getting the passwords to the switches, which can be changed daily.

If you've got a way to get the passwords, the implementation software for this STORM system is perfect for installing programs to capture text streams.

Front-end messaging for NYSE is done with small text messages. FIX Protocol messages are tiny things -- less than a k. Encryption is optional or nonexistent or easily enough made transparent. NYSE has any and all access codes involved.

...

These trade events happens out in the front-end, prior to communication of the data to the Exchange. Messages go through the internet, local networks and sit on middleware application servers, as well as being stored on databases. FIX and SWIFT are compatible -- the aim of these systems is to make trading efficient, moving to support Straight Through Processing (STP.)

Access to FIX, OCX or SWIFT messages prior to transaction_commit at the Exchanges would give a player an advantage parallel to seeing an opponent's cards in a game of poker.

Senior Manager
Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 385
Location: Europe
Schools: St. Gallen '09
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5

Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Jul 2009, 01:12
It's great to see Bloomberg carrying these stories:

(FYI, Jonathan Weil was one of the first reporters to break the story on accounting fraud at Enron in 2000)

Goldman Sachs Loses Grip on Its Doomsday Machine: Jonathan Weil

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... eyqdzYcizc
Senior Manager
Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 385
Location: Europe
Schools: St. Gallen '09
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5

Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Jul 2009, 01:39
Can thy even do this ? Isnt sniffing packets illegal ?

Karl Denninger has the following to say at his blog:

http://market-ticker.denninger.net/arch ... SHELL.html

Quote:
God help Goldman if this is true and the government goes after them. This would constitute massive unlawful activity. Indeed, the allegation is that Goldman alone was given this access!

God help our capital markets if this is true and is ignored by our government and regulatory agencies, or generates nothing more than a "handslap." Nobody in their right mind would ever trade on our markets again if this occurred and does not result in severe criminal and civil penalties.

There apparently is reason to believe that Sergey might have been involved in exactly this sort of coding implementation. Specifically, look at the patent claims cited on DailyKos; his expertise was in fact in this general area of knowledge in the telecommunications world......

This is precisely the sort of thing that a Unix machine, sitting on a network cable where it can "see" traffic potentially not intended for it, could have an interface put into what is called "promiscuous mode" and SILENTLY sniff that traffic!
ASSUMING THE TRAFFIC IS PASSING BY THE MACHINE ON THE WIRE THIS IS TRIVIALLY EASY FOR ANY NETWORK PROGRAMMER OF REASONABLE SKILL TO DO. IF THAT TRAFFIC IS EITHER UNENCRYPTED OR IT IS EASY TO BREAK THE ENCRYPTION.....

Folks, I have no way to know what the code in question does, but if there's anything to this - anything at all - there is a major, as in biggest scam of the century - scandal here - something much, much bigger than Madoff or Stanford.
What would this mean, if it was all to prove up?

It would mean that Goldman was able to "see" transaction order flow - bid, offer, and execute messages - before they were committed in the transaction stream. Such a "SNIFF" would be COMPLETELY UNDETECTABLE by the sender or recipient of the message.

The implication of this would be that they would be able to front-run any transaction where the data was visible to them, thereby effectively "stealing pennies" from each transaction they were able to front-run.

Again: I have absolutely nothing on the content of the allegedly-stolen code nor can I validate the claim made that Goldman had "special network access." Nothing. All I have to go on with regards to "market manipulation" (which such a program would be, writ large!) is the statement of the US Attorney that I cited in my earlier Ticker.
This may be nothing more than a crazy conspiracy theory put out by someone at Daily Kos. But consider the following:

The last few days the the market has traded "organically." I and many other market participants have noted that prior to the week before July 4th the market had been acting "very odd" - normal correlations between interest rate, foreign exchange the the stock markets had been on "tilt" for the previous couple of months, with the amount of "tiltage" increasing dramatically in the last three or four weeks. In fact, many of my usual indicators that I use for daytrading had become completely useless. Suddenly, just before the July 4the weekend, everything started correlating normally again. I have no explanation for this "light-switch" change but it aligned almost exactly with the day the NYSE had "computer problems" and extended trading by 15 minutes. Was there a configuration change made to their networking infrastructure, one asks?

Zerohedge's information, if you believe it, seems to point toward some sort of distortion. The cite above claims statistically "as likely as an asteroid hitting earth it is not true" proof of distortion in the market. I have not analyzed the data to independently validate that conclusion, but even if the odds of these "effects" in the market being random chance are only as good as getting hit by a tornado this afternoon......

Every market participant deserves answers on this point. Specifically to the NYSE and all other markets where colocation connections are made and allowed:

1. Was it possible for message traffic to be "seen" by computers on your network and colocated into your infrastructure by other than the originator and recipient? That is, was it physically possible for anyone to "sniff" messages to and from other market participants.
2. If it was possible, is it no longer possible, and if so, when was that change made?

I believe the SEC and FBI must direct a subpoena at all market exchanges for an under-oath answer to question #1. If the answer to that question is "yes" then every market participant who had or has equipment colocated on the NYSE infrastructure must be immediately served with a subpoena for a true and complete copy of all software operating on every machine connected to said infrastructure for immediate forensic investigation to ascertain if any participants were indeed "sniffing" traffic and front-running orders.

The charge made on the pages of Daily Kos is incredibly serious. If this happened it is a case of literal robbery of every market participant for the entire duration of the time that the code in question was executing on the network, with losses to market participants potentially running into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Market participants deserve an answer to these questions.
Senior Manager
Affiliations: ACA, CPA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 441
Location: Vagabond
Schools: BC
WE 1: Big4, Audit
WE 2: Banking
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 86 [0], given: 41

Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Jul 2009, 03:05
GS will get away again with this as many other of its dirty tricks!
_________________

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.

Senior Manager
Affiliations: ACA, CPA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 441
Location: Vagabond
Schools: BC
WE 1: Big4, Audit
WE 2: Banking
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 86 [0], given: 41

Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Jul 2009, 03:11
The very fact that GS was gona give bigger bonus's this year made me think....there is no smoke w/o fire. With Lehman out of the way... GS pretty much rule the roost.

Which school does GS get their "bright ppl" from.....
I am lining up!

tht would explain the millions of  thy are making in quant trading. There was even talk of increased bonus's in 2009 vs 2008!

i'm really surprised no one else besides you and me have hopped on to this issue.

if a major market player can manipulate the markets through a computer algorithm, this is just really really bad.

the markets are beginning to resemble a rigged slot machine that always favors the house. and that's goldman.

_________________

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.

Senior Manager
Affiliations: ACA, CPA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 441
Location: Vagabond
Schools: BC
WE 1: Big4, Audit
WE 2: Banking
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 86 [0], given: 41

Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Jul 2009, 03:15

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aUHZ0H2Pqtr4

Quote:
uly 8 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley may never have the same leeway in commodities as they did when oil reached a record $147 a barrel last year. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission will consider greater regulation of oil, gas and other energy markets at hearings this month. It plans to review exemptions to trading limits that since the 1990s allowed Goldman and Morgan to build multibillion-dollar ventures in futures, swaps and over-the- counter markets. _________________ If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. Senior Manager Joined: 30 Jul 2007 Posts: 385 Location: Europe Schools: St. Gallen '09 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Jul 2009, 03:30 snipertrader wrote: Did anyone else hear the rumbling about GS loading up on GOLD DECEMBER contracts ? Yea, there's a lot of speculation that they loaded up in order to cover their large short positions: http://marketforceanalysis.com/Publishe ... 202009.pdf Senior Manager Joined: 30 Jul 2007 Posts: 385 Location: Europe Schools: St. Gallen '09 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5 Re: Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Jul 2009, 06:31 http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... qIBznBttBc Quote: July 9 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is on track to beat its 2007 trading-revenue record, enabling it to boost compensation by an estimated 64 percent from last year, according to Bank of America Corp. analyst Guy Moszkowski. Hmmm...anything to do with special software codes that "manipulate markets"? VP Joined: 11 Dec 2006 Posts: 1430 Location: New York, NY Schools: NYU Stern 2009 Followers: 41 Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 6 Re: Goldman Sachs may need another revenue source... [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Jul 2009, 14:53 snipertrader wrote: The very fact that GS was gona give bigger bonus's this year made me think....there is no smoke w/o fire. With Lehman out of the way... GS pretty much rule the roost. Which school does GS get their "bright ppl" from..... I am lining up! The bright people come from academia, not MBA programs. That is for certain - the smart guys in any bank are terrifying. _________________ Senior Manager Joined: 30 Jul 2007 Posts: 385 Location: Europe Schools: St. Gallen '09 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5 Re: Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Jul 2009, 01:02 Latest update: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... DxSdMlPTXU Quote: July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. computer programmer arrested last week for stealing software, told an FBI agent he uploaded proprietary code to an encrypted server he had used on “multiple occasions.” Aleynikov, 39, told the agent around 1 a.m. on July 4 that he had logged into Goldman’s computers through remote access from his home and sent encrypted files to a repository server with the URL identifier svn.xp-dev.com, according to a copy of his FBI statement in court files in Manhattan federal court. ... Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Facciponti said at Aleynikov’s arraignment July 4 that the alleged theft is the “most substantial” that the bank can recall. ... In the statement, Aleynikov laid out what had happened from the downloading of the files to their transfer to the server and his retrieval of them from it. He said that on June 5 he “created a tarball in an effort to collect open source work on Goldman Sachs server to which I had an account.” Tarball A tar file, which is sometimes called a tarball, is a compressed file. “I had previously worked on the files,” he said. He said he encrypted the files, then erased the encryption software and the tarball. “I then erased the bash history,” he said, referring to a method of recalling commands used in previous computer sessions. Goldman security measures prevent such deletions, which tipped the firm off to his activities, prosecutors said. Aleynikov said in his statement that he downloaded the Goldman software to his home computer, his laptop computer and his thumb drive. “The reason I uploaded to svn.xp-dev.com was because it was not blocked by Goldman Sachs security policy,” Aleynikov wrote. The phrase, “not blocked by Goldman Sachs security policy,” was crossed out and he added: “I wanted to inspect the work later in a more usable environment.” More Than Intended Aleynikov said that he later opened the files to inspect them. “At that point I realized that I downloaded more files than I intended,” he said. Aleynikov, who lives in New Jersey, was arrested on July 3 after arriving at Liberty International Airport in Newark. He was charged with stealing the trading software and is free on a$750,000 bond.

Teza Technologies LLC, a Chicago-based firm co-founded by a former Citadel Investment Group LLC trader, said after his arrest that it had suspended Aleynikov, who started there on July 2. Aleynikov had told co-workers at Goldman that he was joining a new firm at triple his salary of \$400,000 a year.

Michael DuVally, a spokesman for New York-based Goldman, declined to comment.

Aleynikov said Teza wasn’t involved. “I have signed an agreement with my new employer not to bring any unlicensed software,” he said. “I have not violated that agreement.”

Why all the silence from Goldman on this issue? If I were a shareholder, I would be demanding answers.
Senior Manager
Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 385
Location: Europe
Schools: St. Gallen '09
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 5

Re: Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) [#permalink]

### Show Tags

10 Jul 2009, 02:20
kudos to zerohedge for keeping the coverage alive:

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/bloomb ... oldmangate

Good point that Weil raises about the context in which the prosecutor used the "market manipulation" statement.

But, when we see the terms "Goldman Sachs", "high frequency trading code", "stolen", "arrested", and "market manipulation" in the same breath....

Something just stinks here
Senior Manager
Affiliations: ACA, CPA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 441
Location: Vagabond
Schools: BC
WE 1: Big4, Audit
WE 2: Banking
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 86 [0], given: 41

Re: Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) [#permalink]

### Show Tags

10 Jul 2009, 04:44
"If it fell in the wrong hands" did i hear that correct ? This is insane!
But as usual GS will get away with this and many other dark secrets they hold under their belly.
_________________

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.

Manager
Status: Rising GMAT Star
Joined: 05 Jun 2012
Posts: 133
Location: Philippines
Concentration: General Management, Finance
GMAT 1: 660 Q V
GPA: 3.22
WE: Corporate Finance (Consulting)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 51 [0], given: 16

Re: Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) [#permalink]

### Show Tags

05 Jun 2012, 20:53
One quote that had a lasting impression on me when I watched the Inside Job was:

"It's a Wall Street Government."
_________________

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
- T. Roosevelt

Intern
Joined: 01 Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

Re: Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!) [#permalink]

### Show Tags

01 Oct 2013, 19:00
Computer Programming, and its' power, goes unnoticed to the naiveite of the students enrolled. CS Ethics classes were pushed hard, but shrugged off by many imho. Banks will realize whether its' this generation of CEO's or the next, that, if they were to focus on what they're function is to the actual economy, then mankind again would flourish. You see, the fractional reserve banking system exists so that the human race can take a chance. Those investments, and perhaps many fail, but there will be a few that significantly alter the paradigms we as a race are currently challenged with. Instead, the excessiveness of lending went into real-estate, and also with little intangible value (location, etc). I thought the credit bubble was beautiful, imagine it didn't burst, and life as we know it didn't return to normalcy. I think Ben Bernanke deserves a nobel peace prize lol. So humble, One of the brightest outside the box type thinkers our generation will see.
Re: Is Goldman Sachs doomed? (Yes, it's a serious question!)   [#permalink] 01 Oct 2013, 19:00
Similar topics Replies Last post
Similar
Topics:
Goldman's expected record trading revenues 8 09 Jul 2009, 11:27
The infamous mastermind of LTCM and its collapse... 4 08 Jul 2009, 05:19
Rolling Stone: Goldman Sachs created every bubble since 1930 7 04 Jul 2009, 04:12
2 AIG rescued in order to save Goldman Sachs? 6 29 Sep 2008, 15:04
1 It's just getting started folks.... 8 15 Jul 2008, 09:22
Display posts from previous: Sort by