Vanity Fair Profile: Goldman Sachs Can 'Practically Mint Money' And 'Never Loses'Submitted by bobbyw24 on Tue, 12/01/2009 - 17:33
In what constitutes a compendium of anti-Goldman Sachs charges, Vanity Fair's Bethany McLean has delivered some of the best reporting on the bank since the financial crisis.
McLean, a former Goldman trader, investigates the bank's evolution from a plucky investment bank known for its unique and powerful culture into what some critics have likened a a giant hedge fund.
The entire battery of charges against Goldman is, of course, lengthy. There is the assertion that the bank received a de facto bailout through its investments in AIG, which McLean says clearly helped Goldman and the entire financial system. Goldman, for its part, has always asserted that it would not have gone under had AIG collapsed. And McLean also addressed the benefits Goldman Sachs continues to receive by virtue of its transition to a bank-holding company, and its $21.6 billion in funds still guaranteed by the FDIC.
But McLean's piece also uncovers some of the overlooked claims against Goldman Sachs. McLean writes that with its competitors crippled -- especially Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers -- Goldman was one of the only firms able to profitably effectuate the sale of a huge amount of Wall Street assets. As the financial system imploded last fall, Goldman emerged as something of a centralized trading nexus for the industry's less-favored securities.
She writes that the bank was enabled by "spreads -- the difference between the price at which you sell and buy a variety of securities -- were wider than they had been in years, meaning that Goldman could practically mint money."
The Vanity Fair Jan. 2010 Piece: