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(Huffington Post)   24% of senior executives in the US and the UK said they believed financial services professionals need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful. The other 76% knew not to say that out loud   (huffingtonpost.com) divider line 65
    More: Sick, Wall Street, Augusto Pinochet, PNC Financial Services, offshore banks, Barclays plc, Wachovia, Los Zetas, Roberto Calvi  
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2613 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Jul 2012 at 1:13 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-11 01:14:33 PM
Duh.
 
2012-07-11 01:15:51 PM
Why do we automatically accept their definition of "success"?
 
2012-07-11 01:18:03 PM
Obvious Tag: "But...but...I'm standing right here."
 
2012-07-11 01:18:06 PM
Lucky LaRue Smartest
Funniest
2012-07-11 01:15:51 PM


Why do we automatically accept their definition of "success"?



well, if by "success" you mean the accumulation of the most amount of money, which thereby can be converted to goods and services, then yes, most people accept that as the definition of success in a capitalist society.
 
2012-07-11 01:19:16 PM
The entire financial system is run by narcissistic, sociopathic egomaniacs who would have utter contempt for those whose money they manage, if they ever bothered to think about us at all. The successful ones anyway.
 
2012-07-11 01:19:20 PM
Well would it only be a success if they dont get caught?
 
2012-07-11 01:19:41 PM
And not a single one of them will be prosecuted.
 
2012-07-11 01:20:19 PM
"Greed... is good. Greed works."
 
ows
2012-07-11 01:22:02 PM
They all see that no one gets punished, so they're like queers coming out of the closet.
 
2012-07-11 01:23:30 PM
Everything counts in large amounts.
 
2012-07-11 01:23:39 PM
To laugh often and much
to win the respect of intelligent people
and affection of children; to earn the
appreciation of honest critics and
endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best
in others; to leave the world a bit
better, whether by a healthy child
a garden patch or redeemed
social condition; to know even
one life has breathed easier because
you have lived. This is to have
succeeded.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
2012-07-11 01:28:03 PM
Old school mafiosa had better ethics and standards then these guys.
 
2012-07-11 01:28:46 PM
I have become reasonably certain that to win any competitive activity, one must cheat. Somewhere, somehow, there are corners to bend and rules to "overlook."

I have heard, "if you're not cheating, you're not racing" on more than one occasion... and I'm starting to think it applies to pretty much any endeavor: The ability to cheat, and still sleep comfortably at night, is a key ingredient in success. (A similar key to success: The ability to screw people over and not care.)

Those of us who are unfortunately, ridiculously, fundamentally honest just have no chance of anything but a mid-pack finish, at best.

But maybe I am too bitter and cynical.
 
2012-07-11 01:29:33 PM
What was that about sociopaths...

There was an interesting documentary on PBS the other day on Britain - how most of the people suffered through serfdom as England was still in the 'gelling' phase. With so many people stepped on and outright owned by rich landowners, the Brits evolved several systems of helping each other. Charity and helping the downtrodden was seen as a good thing, and a way for people to have a few bright days while having absolutely shiatty lives.

Americans never had that. We popped onto this Country and went whoo! We're all free! Better get to work - it's not gonna happen by itself! And thus, became all bootstrappy and such. Now that we do have a system of people who are out to screw others (Bankers, the 1%, etc.) - due to the lack of history of serfdom - the thought of helping people doesn't naturally occur here.

/This is a hypothesis and an opinion
//Your mileage may vary
///Thinking aloud
 
2012-07-11 01:29:48 PM
Oh self-regulation has ended up being such a healthy practice.
 
2012-07-11 01:33:01 PM

Znuh: the thought of helping people doesn't naturally occur here.


It does, but the people who suggest it get screamed at as being "socialist" and "hippies" and told to STFU and GBTW.
 
2012-07-11 01:34:07 PM

SirEattonHogg: well, if by "success" you mean the accumulation of the most amount of money, which thereby can be converted to goods and services, then yes, most people accept that as the definition of success in a capitalist society.


I work in this industry and you'd be surprised at how many of us don't accept that definition. Most people in my arm of the business, working with the middle to upper-middle class, know our clients and their families well and we're mortified when things don't go according to plan (whether or not we had a hand in the matter). We're genuinely devastated when a case comes to us which is beyond our ability to repair. We're enraged when we hear of insurers and institutions treating clients and friends like cattle to be milked.

Success, for me, is not having my client's accounts. It's having their trust. It's them knowing that I will point them where the best help is, whether or not I can represent the product. That's why this is a profession. And yeah, I know that a lot of sociopaths and amoral people are attracted to this or any other commission career, but you'd be surprised at how many of those people wash out quickly. Not because the law catches up to them (it none too often does) but because they can't relate to clients, and clients instinctively see them for the slimeballs they are.

Just please realize that quite a number of us are not coke-snorting lunatics.
 
2012-07-11 01:34:12 PM
hmm... seems we've found a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
 
2012-07-11 01:35:20 PM

Lucky LaRue: Why do we automatically accept their definition of "success"?



Our society and culture did that a long time ago - get money however you can, cash out as early as possible, and fark everyone else. This is our defining national value, from the bottom to the top of our social ladder.
 
2012-07-11 01:37:29 PM

Sun Khan: but you'd be surprised at how many of those people wash out quickly


Those that don't become senior management, apparently.
 
2012-07-11 01:38:00 PM
My wife is currently learning this as the company she works for dwindles into collapse. She cannot understand how they can keep telling investors they've met sales goals with projections, or why they keep corners in their production, or why they spend so much money taking web traffic away for
Companies they are barely competing with.

"if we just made a good product, we would be doing fine." she says. I constantly talk with her about how this should be true, but isn't. Companies are designed for profits, removing responsibility, and more profits. It is inherently immoral.
 
2012-07-11 01:38:09 PM

rev. dave: Oh self-regulation has ended up being such a healthy practice.


We should remedy that with a reform bill written by wall street lobbyists!
 
2012-07-11 01:39:42 PM

Silverstaff: Znuh: the thought of helping people doesn't naturally occur here.

It does, but the people who suggest it get screamed at as being "socialist" and "hippies" and told to STFU and GBTW.



That's why I give to my local, small-town church every week. I know they do good things with the money.
img842.imageshack.us
 
2012-07-11 01:39:51 PM

Znuh: What was that about sociopaths...

There was an interesting documentary on PBS the other day on Britain - how most of the people suffered through serfdom as England was still in the 'gelling' phase. With so many people stepped on and outright owned by rich landowners, the Brits evolved several systems of helping each other. Charity and helping the downtrodden was seen as a good thing, and a way for people to have a few bright days while having absolutely shiatty lives.

Americans never had that. We popped onto this Country and went whoo! We're all free! Better get to work - it's not gonna happen by itself! And thus, became all bootstrappy and such. Now that we do have a system of people who are out to screw others (Bankers, the 1%, etc.) - due to the lack of history of serfdom - the thought of helping people doesn't naturally occur here.

/This is a hypothesis and an opinion
//Your mileage may vary
///Thinking aloud


I think you neglect the history of religion in this country. No, we aren't "founded" on religious principles, I know, but events like the Reawakening and other revivals, the emphasis on church attendance with its messages of tithing/charity, seem to have spread the behavior of helping the downtrodden (although preferably in other countries).
Here's a guardian link on a recent study for comparison (pops). I was startled to see the US is 6th, I had thought we were higher, I guess evidence of our recent economic woes.
 
2012-07-11 01:39:55 PM
Reminds me of the business ethics course we have to take yearly. The gist is, don't do anything illegal. My beef with that is: legal=/=ethical.

For example, according to business ethics, if it was legal - and profitable - to kill people, it would be unethical to let them live. Why? Becaue the only 'ethical' responsibility business recognizes is: "maximize profit/share holder value".

What's 'right' and 'just' is for little people to worry about on Sunday when they go to the approved houses of worship.
 
2012-07-11 01:43:19 PM

Silverstaff: Znuh: the thought of helping people doesn't naturally occur here.

It does, but the people who suggest it get screamed at as being "socialist" and "hippies" and told to STFU and GBTW.


Not exactly, but people value effort here as a culture. And that doesn't get in to the huge amount of work by local non-profits and churches(and rich philanthropists that have existed since the start of this country, Bill Gates being the most generous philanthropist in the world today).

Basically, the culture would rather allow people to elect to help rather than force people to pay for it, and when we do force people to pay for it we want those people getting help to make an effort
 
2012-07-11 01:46:53 PM
A man is a success if he has family, friends and accomplishments that he doesn't have to us questionable morals to achieve. Success is high character, not the amount of money you got. Success is something you achieve not something you get.

I don't want to live on this planet anymore. People disappoint me constantly.
 
2012-07-11 01:51:00 PM
Oddly enough, I find myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan on this. I don't know how to feel about that, but I hope that I can enjoy the inevitable disaster that the financial industry is speeding toward.
 
2012-07-11 01:58:17 PM

Silverstaff: Znuh: the thought of helping people doesn't naturally occur here.

It does, but the people who suggest it get screamed at as being "socialist" and "hippies" and told to STFU and GBTW.


You sound like a socialist hippie.
 
2012-07-11 01:58:19 PM

whither_apophis: Old school mafiosa had better ethics and standards then these guys.


That is literally true. (at least in the old country)

The mafia rarely trashed old people's retirement accounts or crippled entire economies. Scary.
 
2012-07-11 01:58:20 PM
Mom left AT&T as the Director of Financial Services when she was instructed to cook the books. They wanted her to put a hold on end of year AP vendor payments (thereby violating the terms of the contracts with them) to artificially inflate revenue before book close.

They hired someone younger and cheaper and more of a pushover. I'm still very disappointed that Mom didn't go whistleblower.
 
2012-07-11 02:00:36 PM

Diogenes: Mom left AT&T as the Director of Financial Services when she was instructed to cook the books. They wanted her to put a hold on end of year AP vendor payments (thereby violating the terms of the contracts with them) to artificially inflate revenue before book close.

They hired someone younger and cheaper and more of a pushover. I'm still very disappointed that Mom didn't go whistleblower.


I don't know when your mom left, but that's standard operating procedure these days, especially if you're a publically traded company or a subsidiary of a publically traded company.
 
2012-07-11 02:03:58 PM

Sun Khan: I work in this industry and you'd be surprised at how many of us don't accept that definition. Most people in my arm of the business, working with the middle to upper-middle class, know our clients and their families well and we're mortified when things don't go according to plan (whether or not we had a hand in the matter). We're genuinely devastated when a case comes to us which is beyond our ability to repair. We're enraged when we hear of insurers and institutions treating clients and friends like cattle to be milked.

Success, for me, is not having my client's accounts. It's having their trust. It's them knowing that I will point them where the best help is, whether or not I can represent the product. That's why this is a profession. And yeah, I know that a lot of sociopaths and amoral people are attracted to this or any other commission career, but you'd be surprised at how many of those people wash out quickly. Not because the law catches up to them (it none too often does) but because they can't relate to clients, and clients instinctively see them for the slimeballs they are.

Just please realize that quite a number of us are not coke-snorting lunatics.


The biatch of it is that those coke-snorting lunatics are ruining it for the rest of the working Joes and Janes, the true backbone of the industry. Lehman Bros and Bear Stearns were clients of mine (I work for a content vendor) and it was hard to see the paralegals and law librarians and compliance workadays go through that bloodbath caused by the asshats at C-level and the greedy bastards who they let get away with it.

I thought about being a CFP but just didn't have the stomach for commission-only paychecks. I love doing the whole client relationship thing but need a steady base pay to support the fam.
 
2012-07-11 02:05:25 PM
Why do we need stock markets at all? Isn't there some better source of income/stability whereby companies invest their profits in the people/products?
Sort of like privately owned companies have to do? Some way to stop the screwing of the individuals who built these companies for the sake of the few large shareholders?

Or is this really the best system we as humans can come up with?

/I swear I'm not crazy
//or high
///Thinking about these things do make me want to drink though
 
2012-07-11 02:05:45 PM

KiwDaWabbit: Diogenes: Mom left AT&T as the Director of Financial Services when she was instructed to cook the books. They wanted her to put a hold on end of year AP vendor payments (thereby violating the terms of the contracts with them) to artificially inflate revenue before book close.

They hired someone younger and cheaper and more of a pushover. I'm still very disappointed that Mom didn't go whistleblower.

I don't know when your mom left, but that's standard operating procedure these days, especially if you're a publically traded company or a subsidiary of a publically traded company.


I don't see how that's legal at all. This was about 12 or 13 years ago. Regardless, she wouldn't, and was asked to quietly retire.
 
2012-07-11 02:06:05 PM

Diogenes: Mom left AT&T as the Director of Financial Services when she was instructed to cook the books. They wanted her to put a hold on end of year AP vendor payments (thereby violating the terms of the contracts with them) to artificially inflate revenue before book close.

They hired someone younger and cheaper and more of a pushover. I'm still very disappointed that Mom didn't go whistleblower.


Even if she had put a hold on vendor payments, the AP would have shown up as a liability. Are you suggesting that they wanted her to fail to enter AP after receiving goods and services? That will not only inflate assets, it is considered fraudulent by bankers, shareholders, SEC, FCC, FTC, IRS and probably a few others.
 
2012-07-11 02:08:35 PM

Diogenes: I don't see how that's legal at all. This was about 12 or 13 years ago. Regardless, she wouldn't, and was asked to quietly retire.


Simple, unless there is a record of an order from someone with direct knowledge of that being a fact....prove it

It's far to easy to justify it by saying things like "we felt it needed further analysis as we had evidence they may have been in breach of their contract which took reporting of it into the next quarter, but it turns out, everything is fine and we paid them"
 
2012-07-11 02:10:19 PM

TimonC346: My wife is currently learning this as the company she works for dwindles into collapse. She cannot understand how they can keep telling investors they've met sales goals with projections, or why they keep corners in their production, or why they spend so much money taking web traffic away for
Companies they are barely competing with.

"if we just made a good product, we would be doing fine." she says. I constantly talk with her about how this should be true, but isn't. Companies are designed for profits, removing responsibility, and more profits. It is inherently immoral.


This. Before the 1970s, most big businesses and corporations actually gave a shiat about all of their "stakeholders": i.e. employees, customers/clients, the community the business was located in, and the actual shareholders. Along about 1970, a whole bunch of lawyers got together and decided that the only thing corporations need to worry about is "the bottom line" and maximizing profits for shareholders. Success became defined as "how much did we make today?" Which is why we saw a whole lot of buying and selling of corporations and moving jobs overseas in the 80s. CEOs went from making about 70 times what the average worker in that company made to over 300 times that much.
This won't end until we change the definition of "success" for these people, namely by charging them for the crimes they've committed, and making sure that those that break the law actually see the inside of a prison cell, as well as everybody who had responsibility over them and knew what they were doing and why.
 
2012-07-11 02:19:05 PM

Mr. Right: Diogenes: Mom left AT&T as the Director of Financial Services when she was instructed to cook the books. They wanted her to put a hold on end of year AP vendor payments (thereby violating the terms of the contracts with them) to artificially inflate revenue before book close.

They hired someone younger and cheaper and more of a pushover. I'm still very disappointed that Mom didn't go whistleblower.

Even if she had put a hold on vendor payments, the AP would have shown up as a liability. Are you suggesting that they wanted her to fail to enter AP after receiving goods and services? That will not only inflate assets, it is considered fraudulent by bankers, shareholders, SEC, FCC, FTC, IRS and probably a few others.


I'm not an accounting type so at this point I'm super hazy on the details. I was developing systems at the time for Fin Services there, but mostly on payroll and tax compliance systems. I did eliminate paper processing for travel and expense, though.

But it's very likely she did as you suggested and kept it off the books or fudged in the system. It was a terribly old system and was easily hackable. It was OK though because our auditor at the time was Arthur Anderson.
 
2012-07-11 02:20:09 PM
I honestly hesitate to call the majority of corporate entities 'businesses'. They seem more like some kind of parasites. We let a few sociopaths rip up our country so THEY and only THEY can make big money (like Mitt Romney).
 
2012-07-11 02:21:34 PM

Charles U. Farkley: TimonC346: My wife is currently learning this as the company she works for dwindles into collapse. She cannot understand how they can keep telling investors they've met sales goals with projections, or why they keep corners in their production, or why they spend so much money taking web traffic away for
Companies they are barely competing with.

"if we just made a good product, we would be doing fine." she says. I constantly talk with her about how this should be true, but isn't. Companies are designed for profits, removing responsibility, and more profits. It is inherently immoral.

This. Before the 1970s, most big businesses and corporations actually gave a shiat about all of their "stakeholders": i.e. employees, customers/clients, the community the business was located in, and the actual shareholders. Along about 1970, a whole bunch of lawyers got together and decided that the only thing corporations need to worry about is "the bottom line" and maximizing profits for shareholders. Success became defined as "how much did we make today?" Which is why we saw a whole lot of buying and selling of corporations and moving jobs overseas in the 80s. CEOs went from making about 70 times what the average worker in that company made to over 300 times that much.
This won't end until we change the definition of "success" for these people, namely by charging them for the crimes they've committed, and making sure that those that break the law actually see the inside of a prison cell, as well as everybody who had responsibility over them and knew what they were doing and why.


The impetus for bottom line thinking came from corporate raiders like T.Boone Pickens and Michael Milken. They skewed the balance among stakeholders where each stakeholder had his set of rights and responsibilities and put all the power in the hands of the shareholders. "If you don't make enough money for me, I'll force a leveraged buyout and rape you until you're in bankruptcy." Those guys were, by the way, financial services guys, about which this thread started. It goes back to the fallacy that currency is its own commodity instead of merely representing relative wealth of real property and/or tangible goods and services. Corporations didn't make the decision. After all, a long view balancing all the rights and responsibilities of various stakeholders makes a lot more sense for the corporation. When you are forced to survive and maximize profits for one group of stakeholders at the expense of everyone else, the company itself will suffer in the long run.
 
2012-07-11 02:24:43 PM
There really isn't a "good old days" like people love to think. Go read some history about the 1880-1890's and see how businesses interacted with their employees. Let's not forget the whole slavery thing.

The rise of the middle class was due to a push for rights moreso than businesses all of the sudden feeling conciliatory and just wanting to do what is right out of the goodness of their own hearts.

Big business never gave a shiat. They simply pretended to when there was no other option.

Now, that being said, there are exceptions, like always. I'm talking about the overall climate that exists right now.
 
2012-07-11 02:25:17 PM

Charles U. Farkley: TimonC346: My wife is currently learning this as the company she works for dwindles into collapse. She cannot understand how they can keep telling investors they've met sales goals with projections, or why they keep corners in their production, or why they spend so much money taking web traffic away for
Companies they are barely competing with.

"if we just made a good product, we would be doing fine." she says. I constantly talk with her about how this should be true, but isn't. Companies are designed for profits, removing responsibility, and more profits. It is inherently immoral.

This. Before the 1970s, most big businesses and corporations actually gave a shiat about all of their "stakeholders": i.e. employees, customers/clients, the community the business was located in, and the actual shareholders. Along about 1970, a whole bunch of lawyers got together and decided that the only thing corporations need to worry about is "the bottom line" and maximizing profits for shareholders. Success became defined as "how much did we make today?" Which is why we saw a whole lot of buying and selling of corporations and moving jobs overseas in the 80s. CEOs went from making about 70 times what the average worker in that company made to over 300 times that much.
This won't end until we change the definition of "success" for these people, namely by charging them for the crimes they've committed, and making sure that those that break the law actually see the inside of a prison cell, as well as everybody who had responsibility over them and knew what they were doing and why.


Perhaps it will facilitate their end. Maybe the time will come when people actually see that these 'top executives' do absolutely nothing and they will be eliminated.
 
2012-07-11 02:25:17 PM
We simply do not prosecute people that know where the bodies / dirty laundry is buried

Wall st guys
CIA torturers
Telecom spying

Political appointees
etc etc etc

These people are above the law. They know it and act in a fashion to prove it. The only time any of them see a court room is when they are screwing other connected people.
 
2012-07-11 02:26:40 PM

chemrebel: The biatch of it is that those coke-snorting lunatics are ruining it for the rest of the working Joes and Janes, the true backbone of the industry. Lehman Bros and Bear Stearns were clients of mine (I work for a content vendor) and it was hard to see the paralegals and law librarians and compliance workadays go through that bloodbath caused by the asshats at C-level and the greedy bastards who they let get away with it.

I thought about being a CFP but just didn't have the stomach for commission-only paychecks. I love doing the whole client relationship thing but need a steady base pay to support the fam.


I think much of the problem is accountability. Suits at the wirehouses are several degrees of separation from the family at the kitchen table who's paying their bloated salaries. Each further separation enables suits to treat people more like numbers instead of hearts and minds and families.

I wonder what would happen if there was a regulation that each person in management in securities was required to respond in person to a certain percentage of complaints?
 
2012-07-11 02:28:31 PM
CSB:

I had my own problems with AT&T's Excise Tax Compliance system. I was reengineering it from legacy into a new system and determined the calculations were incorrect and lowered our liability improperly. They wanted me to carry those forward in the new system.

We paid taxes on imports of good manufactured using environmentally hazardous materials. So you have three factors - manufacturer, country of origin, and product.

AT&T Microelectronics could make Widget A in Mexico using 1 pound of CFC-X. But, the same manufacturer operating out of Singapore could make it using 3 pounds of CFC-X. The legacy system was taking the lowest liability for each of the three. When I refused to develop it that way, the Excise tax dude told me he wanted a feature where he could adjust the payment.

Luckily I got put on a special assignment and never had to go through with building in a non-audited back door.
 
2012-07-11 02:30:37 PM

whither_apophis: Old school mafiosa had better ethics and standards then these guys.


Interestingly, it has been hypothesized that the finance criminals were actually emulating the modern mafia, with it's emphasis on bid rigging public contracts. They even developed their own mafia lingo to go along with it.

The Scam Wall Street Learned From The Mafia - Rolling Stone
 
2012-07-11 02:42:16 PM

Diogenes: But it's very likely she did as you suggested and kept it off the books or fudged in the system. It was a terribly old system and was easily hackable. It was OK though because our auditor at the time was Arthur Anderson.


And therein lay the rub. I consulted with dozens of small companies in ops man. I really hated the guys (it could be either the CFO or the Comptroller) who cooked the books to make it look good one way or the other. I actually became somewhat proficient in forensic accounting (even though my background was in manufacturing operations) to find that kind of crap. Because cooking the books on things like that quickly becomes part of the corporate culture and fabric. Further, misleading financial information leads to misinformed decisions.

As a consultant, I could go the CEO and report the garbage. Sometimes they were surprised, sometimes they were directing the effort. Since my pension was not with that company, I operated with relative impunity. (what were they going to do? cancel my contract? there were clauses for that kind of thing.) In publicly held companies, the threat of reporting was usually enough to bring the miscreants to heel. In privately held companies, the primary interested institution was the banker. More than once, a company had to find a new banker suddenly when I pointed out certain financial reporting practices that gave a somewhat altered view of a company's financial health. Bank auditors liked me. Shady CFOs not so much.
 
2012-07-11 02:54:17 PM

TimonC346: My wife is currently learning this as the company she works for dwindles into collapse. She cannot understand how they can keep telling investors they've met sales goals with projections, or why they keep corners in their production, or why they spend so much money taking web traffic away for
Companies they are barely competing with.

"if we just made a good product, we would be doing fine." she says. I constantly talk with her about how this should be true, but isn't. Companies are designed for profits, removing responsibility, and more profits. It is inherently immoral.


Dilbert?
 
2012-07-11 05:24:24 PM
I guess a centralized authority of money is needed for the globe.

Let's let the people who allowed all this fraud and theft to be in charge of it.
 
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