September 17, 2003
essential for our culture to curb greed
are a consultant. What is your response about the level
of integrity exhibited by the Wall Street consultant-economist,
Peter Davis, who has pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy?
According to what has been written, he attended confidential
Treasury Department news conferences and then rushed,
using a cell phone, to notify Goldman Sachs about sensitive,
advance information regarding the bond market, where they
made $3.8 million in illegal profits. It seems that the
extra-eight minute edge on the rest of the market that
his information provided to the crooks at Goldman Sachs
was enough time to provide this wealthy firm with even
more profit taking opportunities. Is this behavior common
place on Wall Street? What does this behavior say about
Integrity is never for sale. Mr. Peter
Davis has admitted that he is guilty of violating trust
and cheating. He deserves to suffer the consequences of
his actions. However, what about his fellow participants
from Goldman Sachs? They accepted illegal insider information.
How disappointing for the financial industry and our society.
This particular incident comes on the heels of the board
of directors of the New York Stock Exchange approving
a $139.5 million controversial pay package for its chief
executive, Mr. Richard Grasso. Neither of these events
will help restore confidence in the leadership of our
nation's investment community.
Without a balance between self-interest
and social responsibility, greed displaces responsible
Honest individuals, in any walk of life,
including consultants like me, are diminished by the destructive
and selfish behaviors of those who work in their field
A colleague who violates accepted standards
of conduct infects reputation and stature, sometimes a
little and, at other times, very seriously. Corruption
and misbehavior, whether illegal or simply inappropriate,
erode confidence and trust between and among members of
a community - whether small or large, business or social,
political or religious. What each person says and does
The good news, according to the Associated
Press, is that the U.S. Attorney, James Comey has said,
"A scheme to steal confidential information from
the Treasury Department and tip off others shakes the
confidence of the investing public and it is not to be
tolerated." Mr. Davis violated the embargo, meaning
he was obligated not to disclose any information ahead
The proof of Comey's comments regarding
intolerance for such behavior will become real when those
who were involved with Davis, from Goldman Sachs, are
identified and dealt with effectively.
Until this type of behavior is rooted
out and all participants are brought to justice, the word
scapegoat is not far below the surface.
Controlling greed and selfishness is essential
in order for our culture to be sustained.
Democracy and free-market capitalism depend
upon the constancy of integrity - throughout the system.
Integrity is the keystone for sustaining
our social, economic, and cultural structure.