An open letter to Goldman's Abby
When I heard you were appearing
on Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street last week as his special
guest, I watched with interest, with the outside hope that
perhaps you would finally apologize for making all those
grandiose market calls during the go-go years.
You know the ones, Abby --
those bold and self-assured bullish pronouncements that
encouraged investors to pile into every conceivable sector and
stock, helping propel the market spacecraft to the moon.
Rukeyser began his introduction
of you defensively, admitting he was deluged with email,
protesting having you as his featured guest. With all your
market calls that helped lead the lemmings out to sea, other
viewers of the show were obviously still feeling the same
disgust that I was for your part in frothing up the market
If that wasn't enough, Abby,
Rukeyser then proceeded to make excuses for you. He said that
your poor record was the result of the unpredictable terrorist
activity and corporate fraud that brought the markets to its
knees over the last three years.
Rukeyser asked rhetorically,
how could Abby, as "brilliant" (his description) as
you may be, be expected to take all of these exogenous events
into account? His point was that you didn't have a crystal
ball to predict these events.
Abby, the problem with Mr.
Rukeyser's defense is that your market calls came before the
terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. With the wealth of
knowledge at your fingertips about companies and your
understanding of accounting practices, I wish you had come out
and waved a red flag if you knew things were getting out of
You could have simply alerted
the common investor to the mutually rewarding relationship
between analysts and investment banking.
That's why they pay you so much
every year, right? To analyze everything you can get your
hands on, interpret it, and then make judgments for your
employer. Abby, while you may have done well for your
employer, you failed in your duty to investors.
You could have used your
stature to alert investors. At the very least, you could have
told us to be careful, that the market was too frothy, that we
were being set up for a major bursting of the bubble. But you
didn't do it. You were just one more analyst who was part of
the problem, when you could have been part of the
Why not at least admit that you
and other analysts exacerbated the problem? I don't have to
tell you how much your profession has suffered a deserved
disrepute and how poor the image of brokerage analysts has
In the last three years, I've
never heard you say you may have been mistaken. I've never
heard you say your analysis may have been overly influenced by
the circumstance of the times. Why not, Abby? Why no apology?
Abby, show the investing public
that at least one influential analyst has the integrity to
admit that she was wrong. Then maybe some others will take
your lead and follow.
I will never again take your
analysis seriously. You have lost your credibility with me and
with millions of other investors. Whatever analytic skills or
insights you possess will never again be appreciated by those
who can now see that back then, you were simply a cog in the
market complex, who wouldn't speak up for the small investor.
You owe us an apology, Abby.
And we're still waiting for it.