Forget ‘Fabulous Fab’: Here’s Why Wall Street’s Biggest Fish Always Slip Away - James Kwak - the Atlantic
Working at Goldman, in an intense, performance-driven, numbers-focused culture, Tourre knew that his job was to get deals done. When you tell smart, ambitious people that their job is to produce, they will produce, no matter what it takes. And I don’t mean this is in an evil, Tony Soprano, “fix the problem” sort of way. Even if you shade the truth a bit, you’re not committing murder. There’s a lot to take comfort in: You’re dealing with supposedly sophisticated professionals, it’s all other people’s money (the nice fund investor you’re talking to isn’t betting his house), and it’s quite possible the deal will turn out fine (for the person you’re defrauding) anyway.
For the real executives, the optimal strategy is simple: hire people whose ambition outweighs their scrupulousness, measure them by results, and let incentives take care of the rest. Oh, and give them the best securities regulation training money can buy, from the most reputable law firm around, so that you can’t be sued for negligent supervision down the line. If things blow up and you’re ever summoned to Congress, just say you put your clients’ interests first and you had no idea that people were breaking the law.
Because you really didn’t know—not for sure, at least. All you did was put them in a position where, you knew, it was likely that some were breaking the law. And you can take that plausible deniability to the bank.