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“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” 

-George Washington

Are you a good or a bad guy? It’s a question that all guys know the answer to, but no guy gets to answer for himself. Unfortunately, in the culture of ‘how much money do you make’ versus ‘how do you make your money’, some of the bad guys in this business are now making us all look bad. Being painted with a broad brush can be frustrating.

Some of the Wall Street You Tubing and email gotchas that have been captured in recent months are just plain un-American. Sure, some of these politicians and financiers can lock themselves in their Connecticut compounds and never be accountable or show their faces, but they definitely won’t be the guys who show their sons the way to survive the risk management exercise of not getting a bloody nose at recess.

What I am looking for in America is for the good guys and gals in this business to rise up above their compensation insecurities and make a stand. It’s one thing to wake up every morning knowing you are a good guy; it’s entirely another thing to have a bad guy pay you off to keep your mouth shut.

I’m Canadian. My son seems like he has a shot at being a good guy. He’s American. Before he has to deal with who is and who is not a good guy in this world, he will be well versed in respecting the history of all the men and women who made this country great.

One of those guys is George Washington and his aforementioned quote about the quality of men speaks for itself. On this day in 1789, Washington was made the first President of the United States of America. He was sworn in at Federal Hall in the city where guys need to start stepping up to the leadership bar now – New York City. To all the good guys on trading desks, offices, and cubicles in NYC, it’s time.

This morning, on the heels of overnight news of a “criminal investigation”, populist crowds are going to be calling out everyone at Goldman Sachs a bad guy. At the same time, Bank of America is downgrading Goldman from whatever their compromised and conflicted ratings mean to something less positive. All of this populism and posturing, when painted with broad strokes, reaches new heights of American hypocrisy.

There are good and bad guys at GS. There are good and bad guys at BAC. There are good and bad guys in your office. There are good and bad guys all over the world. This is not a time to be pointing fingers anymore. It’s time for the good guys to raise their hands, be accountable for the bad behavior of their teammates, and start taking on some real-time responsibility to change this mess.

That’s it. Had to get that off my chest.

Back to Grinding Lemmings:

  1. Immediate term levels of support and resistance for the SP500 are now 1190 and 1217, respectively.
  2. Immediate term levels of support and resistance for GS are now $151.11 and $164.98, respectively.
  3. Immediate term levels of support and resistance for BAC are now $16.78 and $18.91, respectively.

I shorted BAC in the Virtual Portfolio yesterday, primarily because the math told me too; but also because our head of Financials research here at Hedgeye, Josh Steiner, agreed that these allegations of bad guys doing bad things isn’t just about Goldman. It’s about our profession.

If we are headed down the path of criminal investigations rather than civil ones, I can assure everyone in America of this: there is a small number of criminals working on Wall Street, and they will be smoked out of their holes. Everyone in this business knows who the bad guys are. It’s time.

They can send me hate mail. They can remind me that Carl Levin doesn’t know what market makers do. Been there, done that and I get both. They can do whatever so inspires them to live in the shallow and dark halls of opacity. My front door is open here this morning in New Haven, Connecticut and I employ a full house of good guys and gals who will be standing on the front lines of whatever it is about transparency and trust that they stand against.

We stand for re-building the credibility of America’s financial system. It’s time to lock arms with the good guys of Wall Street and play Red Rover. From New Haven to New York, please stand with us and begin to form the line. As Washington said, it’s time to “guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

Have a great weekend with your families and friends,


Good Guys - wash