WWN FINANCIAL NEWS – A Goldman Sachs Group partner was hospitalized in a bizarre trading accident.
Leonard Argess, 42, a Partner in Goldman Sachs Group’s proprietary trading unit, was hospitalized for treatment of multiple lacerations and severe bruising and contusions around his lower abdomen, legs and groin. The injuries were sustained following the resumption of trading activity with his group’s domestic equities business.
Mr. Argess was standing just a few feet from an output manifold for the firm’s “black-box” trading system, when he was felled by fusillade of coin and paper currency.
“It was like a gunshot. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it before – and then Lenny was screaming and flying across the room amidst a torrent of cash,” said De mitri Provakov, a Managing Director in European Equity trading.
“I know we have been killin’ it on the equity desk, but everyone – and particularly Lenny – was surprised to see the profits in their analog form. That’s a lot of Rubles!”
“Most people were trying to play it real cool – like they see this sh*t all the time – but I saw two guys shoving some of the cash into their pants,” commented Freddy Wilkens, who was shining a trader’s loafers at the time.
Sources not authorized to speak to the press on the matter, but did so anyway and at great length, stated that the accident was the inadvertent result of the firm’s new transparency initiative. The initiative had been launched to help stem a wave of public distrust and regulatory scrutiny.
On Tuesday, Goldman’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, made public a 63 page report, the product of the Company’s internal review. One of the recommendations was to remove the protective “cash manifolds” that have been in place on all Goldman trading systems.
In a press statement, Blankfein elaborated, “In an effort to make our business more transparent, we have removed all security manifolds from trading systems so that trading profits – which run through our system duct work like water in a high pressure hose – could be seen through plexiglass windows and therefore highly transparent to all visiting customers. I mean you can talk about a billion dollars – but until you see it flying by – it doesn’t have the same meaning.”
But after years of enormous and growing cash flows coursing through the system, a structural weakness had developed which was breached by a torrent of nearly $7 million in US currency that was then spewed over nearly 100 feet of trading floor.
Another Goldman veteran, who was spotted shoving money in his pants and preferred to remain anonymous given the enormous and embarrassing bulges in his Brioni suit pants, commented, “For a split second it looked like my year-end bonus. But realizing it was too early for that – I then knew something was terribly wrong, and we now had a big friggin’ mess on our hands.”
Mr Argess was in point blank range of the manifold failure. While small pieces of its structure had splintered and embedded in his thigh – the most severe damage was from a barrage of US Sacagawea $1.00 coins, over 40 of which were partially imbedded in his skin.
Blankfein, added, “Though this episode has demonstrated the risks posed by greater transparency, by showing the world the fire hose of cash generation that we know as ‘Goldman,’ we hope to abate any customer concerns. Once this is better understood – and a stronger pipe is put in place – customers may rest assured that we make so much darned money here that we don’t need to screw them out of anything.”
Workers at Goldman had just completed clean up of the financial mess, and Goldman’s elite team of cash wheelbarrow operators were returning the errant profits to the trading system.
But in all of this there seemed a lesson, best articulated by the cash stuffing, bulging pants wearing and confidentiality scofflaw, “In a strange way, it adjusted my views on the quest for money, because I see what a mess a lot of money can become. The physical cash is just not important in life – particularly with e-banking and wire transfers.”