Swearing in texts and emails at Goldman Sachs has always been a forbidden sin, but now the bank has a funny new protocol in which the firm’s superiors reprimand their subordinates via a “warning email.”
Goldman employees are discovering that if they write or respond to an email with “WTF,” in it, for example, a Goldman Partner or Managing Director will send them an admonishing email, or call them into their office for a scolding.
A Goldman employee told us that a ton of junior traders and sales guys (the one’s most likely to use terms like WTF, as opposed to older, more senior Goldmanites) are receiving personal warnings from managing directors reprimanding them for bad online etiquette. Another person at Goldman confirms the new etiquette rules.
“It’s all for the SEC,” the Goldman employee told us. “We’ve all had one.”
Use “WTF” or “Fck” or “f-k,” (all items that have been flagged by the system at Goldman) or something similar, and you’re going to get an email from your boss, or get called into his office. For most people at Goldman, that punishment means an email from a managing director. But we assume the swearing rule goes right on up the ranks, requiring Partners to scold managing directors, and maybe even demanding that someone like Lloyd Blankfein email Gary Cohn if he swears.
“Swearing has always been banned,” our source says, “but what’s amazing now is that even abbreviations like WTF get you flagged.”
And incredibly, there are even further restrictions on swearing.
Even responding to an email that has a swear word in it, or one of the more innocent abbreviations, from a friend, may result in a chiding email.
“It’s a lot of the juniors who are getting rapped over the knuckles – the older guys don’t really use that type of language.”
And Goldman is cracking down on emails received from people outside the firm, too. Responding to an email from a friend who writes, “WTF,” will result in a notification from a superior – even if the employees themselves write a reply that has no swearing, and no shady acronyms.
Apparently all Goldman communications are filtered through Microsoft Communicator, which can then send the message along to Bloomberg, e-mail — any interior or exterior communication, so that the correspondence can be monitored. Swearing and abbreviations get flagged by the compliance department, then a managing director somehow gets notified and then warns the guilty party.
“I was told: Hey, you’ve been flagged. Don’t do it again,” says our source, and many of his colleagues have received one of those emails recently too.
After the Timberwolf CDO scandal, in which former Goldman employee Fabrice Tourre damned the bank with the infamous “one shitty deal” email, Goldman issued a verbal edict in July forbidding swearing in email, text and IMs.
But employees didn’t know if the new rules covered more innocent language like WTF.
Obviously, it does.
We think that’s a ridiculous waste of time, because people on Wall Street swear all the time. Just look at all of the times Jamie Dimon, Sandy Weill, and even Warren Buffett have sworn >