Wall Street integrity, the oxymoron to end them all

People and companies with energy, ability and integrity can achieve anything. Take away the integrity, and you have a Bernie Madoff or any and all of the full-service global investment banks listed below. These are the largest twenty and include Wall Street banks. Concerning integrity, the same applies to smaller ones.

  1. JPMorgan Chase
  2. Goldman Sachs
  3. BofA Securities
  4. Morgan Stanley
  5. Citigroup
  6. UBS
  7. Credit Suisse
  8. Deutsche Bank
  9. Barclays Investment Bank
  10. RBC Capital Markets
  11. Wells Fargo Securities
  12. HSBC
  13. Jefferies Group
  14. BNP Paribas
  15. Mizuho
  16. Lazard
  17. Nomura
  18. Evercore Partners
  19. BMO Capital Markets
  20. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Even if they don’t have a formal budget, most people know what it will cost them to buy groceries and pay the rent. They are prepared to spend the money required. But people don’t budget for fines which they might incur for criminal activity.

Wall Street and international investment banks do! All of them! In the hundreds of millions! You and I would find it difficult to understand, but for them, these fines are a part of the cost of doing business, similar to what you and I expect as the cost of heat and rent and supplies and salaries and so on.

A part of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandate is to protect investors. To get an idea of the amount that any investment banks have paid recently, do a search for “SEC enforcement action” and then copy and paste any of the names above.

In 2020, the SEC brought 405 actions against various investment banks – 20 a week! That is a record low number primarily thanks to COVID-19. The fines totalled $4.68 billion, a record high!

These investment banks were fined for market manipulation, insider trading, misleading information about securities, the omission of important information about securities, stealing customers’ funds or securities and other crimes that would hurt investors if undiscovered.

Wall Street integrity, the oxymoron to end them all!

What about retail banks and commercial or corporate banks?

A retail bank is where you and I would go to deposit our money safely by opening checking and savings accounts, where we would get a mortgage, a personal loan, a credit card and more.

Commercial or corporate banks offer the same services to companies. Often they are a part of retail banking.

These banks depend on having their clients trust them absolutely and without reservations. Their clients can trust them.

However, in order to avoid being old and poor at the same time, savers simply must take their money from their retail banking account and invest it through the intermediation of a Wall Street bank.

How can we protect ourselves from the certainty of Wall Street banks’ corruption?

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Dr. Milan Somborac

The Monday Morning Millionaire Program supports do-it-yourself (DIY) investors which I have been for over 50 years. About my team and me