Angry, Party of One?

On Wednesday, an executive for Goldman Sachs posted an op-ed piece in the New York Times detailing why he was leaving the firm after 12 years of service.  In case you missed it, here is a link: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html

His post certainly reinforces the negative impression everyone has of the financial industry.  Stories of such avarice seem to be the norm rather than the exception in large Wall Street firms.

As I read the article, I thought about my own career here at Parsec.  In May, I celebrate my 20th anniversary.  (Yes, I joined the firm when I was twelve.)  When I look back over those years, would I say that the culture at Parsec was like Goldman’s?

I cannot say that Mr. Smith’s comments would apply here.  Beyond the usual revenue discussions every business has, I have not heard anyone make comments like those Mr. Smith mentions in his post.  We do not earn commissions from any trade we recommend.  No advisor scores a monster bonus because he/she recommended a high-performing security.  That sort of unbiased advice breeds a culture that is more client-focused than revenue-focused. 

We continue to tweak our processes and procedures so that we can provide better service.  For example, each client has two advisors – a primary and secondary.  This provides continuity of service in the event an advisor is out of the office or retires. 

This year, our clients will see changes to the quarterly report package they receive.  We are in the midst of a major software upgrade that will provide us with greater reporting capabilities and better access to client information.  These improvements should give our clients greater insights into their portfolio holdings and performance.

We are also continuing our commitment of giving back to our communities in Asheville and Charlotte.  Our firm gives at least 1 percent of its annual revenue to charity.  Employee donations are also matched to a certain amount.  Several employees volunteer with these charities.  By the way, we kept this commitment even during the Great Recession.  That meant a lot to the charities – and it meant a lot to us too.  Of all the things we do, I personally think the commitment to charity is the coolest.

So, when I read Mr. Smith’s article, I cannot say I feel the same sense of disillusionment.  Sure, there have been – and always will be – times when I have an argument with my co-workers or long to win the lottery so I can stop working.  Thankfully, the culture we have here at Parsec remains client-focused.  I wish Mr. Smith well in his search for new employment and hope his next job does not leave him with the same feelings of dissatisfaction and moral conflict. 

Cristy Freeman, AAMS
Senior Operations Associate

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