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Matt Levine

Former Goldman Sachs Ping-Pong Star Is Keeping Busy

I am endlessly fascinated by the post-banking career of Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs derivatives salesman who left to write a book about being a Goldman Sachs derivatives salesman, though that's partly for idiosyncratic reasons. I'm a lot like Smith, you see. Each of us worked at Goldman, at about the same time, each ending up as a vice president, each hawking equity derivatives, albeit different derivatives to different clients.* And we each gave up those jobs for the more precarious business of writing about the financial industry. It is a quiet bond we share, though unlike Smith my Goldman career did not involve throwing a Ping-Pong tournament to please a client, so I can never fully imagine what it is like to be him.

Anyway, today we learned that he met with the Securities and Exchange Commission a few weeks ago to tell them how to write the Volcker rule, which is really just delightful. Writing the Volcker rule is hard, says everyone. And who better to tell you how to write the Volcker rule than a disgruntled former midlevel derivatives salesman? Lots of people, probably! And, to be fair, the SEC is meeting with lots of other people to talk about the Volcker rule. How could they turn down the meeting with Smith? I am reliably informed that SEC staffers enjoy a laugh now and then, too.