高盛(Goldman Sachs)在许多方面都很擅长，其中就包括发起公关活动。其首席执行官劳埃德?布兰克费恩(Lloyd Blankfein)昨日在法兰克福银行业会议上的演讲，对他的德国东道主进行了不寻常的抨击，特别是在公允价值会计问题上——高盛向来是公允价值会计的坚定捍卫者。除此之外，他对一些金融产品效用及不合理薪酬的温和质问，或许会登上新闻头条，但几乎毫无新意。比方说，英国金融服务管理局(FSA)主席特纳勋爵(Lord Turner)对英国“膨胀的”金融服务业大加批评，而布兰克费恩坚持认为，银行业的健康对于“充满生机和活力的”经济至关重要。将二人的话进行一下对比就知道了。
Goldman Sachs excels at many things – among them, waging a public relations campaign. Chief executive Lloyd Blankfein's speech to a Frankfurt banking conference yesterday lobbed the odd pot-shot at his German hosts, notably on fair value accounting which Goldman has always robustly defended. Beyond that, his gentle questioning about the usefulness of some financial products and unjustifiable pay might grab headlines, but add very little. Compare, for example, Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner's criticism of the UK's “swollen” financial services industry against Mr Blankfein's assertion that banking's ruddy health is crucial for a “vibrant, dynamic” economy.
The growing chorus that banks should reassess their social and economic usefulness is downright peculiar. Banks, like all businesses, have always been run on the basis of adding to the bottom lines of the company, its shareholders and employees. That won't change. More interesting is Goldman's tacit admission that egregious boomtime complexity was used to dress up, market and price its services to clients where simpler solutions would have sufficed. Many industries are prone to this – think lawyers and plumbers. But whatever highfalutin' terms or techniques are used, the plumber and his boss both understand pipes and the messy risks in fixing them. Bank chiefs evidently did not.
Hence Mr Blankfein's stress on effective risk management – without which compensation reform or additional capital becomes moot. On the former, Goldman remains entirely unapologetic about pay, laying out sensible, uncontroversial principles while justifying payouts on the basis of exceptional performance. On the latter, it remains silent, with the word “leverage” notable by its absence in Mr Blankfein's lament. True, risk will remain the sine qua non of banking, whatever the regulators do. Platitudes aside, Mr Blankfein – like any good banker – was just talking his book.