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July 22, 2022

Better Markets’ Objects to Goldman Sachs’ Request For a License to Lie

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Dennis Kelleher, Co-Founder, President, and CEO, issued the following statement on Better Markets’ Amicus brief filed in the case of  Arkansas Teacher Retirement System v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

“Goldman Sachs claims that it should not be liable for its false statements about key subjects like its conflicts of interest because, it claims, they were immaterial, typical for the industry, or ‘exceedingly generic.’  That is effectively asking the courts to give them a license to lie.  Sure, Goldman says it only wants to avoid legal accountability for its supposedly little or generic lies, but a lie is a lie and still deceives and misleads investors and others, particularly when those lies are considered in the context of Goldman’s history of mishandling conflicts of interest.  In fact, they were hardly “little” in this case.

“However, if the court were to grant Goldman’s bid to lie a little or generically without liability, then Goldman should be required to color-code its statements: they should be required to highlight their little or general lies in yellow, their major lies in red, and their truthful statements in green.  This would be the least the courts should do if they grant Goldman’s request for a license to lie.

“Of course, even better would be a ruling that we supported in our Amicus brief, allowing injured investors to go to trial, present their case to a jury, and hold Goldman accountable for its false claims.  Especially in the context of Goldman’s mismanagement of its conflicts of interest, its misrepresentations clearly would have been important to investors.  Falsely proclaiming, as Goldman did, that it had ‘extensive procedures and controls in place’ to manage such conflicts of interest and that clients ‘always come first,’ would clearly have influenced the market.  And in fact, when the truth about Goldman came out, the bank’s stock price fell, and shareholders suffered losses.

“But if the court does not agree and grants Goldman and other Wall Street banks a license to lie, then let’s at least require the color-coding of the bank’s misrepresentations.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.

Contact: Anton Becker, Communications Director, at 202-618-6430 or abecker@bettermarkets.org

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