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Is Wall Street Slowly But Surely Getting Swayed by the Occupy Movement?

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DailyFeed
The nationwide Occupy protests have been portrayed as the movement of the 99% against the 1% on Wall Street. But, with the movement being the zeitgeist of the American public sphere right now, it seems like even the folks on Wall Street are not immune to the rallying cries of the 99%.
 
Contrary to popular imagery, such as the by-now infamous YouTube video from September where Wall Streeters were seen mocking marching protestors by toasting champagne, some bankers are actually sympathetic to the movement’s causes. The New York Times Dealbook published an article today that profiled several industry insiders who are also outraged at the gross unfairness inherent in the financial system.

I asked Richard Kramer, who used to work as a technology analyst at Goldman Sachs until he got fed up with how it did business and now runs his own firm, Arete Research, what was going wrong. He sees it as part of the business model.

“There have been repeated fines and malfeasance at literally all the investment banks, but it doesn’t seem to affect their behavior much,” he said. “So I have to conclude it is part of strategy as simple cost/benefit analysis, that fines and legal costs are a small price to pay for the profits.”.
 
Another interviewee, a private trading firm owner, was quoted as saying that it was “sickening” that his competitors like Bank of America, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were bailed out and allowed to borrow at no cost.
 
Meanwhile, at a Bloomberg TV event last week, Black Rock’s Larry Fink also displayed sympathy to the Occupy movement, saying, “I'm actually very happy with Occupy Wall Street because I think that actually for the first time in 3 years we may have fringe element symmetry...The Tea Party shaped the 2010 elections in a very big way and frankly I was personally surprised that we didn't have a left wing element...I'm not saying I agree with one side or the other, I agree with a lot of fringe elements and what they're trying to say."
 
 Finally, a poster by the handle of "sputty," ostensibly a first-year Wall Street analyst, posted a message of support for Occupy Wall Street on social news website, Reddit, in which he explained how the financial system was rigged for the 1%.

The financial markets are rigged. 99% of the investing public has access to services such as basic brokerages, 401k/IRA's, mutual funds, pension plans, etc. Some of these services, especially pension funds, will invest into hedge funds, who take an additional 2 and 20 (meaning 2% of assets plus 20% of capital gains).

What this means is that if you go any of the traditional retail routes, you are utterly screwed facing off against the hedge funds.

[In sum] The finance industry funnels money from the masses to the ultra rich, through hedge funds which dominate all of the financial markets.

Chances are, these shows of support are statistically insignificant compared to the majority of Wall Street who view themselves as unfair targets of hostility. And most support, if not mere lip service, is annonymous because it wouldn't be prudent for employees to criticize the very industry or company they are working for, of course.

Still, it is good news for those wishing for a change to come – if not now, then perhaps when a generation of young bankers like sputty, who have witnessed the ugliness of the crisis and absorbed the lessons of the movement whilst still only a few years detached from their idealistic college years, comes of age and becomes the future leaders of Wall Street.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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