Banks are being run like rigged casinos, says Greg Smith

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The Independent Online

Banks are worse than casinos, claims Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs executive who hit the headlines last year when he said the investment bank treated its clients like Muppets.

In his first interview to coincide with the publication yesterday of his book, Why I Left Goldman Sachs, Mr Smith, pictured, said: "Right now the system is stacked against everyone else in favour of the banks.

"It's a little like a casino. A real casino is regulated and there are cameras everywhere and the casino cannot see your cards.

"With Wall Street today, the bank can see what every government, every pension fund, every hedge fund in the world is doing. They can effectively see everyone's cards.

"Then, instead of facilitating the client's will, they're trying to get the client to facilitate their will."

Smith claimed when his warts-and-all piece appeared in the New York Times earlier this year he received many supportive emails from Goldman clients and even from some of the bank's managing directors.

He insisted: "I didn't write this book for Wall Street, I just wanted to give the Main Street people a window into what goes on, so they could make their own judgment."

Smith, who worked for Goldman Sachs in London, claimed the US banking giant would overcharge customers, such as charities or funds managing the pensions of teachers and firemen, or sell them products they did not need and did not understand.