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Goldman Sachs computer glitch

The computer glitch that has cost Goldman Sachs millions $$$$ — or could it be karma?

Seems like Vanity Fair ran a very long article about Goldman Sachs efforts to jail a top programmer for the sin of wanting to go elsewhere. As part of the story we learned that Goldman Sachs computer software used for their high speed trades was a patched up mess. The Russian genius programmer told his bosses that the software was a mess and only survived due to constant emergency repairs. Goldman Sachs couldn’t be bothered to upgrade their software nor their computers (at least as of the publication of the article in Vanity Fair).

The Russian computer programmer jailed on the word of Goldman Sachs called the high speed trades — gambling — and he wasn’t really interested because this was gambling. His job was to keep the system going and keep the computers talking to each other. The link goes to my article about Goldman Sachs and the Russian programmer. Since then I’ve spoken to several computer programmers and they all agree that Goldman Sachs should have let the Russian programmer rewrite the program from the ground up — let him use his genius rather than merely owning him as if he was one of their slaves.

A programming error at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. caused unintended stock-option orders to flood American exchanges this morning, roiling markets and shaking confidence in electronic trading infrastructure.

An internal system that Goldman Sachs uses to help prepare to meet market demand for equity options inadvertently produced orders with inaccurate price limits and sent them to exchanges, said a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be named because the information is private. The size of the losses depends on which trades are canceled, the person said. Some have already been voided, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Somehow I just can’t find any empathy for this gambling failure by Goldman Sachs. Shall we wait for the news that the US tax payers are going to bail out Goldman Sachs — yet again? Or perhaps Goldman Sachs will send their trusty FBI lap dogs to demand a refund?

Was this Goldman Sachs “mistake” due to the old computer program — or did the company hire a new programmer?

Update: There is a follow up article which gives some clues to just who Goldman Sachs believes is to blame for this error.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) put four senior technology specialists on administrative leave after a programming error caused the investment bank to send faulty stock-options orders last week, the Financial Times reported.

The newspaper cited a person familiar with the events and didn’t disclose the names of the four employees. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for New York-based Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on the FT report earlier today.

An internal system that Goldman Sachs uses to help prepare to meet market demand for equity options inadvertently produced orders with inaccurate price limits and sent them to exchanges, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg News after the Aug. 20 mishap.

Does anyone else see the parallels between the individuals calling themselves “sovereign citizens” who somehow feel they are exempt from paying taxes — then at the other extreme end we have the ultra rich who are hoarding billions/trillions in overseas accounts — who also feel that they should also be exempt from paying their fair share of taxes — seems like these 1% believe they are above the laws — that laws are only for the “little people”. Raw News Headlines: Study finds wealth gives rise to a sense of entitlement and narcissistic behaviors. Of course not all in the 1% hold this attitude — many are very involved in philanthropic enterprises. The Gates Foundation is one example and there are many others. Then we have Mittens Romney and his wife who feel otherwise. 

Could it be that the folks calling themselves “sovereign citizens” feel that they have an innate entitlement? Wonder if some social psychologists has done any research with this group? Both groups seem to feel entitled to “something” — as if the world owes them. Lots of similar behavior and attitudes (plus personality structure) common to the two extremes of the “Bell Curve”.

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