Guest Post: Watching For The Goldman Ticket

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mark St.Cyr,

In a world filled with innuendo, false flags, and more one thing remains constant: What is Goldman Sachs (GS) up to and more importantly – why?

No matter what one “thinks” about this firm one thing is incontrovertible: they didn’t get where they are because they’re stupid. Far from it.

There’s probably no other company on the world stage that has had more influence in financial matters than GS. Love them or hate them, it doesn’t matter. Yet, to ignore them or to take your eyes off as to discount even their smallest moves as “irrelevant” is at one’s own peril. For GS doesn’t make any move (even taking out the trash) without first considering all the ramifications or exploitations that can come of it first. Period.

Over the last few years to say things in the financial markets have changed would be an understatement. People, technology, regulations, and more have morphed for even the people who once were considered brilliant.

Even those amongst the financial media are now appearing to be scratching their heads more as the markets morph into something unrecognizable to a veteran market maven just 5 short years ago. And the one who seems to be quietly morphing and making moves uncharacteristically associated with Wall Street as one previously imagined is none other than GS itself.

Just the mere mention of GS conjures up conspiracy theories of puppet masters, influence peddling and more. It’s almost as if one is venturing down the path of an old-time parlor game of charades when trying to discuss or comprehend their financial implications or moves. However, the best way around all this is to employ a prism brought forward years ago by the late  Andrew Carnegie (I’m paraphrasing) : “The older I get the less I listen to what people say and the more I pay attention to what they do.” And GS is doing quite a few very interesting things that just leaves one thinking: Hmmmmmm.

When it comes to business, finance, or even politics one thing is certain: you need to look past the notion of impossible or improbable and contemplate that might be exactly why they’ll do.  For no one thinks they will – giving them the edge. And to forget GS is always in search of an edge is to do so at one’s own peril. (e.g., Genghis Kahn ordered his tribes to scale seemingly impossible mountains to attack his enemies precisely for those reasons – and he won)

What might seem as improbable or impossible at first blush just might be the determining factor for producing a profiting reality: no matter how far-reaching it seems. So with that in mind let’s hypothesize regardless how far-fetched or conspiratorial it may seem. And again, the why.

Over the past weeks HFT and all its effects were brought front and center via Michael Lewis’ book, Flash Boys (2014 W. W. Norton & Company). What it also brought attention to if one stepped back taking in a broader view, was the possibly of seeing the missing puzzle piece that helps explain GS’ moves over the past few years, possibly clarifying what too many looked more like a Rorschach test, rather than an unfinished puzzle it just might be.

Remember back in 2012 Reuters™ wrote an article: “Special report: Goldman’s promised land: Salt Lake City” (original article here)

Many were left thinking, “Yeah, OK big deal a new office closer to the west coast. So what?” However, it just struck me a little strange, Utah? As opposed to California, or anywhere else? Why would a company that has always been in the absolute middle of where people, business, and more move there?

Unless that’s exactly what they now want: to be away from the very aspects they once coveted, for those very aspects have shown they may now have possibly become threatening liabilities to both infrastructure as well as staff. Let me explain…

Back in 2009 GS was wooed into choosing Salt Lake City with special tax breaks and incentives to open additional operations there. Probably these decisions were more in line with coming operations under the new regulations and more since it had now become a bank after the 2008 financial crisis, rather than just the investment firm it was known as. But then something interesting happened: The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement.

Suddenly the once heralded upper echelon of world financiers were thrown into a media stew of  “destroyers of the universe” rather than the “masters” they once embraced.

Since then operations and hiring has picked up at a pace more resembling a growing thriving industry rather than the downsizing, melee currently taking place in New York. Another thing you have far fewer of in Salt Lake than in NY is the amount of people locally to protest your industry and commandeer valuable infrastructure and most of all – the people themselves.

Salt Lake City has a growing, thriving population, but it aint no NYC by any means. However, the make up of business culture, and the sheer fewer amount of people to organize into protesters can be quite enticing to an industry that watched thousands parade banners, effigies, and more outside one’s place of work. Let alone when it seemed there were a complicit press more preoccupied with covering the story of an occupy mob on a bankers lawn, rather than worrying about whether the occupants or children inside were safe or not.

Then in 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast sending the region into total disarray. One of the things we learned during this storm is just how intertwined HFT is to the markets and quite possibly now dictates whether or not the markets will open unless HFT approves – first. (If one remembers the markets were closed two days by what was reported as HFT influence over the exchanges.)

One thing GS doesn’t like being is #2 in anything, and HFT seemed to be making that more of a reality. In a game where the arms race is merely speed: All that money, time, and effort put into people or the obtaining of people in positions of power as to benefit from such cultivation, becomes nearly null and void when your competitor only needs a faster computer to front run your own organic “front running” infrastructure.

There is no other choice than to either – you yourself re-arm and redeploy, or – decide you no longer will fight or play on that battlefield. Hence, the implications of that decision with the following ZH article: Triple Whammy Shocker: Goldman Shutting Down Sigma X? (Link here)

Put this into the context of where it’s now widely reported that GS has become a client of the HFT debilitating exchange IEX Group Inc. headed by CEO Brad Katsuyama featured in Mr. Lewis’ book where GS now seems to be back on (at the least) a level playing field for order execution. And the advantage pendulum once again swings back to GS’.

Not only is their human capital once again returned to Mt. Olympus status, but they get to tear up that page of the ledger dedicated to infrastructure spending on HFT ancillary items. What’s that worth? Millions? Billions? I’ll bet its enough to effect an earnings report that would make a non-GAAP social darling blush.

Throw in the newest mayoral election that installed what many deem as an anti-Wall Street, tax everything that moves or stands still legislature, and you not only get people looking for greener pastures, you bring back to the front of mind that just maybe they no longer need to “look”: they can grow their own even in the desert next to a lake of salt.

Maybe proximity isn’t worth as much as it once was. And quite possibly getting away from that once coveted proximity could be the new edge for the new “Wall Street.”

Imagine you are renowned for hiring the best and brightest for they flock to your doors because they can earn money in amounts unfathomable to middle America. But the “price” for those people trying to earn is also unfathomable once they fully understand a million dollars really doesn’t get you much in NYC after taxes and expenses. And both of those are on the rise seemingly faster there than anywhere else in the country.

But half of that gets you a whole lot more in middle America does it not? I’ll bet it goes more than double that in NYC. And the best and brightest might want to beat an even greater path to GS’ new front door if they don’t have to live in NY or NJ. It’s not like they are moving there in droves, quite the opposite, the exodus has already begun.

Move to Florida, California, Texas, or somewhere else you say? At least you have scenery, cityscape, and all the other attributes at least similar (although not exactly) as NY. But you would be forgetting that first item I stated earlier: A large population base where an OWS inspired group could easily (easily is the operative word) form and wreak havoc.

In Utah? Sure, but I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts far fewer in numbers. Plus, the culture doesn’t seem to lend itself easily for that styled or formed outrage. I could be wrong, but it’s something I would fit into my decision process if safety in another financial calamity happened again. Especially if I thought it could be even worse next time.

A few years back I wrote an article: A “Flick of the Switch”…could this be the next Nightmare on Main St.? In it I posited:

“A flick of the switch means if I have a business in location X, I can just flick a switch and operate in location Y. In years past most companies needed some sort of brick and mortar facility to conduct meaningful trade. That is no longer the norm. As a matter of fact, most of the newer successful businesses of the last decade have been ones that can operate anywhere.”  Followed with:

“…all of Wall St, all Insurance Companies, all Banks, all Online Retailers, all Accounting Firms, all _________ ( you fill in the blank). All of these fall into the “flick of the switch”  type of businesses. They can relocate anywhere in the world in the equivalent of a New York minute. I’m just scratching the surface.”

If we sat down over coffee and I asked your opinion on what you would make of quite possibly the worlds most influential wheelhouse of both political and financial headquarters opening a secondary office in a place many see as the antithesis of NYC and its financial centers. Along with the near sudden shift not only to disengage from former revenue streams but rather jettison them for pennies on the dollar, just at the time when Wall Street is once again being cast in a light of “rigged.”

Adding to that the demonstrated proof that the Federal Reserve as of now is still holding tight to the roll down of QE, and the markets are seemingly showing signs of stress. While at the same time the very firm that quite possibly has an insider edge and view unrivaled amongst its peers is calling or signaling the need for great caution. What would you think?

I know what I’d be thinking…

Who’s in charge of booking executive travel for GS? And has the term Sigma X changed to “Golden ticket?” For just like in the movie 2012 (Centropolis Entertainment 2009) the protagonist was only saved when he knew the type and color of the top 1% tickets.

And Goldman’s I would presume, just like their parachutes – are golden.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Manthong's picture

..but they are arrogant

and arrogance precedes a fall.

?  what Saint does "God's work" ?

Redneck Hippy's picture

Just before I read this article, I was examining the chart of GS.  Looks more like a MoMo tech stock than a boring bank stock, and it's dumping like the rest of the tech stocks in the current down turn.  

Except that you can get decent call premiums on tech stocks.

GS chart looks particularly ugly.  Maybe the worm is turning.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Mormons are already brainwashed. Bring jobs and hire some locals and the Mormon church will not protest. The squid can bring their own cult without much opposition. 

DeadFred's picture

Whether the worm is turning or not don't trust anything until a wooden stake is firmly pounded into Goldman's heart. In the EBT shutdown zombie apocalylpse Utah will be as safe as any place can be. They aren't stupid just evil.

rocker's picture

  It better be dipped in Silver.

Mercury's picture

Remember back in 2012 Reuters™ wrote an article: “Special report: Goldman’s promised land: Salt Lake City” (original article here)

Many were left thinking, “Yeah, OK big deal a new office closer to the west coast. So what?” However, it just struck me a little strange, Utah? As opposed to California, or anywhere else? Why would a company that has always been in the absolute middle of where people, business, and more move there?



Co-location so they can HFT off of NSA's Utah Data Facility.

Two-bits's picture

My first thougt.  That is oddly near the giant data center being built...

Mercury's picture

In the near future you'll know a loved one has just died when you suddenly start getting bombarded with certain kinds of advertising.


God's work.

PT's picture

Two-bit:  Yeah, my first thought too.  Now they don't need the other stuff.

Ariadne's picture they can provide the best possible service to assist their bff client and self identified lost tribe, the LDS, launder 7B annual vig.

Jumbotron's picture

Guys.....have we forgotten the C.I.A.'s sponsored love child Google building 1 Gigabit Fiber in Salt Lake City?



Dirtt's picture




And Bingo was his Name-o.

No one really thinks POTUS 44 - the (m)aster of idiothood - has the keys let alone a St. Patrick's Day Green Beer-fest invite to the NSA? Do THEY? Obama is the biggest Bitch to walk in those shoes.

The reason they - NSA - were never looking for the Marathon Bombers is because they were snooping on the Derivatives Bombers. Really. What could POTUS 44 glean from one German Chancellor? He doesn't even know what to do with said information. Give a dog a bone and he chews. Give a dog a warehouse of chow....DERP DEE DERP DEE DERP. How could the USA ever elect such a diphthong? Never mind!  Asked and answered.

Prove to me the NSA and GS are anything but the same entity divisible by blurred lines, great lobbyists, sick jack, great drugs, tight ass, and fast everything.

SO what ever you do....DO NOT TALK ABOUT BLOWING THE NSA WATER SUPPLY TO SMITHERINES. BLM is looking for their next invasion.

ebworthen's picture

Salt Lake City has a built in population of money worshipping well educated multi-lingual Mormons.

Not to mention being near the N.S.A. hub and fiber optic network.

G.S. is onto a new game, you can "bank" on it.

fonzannoon's picture

when can us NY'ers start bitching about those bankers in Utah?

Skateboarder's picture

When the friendly Mormon boys who come to your door ask you if you want to make any investments.

cro_maat's picture

fonz - I think you just declared open season. I'll add that there is no bag limit and I think I have seen on ZH that there are some American made guillotines available if you would like to hunt the French way. Being a sailor I prefer rope with that 13 knot configuration. The symbolism always makes me smile.

Mrmojorisin515's picture

i was thinking the same thing mercury 

Cornholiovanderbilt's picture

They want to rid the world of the "useless eaters"  it is as simple as that!

SDRII's picture

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may lose its investment in a proprietary trading code and millions of dollars from increased competition if software allegedly stolen by a former employee gets into the wrong hands, a prosecutor said. “The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways,” Facciponti said, according to a recording of the hearing made public yesterday. “The copy in Germany is still out there, and we at this time do not know who else has access to it.”


Apparently the cat was not stuffed all the way back in the bag. Took a few years, but....

Goldman May Lose Millions From Ex-Worker’s Code Theft (Update3)
ArkansasAngie's picture

Well ... thank God they choose Utah instead of Arkansas.

So ... piss on New York?  Shall we take turns?

deflator's picture

Coincidence that the hub of the NSA's latest and greatest giant 750,000sf data centers(filled with the latest and greatest mainframes fiat can buy) is also located near SLC?

 I have heard that GS security(and FBI background checks) is every bit as stringent as the NSA. You don't get into NSA or (certain parts of) GS buildings without a security clearance. Even then, you are likely to have guns pointed at you on a regular basis if you are slow at flashing the hologram on your badge.

 Gets a phone call, "hey, are guys coming out of the woodwork pointing machine guns at you? "Yeah". "hurry up and flash that badge we gave you." "Uh, it ain't workin'".

"turn it around" "oh, ok>" "yeah, they must have accidentally printed the hologram on the back." "yeah right".

Catullus's picture

If you add one second to hold open a quote, who cares if you're in New York or Utah?

I think they're out of it because it's a low margin game that's about to be turned into a utility fee structure. Meaning the growth is over. Cash out.

ebear's picture

Exactly.  Law of Diminishing Returns.  

Not just HFT, this principle applies nearly everywhere you look today, from energy extraction to computers, wireless, the auto industry, a college education etc.

It's not surprising that the larget player would be the first to move on, since they would be the first to feel the effects.

Lost Word's picture

When does the transaction tax go into effect?

Tinky's picture

Nah...Blankfein just wants more wives.

ThisIsBob's picture

You think he would have learned from the one he's got.

Dr. Engali's picture

Or maybe they are worried that Barack can't defend them from a nuclear explosion in New York.


It is interesting that the squid is going to Utah along with the new NSA data center.

seek's picture

And the CIA relocating to Colorado

A move which reportedly was completed in mid-July 2013.

Interesting that they're not fans of the east coast. The other possibility is that this is being done so they're positioned well post-US restucturing (where the American west is likely going to be one of the non-fucked-up areas.)

Dr. Engali's picture

If they start constructing a new domed capital building you know it's time to get the fuck off the east coast.

Not Too Important's picture

Denver. A mile high up into the jetstream, where they are getting the highest exposure to the Fukushima radiation coming to the US.

Good. How soon will our politicians be there?

Lost Word's picture

CIA moving into the secret underground fortress at the new Denver International Airport ?

gdpetti's picture

Safer given the incoming cosmic storm, what with tsunamis and such globally, it's not a good idea to be near the coastline anywhere, and there are lots of underground access ports in the area for when TSHTE.... (Earth), and soon, perhaps very, very soon.

BobPaulson's picture

If the flick of the switch is the new norm, why not Singapore?

BlissPoint's picture

GS' operation in Salt Lake City is full of low-pay, back-office nobodies. It's all recent college grads making < $20/hr.

F.A. Hayek's picture

And that's how it'll stay. The power players will never leave NYC. Too much low hanging fruit to pillage there.

YC2's picture

Ditto for every IB in Jacksonville FL.  The kids all think they are masters of the universe, though.  It never dawns on them they are clearing trades for the guys in NYC who make their annual salary as a first year bonus at 22 years old.

doggis's picture






decon's picture

If GS is so fucking smart how come they needed 10 million of TARP money?

mccvilb's picture

If GS is so fucking smart how come they needed 10 BILLION of TARP money?

Fixed it.

EggSlayer's picture

They didn't really need it. They weren't in as bad a situation as the other banks.

zeroheckler's picture

off-topic: Tissue-engineered autologous vaginal organs


I'll order one: low maintenance - no talking back


Not Too Important's picture

Keep it in the freezer and throw it in the microwave when you need it.

New American Revolution's picture

A big component of the Deep State is in SLC, the home of Marriner Eccles, all western banking, earthquake proof, LDS, NSA Snoop City, information ground zero.   What's to figure?  The answer is to dismantle the FED and by doing so, destroy the insolvent... like GS.  Diemutifocker!   SERFS UP AMERICA!

Jumbotron's picture

Good speculation. 

Let me throw this in as well.  The decision to get the hell out of Dodge could have come from everything you said PLUS....inside info from government officials who are already in bed with Goldman and / or who have any desire at all to potentially go out the rotating door of government to a cushy job with Goldman....even if it were on a consulting basis. 

By inside info....I mean....they might see a soon coming time of unrest and Salt Lake looks like a bit of a haven from the East Coast Zombieland Apocalypse that's coming.

All in all......Goldman Sachs "doesn't take a dump son, without a plan".  Between their own in house intelligence network and willing accomplices in the halls of government and the military.....they are executing their well thought out plans to be able to continue to fist fuck the muppets at all haste and efficiency.


Downtoolong's picture

I say they will get positioned out in UT just about the time the Fed decides no more money can be printed that isn’t backed by salt. Not gold or silver, and not just any salt mind you. It can only be salt from the Great Salt Lake, which Goldman just happened to purchase in its entirety the day before for $1.30 per acre.  

Jumbotron's picture

That sounds so JUST might be true.

I'm long Morton Salt.  Happy 100th Morton Salt Girl.  Be careful....there's a randy Vampire Squid with its eyes on you.

johnnyarrowmaker's picture

Now, Utah, rings a bell somehow ... now what was it?

Oh, I remember, the NSA World Data Centre.

Surely not to be close to the hub of ALL world data flows?

Naw, that would just be a conspiracy theory, wouldn't it?