against SOME of their clients. That is the name of the game people. This is the dirty little secret I have been telling you about for years now on this very BLOG. All brokerage firms, mutual fund companies and Investment advisers serve a variety of masters. If you think for one second that they are altruistic and looking out for your best interests - well you are SADLY mistaken.
I am not saying stock brokers, financial consultants and investment professionals are not honestly concerned about their clients and their clients' future, I am merely saying that there are lots of competing interests and human nature applies.
I am saying that it is a complicated knot and to think otherwise is foolhardy.
Goldman absolutely bet against some its clients - it always has and it always will. That they are saying publicly that that is not the case, that is not the nature of the beast, is criminal in my opinion.
Wall Street has its own agenda and that is to make money and to make money at all costs - despite the collateral damage. Look at Lehman Bros., for the gains of a few, they sunk the ship and then laugh all the way to their off shore bank as investors and lifetime loyal employees were left holding the bag.
As long as the system is set up and run based on commissions and two sided transactions, someone is going to lose and the person in the middle - he always, always in these situations stands to gain. I worked at Merrill Lynch for almost 10 years, trust me I sat in on enough meetings to know - the first few slides were on the product and how to sell it - the rest were about why this product was designed to pay you the most, even in a down economy. Trust me the sales force, they got but a tiny slice of what the overall pay out was, and the company, well they sang all the way to the bank.
Look at the banking model. The bank charges you a fee to hold your money and charges someone a fee to borrow your money, and they may offer you some nominal interest - or in today's economy not even enough to cover your fees. They just profited twice and when the chips are down - they are going to side with the customer who offers them the most lucrative profit. They would be stupid not to do that stupid and out of business fast.
Now understand, I am not passing judgment. I am merely pointing out that the executives at Goldman, who are professing to not betting against their clients are full of shit and we all know it...
The profit is always the guiding light - if you think otherwise, well mores the pity.