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Lloyd Blankfein

It’s not unusual to hear criticism of Wall Street these days, but the identity of one critic is “startling,” said Patrick Jenkins in the Financial Times. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told an audience of bankers in Germany last week that investment banks “lost control of the exotic products they sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.” Another surprising Blankfein confession: Much financial activity lacks “social or economic value.”

Colleagues say that Blankfein, who turns 55 this week, has been visibly distressed by the “spate of bad publicity” that has hit Goldman recently. A banker at the conference called Blankfein’s speech a “show of contrition,” calculated to placate bankers angry at Goldman for selling them exotic investments that yielded only heavy losses.

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