In light of the GS machine seeing a fall from grace, outlined by Rocky's man on the ground observations, and further by the recent resignation letter, and the Rolling Stone article showing past deeds do not get in the way when you have friends in high places…

How can you pinpoint when hubris has taken over the culture of a company and there's more back slapping then client phone calls taking place? Whether it's a financial company or otherwise, are there any leading indicators– proportion of bonuses to management as opposed to the minnows, for example? I recall Macquarie Group, (often referred to as Australia's Goldman) some years ago had what seemed like a ridiculous amount of money weighted to the top end, as in 6-8 board members.

Maybe though something as simple as a voice response from a cross section of the community, outlined by the following passage may give you a indication on when they're on the nose:

2007 "In the past decade Macquarie has been one of the great stories of Australian business. In the next decade it will surely be one of the most intriguing. How ready is Macquarie for the consequences of owning businesses on which citizens vitally depend? And how ready are citizens to depend upon Macquarie? While what Macquarie Bank ends up being called is of only minor significance, the tone with which people say its name may matter a lot."

 (MQG off 66.% from Nov 2007 levels).


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