March 16, 2012
On March 6, 2012, I wrote an article entitled, “Mass Banking Resignations Signal A Purging Has Begun?” in which I discussed the seemingly large number of banking resignations taking place all over the world. At the time the article was published, the number had reached 122 announced resignations.
This past week saw yet another high-profile resignation where an executive from Goldman Sachs quit in a blaze of glory taking aggressive swings at his former company and the finance industry as a whole in a widely publicized resignation letter in the New York Times. As a result of Greg Smith's damning indictment of the "culture of greed" at Goldman Sachs, they lost over $2 billion in market share because of the bad press.
The overall list of resignations, originally compiled by the independent blog, American Kabuki, raised a number of questions for most who had the opportunity to go through it – this writer included. This is not surprising since, when one reads that 122 banking officials have resigned from relatively high-level posts, one naturally wants to know why.
Upon first reading, the resignation figure seems quite large. However, considering the number of banks in business around the world, it might have occurred to some that 122 resignations might not be quite the massive exit that many initially suspected it to be. After all, with so many institutions around the world, particularly in the midst of a worldwide economic depression, wouldn’t resignations of this scale be expected? In short, one of the baseline questions that needs to be asked when discussing the recent banking resignations is, “Is this really such a big number?”
Indeed, ever since news of the resignations first came out, no one in the mainstream or alternative media has been able to demonstrate what exactly a normal number of resignations would look like.
However, another recent post by American Kabuki may help shed a little light on this issue.
According to American Kabuki, because of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, all publicly traded companies must report to the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) whenever certain officers or board members resign from their post. This publication is made via the database known as EDGAR.
American Kabuki states that, after investigating the database (Form 8-K, Item 5.02), they were able to search terms such as “Resigns” or “Resignation.” The figures reported by the blog as a result of this search are interesting to say the least. Take a look at the figures presented by American Kabuki below:
Considering American Kabuki’s research regarding the detailed list of banking resignations it produced weeks ago, the staggering increase in resignations seen in this chart obviously warrants a closer look.
However, it is also true that we must view these statistics with a dose of healthy skepticism. First, as the blog states, these resignation results were not broken down by industrial sector. Every resignation is included under the banner of the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC). This means that the figures in the chart do not necessarily represent banking resignations alone, but the resignations of the entire industrial sector.
Second, EDGAR apparently rounds its numbers when generating reports.
I was unable to authenticate these statistics for myself. Nevertheless, if these statistics are to be believed, then the number of resignations amidst large banks/corporations and other entities has jumped through the roof just in the last few quarters. Because the vast majority of these institutions are so intertwined with one another, the term “Standard Industrial Classification” is quite an accurate description in any event.
Regardless, if American Kabuki’s statistics are indeed accurate, we must start asking ourselves the question as to why these individuals are leaving their posts at such an alarming rate. Is it because they are attempting to avoid a coming investigation? Or is it because they see the coming collapse of the worldwide financial system looming around the corner?
Or is it something else?
At this point, all we have are more questions. It might, however, be a good idea to start searching for answers as soon as we can. After all, it would appear that there are many who know something that we don’t.