Has Goldman Sachs recovered from claims that its managers called clients muppets?


Sarah Murphy

Goldman Sachs’s brand has been through considerable tumult in recent times, but over the past six months it has seen a significant increase in the scores it receives from our UK BrandIndex. Back in March, the bank’s brand hit a major low when a former Goldman worker claimed management thought of their clients as “muppets”. The subsequent media fire severely scorched its reputation in the eyes of consumers. But, while the financial sector as a whole is still riding low due to the events of the past few years, Goldman Sachs is no longer lagging behind all other financial institutions. Recent events like the Barclay’s Libor scandal, technical glitches at RBS and a money laundering scandal at HSBC have put the relative quiet at Goldman Sachs in perspective, thus enabling its brand to recover somewhat relative to its embattled competitors.

Sarah Murphy is associate director of YouGov and director of BrandIndex.


Trevor Morris

The leaking of chapters in recent days from the new book by Greg Smith – who originally made the muppet allegations – will likely have another negative impact on Goldman Sachs’s reputation.

This could prove damaging in two areas. Firstly, new recruits may be put off and skilled potential employees may look to join other firms. Secondly, Goldman Sachs may have difficulty attracting new business. This is especially true of work relating to sensitive sectors, with a high level of public interest. It could include anything related to government or high profile individuals. However, people have remarkably short memories. Greg Smith’s original claims are a distant memory and will only be brought back to media attention for a short period. We should expect a short-term fallout from recent allegations. But will it have a lasting effect? Probably not.

Trevor Morris is visiting professor in public relations at the University of Westminster.