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Some Goldman clients get extra tips

Associated Press / August 25, 2009

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NEW YORK - Goldman Sachs Group Inc. provides some of its biggest clients stock tips that come out of regular meetings held by analysts and traders, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Some of the analysts’ views differ from research notes Goldman distributes to clients, the Journal said. Critics say providing early information only to certain clients hurts customers who are not given an opportunity to trade on ideas from meetings.

Brokerage firms can share information with clients as they wish, so long as their analysts’ stock recommendations don’t contradict what they say internally, said Donald Langevoort, who teaches securities law at Georgetown University.

Goldman’s compliance officers attend the meetings, according to the report.

The Journal quotes Goldman’s stock research head, Steven Strongin, as saying no one gains an unfair advantage from the meeting and that the short-term ideas do not contradict the long-term forecasts.

Clashing opinions is an issue the securities industry’s self-regulating body, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is currently reviewing as part of its rule requiring “fair dealing’’ with clients.