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商业 - 金融

摩根大通聘用中国“官二代”不必小题大做

Sanjay Sanghoee 2013年12月12日

美国业界评论人士称,如今投行业务的性质决定了摩根大通在中国聘用某些官二代、富二代的行为几乎不可避免,它们跟请客送礼没什么本质的区别。美国监管部门抓住这个问题不放反而可能浪费宝贵的公共资源,不利于集中精力遏制华尔街高风险投机行为。

    摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)又遇上了麻烦。内部电子邮件和电脑文件显示,这家投资银行有意聘用了一些身世显赫的中国员工,目的是在中国赢得投行业务。美国证监会(Securities and Exchange Commission)和布鲁克林联邦检察官办公室正在就此进行调查。

    鉴于美国公司的国际业务受到了更为严格的监管,特别是在行贿方面,在华业务惹上这样的麻烦可能让摩根大通非常头疼。

    不过问题在于,尽管摩根大通可能多次严重违规,比如以欺诈方式推销抵押贷款支持的证券,操纵能源市场,通过有问题的手段催讨信用卡债务,当然还有风险控制不力,但通过聘用某些个人来投机取巧可能并不像监管部门所说的那么严重,甚至还可能会对美国政府最近为了遏制肆无忌惮的华尔街而采取的措施产生不利影响。

    首先,和所有投行为了赢得业务而经常使用的其他手段相比,为了确保自己能和中国国企做成生意而聘用相关官员的亲戚实际上和前者没有什么区别。这些手段包括设盛宴款待公司高层,为他们观看体育赛事提供包厢,包场请他们打高尔夫,或者在节日期间赠送厚礼。这和其他行业的做法也没有太大差别,只不过是开展业务的途径。此外,就算不直接聘用这些人,摩根大通也能轻而易举(不动声色)地推荐他们得到其他工作。如果出现这样的情况,美国监管部门就几乎不可能把这些分散的问题联系在一起。

    其次,如今投行业务的性质决定了摩根大通的行为几乎不可避免。投资银行业的基础曾经是个人关系以及投行人士和公司高层之间的信任。20世纪90年代初,这个行业发生了彻底改变。人们在做生意的过程中开始越发侧重于利润、而不是忠诚,而且买卖双方都是如此。投行如饥似渴地扩大业务规模,企业四处寻觅收费最低的投行或者带有咨询服务的融资渠道,发展客户变成了用服务质量以外的东西来吸引潜在客户。批评摩根大通的行为也许很容易,但在这种做法成为体系内趋势、甚至连客户都想要获得“好处”的情况下,投行已经别无选择,只能随波逐流。

    最后,追究这些小毛病,特别是实际上出现在国外的违规行为会分流宝贵的监管资源,导致监管部门无法全力打击更严重的犯罪行为,比如欺诈、操纵市场、公司治理不力、风险管理不当以及高层渎职等,而且这些都发生在美国境内。我并不是说可以接受美国公司在开展业务的过程中贿赂外国官员,但如果把眼界放得更宽广一些,同时考虑到上述情有可原的环境因素,也许不应该那样大张旗鼓地对待摩根大通,同时,调查这类行为也不应该成为监管部门的首要任务。(财富中文网)

    本文作者是政治及商业评论员,曾在Lazard Freres和Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein等投行任职。他还写过两部惊悚小说,其中一部是《屠杀华尔街》。

    译者:Charlie  

    In the latest round of trouble for JPMorgan Chase (JPM), the bank's internal emails and computer files reveal that it purposefully hired people from prominent Chinese families in order to win banking business in China, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Brooklyn federal prosecutor's office are investigating the matter.

    Given the increased regulatory scrutiny surrounding international operations of American firms, especially as it relates to bribery, the China situation could be a big headache for JPM.

    The only problem is that while JPM may have committed several serious infractions in conducting its business, including marketing mortgage-backed securities fraudulently, manipulating energy markets, recouping credit card debt using questionable practices, and of course failing to manage risk, the opportunistic hiring of a few individuals may not be as terrible a thing as regulators are making it out to be, and could even hurt the U.S. government's recent efforts to rein in Wall Street recklessness.

    For one thing, hiring relatives of connected politicians in China to secure business from state-owned enterprises is really no different from other methods all banks frequently use to win business, such as treating company executives to expensive meals, providing them box seats to sports games, inviting them to play at exclusive golf courses, or sending them expensive gifts during the holiday season. It is also not vastly different from any other industry; it is simply the way business is done. Moreover, even if JPM had not hired these individuals directly, it could easily (and silently) have helped them secure other jobs through referrals. In that case, it would have been nearly impossible for U.S. regulators to connect the dots.

    Secondly, the nature of the investment banking business today makes JPM's actions almost inevitable. Once a white-shoe industry built around close personal relationships and trust between bankers and CEOs, the investment banking business changed radically in the early 1990s, moving toward a transactional model which favored profits over loyalty -- on both sides. As banks hungrily sought out more deal flow and as companies shopped around for the lowest fees or financing to go along with advisory services, client acquisition became a matter of enticing potential clients with things other than just the quality of service. It may be easy to criticize JPM for this practice, but when the trend is systemic and when even clients have come to expect "sweeteners," individual banks have little choice but to follow.

    Finally, going after relatively minor transgressions like this, and especially those committed effectively on foreign soil, diverts valuable regulatory resources from more serious crimes like fraud, market manipulation, poor corporate governance, risk mismanagement, and executive misconduct -- committed right here at home. I am not saying that bribery of foreign officials should be an acceptable way for American companies to do business, but in the larger scheme of things and given the extenuating circumstances outlined above, it may not be the horrendous crime that it is being treated as, and should not be the priority for regulators.

    Sanjay Sanghoee is a political and business commentator. He has worked at investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. He is the author of two thriller novels, including Killing Wall Street.

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