07/16/2013 03:16 pm ET

Nearly 40 Percent Of Young Wall Street Workers Say They Would Engage In Insider Trading


For a large share of young Wall Street workers, the pursuit of a buck is of utmost importance. For this group, it's possible that the only thing stopping them from using illegal means to make money is the prospect of getting caught, a new survey finds.

Nearly 40 percent of financial services employees working on Wall Street for 10 years or less said they would engage in insider trading to make $10 million -- if they knew they could get away with it, according to the survey conducted by the law firm Labaton Sucharow. That urge seems to drop off somewhat as the workers spend more time on the Street; just 24 percent of Wall Street workers overall said they would do the same thing, the survey found.

To be sure, the survey may be overstating Wall Street workers’ interest in pursuing greed. As Dealbreaker points out, Labaton Sucharow is a firm that makes its money by getting Wall Street workers to sue their companies for wrongdoing. And this particular survey was conducted at the request of one of the firm’s partners, Jordan A. Thomas, a former official in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division.

Still, if the financial industry’s actions in the lead-up to and in the wake of the financial crisis are any indication, there’s evidence that at least some people on Wall Street are interested in getting money at all costs. (See also: the London Whale and the Libor Scandal.)

Or take the ongoing "Fabulous Fab" case as an example. Fabrice Tourre, a.k.a. Fabulous Fab, is just one of many bankers accused of misleading investors about the health of a mortgage investment he knew was junky in the lead-up to the crisis. What makes him different -- and the scourge of the SEC -- is that he got caught sending emails about it.

Yet while authorities have made much of their efforts to curb Wall Street greed through high-profile cases like this one, or Raj Rajaratnam’s insider trading conviction, the government’s message to the financial industry in the wake of the financial crisis has largely been: “You do you.” The prosecution of Fabulous Fab, after all, is aimed at a mid-level Goldman Sachs banker, not an executive or company largely responsible for the financial crisis.

(Hat tip: Dealbook)



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