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Forum Post: Overlooked methods to challenge financial giants

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 20, 2012, 4:33 p.m. EST by Progression (143)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

*EDIT: This method has successfully caused a response! There is now evidence showing the degree of effectiveness this form of protest holds. See Anti385's or RayLansing's post.

Ladies and gentlemen, you all have an inherent power within you. A power to influence and convince others. This style of protest will test the limits of that particular power you all hold if you so choose. How far will corporate corruption prevail? As far as we let it.

This experimental protest will attempt to collectively pool our abilities to influence investors. Many might not realize this but financial corporations are far more sensitive to negative PR than corporations in other industries (Walmart for example). They are even more sensitive to negative PR if they have to work with investors who are most likely nervous in this economic environment. Corporate giants do not care about people but they certainly do care about their finance. After all, corporations that neglect their business are defunct ones. So why not directly protest their business by giving them negative PR? Something that will embarrass the firm or something shady about their business usually fits the criteria.

Many have camped out and showed solidarity so why not take it to the next level? Here is an example of where this worked brilliantly (and this is not even in the finance industry):

http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/29/burned-by-fleeing-customers-godaddy-no-longer-just-doesnt-support-but-actually-opposes-sopa/

I hope to encourage disgruntled employees of other firms or experienced investors to pool their knowledge of weaknesses in financial products. The more we know about what makes these financial giants tick, the greater advantage we will gain. This thread contains valid product issues that investors would like to hear about so we are basically just shining light into the shadier areas of this particular financial business.

Why target State Street Bank? Why not go for bigger corporations? This corporation is fairly large with a history of exploiting taxpayers. State Street serves as a decent starting point until other disillusioned employees give out information regarding their respective firm. The articles below shows how State Street profited from bailouts and the bonuses that came after:

http://massuniting.org/2011/04/14/state-street-bank/

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/04/14/state_street_gets_885m_tax_refund/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-14/state-street-s-885-million-tax-refund-fuels-boston-protest.html

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2009/08/01/state_street_paid_470m_in_bonuses_after_bailout/

http://massuniting.org/2011/05/18/standing-up-to-state-streets-%E2%80%98fat-cats%E2%80%99/

As for its size, check out State Street's SPDR Gold Shares: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_gold_reserves#Privately_held_gold

Now, I will clarify a little more on this corporate giant. State Street Global Advisors, a division of State Street, directly manages stock-like products called exchange traded funds or ETFs for short. Their brand of ETFs is named SPDR or 'Standard and Poor's Depository Receipts'. One specific ETF that SSGA manages is called SPDR GLD shares as seen here: http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=GLD

Each share of SPDR GLD represents 1/10 ounce of gold and is 'supposed' to be backed by physical gold. More information here: http://www.spdrgoldshares.com/sites/us/faqs


Current ways to influence State Street's business involves raising the visibility of SPDR GLD questions or any news article that is negative towards GLD. News articles that exposes SSGA's dirty past can be used to the same effect.

  • The operation here is to bring these questions or article links to any place (such as a financial board or the commentary section of a relevant news article) where it will get a good deal of attention from investors. I urge people to stay focused to financial areas to maximize effectiveness since the average joe might not know what we are talking about. Going off course from financial areas might just amount to giving State Street free advertisement.

  • One goal is to drive investors away from the SPDR GLD product which should not be too difficult given this economic environment full of anxiety. Investors are much less tolerant of flaws in financial products and we would be doing them a favor by informing them of these sketchier aspects of GLD Shares.

  • Another goal is to aim for SSGA's reputation by repeatedly reminding everyone of their past fraudulent activities documented in news articles. This will cause discomfort amongst anyone doing business with SSGA and carries a degree of long term effect. Not many people are willing to work with proven con artists. This will help keep investors aware of the misconduct this firm has repeated committed.


"Is the physical gold backing GLD insured?"

This question is dangerous to SSGA because they do not have proper insurance on their physical gold. They only have a superficial agreement with HSBC bank that feebly tries to attach some liability to HSBC Bank. Even their FAQ does not explicitly state that their physical assets are uninsured. In fact, it is written in such a way that it can potentially mislead investors to believe that the gold is insured. This also leads to the question of "why are they so afraid of insurers taking a closer look at their physical assets?".

"When will the GLD price be readjusted to reflect the exact amount of physical gold?"

This question exposes the weakness (I would almost say a scam) in the way that GLD expenses are paid off. SPDR GLD expenses are paid off by selling a portion of the physical gold that SSGA owns. This artificially decreases the value of a GLD share because there is a declining amount of physical gold backing each GLD share. The GLD share price becomes less accurate in tracking the real price of gold even though SPDR GLD was created to follow the price of gold.


The following articles have done some investigation into flaws of GLD:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2011/11/15/is-gld-really-as-good-as-gold/ This forbes article discussing risks and issues of GLD is a well rounded article to spread around. The article successfully hammers away at the difference of investing in GLD versus investing in physical gold.

http://www.financial-planning.com/fp_issues/2012_2/gold-tax-code-2677041-1.html?zkPrintable=1&nopagination=1 This financial planning article examines intricate tax concerns that might not be a surprise to experienced investors. This article is best used to sway newer investors.

http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/02/risks-in-owning-gld.html This market skeptics article is outdated and for your own knowledge only. It addresses many key problems of GLD that is still relevant today. The one point that is no longer relevant is the auditing argument because GLD is now audited.

The following articles document the dirty history of SSGA:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-19/bny-mellon-state-street-replaced-as-ohio-pension-custodians-1-.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/us-statestreet-idUSTRE81Q1AY20120228

http://articles.boston.com/2012-02-29/business/31107623_1_mortgage-linked-subprime-mortgages-magnetar-capital

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=az3HCZdDdq6Y

http://www.pionline.com/article/20090408/DAILYREG/904089993

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/21/business/21street.html?_r=1

http://www.erisafraud.com/Default.aspx?tabid=1810

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/04/business/04state.html?_r=1

http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/05/news/companies/state_street/index.htm


Other notable flaws of GLD:

GLD still faces strong criticism for the lack of a redemption feature. Even though each GLD share is supposedly backed by physical gold bullion, only "authorized participants" have the right of redemption. That is, the right to redeem physical gold bars for their GLD shares. This GLD flaw was touched upon in the previously mentioned Forbes article.


Here is a message I've seen before that brought attention to State Street's shady business in a very efficient manner (note that this message is tailored for investors who already know about SPDR GLD):

“Did anyone try reaching out to State Street Global Advisors and asking if GLD's physical assets are insured? I've personally called them at 866-320-4053 to ask about the state of GLD's insurance. They said that there is no insurance but at the same time they claimed HSBC bank do have insurance policies on their holdings. I could not get them to elaborate on this 'claim'.

There are not many ways for the average investor to validate GLD's physical assets. Even the prospectus is full of legal writing removing liability. On top of everything, the GLD manager - State Street, has been shown to be less than trustworthy (Carina CDO, multiple instances of forex fraud). Where is the credibility in GLD?"

Feel Free to copy and paste the quoted message to a financial section of your choice if you just want the most direct way to join this protest. Remember, every time you spread your message containing the key points here, you will be protesting a financial corporation in a way that they cannot ignore. Post in this thread if you get banned or have your post removed from somewhere so we can all have a laugh at the ineffective attempts to silence us.

The farther this idea spreads, the greater chance we have to encourage other disaffected employees to come forth and pool in some knowledge of their firm. Any feedback is welcomed so don't hesitate to post any questions, comments, or suggestions.

32 Comments

32 Comments


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[-] 5 points by Anti385 (58) 2 years ago

I tried this at yahoo finance for a little while until State Street contacted Yahoo and removed all my posts here: http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Business_%26_Finance/Investments/Stocks_%28A_to_Z%29/Stocks_S/threadview?bn=72878&tid=394242&mid=396003

A former poster in the topic even complained about the censorship and got banned here: http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Business_%26_Finance/Investments/Stocks_%28A_to_Z%29/Stocks_S/threadview?bn=72878&tid=405622&mid=405622

Notice the title "Censorship to cover GLD's flaws" and the first post is missing. This is a prime example of how oppressive the top 1% are so how can we fight back against them when we can't even post legitimate flaws about their products on the internet?

[-] 3 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

This is not even a set back. They basically just confirmed how much power this type of protest wields. This is very typical of them using force to silence dissent. Much like how the police are being used on the good people protesting at DC right now.

I see a potential digital protest - Occupy Yahoo Finance forums. It would all have to happen on a specific high traffic business day. Maybe on Monday or Tuesday? The protest would consist of people creating new Yahoo accounts and posting legit product weaknesses into the same forum. If someone gets banned, they can report back here so we can joke about their feeble attempts to silence us.

Anyone interested? Thoughts? Feedback?

[-] 2 points by Anti385 (58) 2 years ago

You don't even need to ask, I am down for this protest. I will help spread word of this when the date is set. We won't be silenced. I just hope more OWS supporters join in.

[-] 2 points by Nicolas (258) from Québec, QC 2 years ago

I'm in if it happens. Been looking for ways to contribute directly to ows from here in Canada. And fighting corrupt corporate giants feels less like meddling than physically supporting the more political issues.

Cheers for the idea too. Afterall, the whole system is based on the (arguably laughable) idea of rational agents with perfect information.

[-] 2 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

I'm somewhat surprised OWS haven't staged digital type protests more often. These types of protest are easily accessible to anyone who wants to join and they carry a powerful effect as seen by the response from Yahoo Finance & State Street. Protesting in this fashion will also have a long term effect when word continues to spread among investors about critical product issues. Thanks for your support and feedback by the way!

[-] 0 points by HarryPairatestes2 (380) from Barrow, AK 2 years ago

your first link doesn't work. The second link has two comments. Who got banned?

[-] 2 points by Anti385 (58) 2 years ago

Strange, the first link is still working for me. It still shows that they wiped out my entire topic. As for my second link, I'm not sure why you mentioned "two comments" as that is not relevant to the events that occurred. The guy that got banned was Risetr with some numbers at the end that I no longer remember. He was a participant in my first topic before it got abruptly removed by Yahoo.

[-] 1 points by ClearTarget (216) 2 years ago

Your links are working fine for me too. Not sure why Harry said it didn't work.

[-] 4 points by RayLansing (99) 2 years ago

I got another response from State Street! They deleted my comments but did not ban my account. I was linking to the Ohio pension fraud and the Carina CDO scandal. You can see the author's 2nd reply but notice his first reply and my reply are missing. It seems that State Street doesn't like being constantly viewed in negative light so they have to exercise futile censorship =(

http://seekingalpha.com/article/487961-state-street-a-good-reason-to-be-bullish#comments_header

[-] 2 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

A job well done there. The very same negative pr they use against OWS is now being used against them. "A taste of their own medicine"

[-] 2 points by ClearTarget (216) 2 years ago

This is pure comedy gold. Awww... the poor bankers want to cover up their past crimes. It's time to add insult to injury and expand the prevalence of these articles.

[-] 3 points by ClearTarget (216) 2 years ago

I would also like to point out that this method can be used to attack the reputation of this organization for more long term damage. Achieving a "cheapening of brand" so to speak. It can be another potential venue vulnerable to OWS influence.

[-] 3 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

This is a good idea, I will need to think about how to integrate this along with my current knowledge of the financial system. Perhaps I need to dig up some articles of their dirty past.

*edit I have updated the main post to reflect these changes. Included are some articles that serve as evidence to their past transgressions.

[-] 2 points by ClearTarget (216) 2 years ago

Using articles of their crimes is exactly what I had in mind. Magnifying the visibility of corporate crimes is detrimental to any type of business.

[-] 3 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2106441/Defiant-banker-leaves-ONE-cent-tip-133-leaves-additional-tip-waiter-REAL-job.html

All the more reason to exert the OWS influence unto their business. It will give us a much needed bargaining chip against them.

[-] -3 points by shadz66 (19985) 2 years ago

Thank you very much for your interesting & important links and this excellent and strategically important and potentially extremely important 'forum-post' especially for those with an eager eye to 'shareholder activism' !

There is a Massive 'LIBOR' scandal just coming to light in the UK. Banking is a house of cards presided over by 'naked emperors', who are everywhere being exposed for the charlatans that they are - so please watch this space !!

Resistance is Fertile !!!

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] 2 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/16/statestreet-protesters-idUSL1E8GG9BF20120516

Some fine work right there by MassUniting. Props to them for challenging this corrupt corporate giant.

[-] 1 points by RayLansing (99) 2 years ago

"He later addressed each pointed raised by the protesters, saying their allegations were untrue." And yet he proved atleast one of their allegations were true by confirming that State Street does invest in private prisons. Aside from avoiding the outsourcing topic, I wonder how he addressed the subject of tax dodging.

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (6885) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

This is a great idea. I'm behind it 100%. This is one of the worthy posts I missed during my forced (and somewhat continuing) hiatus from this forum. Please pursue this and keep us abreast.

[-] 1 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

Thank you and I absolutely will keep pursuing this as long as these giants continue to exploit people.

[-] 1 points by RayLansing (99) 2 years ago

http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_%28A_to_Z%29/Stocks_S/threadview?m=te&bn=17381&tid=55019&mid=55019&tof=1&frt=1#55019

I don't know who that Statham guy is but that must be the 6th or 7th time he had to repost that thread. It seems State Street is cracking down on any negativity about the way they conduct business. Much respect to Statham for persisting.

[-] 1 points by RayLansing (99) 2 years ago

Might I also suggest exerting "pressure or discomfort" onto their business contacts? These people will be more difficult to replace than the average investor. There is also more of an effect as seen in the BNY Mellon - State Street forex case where they swindled clients. You can find out about their business contacts simply by finding associations via google, news articles or other sources.

I already have a list of their business contacts that I will focus on. I will be sharing this list privately with current participants to protect my source.

[-] 1 points by RedSkyMorning (220) 2 years ago

Awesome! You know what got obliterated in 2008? Your standard vanilla IRA. The idea in investing has been to spread risk by buying some large blue chips, some small companies, some foreign and some bonds. These prepacked IRA accounts, like you might get from work did even worse than people who were not "properly" spreading their risk. Feel the fear. Scare grandma.

[-] 1 points by RayLansing (99) 2 years ago

Guys and gals, this here is the FUD tactic (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

It is clever how this tactic is directed towards investors of this particular industry. Do not participate unless you are serious about challenging corporate dominance. If this tactic ever catches on in OWS, corporations WILL have to respond in one way or another. This is a significant dormant threat to their business. God help the financial sector if this ever gets enough support.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

These underhanded methods of paying bills are happening all over wallstreet. We don't really have to do anything but wait. They are hiding it pretty well but the economy is not getting better and there never was a recovery. All the money missing from the defunct MFGlobal and others isn't really missing, it's being used to help float the markets in hopes that there will be a real recovery and nobody will be the wiser. If you look at earnings(sales) v stock value v volume, there is a HUGE gaping hole. There is no logical reason for any of the companies listed on the DOW to be making any money what so ever. The volume is stagnate and all commodities have slowed. So how do they have so few days with reported losses? I have bitched and complained about wages because even they know this is the problem and solution but they really do believe in supply side sooo much they should probably be institutionalized. Just hold tight homie, once Obama wins the election, the disgruntled old terds at the top are going to just toss their greedy hands in the air and like children throwing a fit, and lash out. That will be the first domino. Get your popcorn ready homie.

[-] 3 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

Unfortunately, I do not believe Wall Street or the banking industry will collapse on itself. This article highlights one of my reasons why: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/us-insight-bankers-idUSTRE81M1S420120223

Without external intervention, bankers are walking free. They put meaning in "crime does pay".

[-] 2 points by Anti385 (58) 2 years ago

Although I do believe they will eventually get whats coming to them. There is nothing wrong with accelerating the process a bit.

[-] -3 points by DKAtoday (22264) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Nice post. I agree we should all make use of social media as a peoples news network as well as a peoples advertiser.

Peoples Public service announcements : BECAUSE THE MORE YOU KNOW

[-] -3 points by JayW (-8) 2 years ago

So what if this bank accepted a bailout? They needed it to help stimulate the economy. Don't you OWS tards ever think for a moment in your pitiful lives? I will be sure to notify all affected banks/corporations of what OWS is trying to do to their business so they can retaliate against the worthless poor shits like you people.

[-] 3 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

Stimulate the economy? You mean stimulate their own pockets in form of bonuses paid after bailout right? As for you notifying all the affected 'interests', go right ahead. Dissent will not be so easily silenced especially when corporations and banks continue to exploit taxpayers. All you are doing is giving me more motivation to press this protest further.

What hypocrisy it is to be attacking social spending programs and calling it 'welfare' when people like you defend bailouts at the same time.

[-] -3 points by JayW (-8) 2 years ago

CEOs and their humble employees DESERVE their bonuses. This is equivalent to the state paying their own employees. The tax payers are paying the bankers for their hardwork in the form of bailouts. Don't like it? Fuck off. Lets see you work for free.

[+] -4 points by FreeDiscussion4 (70) 2 years ago

Crapping on a police car was probably the most remembered way to protest. That is all I can remember. Nothing but the guy rubbing his ass on the back side of the police car. Great example of protesting.

[-] 3 points by Progression (143) 2 years ago

So deflection is all you are capable of on OWS? Desperately posting irrelevant garbage to hinder OWS forums... quite amusing. OWS has been a liability to the 1% and will likely continue to be a liability to the 1% regardless of your efforts. Dissent comes with endless perseverance so long as corruption and abuse are linked to those fat cats.