INTERNATIONAL: Analysts saga sees Wall St bolster its internal comms

NEW YORK: Wall Street firms are putting in place internal comms mechanisms in the wake of the ongoing analyst scandal that has beset Merrill Lynch and threatens to ensnare a host of other firms.

In an internal Goldman Sachs e-mail memo sent to employees company-wide and obtained by PRWeek US, the bank implores its staff to maintain any documents that may be of interest to authorities conducting an investigation of the firm's research and investment-banking units.

The fact the Goldman memo was sent to every employee - including those with little or no dealings with investment banking or research - seems to indicate the seriousness with which the firm's comms and legal officials are taking the investigation.

PRWeek US secured confirmation that a similar notification was sent to some departments at competitor Credit Suisse First Boston. Goldman and Credit Suisse would not comment on the specifics of the memo.

It is clear that the firms are aware of the importance of good internal comms in shaping their reputations. PRWeek US has also learned of a compliance refresher course held at Goldman in the midst of the Enron fiasco.

Executives explained that the firm's reputation was its number-one asset, and the easiest to damage and hardest to restore. They also detailed right and wrong practices in dealing with outsiders.

The Goldman memo was sent on 1 May, the day The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securites & Exchange Commission was seeking documents related to analyst research from ten major firms.

The New York Times has reported that some firms have already alerted investigators that they are not in compliance with this regulation.

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