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Heck or high water

July 29, 2010

Goldman Sachs is banning the use of swear words in electronic communications.  As reported today by the Wall Street Journal:  “There will never be another s— deal at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.”

GS employees remain confused as to which parts of their vocabulary are now officially taboo, though it seems that firm-wide email screening tools will soon be implemented to take the guesswork out of it.  And there are, of course, gray areas, with some “wondering if the rule also applies to shorthand for expletives such as ‘WTF’ or legitimate terms that sound similar to curses.”

And what about in the company’s disclosure documents?  A cursory search for cursing on our SEC Filings page suggests Goldman Sachs disclosure language is already pretty squeaky clean. About the worst it gets is “hell,” appearing in reference to a “hell and high water clause” in registration statements (and not even by Goldman Sachs proper, but by Goldman Sachs Asset Backed Securities Corp). Would the new rule require this to be rendered as “h— and high water”? If so, one might justifiably wonder, “WTF?”

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