A Goldman Sachs trader recently told me that he constantly rips off endowments, charities, and foundations when they would call up and want to invest. “Whenever I hear it’s a non-prof, then you just ladle on the extra fees,” he told me.
That’s because he knew they were usually unsophisticated investors and wouldn’t do comparison shopping or know how to properly analyze a fee schedule. He justified it by saying it was, “their fault… when you only call up one place, what do you expect?”
To some extent he’s right. If you don’t shop around for your investments or learn to how to make sure you’re getting the best deal, you do set yourself up to be taken advantage of. If you’re getting into an actively managed fund, you better learn all about fees, loads, 12b1 fees, marketing fees, transaction fees, all the fees in the fee rainbow. Don’t think that because you’re a non-profit all of a sudden everyone puts on their happy hats and kid gloves and is going to help you out.
And if you manage the investing on behalf of a non-profit, endowment, foundation or charity, and have an account with Goldman, or any brokerage for that matter, and you’re not 100% certain you understand all the fees on your investment, now would be a great time to check them out.
It still doesn’t make what he does any righter. If you’re reading this, Goldman guy, you should really think about who you’ve become and what worse creature you’re on the path the turning into.