LDL” is my new favorite acronym.

Call it Wall Street prosecution arcana:  To avoid putting into email any damaging info — especially about insider trading — some of the recent expert networks thought they might avoid prosecutions by using the acronym “LDL.” It is strewn throughout their emails, and informs the reciever that they are getting close to sensitive information that should best be discussed without a paper trail. Hence, LDL — “Let’s Discuss Live.”

It is the Wall Street equivalent of the teenage POS — “Parents Over Shoulder” — only in this case, it was more accurate to say “Prosecutors Over Shoulder” !

Dealbook used this example on April 28, 2010:

“Even at a disadvantage, not all clients were easy to convince. Goldman e-mails show how the bank backed up its sales team as they sought to unload bets they thought might one day go sour.

In one exchange, a Goldman employee refers to a mortgage investment as “as a way to distribute junk that nobody was dumb enough to take first time around.” The response of Jonathon Egol, a colleague of Mr. Tourre’s who designed some of the mortgage trades, was “LDL,” or “let’s discuss live,” effectively moving the discussion off record.”

How is it possible that in 2010, otherwise intelligent people still fail to understand that they are creating a permanent email trail? Did they actually think no one would know what that meant? The next time I hear anyone say “Goldman Sachs is the smartest shop on the street,” in my mind I will be hearing “He’s the smartest kid on the short bus.”

All I can say is thank goodness for stupidity. It makes prosecution so much easier!

Category: Analysts, Legal, Web/Tech

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

14 Responses to “LDL: “Let’s Discuss Live””

  1. wunsacon says:

    Hanlon’s razor (“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”) has grown dull from overuse by “captured” reporters/pundits or wishful thinkers eager to “see no evil”. You’ll see these people floating the proposition that “there were no prosecutions because there was no fraud — only mistakes”.

    But, stupid financiers don’t coin terms like “LDL” and “IBGYBG”. Careful ones do. And when called to testify, they’ll claim “LDL” was used to expedite discussion of some issues and otherwise pretend — Alberto Gonzales-style — to be auditioning for the role of Sgt. Schulz in a Hogan’s remake.

  2. RW says:

    Any distinction between incompetence criminality may be moot here: The putative fiduciary (hah!) makes money and his client/victim does not, that is the inevitable outcome of these transactions, (virtually) all of them. Whether some Dunning–Kruger effect is involved or overt and conscious fraud, the outcome is the demonstrable fact and its statistical consistency is what it damning. Civil claims of damage aside, this is criminal conspiracy and should be prosecuted as such.

  3. jaymaster says:

    Oh come on. They were only talking about their diets. And because of societal biases against low carbers, they were forced to talk in code words.


  4. Lyle says:

    I recall a corporate attorney who in the later 90s came up with a good rule for what to put in email. Don’t say anything you would not mind appearing on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow. It does work well. Having an email that says lets discuss this live is far less of a problem than one with details. Now why so many have continued to be purely stupid after the number of folks who got tripped up by emails in the last 10 years makes one wonder if they folks are smart in one dimension and stupid in many others.

  5. CIGA Monitor says:

    “All I can say is thank goodness for stupidity. It makes prosecution so much easier!”

    Prosecution is a tough call if you don’t want to offend your contributors, err bribers.
    Until someone gets past that mindset, forget prosecution.

  6. bobabouey says:

    Another good acronym comes from a tax fraud case.

    One of the SPVs set up in a shady tax structure was called “LHIW”.

    In depositions, deponent was forced to admit that “LHIW” stood for “Lets hope it works.”

  7. Julia Chestnut says:

    The new Office software contains a chat feature. You can now IM your office mates through the office system, instead of sending an email. Closed IMs, according to the corporate line, go to the “deleted items” section of your email.

    Since I am no longer working in a law firm, I looked around the room and wondered if I was the only person thinking what a huge boon this was going to be for electronic discovery. . .

  8. ToNYC says:

    Paulie in the “Bronx Tale” would never use a phone, just walk around the block with cigars.
    The successful cockroaches always find enough darkness to enjoy their lives.

  9. rktbrkr says:

    I worked for a company where the trading room had phone messages recorded so they could “go to the videotape” to help resolve any disputes between the counterparties – then over time I noticed the phones were seldom being used, everybody was using cells and not just to call their honeys. Where there’s a will, there’s a way (WTWTW).

    But what will they call QEIII? Thats the trillion dollar question.

  10. Michael M Thomas says:

    An attorney I know constantly reminds his clients that the “e” in “email” stands for “evidence”!

  11. louiswi says:

    Crap, I thought LDL meant “Lets Do Lunch”.

  12. VennData says:

    It’s charming how Vampire Squids type such clever initialisms, you’d think they could afford to be more verbose, but after a successful day of jamming more CMBS down AIG’s innocent’s pie holes do they sign off their their txts with…


    There’s Blood All Over My Tenticles!

  13. DeDude says:

    Yes it is amazing that people still send these types of messages although they must know of examples where emails have been used against the sender. Even more amazing that anybody is dumb enough to do business with Goldman even thought these types of emails (and associated losses of money) are public knowledge and have been for some time. Idiots are everywhere.

  14. DSS10 says:

    My old boss refused to use email after he became a CEO. In order to get something to him or have a review you had to leave it on his chair or “talk it over” with him. I was sure that this was on advice from his lawyer, but then He is in Schuykill FCI now untill 2014……