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LDL: “Let’s Discuss Live”

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On May 24, 2011 @ 7:59 pm In Analysts,Legal,Web/Tech | Comments Disabled

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 [1] 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!


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[1] Dealbook: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/the-goldman-e-mails-or-how-to-sell-junk/

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