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Hating Goldman Sachs, Poolside

Adrian Weinbrecht | Stone | Getty Images

Las Vegas—We're poolside at the Bellagio.

The prime brokerage arm of a large investment bank is sponsoring an early happy hour in a bungalow. An iPod plugged into a hotel music machine plays classic rock. Vodka is poured over lemonade. Some folks skip the lemonade in favor of Red Bull.

"Who do you work with?" One of the guys from the investment bank asks the manager of a new hedge fund.

"Goldman Sachs, and I hate them," the hedge fund guy says.

It's a common sentiment here at the Skybridge Alternatives conference.

I heard it a lot more vocally last year, when Goldman was locked in a fight with the SEC over its Abacus trades. This year the complaints are a little quieter but just as ubiquitous.

"No one even reports on this anymore. What are you going to say? Goldman are arrogant front-runners who tear the faces off their clients?" the hedge fund guy said to a reporter who was considering hoarding the rapidly shrinking supply of Red Bull.

So why be a customer of Goldman Sachs?

"So they might rip my face off, but at least they want me to survive. If I go to Bank of America or Deutsche or Credit Suisse , Goldman will just assassinate me," the hedge funder said.

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