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) -- Have you heard this one?

Goldman Sachs

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CEO Lloyd Blankfein says he wants more transparency in the banking system.

It's true: He wrote it on the editorial page of the

Financial Times

Tuesday. I'm sure he picked a British newspaper so he'd seem more detached and worldly.

As any reporter or analyst who has covered Goldman for any length of time will tell you, they are anything but transparent.

Morgan Stanley

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, by contrast, is far less guarded.

Every quarter, when Goldman reports its quarterly results, the analysts do a dance with CFO David Viniar, trying to find out how Goldman made all its money. Viniar is always polite, and he never utters a peep that is substantive. Take risk levels, for example. Viniar is happy to tell us the measure called "value at risk" is not of much use, but he's much less forthcoming about what would be an accurate measure.

Blankfein doesn't address these issues in his article. Instead, he focuses on the information available to regulators, which he says is insufficient. But bank regulators are notoriously secretive, and investors are smarter than regulators, anyway. They would assign a higher multiple to Goldman if they had a better idea of what they were investing in.

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The securities business in general is quite secretive, and many other companies are nearly as hush-hush about what they're up to as Goldman. Some are even more so. But Goldman is clearly in a position to provide some leadership. If Goldman started sharing more information, it would put pressure on competitors, like


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report


JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report


Bank of America

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, to do the same.

On the other hand, maybe Goldman is right to be secretive. It seems to work for leaders in other industries, like


(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report

. But at least spare us the hypocrisy.

Written by Dan Freed in New York