Gordon Gekko: Sorry, Greed Is Not Good

‘Wall Street’ star Michael Douglas appears in PSA for FBI to warn against financial fraud

Michael Douglas, as villianous Gordon Gekko, appeared in suspenders and a tab collar in the 1987 hit film 'Wall Street.' (Twentieth Century Fox) Michael Douglas, as villianous Gordon Gekko, appeared in suspenders and a tab collar in the 1987 hit film 'Wall Street.' (Twentieth Century Fox)

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  • Where Are We Headed? The ultimate compliance goal is to help ensure that everyone associated with an advisory firm acts ethically at all times.  Advisors and RIAs should do the right thing, even when regulators are not looking over their shoulders.
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“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right,” said actor Michael Douglas in his portrayal of white-collar villain Gordon Gekko in the iconic film Wall Street.

That film was released in 1987, and things since then have changed. For one thing, Wall Street saw a life-altering market crash in 2008 that took down equally iconic firms such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. Also, men on the Street aren’t wearing slicked-back hair, tab collars and suspenders anymore.

And finally, Michael Douglas is now speaking out against corporate greed–in a public service announcement for none other than the FBI.

“I played Gordon Gekko, a greedy corporate executive who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings,” Douglas reminds viewers in the PSA. “That movie was fiction, but the problem is real. Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.


Douglas, who was contacted by the FBI after saying in an interview that it troubled him to see how Gordon Gekko is seen by some as a hero rather than a white-collar criminal, received no payment for appearing in the PSA. The FBI, which is currently going after insider trading, is building cases against more than 100 individuals.

Local FBI offices can provide more information on how to identify securities fraud and how to report insider training. To submit a tip online, go to tips.fbi.gov.

However, an article in The Washington Post notes that FBI tipsters, like Douglas, go unrewarded for their help. On the other hand, under the Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower program, tipsters receive between 10% and 30% of the money the SEC collects if the whistleblower’s information leads to an enforcement action with sanctions totaling more than $1 million.

Read Top 10 Movies for Great Financial Advice at AdvisorOne.

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