Too Much Profit at Goldman and Morgan?

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are raking it in because they're good — if not virtuous

Goldman: Chris Hondros / Getty; JP Morgan Chase: Michael Nagle / Getty

During three decades as the head of financial-services consulting firm Greenwich Associates, Charley Ellis had a front-row view of Goldman Sachs' rise from also-ran to king of Wall Street. He then spent a decade working on a history of the firm, published last year as The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs. So what is Ellis' explanation for Goldman's spectacular rebound — it turned a $5.2 billion profit in the first half of the year — from the financial crisis?

"The most obvious is people," he says. "They recruit the most extraordinarily talented people, the most gifted in...

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