The latest evidence that Wall Street corporate cultures are no longer being tolerated is the investigations and lawsuits launched after last week's Facebook IPO fiasco.
The public is interested to learn how Morgan Stanley made money off the deal by "short trades". The public is interested to learn how the banks involved kept lowered growth expectations from some investors, while at the same time promoting the stock to those same people. The public is interested to learn whether legal and ethical lines were crossed.
Facebook and Morgan Stanley are the latest companies facing scrutiny. Others include Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which have been in the news for less than stellar reasons this year.
Gone are the days when high-powered men in suits could seemingly pat the public on the head and tell it to run along like a little child. The public wants answers and is not going to tolerate the patronizing arrogance of Wall Street any longer.
With so much money rolling in, why should Wall Street firms care what the public wants?
Because the public includes investors and customers.
The public includes the Baby Boom generation who wants to invest in companies they believe in and Gen Y who wants to work for companies they believe in. Also, the public is slowly starting to recognize the importance of long-term sustainability over a short-term snapshot. We're not impressed with one good quarter now and then.
Narrowly skipping along the thin line of ethical behavior is not going to cut it for the public any longer.
The firms that align their behavior with all of their stakeholders, not just their stockholders, will not need to worry about the pressures from the public. They will speak in plain terms people understand because they don't need to hide behind gibberish.