“Who do you work for? That question haunted salesmen. Whenever a trader screwed a customer and the salesman became upset, the trader would ask the salesman, ‘Who do you work for anyway?’ The message was clear: You work for Salomon Brothers. You work for me. I pay your bonus at the end of the year. So just shut up, you geek. All of which was true, as far as it went. but if you stood back and looked at our business, this was a ridiculous attitude. A policy of screwing investors could lead to ruin. If they ever caught on, we’d have no investors. Without investors, we’d have no business raising money.
The only justification - if you can call it that - I ever heard for our policy came unwittingly from our president, Tom Strauss, himself a former salesman of government bonds. At a lunch with on of my customers, apropos of nothing and everything, he offered this opinion: ‘Customers have very short memories.’ If that was the guiding principle of Salomon Brothers in the department of customer relations, then all was suddenly clear. Screw ‘em, they’ll eventually forget about it! Right.”
Michael Lewis, Liar’s Poker, p. 167.