Sometime this week, Goldman Sachs will announce who is being promoted to partner at the firm this year. The Wall Street Journal says fewer than 65 people will be promoted, down from 84 two years ago. The expectation is that managing directors in compliance, control and legal divisions will lose out as CEO David Solomon focuses on promoting revenue generators. However, insiders say it's not just non-revenue generators who won't make partner this year - it's global equities professionals too.
"This year's partner class will be the smallest since 1998, but in global equities it will be the smallest since the early 1990s," says one senior Goldman insider, speaking off the record. "Several people have dropped out of the running already."
Revenues in Goldman's global equities division were up 15% year-on-year in the first half of 2018, and 8% year-on-year in the third quarter. The firm has been investing heavily in its electronic capabilities after falling behind the likes of J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. However, Goldman has also been hit by numerous exits to its electronic trading business after alleged difficulties bedding in the Bloomberg Tradebook deal.
If equities professionals will be particularly disappointed when Goldman announces its partner class this week, who at GS is likely to get lucky? Goldman insiders suggest a retinue of names across the fixed income division. They include the likes of: Niharika Cabiallavetta, a credit salesperson who's been at Goldman since 2005; Eric Murciano, Goldman's co-head of emerging markets and FX sales, who's been with the bank since 2004; Muhammad Qubba who joined as head of North American rates sales from Morgan Stanley in 2015; and maybe also Murciano's co-head - Adam Crook, and Brian Friedman (a strat).
Away from fixed income, Solomon is expected to promote disproportionately heavily in the investment banking division. And some equities professionals are understood to be on the list. They include Arun Dhar, a London equities salesman who's been with the firm since 2010, and Tom Leake, the EMEA head of equity structuring.
Goldman Sachs did not comment for this article. However, the MDs who will feature in the lucky 65 know who they are. - The firm has already been holding private conversations with those it stands to disappoint - and letting them down gently before the list is officially announced. The Financial Times reports that Talat Khan, a senior equities trader in London, resigned already after being informed that he would't make partner. Khan was promoted to MD in 2013.
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