Why it matters that one of Goldman's new partners is said to have paid £500k to attract his wife

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Does it matter if a senior banker paid money to attract his wife

Does it matter if a senior banker paid money to attract his wife?

Goldman's new partner list is out. You can see it, as it appeared on the alumni homepage, here. As we noted yesterday, the list includes the highest percentage of women (14%) since 2006. It also, notably, includes a man who is said to have spent £500k to persuade his wife, an alleged ex-Slovakian escort, to marry him.

That man is Yann Samuelides, Goldman's head of the trading strategy teams for interest rates, foreign exchange and new markets in Europe. According to various salacious newspaper reports two years ago, Samuelides offered his now-wife Alzbeta Homolkova £500k if she would promise to marry him and leave her then-husband, a 57 year old divorcee and Coventry-based businessman who had met her as a teenager in Slovakia. Homolkova was working as a £350 an hour escort, alleged her ex. It's not clear whether this was how Samuelides met her.

Does any of this matter? Toulouse-born Samuelides' colleagues appear to think not. He and Homolkova now have a child according to someone 'familiar with the matter', who told the Financial Times it's like a modern day Pretty Woman.

And yet, to paraphrase Greg Smith, Goldman's partners are supposed to be 'culture carriers' embodying its business principles, which include the assertion that integrity and honesty are at the heart of the business. If Samuelides did indeed persuade his wife to marry him by offering her £500k, does this indicate a person of all-round integrity?

For all Goldman's efforts to promote women, the issue surely also sends out a negative signal to senior female bankers within the firm. One female banker we spoke to said she was outraged by the allegations: "This says that if you're a man, your bottom line contribution overrules everything else when it comes to promotion."

Maybe, however, the Samuelides affair is simply symptomatic of the problems senior bankers have when it comes to meeting woman. One upmarket dating agency told us that at least 50% of its clients of both sexes are financial services professionals. "It's one of those careers that's very labour intensive and insular. They work all hours and don't get a chance to socialise outside of work," she says.

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