In 1985, Goldman Sachs was still a partnership. The current partners owned around 80% of the firm, retired partners held the remainder. Lloyd Blankfein was a 31 year-old trader at J. Aron, the commodities house Goldman had purchased four years earlier. Run by John Weinberg, a former M&A banker, Goldman in 1985 was mostly a U.S. operation. There were a handful of overseas offices, including one in London, but in the words of Lisa Endlich, Goldman’s London few hundred staff were sitting in an, “unair-conditioned setting on one floor of an office building.”
Nonetheless, Goldman wanted expansion. In 1986, it decided to go for growth. Over the next 12 years, the firm doubled in size and its capital increased five times.
This is the world depicted by a fixed income recruiting video made by GS in 1985 which has just surfaced on Youtube. Despite being posted to the video sharing network in March 2015, it’s only just been unearthed.
We’ve posted the 10 minute video below (3 mins on YouTube are blank). Goldman used it to make a pitch for, “exceptionally talented and motivated individuals,” to work in the fixed securities markets which it said were experiencing, “rapid growth.”
Highlights of 1985 Goldman Sachs included smoking at the desk, endless coffee in paper cups, pagers in belts, big hair, big computers, a lot of telephones, a lot of paper and a lot of human beings. The video supplements this with an encouraging ’80s musical accompaniment.
“The pace is fast, and the atmosphere is intense,” Goldman’s former self warns: “Emotions change from minute to minute.” Prerequisites for getting a job there included, “intelligence, independence, a strong desire to succeed, creativity and the ability the quickly translate ideas into action…”
If anyone knows who the people in the video are, please enlighten us in the comments box at the bottom of this article (future GS CEO Jon Corzine can be seen shouting into the phone at 7 minutes 30 seconds). If you like the genre you can always go on to sample the 1987 documentary about Paul Tudor Jones.