Goldman has a history of promoting young traders to managing director. Kunal Shah, who was bumped up to partner last year, was 27 when he made MD. Dan Avery, an index trader in London, has just been promoted at the tender age of 28.
Avery joined Goldman Sachs straight after graduating from Oxford University with an undergraduate degree in maths in 2008. Seven years after joining as a graduate recruit he's been promoted to managing director.
Avery is the youngest new MD we found, but he's not the only one under 30. Sam Berberian, a high yield trader graduated from MIT with a Bsc in Mechanical Engineering in 2007, making him 29. Murtaza Ahmed, who works in emerging markets structuring and graduated from Cambridge University in 2006, meaning he’s just hit 30 this year.
Goldman Sachs promotes its employees to MD level faster than other investment banks. On average it takes 12 years to become managing director there, compared to 14 years at Morgan Stanley – it’s nearest competitor. It can take up to 20 years at French banks.
If you want to get rapidly promoted at Goldman Sachs it helps to work in trading – which is largely comprised of young men anyway. Kunal Shah, the famously youthful Goldman trader who was promoted to MD aged 27 and partner aged 31, worked in a prop trading role focused on emerging markets.
Traders in banks are rewarded based on their contribution to the firm, and it's therefore possible to move up the ranks more rapidly if your performance merits it. Investment banks’ trading floors have also long been feeder networks for hedge funds, so promoting star traders is a way of stopping them fleeing to the buy-side. In this sense, Ahmed, who works in a structuring role, looks like the exception.
This year's MD promotions suggest that a quantitative degree at a very top university also helps for promotions.
It's worth bearing in mind that not all Goldman's MD promotes are youthful. The bank says that a third of its newly minted managing directors are millennials, born after 1980. Two thirds, therefore, are not.