If one thing is certain from yesterday's Goldman Sachs presentation and discussion of its first quarter results, it's that the firm's Marquee system is going to be even more important in the future than it is now. As Goldman seeks to automate more of its business, Marquee is at the vanguard of changes to the GS securities function.
"We are investing in platforms like Marquee to serve clients in new and more efficient ways," said chief financial officer Stephen Scherr during yesterday's call. "Marquee is our digital store front where our institutional and corporate clients consume GS content, risk analytics, pricing data and ultimately engage with us to trade."
Goldman Sachs began developing Marquee in 2013 with a view to allowing clients to interact electronically. “Outside of banking no-one talks on the phone anymore - they order a car, or a pizza, or chat using apps - but within banks, it was all voice,” said James Blackham, who worked as the head of digital structuring at Goldman Sachs at the time.
“Marquee is essentially a platform that allows different businesses at Goldman to open themselves up to clients in a secure and consistent way,” added Blackham in an interview with us in 2017. “Before, if, say, the interest rates business wanted to share analysis with clients electronically, it would have to build something bespoke. It would be hugely time-consuming and expensive.”
In six years, Marquee has come a long(ish) way. Scherr said yesterday that the platform now has 14,000 unique users each month and elicits 10 million monthly client requests from Goldman's development site (implying that the average user puts in 714 requests a month, or a comparatively modest 35 each working day).
"We have a huge ambition to create a cross-asset, integrated agency and principal platform for accessing liquidity across all of the products," said the grandaddy of Marquee and then CFO Marty Chavez during Goldman's third quarter call last year. The firm subsequently rolled out upgrades to the Marquee system in order to improve the functionality around fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC) trading.
As Marquee has grown, Goldman has appointed new management. Adam Korn, who's worked for the firm since 2002, has been managing Marquee since 2017. Late last year, Korn was also appointed co-head of engineering for the whole securities division. Around the same time, Anne-Marie Darling, a Goldman managing director from 2007 and partner from 2012, and the former head of Goldman's multi-asset platform team, was put in charge of a new team selling Marquee to clients and generate new revenue models.
There are already signs that Darling is making changes. In March, Goldman posted a job advert suggesting it plans to make Marquee functionality and data available to clients as a subscription service.
Scherr said yesterday that Goldman is spending money on Marquee as it seeks to, "create considerable stickiness," by encouraging clients to, "consume content and data and ultimately look to trade with us."
Goldman is currently advertising 12 Marquee jobs globally, including one for a mobile engineering development lead based out of New York and a cloud development engineer in Bengalaru.
If you want to work for one of Goldman's most interesting initiatives, Marquee is still it. And if you want to drive the way Marquee develops and is monetised, Darling is probably the person to know there.
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