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Goldman Sachs MD quits for big job at Coinbase

Four months after unceremoniously ejecting many of the ex-banking professionals who'd leapt at the opportunity to ride the crypto pony into the joyous DeFi future, Coinbase is recovering its mojo. It's still hiring. It's still hiring MDs from Goldman Sachs. 

Usman Naeem, a London based Goldman equity derivatives guy who was promoted to MD in 2019, has quit GS and joined Coinbase as global head of derivative sales and agency trading according to his LinkedIn profile.

Naeem will be working with various other former bank employees currently residing at Coinbase, including Brett Tejpaul (head of Coinbase Institutional, ex-Barclays), Chris Rayner-Cook (UK, director, ex-Millennium and Citadel, one time ML VP), Kevin Johnson (head of trading, ex-KCG, Two Sigma) and Greg Tusar (head of institutional, ex-KCG and Goldman). 

It's not entirely clear what Naeem will be doing there. The Wall Street Journal suggested two weeks ago that Tejpaul was running a proprietary trading operation at Coinbase. However, Coinbase very strongly denied this, saying. "Coinbase not operate a proprietary trading business or act as a market maker," and the WSJ's article seems to have disappeared. Instead, the firm said it operates an, "agency only trading model, where we act only on behalf of our clients."

In July, Tejpaul wrote a piece for the Coinbase institutional channel stressing the firm's stringent risk management and high collateral requirements. While other firms were falling over during the crypto bust, Coinbase had no losses on its financing book and no exposure to client or counterparty insolvencies, said Tejpaul. 

In the second quarter of 2022, revenues at Coinbase were $803m, down from $2bn a year earlier. The firm made a $1bn loss in place of its previous $1.6bn profit. After cutting 18% of staff, Coinbase said it was in a state of “pause, maintain, and prioritize,” and that one of the things it would be prioritizing was Coinbase prime, its institutional-facing business where Naeem will probably be based. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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