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Goldman Sachs Partners: Is this the end of “the Goldman way”?

Goldman Sachs’ partner list is out, and there’s plenty to say about it.

From the reporting on salaries to the unique backgrounds of the new partners, a quiet snowball has been gathering over time – that Goldman isn’t what it used to be.

Goldman Sachs used to have an almost mythical quality both on Wall Street and in finance, but the world has changed, and so has GS. And there’s no better way to illustrate that than with a chart:

The decline might not seem like much, but it’s a lot. Six years ago, 75% of Goldman's partners had joined the firm as analysts or associates. This year, that was down to just 43%. Goldman doesn’t promote internally like it used to.

The firm everyone wanted to work at used to be ferociously proud of its way of doing things. It's still different, but things have changed.

The uniqueness engendered by “The Goldman Way” is clearly on the decline. Several of this year's new partners only joined the firm in the past three years, with even bigger chunks only joining in the last five. Some of those new recruits include Rob Taylor, the regional head of credit trading in Hong Kong, who joined Goldman in 2019 after 13 years at Deutsche Bank, or Benjamin Wallace, a healthcare banker who joined in 2018 after over a decade at JPMorgan. 

Bringing in new blood is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it's not how Goldman operated in the past. The fact that many of this year's new partners are external hires into the firm's core business areas suggests a change of strategy, and a dilution of culture. Goldman Sachs may still be different, but its homogeneity with the rest of the Street is increasing. 

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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