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Goldman Sachs names smallest partner class in two decades

·2-min read
Goldman Sachs screen
Goldman Sachs screen

Goldman Sachs has named its smallest class of partners in more than two decades as chief executive David Solomon tries to make one of the industry's most elite clubs more exclusive.

The Wall Street bank, which unveils its closely watched round of partner promotions every two years, added 60 staff to its partner ranks, of whom 13 are based in London. It was last thought to be this low in 1998, the year before the bank went public.

Although the partnership numbers have shrunk in recent rounds, the number of white men being promoted has dwindled under Mr Solomon.

Women and ethnic minorities made up almost half the new class of partners in this round, two years after Goldman's 2018 class included the highest percentage of women and black partners in its history.

Goldman's partners typically earn about $1m (£760,000) in annual salary, and their year-end bonuses can be several times higher than that.

Company gender pay gap interactive - 2018-19
Company gender pay gap interactive - 2018-19

They are picked by existing partners during a process known as “cross-ruffing”, a term borrowed from the card game bridge whereby candidates are judged by Goldman staff who are not from their divisions.

Goldman slashed top bankers' pay by $31m recently in the wake of the 1MDB scandal.

The bank's partnership structure is unusual as it is a publicly listed company, and a partnership is typically a private company owned by its partners. Goldman chose to retain the structure, which had been in place since it started in 1869, after it went public in 1999.

In Europe previous Goldman partners include the former president of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi. Of this year’s class, 43 work in the Americas, 13 in Europe, three in Asia Pacific and one in Bengaluru.