- Goldman Sachs
- Goldman Sachs named 69 partners today.
- Naming partners is a carryover from the firm’s history as a private partnership and there is a deliberate process for selecting the firm’s most senior leaders.
Earlier today, Goldman Sachs named a new crop of partners, one of the most coveted titles on Wall Street.
This year, 69 people earned the honor, the smallest class in more than a decade. Women made up 26% of the class, the most ever.
Joining this elite group comes with a nice paycheck and numerous perks. Partners usually get a salary of $950,000, access to a special bonus pool and an opportunity to invest in fee-free investment funds.
Making partner is a carryover from Goldman’s history as a private partnership, which ended with its May 1999 public offering.
The process of making partner hasn’t changed much over there years. You have to run a significant business or have made the firm a lot of money, according to current partners. Inside Goldman, some people even talk about their partner trade or the business platform they created.
This summer, after being crowned as Lloyd Blankfein’s successor, incoming CEO David Solomon instructed his colleagues to slightly alter their approach. Solomon, who became CEO Oct. 1, told the people making the selections they should consider at least three characteristics: give preference to execs who hold revenue-producing roles, place people on the list only if they have a real shot of making the cut and ensure women execs get a fair shot at making the final list.
With those changes aside, here’s everything you need to know about becoming a Goldman partner:
- It happens every two years: Partners are selected every two years in an extremely secretive process.
- Potential candidates are identified in the summer: The firm doesn’t explicitly tell the candidates. It’s not a surprise, though. Candidates generally have an idea if they’re being considered.
- Candidates are vetted through an intense process called cross-ruffing: The term cross-ruffing comes from the card game bridge. Cross-ruffing is when current partners and other Goldman employees engage in a series of lengthy conversations on whether a candidate deserves to be made partner. The candidates, however, are not interviewed, and they are blind to who is interviewing and who is being interviewed.
- The selection committee looks for folks who’ve made an impact at the firm: Employees talk about the trade that made them partner, or the business they built from scratch that generated a lot of revenue for the firm. The committee wants leaders and people who embody the firm’s business principles and standards.
- Solomon will personally call you with the great news: Solomon calls the employee to let him or her know that he or she has made partner. As you can imagine, folks will probably be anxiously waiting by their phones.
- Those who didn’t make the cut are told: For many who didn’t make it, it can be a major disappointment. But they will also get feedback so they can work toward making partner in a future cycle. Goldman has already started telling people that they didn’t make the cut.
- Current partners are forbidden from congratulating the new partner class right away: The current partners will find out who made the cut in the morning, too. However, they can’t say “congratulations” until the list is released to the entire firm (usually around noon ET). The idea is that they don’t want to accidentally say something before the person has received that very special phone call.
- Making partner is supposed to be an incredible feeling: One former partner told eFinancial News: “Don’t tell my wife this, but being made partner was the greatest moment of my life.”
- Your day-to-day doesn’t really change: After two or three days of congratulations, you get back to normal. While your day-to-day doesn’t really change, the firm expects more of you. You’ll be in partner meetings. You’ll sit on committees. You’ll also probably make some campus recruiting trips.
- Being a partner means getting a boost in your base salary: One of the biggest benefits of being a partner at Goldman is the lucrative paycheck.
- They get a nice chunk of the bonus pool: In addition to the base salary, a portion of the bank’s bonus pool is divvied up among the 400-plus Goldman partners.
- There are special investment opportunities, too: Partners are given access to investment opportunities not available to other employees.
- The number of partners in a class isn’t set: Historically, the number tends to fall between 1.5% and 1.9% of the full-time Goldman Sachs employee population.
- Age doesn’t matter: Age isn’t a parameter. Performance is what is important. However, the firm would look at the time someone has spent in a role.
- Vice presidents can be made partner: While the committee usually taps managing directors, there have been instances in which a VP has made it.
- You can go through the process more than once: If you don’t make partner, it doesn’t mean you won’t have another shot. Timing is everything. You might make it the next cycle or the one after that.
Best of luck to the new partners!
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— Julia la Roche contributed to an earlier version of this story.