Is It All Really Goldman B.lls ?

Well, we've had all the hype this week about Goldman Sachs and those 115 new Partner Managing Directors (PMDs). These are the super folk who are tipped to receive another $10m for their troubles this year - in addition to their base salaries and bonuses. But are these people actually more than mere mortals, and are their careers at Goldman, rather than taking off, actually coming close to an end ?

True, the new PMDs would have worked hard, got the politics right, and done all the expected things to obtain their promotions. And good luck to them. But we are led to believe that Goldman's continued success is down in good part to the efforts of the 300-odd PMDs (and wannabees looking for promotion next time around). In truth, that is probably not the case - certainly not in investment banking, where the Goldman name will guarantee a certain amount of business each year. As any decent CEO knows, he or she will never get the sack for hiring Goldman (even if a deal doesn't do as well as expected). So, some of the success these PMDs will have enjoyed would have been down to the Goldman franchise, and not all to them personally.

And how long are these PMDs likely to stay around at Goldman anyway ? With only around 300 of them at the firm any one time, it doesn't take a genius to realise that the life of a Goldman PMD is not always a long one. Many leave, of course of their own volition (to start their own firms, or for public service), but some are tapped again and told that their time is up.

The Goldman PMD selection process is, of course, a highly competitive business for those concerned. By Tuesday afternoon, the whole firm had been e-mailed a list containing the names of all the new partners. For those who didn't make the cut, it was a difficult time. The Financial Times reported that many who didn't make it are likely to not show up for work until the fuss dies down. The humiliation, it seems, is tough to take.

But good news, too, for 262 Goldman staff who were told that they had made Managing Director on Wednesday. Congratulations and good luck to them as well.

Finally, The Guardian reports that the UK's Transport & General Workers' Union is upset with the Wall Street firm. The union claims that Goldman had agreed to a pay rise for its cleaners, taking their pay up to £8 an hour, only to have the new pay deal withdrawn soon after. Deputy union secretary Jack Dromey is quoted by the newspaper, saying that 'Goldman Sachs talks a good talk on business ethics, but to our cleaners they are weasel words'.

Goldman's Chosen Few

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