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Morning Coffee: The tattoo-sleeved maverick moving to the top at Goldman Sachs. Drive a minivan, become a hedge fund billionaire

Is Goldman Sachs really a technology company? Maybe not, but the elevation of  R. Martin Chavez, its current chief information officer, to chief financial officer is a big statement about the future of the bank.

Gary Cohn, who is now on his way to Trump's administration, famously headhunted ‘Marty’ Chavez back to Goldman Sachs after a three-year absence by saying "I was just calling to share with you that you're coming back." Now, Chavez is likely to be named CFO as the bank reshuffles the senior ranks. Cohn's role is set to be split between current CFO Harvey Schwartz (“very high EQ”) and co-head of investment banking David Solomon (“a hard-charging guy”), according to the WSJ.

Chavez now leads both tech and the team of quants and mathematical wizards in Goldman Sachs’ strats group and has therefore been growing in influence. This is a combined 9,000 of Goldman’s 34,000 or so people. He has his own PR division and has been leading the fastest growing divisions at Goldman Sachs. He also previously headed up Goldman’s equities business so is not a complete outsider choice.

The Goldman Sachs-type - bald, heavy-set, raspy-voiced, according to the FT - doesn't exactly describe Chavez. He's an innovator who has transformed technology at Goldman and his tattoo-sleeves imply a rebel tendency that doesn't fit entirely comfortably in the corporate Goldman culture. Still, if and when CEO Lloyd Blankfein steps down, Chavez is now in a better position to eventually position himself for the top job. Then, perhaps, the bank can justifiably describe itself as a tech company.

Separately, if you want to gain the trust of investors and make a fortune as a hedge fund manager, don’t be crass about it. Sportscar driving hedge fund managers possess a trait called “sensation seeking” and are much more likely to “terminate their funds, engage in fraudulent behavior, load up on non-index stocks, exhibit lower R-squareds with respect to systematic factors, and succumb to overconfidence,” according to new academic research cited on Bloomberg.

How can you tell a good hedge fund manager? They drive a minivan.


Cohn’s farewell: “This spot in my heart, in my mind, will be here for a long time.” (Business Insider)

Presidential tweet risk (Politico)

London has already fallen behind New York on one of the most important measures – interest rate derivatives trading (Bloomberg)

How MBAs prepare when recruiters are on campus (Financial Times)

“A Bainie never lets another Bainie fail” (Business Insider)

Morgan Stanley’s Colm Kelleher doesn’t think you should be too excited about trading revenues this year (Bloomberg)

Get a transitional Brexit deal or lose thousands of banking jobs, says the House of Lords (Guardian)

Natixis has named Serge Ekué as senior country manager in the UK and head of global markets for Emea (Financial News)

The days of French quants dominating could be over (Financial Times)

"When you start trying to cut costs in this type of business, you don't know when you'll stop." (Business Insider)

"You have to make money by doing the same thing as the rest of the market, only doing it first before the rest of people commit their capital. That's the only way to make money when you're automated or discretionary. The same thing goes for machines.” (Business Insider)

Global investment banks need to accept that some deals are best left to local banks, and downsize (Gadfly)

14,000 jobs are going at Unicredit (Financial Times)

1,500 will go from its investment bank in Germany (

Unicredit CEO Jean Pierre Mustier will get no severance pay if he leaves: “Some of you might know that once upon a time I was a French paratrooper. So I’m kind of hot on execution and discipline and I am staking my and my team’s future on making sure this plan is well executed and successful.” (Bloomberg)

Books you should read over Christmas to be like global and business leaders (Bloomberg)


Photo: Getty Images

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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