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Ex-Goldman trader blames mediocre hires for poor performance

It's been a while since Anton Kreil worked for Goldman Sachs. 13 years, in fact, and he only worked there for four years. Some might therefore question Kreil's authority when it comes to making disparaging remarks about his former employer. However, his latest remarks bear a strong resemblance to those made by a more contemporary Goldman employee earlier this year.

After a run of disappointing quarterly results for Goldman Sachs, Kreil - who now runs a trader training company and has often berated traders who occupy today's lower-paid and less interesting trading jobs - says Goldman fallen foul of politically correct hiring policies.

"This is what happens when management stop hiring people based on their ability to make money, reward mediocrity not merit and politicize HR in order to fill production roles with Social Justice Warriors (SJWs)," he proclaims on LinkedIn. "The front line producers cease to have the ability to be objective, to make money for the firm and for shareholders and spend half their week in ridiculous diversity meetings that have nothing to do with making money and returning money to shareholders."

As banking regulations weaken, Kreil argues that Goldman needs, "hire senior aggressive trading talent and do it very quickly. Otherwise the stock is capped in the medium and long term."

True? As a "senior aggressive trader" with a prop trading background and no recent experience of working for Goldman Sachs, it's tempting to suggest that Kreil is simply talking his own book. Yes, Goldman appears to be experiencing some kind of persistent malaise, but it's not just trading that's affected - the bank had a dire quarter in M&A and corporate finance too. There are also a few mitigating factors, like the 80% increase in profitability and the fact that CFO Marty Chavez says the bank's not chasing revenue growth but profits and shareholder returns.  

Even so, Kreil's complaints echo those of an anonymous more contemporary employee on Glassdoor in January. As we reported at the time, this Glassdoor post caused a stir among Goldman's more experienced juniors who told us it resonated with their own experience at the firm. The Glassdoor poster argued that Goldman was in, "a long decline like a corporate version of the Roman Empire," and said this was caused by too many, “mediocre/poor” hires have destroyed Goldman’s unique “long term greedy” culture which was based on “merit, collaboration and competition.” The blame for these hires was laid at the door of Goldman's allegedly bloated HR function, which the employee said prioritized, "aggressive alternative action policies," over hiring the best.

The complaints come after various departures from Goldman's emerging market desk in London. Even so, the firm isn't exactly scraping the barrel when it comes to potential recruits - there were still 130,000 applications for 5,000 internships last year. 


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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