The speed route to executive director at Goldman Sachs

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It's promotion season in investment banks. Managing directors aren't the only ones being informed of their new positions: vice presidents (VPs) and executive directors (EDs) are being bumped-up too. And in the case of the latter at Goldman Sachs, some interesting timescales are becoming apparent.

If you're working in the investment banking division (IBD) of Goldman Sachs, you're going to have to wait a long time to make executive director. Historically, people in M&A only hit executive director six and a half years after graduating. With analyst programmes now cut to 2.5 years, this might be syncopated to 5.5 years, but this is still considerably slower than in the hottest areas of the securities business.

One of this year's ED promotions is a case in point. Marco Rebussi has just been promoted to ED in Goldman's electronic equity strats business. He only graduated from Cass Business School (with a Masters in Mathematical finance) four and a half years' ago. That's pretty good going.

Goldman isn't the only bank with a big discrepancy in the speed of promotion for its markets professionals versus its investment bankers. Cit's recent promotions included Marina Bronstein, a FIG banker who's worked at the bank for seventeen years, or Rob Jurd, an industrials banker who's been there since 2002.

IBD was always the promotion slow track, but as banks compete to retain the best quantitative and electronic trading talent the discrepancy is becoming more apparent.

Rebussi joined Goldman as an associate from Deutsche Bank in June 2016. Plenty of others have joined Goldman as fully fledged executive directors this year. They include Will O'Brien, a former structured solutions professional from Natixis, who joined in October, along with Vincent Chavin, the former EMEA head of equity index and quant investment strategies structuring at Deutsche Bank.  As we noted previously, there was a rush of executive director level hiring in Goldman's markets and technology business this year as the firm doubled its lateral hiring in an effort to overcome poor results.

Most banks already shortened promotion cycles for junior investment bankers in the past two years. But as IBD people look across to the even faster promotion timescales for traders and quants (and especially quant traders), they're still likely to feel left behind. Investment banking is the slow track to career success. Quant trading is the exact opposite.

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