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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs' vicious layoffs are actually rather gentle. And survivors are getting free pants

Goldman Sachs made headlines on Thursday when it notified its local labor department that it would eliminate 65 jobs from its investment bank in New York, prompting the Post to remark that a “dreaded bloodbath” at Goldman has begun. Let’s consider that statement to include more than a touch of hyperbole.

Each year, right around this time, Goldman conducts its annual purge of underperformers, typically cutting around 5% of its staff as it makes new, post-bonus hires. While the bank doesn’t break out the number of employees within its investment bank, just shy of 6,000 people are currently registered with Goldman Sachs in New York, according to Finra. Disregarding the fact that not all employees within the investment bank are registered with the securities regulator, 65 job cuts would still be no more than a drop in the bucket – around 1%.

Gory metaphors aside, the cuts have already begun. The Post reported that roughly a dozen traders have been let go this week, split fairly evenly between equities and fixed income. However, the total number of redundancies at the end of the purge will be “way higher” in fixed income, according to the Post, which suggests the final tally will be north of the 65 that Goldman presented to the New York Department of Labor.

Fixed income traders shouldn’t be surprised at being the key target during this round of cuts. Back in February, the bank was said to be planning to eliminate 10 jobs across its commodities trading unit. Moreover, Goldman’s fixed income division underperformed last year, and CEO David Solomon previously noted the importance of further embracing electronic trading in 2019.

Late last year, Solomon mandated a 'front to back review' of the bank's businesses, which was to include department recommendations on job cuts. The review was said to be completed last month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Now we’re starting to see some of the findings. It appears they aren’t all that dire. One senior Goldman banker previously told us that news of the review was overblown from the start. "Trust me, this is just the same thing that happens every year," he said. Bloodbath or business as usual?

Meanwhile, those who survive the March cuts can revel in a pair of free khakis. Following news of Goldman’s more casual dress code, men’s retailer Indochino is now offering free custom chinos to any Goldman Sachs employee based in New York and New Jersey. Free pants (trousers if you're in the UK) – what other way would wealthy bankers want to celebrate one more year of gainful employment? The deal expires on April 26.


The massive college admissions scandal that resulted in the arrest of multiple celebrities and CEOs was sparked by a tip from a Los Angeles financial executive who was being investigated in a pump-and-dump securities fraud case. (WSJ)

While rival banks are gaining market share in prime brokerage, Deutsche Bank's once-lucrative hedge fund unit saw revenues decline for the third straight year in 2018. (Bloomberg)

J.P. Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon believes that European banks need to look beyond their home country for mergers in order to remain competitive. (Bloomberg)

Citi-backed fintech startup has leased 44,000 square feet at 3 World Trade Center in Manhattan. The mortgage lender, recently ranked as one of the best fintech firms to work, has hired 480 people over the last year. (Bloomberg)

“I am totally not the person to be the chairman of the Fed. That would be the worst position you could give to Gary Cohn.” – former Goldman Sachs president and ex-White House advisor Gary Cohn. (Dealbreaker)

Manuel Henriquez is stepping down as CEO and chairman of Silicon Valley hedge fund Hercules Capital after being arrested as part of the college admissions scandal. However, he will still retain a seat on the board and act as an adviser to the firm. (Daily Mail)

UBS has been banned from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year after being accused of due diligence failures by a local regulator. The Swiss bank and other firms including Morgan Stanley were also fined a combined $100 million for perceived failures in sponsoring IPOs. (Reuters)

The current political climate in New York that encouraged Amazon to walk away from plans to build a second headquarters in the city has Chicago hedge fund Citadel questioning whether it should do the same. The situation with Amazon “dramatically reduced our interest in moving our headquarters here,” founder Ken Griffin said. (Bloomberg)

J.P. Morgan has poached a top equity salesman from Goldman Sachs. Jack Johnston is joining JPM as co-head of U.S. equity sales trading. The bank also promoted Rachid Alauoi to replace Fater Belbachir as its head of global volatility. (Business Insider)

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by actual human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t).  

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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