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How to talk like you work for Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is changing. As we've noted this week, the firm is moving to more of a 'platform model' where technologists who can build platforms that generate recurring income (whether from online retail banking or electronic trading) are all the rage. Pay is falling and so, for the moment, are revenues. 

The business model isn't the only thing flexing at GS though. As the firm evolves, new ways of speaking seem to be creeping into the firm's DNA, many of them originating with the newish CFO. If you want to get with the Goldman vernacular, you might want to pepper your conversation with the phrases below, all of which were exhibited when Goldman announced its results this week.

1. Switching gears

Meaning: Moving onto an entirely different subject, or going off at a tangent.

Used by: David Solomon, as in: "Switching gears, I'd like to spend a moment discussing our ongoing strategic investments..."

2. Strategic dialogues

Meaning: Conversations about strategic things with clients.

Used by: Stephen Scherr, as in: "Our healthy levels of strategic dialogues."

3. Idiosyncratic impairments

Meaning: Mistakes that should never happen again. Eg. Exposure to WeWork.

Used by: Stephen Scherr, as in: "Our provision for loan losses was $291 million, up $77 million versus last quarter, driven by idiosyncratic impairments."

4. Pivot-up 

Meaning: Refer to something that was said by someone else.

Used by: Stephen Scherr, as in: "Just to pivot up David’s comments..."

5. Downdraft

Meaning: Downwards pressure, source of a downer.

Used by: Stephen Scherr, as in: "Uber, Tradeweb and Avantor comprise about 40% of that portfolio, and those were the largest contributors to the downdraft."

6. Execute along this path

Meaning: Act according to a plan.

Used by: Stephen Scherr (again), as in: "We will present to you metrics by which you should measure us and we’ll hold ourselves to it as we execute along this path."

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Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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