Goldman’s spate of high-level departures ain’t over yet.
After facing a major brain drain last year that saw more than 50 of the firm’s best-paid and brightest minds hit the exits, Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar said Wall Street should expect more departures.
“I would expect that between now and the end of the year, you’ll see more partners leaving,” said Viniar, responding to a question during a call to present the firm’s first-quarter results.
The words were no sooner out of Viniar’s mouth when he downplayed the significance of the brain drain.
“It’s just kind of the natural progression, and our bench is so deep that it’s really not an issue at all,” Viniar noted.
Wall Street has been stunned by the number of high-level departures at the world’s most recognized investment bank, which prides itself on employing the smartest crop of bankers in the industry.
Heavy-hitting rainmakers, including investment management pro Ed Forst — a chummy cohort of CEO Lloyd Blankfein — and securities star banker David Heller — at one point viewed as a possible candidate to head Goldman — are among the departed.
“We have, statistically, 15 to 20 percent of our partners leave every two years,” Viniar said, noting employees over the last four years stayed out of “loyalty” as the 146-year old firm was being maligned publicly.
Goldman has also been rocked by new, tougher regulations that have cut into its profitability and risk-taking ability.
Much of the firm’s newer, more risk-averse nature was on display yesterday when the firm reported first-quarter results that beat analysts’ already discounted expectations.
Profit shrank at Goldman to $2.11 billion, or $3.55 a share, from $2.74 billion last year. Although the results beat estimates by 17 cents a share, performance in some key sectors was hardly overwhelming.
There was less activity in Goldman’s bread-and-butter business of trading fixed-income securities, such as bonds, derivatives and currencies.
The gold-encrusted franchise also saw a drop in investment banking. Goldman shares fell less than 1 percent yesterday to $116.86.
Goldman Sachs, David Viniar, Lloyd Blankfein, Ed Forst, David Heller, investment management, brain drain