The names that follow are notable for the quality they all share: Most people will have never heard of a single one of them, despite their place among New York’s and London’s wealthiest. It says a lot that the most famous Goldman veteran—even more so than Jon Corzine and former co-chairman Bob Rubin, who went on to become Secretary of the Treasury—is Kwame Jackson, from the first year of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. Jackson reportedly asked for a leave of absence to participate in The Apprentice but was told it was “too much of a reputational risk.” So he quit.
Rumor has it that the man in line for one of the biggest paydays in the New York office in 2005 is Mark McGoldrick, co-head of global proprietary investment for Goldman. In English, that means McGoldrick is the co-chief of the division that makes bets with the firm’s own capital. One New York recruiter told me the word on the street was that McGoldrick’s group had delivered more than $2 billion in profits for the firm this year. That should put him in line for a payday in the realm of $40 million or more. Proprietary traders are the golden boys (and girls) of Goldman these days, and payouts of $15 million to $20 million will not be unusual for top performers.
Jeffrey Frase, head of crude-oil trading for the firm, made an estimated $20 million to $25 million last year, according to Trader Monthly magazine, and given the volatility of those same markets this year, he could be up for even more in 2005. Likewise, Robert Cignarella, a debt trader in the firm’s asset-management division, took home an estimated $25 million to $30 million last year and could do so again. Others who stand to make a substantial amount, given the strength of their divisions: Phil Hylander, co-head of global equity trading, Richard Ruzika, co-chief executive of global commodities, and Philippe Khuong-Huu from the fixed-income division.
Gene Sykes and Jack Levy, who run the firm’s mergers-and-acquisitions business, are also undoubtedly up for a substantial payday, given the recent tear of that division. The firm advised on huge deals like Ford’s sale of Hertz for $5.6 billion.
Across the pond in London, Goldman’s other center of power, the list of high earners is extensive, thanks to the intrusive capabilities of the British press. Michael Sherwood, co-chief of Goldman Sachs International and a protégé of Blankfein’s, is said to be in line for a bonus of $20 million or so. According to Trader Monthly, Driss Ben-Brahim, head of the exotics-and-derivatives desk in London, made anywhere from $25 million to $30 million last year, and he’s rumored to be in line for a similar payout in 2005. Likewise, John Bertuzzi, a top energy trader in London, is said to have made $20 million to $25 million last year and could be up for a similar amount once again.
Goldman also pays its supporting cast handsomely. Bankers whose jobs consist merely of pitching the capabilities of other people at the firm can make as much as your average NFL starter. “The amazing thing about Goldman,” says a hedge-fund executive who does business with the firm, “is not that a few talented people make $20 million—it’s all the mediocre talents that make over $1 million.”
What does the future hold for Goldman in the way it pays its people? It’s going to get messier. With the rise of the hedge-fund industry, more and more people are bolting every Wall Street institution to start their own shops, in pursuit of “2 and 20”—shorthand for customary hedge-fund fees of 2 percent of assets under management and 20 percent of any upside. Goldman recently lost one of its legendary “quants”—so-called for their quantitative trading skills—Eric Mindich, who founded his own hedge fund, Eton Park, last year with $3.5 billion from investors. In 1994, Mindich became the youngest partner in the firm’s history, although rumors swirl that he had fallen out of favor owing to the problematic acquisition of New York Stock Exchange specialist firm Spear, Leeds & Kellogg for $6.5 billion in 2000. Forbes magazine called the purchase a “billion-dollar blunder” in 2003.
In any case, Mindich is only the latest in a long list of Goldman defectors lured away by the possibility of making substantially more money on their own. It was recently suggested that 10 percent of all money in hedge funds had ex–Goldman people involved in managing it—some $100 billion in total assets. That number is probably overblown, but the anecdotal evidence is impressive: Top Goldman players who have left in recent years include Edward Misrahi and Scott Prince, who joined Mindich; super-trader Christian Siva-Jothy in London, who joined Fulcrum Asset Management; and Geoffrey Grant and Ron Beller, who formed Peloton Partners. Why? Shockingly, Goldman couldn’t pay them enough. On the other hand, Goldman is, in a sense, still paying them—the firm is rumored to be a seed investor in many of these funds. So these top traders get the 2 and 20 they want and still remain part of the extended Goldman family.