As movie fans will easily remember, there is one name that hangs over the 21st century classic “Goldman Sachs at 150”, and that name is neither Goldman nor Sachs. It is that of Sidney Weinberg, the iconic senior partner who ran the firm between 1930 and 1969. From joining the company as a janitor’s assistant tasked with brushing the hats of bankers, to saving Goldman from the consequences of the bankruptcy. Great Depression, winning the Ford Motor IPO and leading the war production, Sidney did more than anyone to shape the corporate culture.
In fact, if you add John L Weinberg’s tenure as chairman of the board from 1976 to 1990, GS was run by members of the Weinberg family for about a third of its existence as a company. And it could have been more than that, except that Peter Weinberg left after twenty years to co-found Perella Weinberg.
It is therefore understandable that John Weinberg, son of John L, grandson of Sidney and cousin of Peter, was described as “Wall Street Royalty” on the occasion of his assumption of exclusive responsibility as CEO of Evercore while Ralph Schlosstein resigns. He was recruited six years ago (at Goldman) after being identified as the natural successor. And, without bringing the slightest discredit, this particular dynastic shift tells us a lot about how the investment banking industry works.
Emerging countries are often seen as stable democracies if they can handle two consecutive peaceful transfers of power, and something like the same rule applies to small investment banks. Many of them manage to gracefully pass the baton from the founder to their anointed successor, but far fewer take the second step. The reason is that M&A advice, more than any other part of investment banking, is about personal relationships.
And that’s why there are things like “Wall Street Royalty”. Talent, intelligence, enthusiasm, and emotional intelligence are all needed to create the kind of trusted advisor status that will persuade a CEO to close a deal. But in order to implement any of your personal attributes, you first need someone to take your call. What they’re more likely to do if they know the call is from a famous family member.
If you are not lucky enough to have been born into such a dynasty, then (besides changing your surname) you may have to find another way to open the door. Some people get there by working for good bosses, others through political connections, and others by sheer luck. Of course, it all really depends on what you’re doing when you’re in the room. So far, all of the Weinbergs who have stepped into banking seem to have done honor rather than shame on the last name.
Elsewhere, super-consultants McKinsey & Co have spent the last few years (and a managing partner) trying to overcome a quagmire of bad publicity. They paid a settlement of $ 600 million for their involvement in the opioid crisis, were embroiled in a corruption scandal in South Africa and had to express their “horror” at the possible uses of its report on Saudi dissidents . It’s almost like they’re on a campaign to make bankers look good.
On the other hand, when a group of junior employees decided to get together and write a searing open letter to senior management, it wasn’t just about their own workload and their desire to more money and better mindfulness application. Instead, tired of being assigned to projects with names like ‘Drill And Blast’, they wrote to protest the way the company continued to work for environmentally destructive companies, providing them with often advice on how to destroy the world more effectively. .
Of course, bankers are able to keep a little more moral distance from the companies they finance; money is neutral and unlike consultants, investment banks usually don’t tell people how to run their business. But maybe they shouldn’t – as the McKinseyites point out, if the world is on fire, the advisory fee won’t be worth much and neither will the investment bank ranking credit.
During this time …
A brief overview of the areas Deutsche Bank is hiring in – healthcare and technology, South Africa, Israel and Dubai, rates and financial clients. (Reuters)
Also mergers and acquisitions, US rates and government bond swaps, according to James von Moltke in an interview. They aim to pay “competitively” and von Moltke states that “it is a war for talent as it has been in other cycles before”. (Bloomberg)
What about Peter Thiel? A long profile of the anti-hero of hedge funds, VC, tech and surveillance (The New Yorker)
Rebuilding the group is always a recruitment theme in the financial sector – Ulrich Koerner has recruited Dierk von Shuckmann, his former head of strategy at UBS, to be the new CFO of Credit Suisse’s asset management business. (Hello)
Dan Loeb of Third Point suggests a split from Shell into a cash-rich “old, dirty” company and a “new, green” one; it is both financial engineering and environmentalism. (WSJ)
Several high-growth companies announced earlier this year that they were going beyond their typical “target schools” for recruiting, so we might see more stories like this in campus newspapers; Goldman MD David Granson spent a day at Troy University Business School in Alabama. (Troy today)
” Take charge of your career “. “Network outside your organization or industry”. “Follow your passion”. “Be prepared to jump at the opportunity”. Are these platitudes, helpful or actively harmful advice? Researchers have put them all to the test. (Harvard business review)
A compulsive gambler invented a fictitious investment banker named “Paul Newman” in order to steal almost all of his father’s family business reserves. He now has no measurable assets, so he will pay off £ 1 symbolic. (Kent online)
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