Every fall, previously in the basement of 85 Broad and more recently at 200 West, Goldman Sachs names a class of new partners. Blindfolded and naked, they pledge their devotion to the firm. To commemorate the event, and for the practical purpose of tagging them so their status at the firm can be quickly verified with one quick drop of trou, these newly-made partners have their nether regions dipped in a vat of gold, which harden while Lloyd Blankfein gives a speech about how to carry oneself differently once they reach the upper echelons of GS (literally, as those things will drag if you’re not careful). At the stroke of midnight, as a baby seal barks in the corner, they are inducted into the Brotherhood of the Sach. And while one is more than welcome to benefit, monetarily, from this new position, being a member of the Brotherhood is less about sharing in its huge ass profits than it is making sure the partnership stays long and strong. Some people, apparently, did not read that portion of the fine print.
Goldman Sachs partners have sold $108 million in shares in recent months, driving their total ownership stake in the Wall Street firm down to about 10 percent from 11.2 percent. The sales are a small yet significant dilution of the influence the partners have over the firm. Part of the power of the Goldman partnership is the stake they own collectively, and the agreement they have made to act in unison on shareholder votes. The next annual shareholder meeting has not been set, but it is typically held in May.
And while no one is keeping a list of names....a list is in fact being kept.
The top two sellers in the most recent period were Gregg Felton, a senior executive in the firm’s asset management division, who sold shares amounting to almost $8 million, and Philippe Altuzarra, a banker, who sold shares amounting to about $6 million.
No one should be worried that this going to reflect poorly on them. You are free to sell your shares as you please. And hey, everyone's allowed (one) transgression! Keep it up though and don't be surprised when you're pulled from your desk one unseasonably chilly day next September and placed on a bus headed upstate, to a warehouse in Buffalo. Don't be afraid of the the head of HR will come out of the shadows, wearing an executioner’s mask and swinging massive clippers. It'll all be over soon enough.