After disappointing earnings with FICC revenues down 63% from last quarter, David Viniar announced on this morning's call that GS expects to complete $1.2 billion in run-rate compensation and non-comp expense reductions by year end. Translation: 1,000 of you are out.
If you can find David Viniar $1.2 billion of savings, he'll call it off
Yes, 1,000 people is the current guess, but DV says that "he reason I mentioned the dollars first is because we're much more focused on the dollars, the savings we'll create, than the number of heads." Which means if you can save him the $1.2 billion then he won't need to fire you. We've seen a start on cost savings from other banks but cutting back on late-night cars isn't going to be enough here, so we need to hear some pretty radical ideas.
Goldman isn't going to cave to Meredith Whitney and start firing people every month just to keep them on their toes
While employees of Goldman and Shake Shack are probably unhappy to hear that there are so many layoffs coming, Whitney is livid that there are so few. She asked "why the target of $1.2 billion is so low - is that the first swipe?" And she's got ideas of her own about who's not pulling their weight, telling Viniar right in front of everyone that Goldman Sachs Asset Management has "been fine, but it hasn't been a shining star," which was cold.
Viniar stood up for his people though. He nixed the "first swipe" idea, since layoffs are painful to do and they don't want to have to do them again. And he defended GSAM, pointing out that it's a business where Goldman isn't in first place so there's room to improve.
If you stay you still get paid
Viniar said that the $1.2 billion in savings will not come from lowering anyone's compensation, but from headcount and related reductions. Looks like comp accrual per employee so far this year, backing out 1,000 unfortunates from the headcount, is about $244,000 through 2Q, down 11% from this time in 2010.