Trump's Election Was A Buzzer-Beater For Goldman Execs' Stock Options

Good things come to those who wait.
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Crystal ball image courtesy George Hodan

(Crystal ball image courtesy George Hodan)

It can be hard to keep the faith in this hard, joyless world. But every now and then something so impossibly fortuitous happens that we have to sit back, humbled, and conclude that only a divine intelligence could explain the mysterious workings of fate. So it was for a handful of Goldman Sachs executives upon the election of Donald Trump.

The reason goes back to late 2006 when, as the Wall Street Journal reports, Lloyd Blankfein and a number of other top brass at Goldman were handed options with a ten-year expiration date and a strike price of nearly $200, around where Goldman traded at the time. But a little market hiccup intervened, and Goldman shares fell well below that price for nearly the next decade.

Then, from half-court, came a wild bank shot: Donald J. Trump, property mogul and citizenship expert, was running for president. However Goldman execs felt about the man personally and politically, his surprise electoral victory was like a key bump for bank stocks, Goldman chief among them. It probably didn't hurt that Trump has loaded his administration with Goldmanites. The upshot:

Six current Goldman Sachs executives, as well as board member and ex-finance chief David Viniar, exercised 983,000 options, filings show. That represented 192.5 million shares that would likely have been worthless without the boost after Trump’s election.

The transactions come amidst a wave of insider sales at major banks, which the WSJ tabulated at over $100 million. That includes Morgan Stanley's James Gorman, who last quarter made his first stock sales in his time as CEO – at the same time pulling down a neat pay raise to even out his subordinates' bonus cuts.

Blessed are the holders of options.

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