The ax has fallen at Goldman Sachs as layoffs ripple through the firm

January 12, 2023, 12:17 AM UTC
People walk through the lobby of the Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan on December 16, 2022.
Goldman Sachs, the powerful Wall Street firm, is expected to let go more than 3000 employees today.
Spencer Platt—Getty Images

Goldman Sachs, one of the most powerful Wall Street firms, started informing employees on Wednesday if they would keep their jobs, Fortune has learned.

Goldman is expected to slash up to 3,200 positions globally, down from the prior expectation of up to 4,000. Due to time zone differences, the layoffs began earlier in Asia, while employees in New York began learning their fate during the work day Wednesday. The mood at Goldman was dour, one person familiar with the situation said. “Remember many [Goldman employees] have never been through a downsizing,” the person said.

Outside Goldman’s headquarters at 200 West Street in Manhattan on Wednesday, groups of grim-faced employees exiting the building refused to answer questions. When asked by Fortune how the day went, several Goldman staffers said, “Fine” and rushed away. Others ignored the question and moved on.

The 154-year-old firm employs about 49,000 people. The layoffs are anticipated to impact divisions across Goldman, including the firm’s vaunted investment banking unit, which was expected to see the most cuts. Around one-third of those impacted by the layoffs will come from Goldman’s investment banking and global markets division, Reuters reported.  

The layoffs started shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, the New York Post reported. Goldman deactivated employee I.D.s and escorted workers out of the firm’s Manhattan headquarters that was ringed by security guards, the story said.

Goldman is also expected to cut its annual bonus pool by 40% to 50%, while another 5% to 10% of staffers aren’t getting bonuses, Fortune has reported. The job cuts will be followed by a broader spending review covering corporate travel and expenses, according to the Financial Times.

Goldman declined to comment. 

The reductions are a reaction to the decrease in investment banking revenue at Goldman. In 2021, mergers and initial public offerings posted their best year ever but a broad market contraction (along with recession fears, the war in Ukraine, and inflation) caused M&A and IPOs to slow down significantly last year. In the third quarter, Goldman reported $11.98 billion in revenue. More than half of that came from global markets, which includes trading and sales. Investment banking revenue dropped 57% in Q3 to $1.58 billion. The unit generated just 13% of Goldman’s third quarter revenue last year, down from 27% in 2021.

The layoffs come just months after Goldman announced its latest reorganization. In October, the bank said it would consolidate its businesses into three units. As Fortune reported, Goldman combined its asset and wealth management units into one segment, and put investment banking and global markets, along with trading, into a second segment. A third unit, called Platform Solutions, consolidated fintech platforms from across Goldman including transaction banking, consumer partnerships (mainly credit cards with Apple and General Motors), and specialty lender GreenSky. Shares of Goldman are down about 14% from their 52-week high. The stock on Wednesday closed up nearly 2% at $364.48.

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