Goldman is getting ready to promote its most golden employees to partners. And headhunters are getting ready to poach those who don't make the grade.
"The promotion of Goldman's executive managing directors to partner managing directors happens only once every two years," one former Morgan Stanley MD turned headhunter tells us. "It's a very emotional time because if you miss it you've got another two years to make the grade. And quite a few in that category will be furious."
The Wall Street Journal says Goldman has been choosing the new member of its partner pool (who are likely to number somewhere around 80) since June and that it will announce the names of the gilded few on October 25th.
In advance of the selection, candidates are reportedly divided into As, Bs, and Cs, with the As being the surefire promotes and the Cs the long-shots.
As October 25th approaches, the headhunter we spoke to advises all would-be partners to behave like As. "It's critical that you never admit to any doubt about yourself," she tells us. "You need to make it known that you will be absolutely appalled if you don't get it [the partnership] and that you will think about leaving."
Given the proximity to bonus payouts, Goldman may move to salve the angst of anyone who's not promoted with a generous application of cash. One headhunter tells us the bank has already mooted plans to erode the distinction in pay for executive managing directors (EMDs) and partner managing directors (PMDs).
Until now, she says total compensation for EMDs in corporate finance has been capped at around US$2.5m, no matter how well they performed. By comparison, she says PMDs last year received anything from US$4m to US$8m.
"After a good year, Goldman are more than ever aware of the fact that they need to manage EMDs' disappointment," she adds.