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Those 100-hour work weeks are paying off.
Goldman Sachs delivered record sales and profits on Wednesday — just weeks after a group of overworked junior analysts griped in a viral PowerPoint presentation that the Wall Street giant was forcing them to work around the clock.
The bulge-bracket bank saw its quarterly profit jump nearly 500 percent to $6.84 billion, or $18.60 a share, demolishing the $10.22-a-share forecast of analysts. Revenue totaled $17.7 billion, trouncing estimates of $12.61 billion. The firm said first-quarter revenues more than doubled on a year-over-year basis.
Shares of the New York-based mega-bank were up 4.5 percent in midday trades.
The quarterly windfalls came as Goldman’s deal machine drove underlings to work weeks that routinely exceeded 100 hours, according to first-year analysts in the investment banking division, who called their working conditions “inhumane” and “abusive” as they begged to work just 80 hours a week.
The burned-out bankers also griped in a separate deck that they weren’t getting the $25 food allowance they received when they were working long hours from the office.
The bank said it would try to give the junior bankers Saturday off —but there has been no official word on the stipend.
On a Wednesday conference call, Chief Executive David Solomon said the bank hadn’t seen unusual employee attrition this year despite the defections of several top bankers and executives in recent months. He added that Goldman is hiring more staffers and enforcing stricter rules about working long hours, particularly on Saturdays.
“People will go choose other things because they have bigger opportunities, and we welcome that,” Solomon said. “Often, they become clients when they make these moves. We rarely lose people to competitors.”
During the first quarter, Goldman’s trading revenue surged 47 percent to $6.7 billion as the stock market hit record heights. Its investment-banking division’s profit skyrocketed 73 percent to $3.8 billion as a gushing pipeline of SPACs, or special-purpose acquisition companies, sought to take private companies public in a hurry. Sales from underwriting SPACs and other sales of stock more than quadrupled to $1.6 billion.
The Archegos Capital Management implosion hit Goldman less than other banks, in part because it was among the first to offload Archegos’s assets when the family office couldn’t meet margin calls. Goldman didn’t report any impact from Archegos, whereas rival Credit Suisse, recently reported a $4.7 billion hit.
Last month, Goldman said it would begin offering bitcoin and other digital assets to its its wealth management clients beginning in the second quarter.
During the call Wednesday, Solomon reiterated the bank’s plans and touched on the importance of digital currencies, saying blockchain and the digitization of money will lead to “significant disruption and change in the way money moves around the world.”
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