Partnerships at Goldman: Not Just For Bankers, Traders -- WSJ

By Liz Hoffman Features Dow Jones Newswires

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (October 11, 2017).

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is hiring two technologists at the elite rank of partner, including a new chief data officer, as Wall Street's computer nerds continue to expand their power base.

Jeff Wecker will join as Goldman's chief data officer, with a goal of helping the firm sort through, and in some cases begin to sell, the reams of data it collects every day, the bank said Tuesday. He comes from Bridgewater Associates, the world's biggest hedge fund.

This is his second stint at Goldman, having spent a decade trading derivatives for the bank in New York and Tokyo before leaving in 1994. He later launched an early electronic-trading platform at Lehman Brothers.

Goldman is also hiring Michael Blum, a veteran of high-frequency trading firms KCG Holdings and Getco, to oversee technology in its electronic-trading group.

Goldman has been revamping its trading systems to court so-called quantitative hedge funds that crave speed. It has been upgrading outdated technology, where executives acknowledge Goldman had lost ground to rivals.

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Both men's positions are new ones for Goldman, created under Elisha Wiesel, who was promoted earlier this year to oversee the firm's technology and engineering division.

Goldman has doubled its lateral hiring year-to-date, President Harvey Schwartz said at an investor presentation last month, and has been dangling partnerships for prized recruits. Opening up its most elite ranks to outsiders is an acknowledgment that to grow the firm must look beyond its homegrown talent.

That is especially true in technology, where Goldman fights for talent with Silicon Valley. The firm, which has historically preferred to build its own software from scratch, is increasingly turning to open-source solutions that have worked elsewhere, and hiring outsiders fluent in them.

"There was a long period of time, at Goldman and elsewhere, where being insular was the thing to do," Mr. Wiesel said in an interview. "But all this amazing new technology is being developed outside, and there's value to being able to use that and hiring people who are familiar with it.

"The mix of 'build' versus 'buy' versus 'download' is shifting," he said.

Ten percent of Goldman's 2016 partner class was engineers, up from 8% in 2014. They now make up 6% of Goldman's 450 or so partners, who are among the most richly paid executives on Wall Street.

Write to Liz Hoffman at liz.hoffman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2017 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)