Goldman staff told to grab market share

JON CORZINE, co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, which has abandoned plans for a $30 billion flotation, told the bank's staff yesterday to use the current turmoil in financial markets to grab market share from weaker rivals.

In a transatlantic rallying call, Mr Corzine, who joined co-chairman Henry "Hank" Paulson on the telephone, said: "Our watchword is steady as you go, full steam ahead." He went on: "We have important work to do."

Mr Corzine who was appointed in 1994 with a specific mandate to see the business through to a stock market listing, said : "It is our view based on market conditions that there is a clear execution risk for Goldman Sachs IPO."

He added that the recommendation not to go ahead adopted by the strategy committee the night before "is the advice that we would give a client in similar circumstances".

"Market dislocations have often provided opportunities for the firm in the past," he said. "Great institutions can distinguish themselves in difficult times."

He pointed to the role Goldman played in the Long-Term Capital rescue: "We were a leader in seeking to dampen the systemic risk,"and offered the hand of co-operation to other governments around the world battling to prevent financial collapse.

He concluded with a call to arms: "Let us go forward", followed by the sound of telephone receivers being clumsily put down.

Hank Paulson said the way financial markets had behaved since the Russian default in August was tantamount to an "earthquake without historical precedent". The firm's own estimates were that $100bn had been lost by Western banks in the Russian default and its aftermath "The subterranean shifts," he added, "are still playing themselves out."

Goldman yesterday named 160 new managing directors, of which 36 were in Europe, most working out of Goldman Sachs' European headquarters in London's Fleet Street. The appointment, which involves a profit-related bonus as well as a substantial salary increase, is usually seen as the "fast track" to partnership.

New partners will be appointed within the next few weeks.

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