Nevertheless, it is plainly time for change at Goldman; 1994 has been a time of almost universal frustration for the firm, and that is not just because the market has 'tanked', as its American partners would say. A big source of that frustration has been the anachronistic ownership structure that for so long was the firm's greatest strength.
The pressure to bring talented newcomers into key jobs means veterans are forced into early retirement as 'limited partners'; Mr Friedman himself is only 56. Even the lure of dollars 5m a year in profit disbursements - the partners' average award last year - hasn't prevented defections by some big producers. More than one of the firm's most promising bond-arbitrageurs has turned down a Goldman partnership in recent years.
Mr Friedman was the last vocal opponent of Goldman 'going public', of following rivals such as Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers into a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The timing of his resignation is thus unfortunate for one reason alone: this is probably the worst time in the past five years to be considering floating a securities firm.