David Solomon, Goldman Sachs chief executive since October 2018, has argued for the partnership to be more exclusive © Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs is preparing to name the smallest number of new partners since before the bank went public and plans to offer them a more lucrative way to participate in the company’s private investment funds. 

The biennial announcement of Goldman’s newly minted partners is a holdover from the bank’s pre-IPO days, and the title now confers a $1m salary, investment opportunities and membership of committees that help run the group. 

David Solomon, who became Goldman chief executive in October 2018, has long argued for the partnership to be more exclusive and aspirational, and a person familiar with the matter confirmed his thinking ahead of this year’s promotions.

Mr Solomon had been pushing his executives to nominate fewer partners, resulting in a smaller shortlist for candidates, the person said.

The partnership ranks bulged to almost 500 members in the recent past, compared with 221 when the firm became public, but the list now stands at about 450 after Goldman appointed just 69 in 2018, which was already the lowest number since the company’s flotation on the stock market in 1999. 

This year’s number is set to be even lower, although the final number has not been pinned down. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The person familiar with the plan confirmed Goldman had begun offering partners “carried interest” in its private investment funds, as also reported by the WSJ. Carried interest, a share of the funds future profits, is taxed at a capital-gains rate that is typically much lower than recipients income tax rate.

The shift in investment structure was announced to partners on a video conference a few weeks ago and they have recently been asked if they would like to participate. Investment amounts can be as modest as tens of thousands of dollars.

Goldman declined to comment.

Goldman is enjoying a relatively strong 2020. Its trading and investment banking divisions have profited from the market volatility and low interest rates brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, with revenues in the two units rising 60 and 30 per cent, respectively, in the first half.

The bank’s net income fell by more than a fifth, however, driven by higher expenses and provisions for credit losses.

Goldman shares are down 10 per cent since the start of the year, compared to about 30 per cent for the KBW Banks index.

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