Goldman Sachs ditches a great employee perk

By keeping low-level workers out of its illustrious asset-management services, the company dampens the finance sector's appeal.

By Jason Notte Sep 11, 2013 7:18AM
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. signage is displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (© Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Even the supposedly gilded halls of Goldman Sachs (GS) have been tarnished by ever-encroaching economic inequality.

As the folks at New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer blog point out, a change to the firm's asset-management services earlier this year created a schism between its high-earning alums and those paid more modestly.

For years, one of the greatest perks of working for Goldman was the ability to keep your personal stock portfolio and other financial holdings within the firm's prestigious asset-management division regardless of your salary, even after you had left or retired.

As Goldman grew from 13,000 employees at the time it went public in 1999 to more than 30,000 today, its perks have become a bit less lush.

According to several ex-employees, Goldman earlier this year began requiring employees with less than $1 million in assets at the firm to pay a $3,000 annual fee to keep their Goldman accounts open. The firm followed up with a letter telling below-limit account holders they would be forced to move their accounts to Fidelity by the end of 2014.

Goldman has since been so inundated with calls about the switch from employees and alums alike that its toll-free number for employee financial services kicks off with: "Please press 1 if your call is regarding the Fidelity migration."

"The platform we've developed is for a high-net-worth customer," an unnamed source told Daily Intelligencer. "A huge chunk of the people who work for us do not fall into that category."

The ugly bit of truth is that Goldman cared about its lower-income employees' pedestrian assets only because it had to. Employees were once forced to keep their assets in-house for compliance reasons. Recently, Goldman worked out a deal to shift accounts of current and former employees into a "broker of choice" arrangement with Fidelity.

As much as lower-level employees may hate losing all that high-end financial help, it's only part of a perks package that's been steadily disintegrating over the last decade. While Goldman once gave all of its employees shares after the company's public offering in 1999, it steadily stopped allowing employees to have their taxes prepared by in-house accountants and from getting home mortgages made through arrangements with the firm.

With Harvard graduates already shunning Wall Street for more altruistic and techy careers, disappearing perks aren't exactly helping financial firms turn the tide.

More on moneyNOW

Sep 11, 2013 2:56PM
Wouldn't it be BEST if we ditched Goldman Sachs? Aren't they the Black Hole center of the financial corruption universe? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sep 11, 2013 9:58AM
Ah yet another story of employers having  leverage over job seekers/holders because they can, wonderful side effect of high unemployment.
Sep 11, 2013 2:13PM
Corporate Greed continues to go unchecked.
Sep 11, 2013 2:50PM
Another brick in the wall.  Another salvo in Goldman's war against less well-to-do American citizens, like the fleecing of homeowners that they largely engineered, bailed out by former Goldman CEO Paulson.  Their executives should be hung by their thumbs until they pay the last 10 yrs bonuses back to the American people.
Sep 11, 2013 9:03AM
Many tax preparers are cautioned against succumbing W-2itis (a disease caused by client after client appearing before said preparer to have annual returns filed whose W-2s far exceed that of the preparer).  This action may spur a new disease, portfolioitis...
Sep 11, 2013 4:08PM
Goldman Sachs have become too big for their Britchers and they need to be taken down a few notches.
Sep 11, 2013 2:14PM
This isn't so bad. I thought the "perk" being lost was their paychecks. HAHAHAHA
Sep 11, 2013 2:10PM
Being forced to keep your brokerage accounts with any firm is BS.  Having freedom of choice and being able to make your investing decisions without 5 people overseeing and approving your trading decisions will be a welcome experience -- IF -- being at Goldman was anything like being at Morgan Stanley.    Freedom of choice.  You're better off.
Sep 11, 2013 6:27PM
Those who got a lot will get more....those who don't got much will get less (but pay more!)
Sep 11, 2013 3:33PM
You certainly can't accuse then of having a tin ear...
Sep 12, 2013 3:45PM

You have to wonder: how much money is laundered through these "to big to

 fail" huge finance companies.

Sep 11, 2013 7:13PM
Sep 11, 2013 8:18AM
Anyone else sick of the constant barrage of "hate the rich" class warfare articles?  We live in the greatest country on earth, with limitless opportunities for success and wealth and the freedom to pursue happiness.  No one is stopping you from pursuing your dream.  No one is stopping you from taking a risk. No one is stopping you from educating yourself or working hard and improving yourself and your lot in life.    So you can sit around and make excuses and complain about what you don't have, or you can do something about it.

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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