Goldman Sachs is cutting up to 3,200 employees this week as Wall Street girds for tough year

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Goldman Sachs is laying off fewer employees than feared, but the cut is still a deep one.

The global investment bank is letting go of as many as 3,200 employees starting Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the firm’s plans.

That amounts to 6.5% of the 49,100 employees Goldman had in October, which is below the 8% reported last month as the upper end of possible cuts.

The final figure, reported earlier by Bloomberg, is a result of internal discussions between business heads and top management over the last month, said the person, who declined to be identified speaking about personnel decisions.

Goldman CEO David Solomon kicked off Wall Street’s layoff season in September and then opted to enact the industry’s deepest cuts so far. Bank employee levels swelled over the last two years in response to a boom in deals and trading activity, but the good times didn’t last: IPO issuance plunged 94% last year because of suddenly inhospitable markets, according to SIFMA data.

Now, with concerns that the economy will slow further this year, Goldman is pulling back on head count in case stock and bond issuance and mergers don’t rebound. Solomon is also scaling back his ambitions in consumer banking, resulting in part of the layoffs.

Other investment banks are adopting a “wait and see” attitude in the coming weeks. If revenues are tracking below estimates in February and March, the industry could cut more workers, said a person with knowledge of a leading Wall Street firm’s internal processes.

“If things haven’t gotten better in the first quarter, we’ll have more changes,” said compensation consultant Alan Johnson. “You can’t have these expensive people sitting around with nothing to do.”

Goldman’s move follows smaller cuts from Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Barclays in recent months. Beleaguered Credit Suisse, which is in the midst of a restructuring, has said it would cut 2,700 employees in the last three months of 2022 and aims to remove a total of 9,000 positions by 2025.

Meanwhile, Goldman is still moving forward with plans to hire junior bankers and in other areas as needed, the source said.

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