Top Goldman Sachs executive to leave in blow to asset management ambitions

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Goldman Sachs executive Julian Salisbury is leaving the bank to join Sixth Street Partners, a blow to chief executive David Solomon’s efforts to build up its asset and wealth management division. 

Salisbury’s departure is the latest from Goldman’s asset management business, where he was chief investment officer, with other senior executives including Katie Koch and Luke Sarsfield having left within the past year. Goldman on Friday also confirmed that Takashi Murata, co-head of Asia Pacific private investing, is departing the bank. 

Salisbury, who has been at Goldman for 25 years, was co-head of the Wall Street group’s asset management division until last year but his role changed to chief investment officer in a major reorganisation by Solomon

“When you look at what’s happened over the past 12 months and how we’ve reformulated the business, it wasn’t surprising to the partners in the business that people have left,” Goldman’s head of asset and wealth management Marc Nachmann told the Financial Times. 

Goldman does not plan to fill Salisbury’s role, which was created as part of the reorganisation last year.

“We feel pretty good about the set-up we have,” Nachmann said, adding that employee attrition in the business has been lower in 2023 than in recent years.

Salisbury said in a statement that leaving Goldman was a “difficult decision” and called his soon-to-be role of co-CIO at Sixth Street “a unique opportunity to reunite with a group of people for whom I have deep, longstanding respect”.

Salisbury is close friends with Sixth Street chief executive Alan Waxman, with the two having backed the takeover of Swiss communications company Cablecom while they worked together at Goldman in the early 2000s. The deal proved successful for Goldman and other investors including Apollo Global.

Sixth Street has become one of the most active private capital firms in lending to corporate buyouts and investing in the media rights of top football clubs including FC Barcelona and the stadium of Real Madrid.

Salisbury was expected to help lead the $65bn-in-assets, San Francisco-based investment group’s operations outside of the US, said a source familiar with the matter.

Goldman’s asset and wealth management businesses were combined in October and they form the cornerstone of Solomon’s efforts to diversify the firm’s business away from investment banking and trading.

The Wall Street bank has been active in asset and wealth management for decades and has $2.7tn in assets under supervision across equities, private equity, credit and fixed income.

But the division’s revenues are much smaller than its core investment banking and trading business, which investors view as unpredictable and attract a lower stock market valuation.

The asset management division for years made much of its profits from investments Goldman has made with its own capital. The bank is in the process of shrinking this business, which it blames on its volatility and treatment by regulators. 

It is trying to earn more money from the outside funds it manages, raising more than $200bn in gross third-party funds since 2020, with a target of $225bn by 2024.

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