Goldman's elite group gets 78 new members

Seventy-eight employees were named partners at Goldman Sachs, joining an elite and powerful group at the investment bank.

"The appointments recognize some of Goldman Sachs' most valued senior professionals, their embodiment of our culture and values, and their leadership of the firm's business and people " said CEO Lloyd Blankfein in an internal email to employees.

Named every two years, the 2014 partner class is slightly larger than 2012's, in which 70 people were named partners, the smallest group named since the firm went public in 1999.

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Among the notable names on this year's list, Richard "Jake" Siewert, a former White House press secretary and head of Goldman's media relations unit, and Colin Ryan, a technology banker based in San Francisco.

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With the addition of the new class, 1.6 percent, or 467, of Goldman's total employees are now partners. Not only do members of this group get paid handsomely—a reported $900,000 salary and a hefty share of the firm's bonus pool—but they also now hold a much-coveted title among Wall Street's elite.

"To say you're a partner at Goldman Sachs is a big deal," said Alan Johnson, managing director of the compensation consultant Johnson and Associates "It's been diminished by the problems overshadowing the whole industry, but it still has a lot of cache."

Goldman Sachs begins the process of choosing its new partner class right after the last one is named, though the process really gets into full swing six months before the new partners are tapped.

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During the process, nominees are vetted by people from different divisions through a process called "cross ruffing," with the nominees' co-workers being interviewed so the partnership committee gets a full view of the nominee. It ends with a call to the future partner from senior management the day the class is named.

Traders were the group with the highest representation in this year's class, accounting for 32 percent of the total, followed by investment bankers at 30 percent and asset management at 14 percent. Just about 9 percent came from research and merchant banking and 12 new partners, or just over 15 percent, came from what is known as the "Federation," or tech ops, human resources and compliance among other divisions.

The portion of women named partners held steady at 14 percent.

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Geographically, the Americas represent 64 percent of the new class, up from 59 percent in 2012, followed by EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) at 24 percent, Asia Pacific at 10 percent and India at 1 percent.