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Goldman Sachs hires 150 London staff ahead of UK retail banking launch

The Marcus brand will start as an ‘easy access’ savings account.

Goldman Sachs has hired 150 extra staff in London as it prepares the launch of its first consumer bank account in the UK.

The Wall Street giant has secured a base of 100 management, IT and product development staff through mix of internal and external hires, with an extra 50 staff having been employed to run its customer service call centre.

Further hiring is expected as the digital bank – which is set to launch later this summer – grows.

All staff working for the Marcus by Goldman Sachs brand will be based at Goldman’s current central London offices, but will follow the rest of the bank’s team when they move to their new nine-story site off Farringdon Street next year.

The retail bank operations will be headed up by former TSB director Des McDaid.

The Marcus brand – named after one of the bank’s founders Marcus Goldman – will offer a “high yield” savings account, though the interest rate for its UK customers has yet to be confirmed.

The account aims to offer a “higher than the national average” interest rate, according its website.

Unlike a current account, the savings account will not cater to direct debits but will allow for easy access to cash if needed.

It marks the brand’s first expansion outside the US and puts it among only a small number of digital only consumer-facing banks in the UK, including Starling Bank and Monzo, with no plans to run bricks-and-mortar branches.

The bank originally launched Marcus in the US in 2016, offering personal loans and savings accounts online.

News of the lender’s hiring spree are likely to soothe concerns over the UK’s waning attraction for foreign firms in light of Brexit, following a string of relocation announcements from international banks and insurers.

Goldman itself has flagged plans to move client-facing staff from its investment banking operations to the likes of Madrid and Milan, as well as Frankfurt where it expects to at least double its 200-strong workforce.

The US banking giant’s move into retail banking has been seen as a way to diversify after a difficult stretch for investment banking desks across the industry.

But Goldman Sachs surprised markets in April when it reported better than expected revenues and earnings, having benefited from volatile prices across stocks and other assets.

Revenues came in at more than 10 billion US dollars (£7.5 billion) compared to forecasts of 8.7 billion US dollars (£6.6 billion), while earnings per share beat expectations of 5.58 US dollars (£4.20) at 6.95 US dollars (£5.23).

That was helped by a 38% jump in equity trading revenue to 2.3 billion US dollars (£1.7 billion) compared to the same period last year.

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