Goldman Sachs' year-end bonuses are going to be brutal, and everyone's pointing fingers on who's to blame

Goldman Sachs is considering deep cuts to employees' bonus pools this year, and it could set off a wave of defections.

Goldman Sachs' year-end bonuses are going to be brutal, and everyone's pointing fingers on who's to blame

Happy Friday. Dan DeFrancesco checking in from NYC.

Over the past few weeks, a mushroom of secrets about the inner workings of Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto exchange, FTX, have come to light.

From that, the once shadowy figure of Caroline Ellison has emerged as an important character behind FTX's seeming success and surprising downfall.

Ellison was the head of Alameda Research — the trading firm through which Bankman-Fried moved crypto tokens in tandem with running FTX. Amidst the revelation that FTX borrowed money from customer accounts to fund bets via Alameda, Ellison has become a subject of online speculation.

Ellison's virtual presence, however, is dwindling by the day. Her LinkedIn, online photos, and contact information have largely disappeared over the past couple of weeks. That's left journalists, investors, and voyeurs of all types scrambling to find information about her.

The curiosity has only heightened since CoinDesk reported via anonymous sources that she was in an on-and-off relationship with SBF.

Right now, the most reliable information about Ellison has been sourced from her Tumblr account, and the handful of media interviews she's given over the years. The bones of her virtual self suggest that Ellison is extraordinarily bright and highly educated as well as a math whiz and a big reader. She speculates often about gender roles and shifts in culture and society on Tumblr.

Here's what we know about Caroline Ellison.

December 22, 2022: This story has been updated to reflect the details of Ellison's plea deal.

Source: Forbes

Source: Cryptoslate and Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Gawker and Math Prize for Girls.

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Gawker

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

Source: Gawker

Source: Insider and CoinDesk.

Source: Screenshot of the Ellison's supposed Tumblr provided by Twitter handle URL.

Source: Gawker citing Sequoia Capital's profile of SBF, which was removed after the fallout.

Source: Ellison's worldoptimization Tumblr.

Source: Ellison's worldoptimization Tumblr.

Ellison's worldoptimization Tumblr.

Ellison's worldoptimization Tumblr.

Source: Ellison's worldoptimization Tumblr.

Source: Caroline Ellison's Twitter, URL.

Source: Insider

One programming note, we'll be off on Monday, but back in your inboxes on Tuesday, so fear not. You can't get rid of me that easy.

Today, we've got stories on the top public-cloud trends heading into 2023, SBF is out on bail, and why fast fashion sucks for the environment.

But first, to be clear, it's not my fault.

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  1. The blame game at Goldman Sachs.

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You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

When things were going good, Goldman Sachs' CEO David Solomon could seemingly do no wrong. Last year, thanks to a booming M&A market and a favorable trading environment, life was good at the elite Wall Street bank.

Sure, there were some signs of trouble within Goldman's consumer business, as Insider reported at the time, but who could be bothered worrying about that. Everyone — even the juniors — was making money!

Fast forward to today and boy are things different. The M&A market has been about as quiet as a church mouse, the consumer division is on its last legs, layoffs have hit the bank, and the juniors are getting worked to the bone again.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, word has come down that bankers shouldn't get their hopes up about year-end bonuses. And while most banks plan on handing out lighter payouts, Goldman's are shaping up to be considerably smaller compared with last year.

But, considering the amount of external factors at play — rising interest rates and a slumping economy — and the fact that 2021 was such a banner year, I'm sure everyone will take this in stride. After all, their base compensation is far and above what the average American can dream of making. Right?

Not quite.

Insider's Dakin Campbell and Emmalyse Brownstein report that the finger pointing internally is already starting ahead of what is set to be a brutal bonus season.

Some insiders are blaming investment bankers, who enjoyed extra-large payouts in 2021 thanks to a record year in M&A but now aren't being asked to bear the brunt of the lower bonuses despite a lack of deal flow.

However, the true target internally, according to Dakin's and Emmalyse's reporting, is Solomon and his failed push into consumer banking.

As Dakin and Emmalyse point out, the real risk here is defection. Traditionally, the end of bonus season marks the beginning of people-moves season, as folks start considering new gigs. A lower-than-expected bonus only adds fuel to that fire.

We won't have to wait long to see how things shake out. Fourth-quarter and full-year earnings will come in mid-January, followed by an investor day scheduled for the end of February.

Click here to read more about the turmoil at Goldman ahead of bonus season.

In other news:

  1. Everyone's got big plans for the public cloud in 2023. Top tech executives from 10 Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs, Citadel, and KKR, share their predictions for the top public-cloud trends next year. Read about the 6 key topics here.

  2. Bad news: You're not the only one waiting for rates to drop to buy a home; so is Wall Street. Institutional investors have $110 billion ready to deploy on buying and building single-family homes. Here's what a home-buying spree from Wall Street could mean for the entire industry.

  3. Guggenheim Partners Scott Minerd passed away. The firm's chief investment officer was also one of Guggenheim's first managing partners and a popular market commentator. Here's how the industry reacted to the loss of a legend.

  4. At Bank of America, slow and steady wins the race. While BofA might not sit at the top of the league tables for trading or dealmaking, that's OK. For CEO Brian Moynihan, it's all about "responsible growth," Bloomberg reports. More on why the bank isn't looking to chase revenue and risk getting out over its skis.

  5. Sam Bankman-Fried is going home for the holidays. The disgraced crypto founder of FTX was released on $250 million bail and is required to stay at his parents home in California. And before you even ask, no, he didn't actually shell out $250 million for bail. Here's how it works. And here's a quick rundown of all the charges against some of the former FTX and Alameda executives.

  6. Those cheap knock-off clothes you love buying are actually destroying the environment. Lots of clothes are ending up in the garbage, and it's becoming a serious problem. So cool it on the new wardrobes and take an extra trip to the laundromat.

  7. Sports documentaries are an athletes best friend. The so-called "Netflix effect" is real, as athletes look to cash in and build their brands from movies and television series. Here's how they are doing it.

  8. Tough times ahead for Amazon. Leaked internal docs show that the giant retailer isn't going to see booming growth in 2023. More on why there will be more cost cuts.

  9. Tom Brady just became the highest-paid NFL player of all time. The greatest of all time is now the most-paid of all time. Check out the 34 highest-paid players in NFL history.

  10. Maybe hold off on returning that ugly sweater from your aunt, because it may cost you. Those returns won't be free. These are the major retailers charging.

Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email EMAIL, tweet URL, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet URL) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet URL) in London.

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