Goldman Sachs isn’t just losing managing directors; it’s hiring them too. The firm just re-hired a longtime veteran of the company who formerly worked within the firm’s most lucrative and controversial business. Former macro prop trader Robert Surgent rejoined the company in June as a managing director in New York.
Surgent worked at Goldman Sachs for over 17 years until 2010, when banks had to cease the practice of proprietary trading following the implementation of the Volcker Rule. He jumped to the buy-side in 2011, spending five years as a macro portfolio manager at hedge fund Tudor Investment Corp., according to LinkedIn. He last worked as a portfolio manager at Field Street Capital before re-joining Goldman.
Of course, Surgent won’t be refilling his old seat as prop trading remains banned. Still, the hiring is one of the more significant following the May ousting of two of Goldman’s co-heads of trading. The move left the securities business in the sole hands of Ashok Varadhan, who formerly served as the head of macro trading, Surgent’s specialty. The hiring may be a sign of Varadhan putting his own stamp on the division.
Meanwhile, Surgent could be re-joining the sell-side at just the right time. An upcoming new draft of the Volcker Rule will reportedly clear up vagaries that have scared banks off certain trades, not knowing whether they were compliant. It will also drop a stipulation that bars banks from making trades that are held for less than 60 days, with the assumption that those trades are speculative and against the Volcker Rule.
The presumptive changes have created a narrative on Wall Street that banks may soon be better positioned to take more trading risks. Sources told CNBC that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in particular would look for more opportunities across their fixed income, commodities and equities trading businesses. Goldman execs were particularly upbeat on the firm’s first quarter earnings call about the prospects of its trading business.
Goldman didn’t respond to a request to comment on Surgent’s arrival.
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