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OPINION

Hank hits out at bit-parts

Goldman Sachs CEO
Hank Paulson

Perhaps he'd had a bad night's sleep. Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue. Or perhaps the man who told us last June that we needed to buck up our standards in the wake of the corporate crises in the US simply wanted to tell the truth.

Whatever the reason, Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson found himself saying in public what many have only ever said in private: that most employees at investment banks are purely bit-part players.

Paulson had the 8.15am slot at the Salomon Smith Barney financial services conference in New York, and was facing the end of his 22 minutes of questions following on from his 17-minute prepared speech when he was asked how to build for the future. "What you find in our business, and I really don't want to sound heartless, I just want to tell you the facts. What you find is that 15% to 20% of the people add 80% of the value. The traders with the risk experience, the people who do the deals, the people who bring the big clients in."

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