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Goldman's copy-cat cost cut

The powers that be at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein are no doubt raising their eyebrows and saying: "I told you so."

Eighteen months ago, the bank merged its debt and equity operations, only to encounter cynical suspicions that it was a cost-cutting initiative. Now its move is being replicated by Goldman Sachs.

Staff at Goldman have been expecting this for a while. First, the human resources operations for the equities group and for the fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) group were merged. Then teams started to relocate, bringing staff from both sides physically closer together. The bank's online research portal also combines research and data on any topic into customizable screens. "I don't know exactly how it is going to work, but we are definitely going to merge. You wait and see," says one FICC insider.

The official line is that the process will gain momentum in the new year, and while the two groups will continue to run separate profit-and-loss accounts, they will be working together far more closely and, in PR-speak, developing synergies. The downside for Goldman staff is that they will have to admit they are copying DrKW rather than leading the field.

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