People in Hong Kong love their supercars… and their vanity plates. Just watch this. (This is also one of my favourites.) So why would the employees of Goldman Sachs be any different? Good news, they’re not.
We spent five minutes (literally one lap) driving through the parking garage at Cheung Kong Center, home of Goldman Sachs Asia, and here are just a few of the highlights.
The premise is more light-hearted and whimsical than it is literal exposé – I have no idea who these cars actually belong to. Although Goldman Sachs is the largest occupant in Cheung Kong, other tenants include Jefferies, RBS, BlackRock, and of course, Li Ka Shing, who has an indoor pool and private garden on the top floor.
The amazing thing is that, as is customary in the region, most senior bankers are chauffeur driven (a Filipino driver costs a mere $US1,500 a month), so this isn’t even the most accurate (or ostentatious) reflection of reality.
Just to put this slideshow into perspective, you need to understand how much more expensive luxury cars are in Asia. According to Mercedes Benz, a new S600 sedan that runs $US166,900 in the US will set you back $US386,000 in Hong Kong — or 21 years of servitude for a Pilipino chauffeur.
'This country does a great job of creating wealth, but not a great of distributing it. But I don't want to do something that stops our ability to build wealth.'
'The tradition of individual philanthropy remains a core tenet of our culture.'
'Current and retired senior employees of the firm granted over $US400,000 via Goldman Sachs Gives to One Fund Boston to assist victims and families affected by the tragic events at the Boston Marathon.'
'This is a sensitive time for us, and (the firm) wants to make sure that we're not being seen living high on the hog.'
Anonymous Goldman Sachs employee (via New York Post)
'We've got banks like Goldman Sachs ready to invest billions in renewable energy.'
'Goldman Sachs and its people are committed to helping communities where we work and live -- and in places more distant -- where our ideas, people and resources can make a difference.'
'One of the great things about Goldman Sachs is that it allows individuals to be who they are.'
'The people of Goldman Sachs are committed to assisting those in need and the communities around the world through volunteer endeavours and partnerships with nonprofit organisations.'
'We take seriously our responsibility for environmental and social stewardship and are committed to leveraging our people, capital and ideas to further effective market- based solutions that help address critical environmental issues.'
'(We are told that) nobody should be able to identify us as Goldman employees once we leave the office.'
Anonymous Goldman Sachs Analyst (via New York Magazine)
'We commit ourselves to taking philanthropic action based on discipline, innovation and a strategic approach over the long term.'
'Is it possible to make too much money, to have too much ambition, to be too successful? As the guardian of the interests of the shareholders and, by the way, for the purposes of society, I'd like (my employees) to continue to do what they are doing. I don't want to put a cap on their ambition. It's hard for me to argue for a cap on their compensation.'
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