Goldman is making around 250 people in London redundant this week and according to our inside source in the secretarial pool, no small number of them are PAs.
Getting rid of personal assistants doesn't make a huge amount of sense when it comes to cutting costs, but it's an easy way of shaving headcount without eliminating (potential) fee earners. Maybe this is why GS is said to be dispensing with their services so freely.
Goldman declined to comment.
We immediately checked with insiders at other US banks, and they said PAs are going there too. But this is only because the people they worked for are also being eliminated.
"It's really just collateral damage," said one VP. "Most of them have lost their bosses, so it's inevitable that they'll go."
The poor PAs who are left behind are said to be busier than ever. When times were good, one PA would typically have served five or six bankers. Now, however, more than ten is becoming the norm.
"All our assistants are performing a very necessary function," says one fixed income banker. "They do all the travel arrangements and expenses, organize conference calls, meeting rooms, all that sort of stuff. But the bulk of their time is taken up with online shopping."
Neil Borne, a director of City PA recruitment firm Diana Duggin Associates, says he has yet to come across a deluge of redundant PAs: "Banks are just thinning the ranks throughout."