‘Don’t you know how Wall Street rolls, sister? Sex gets you further than any degree’
Shocking memoir reveals depth of misogyny at blue chip US bank
By Natasha Livingstone
dmg media (UK)
SEX was worth more than a university degree at the toxic ‘boys club’ of Goldman Sachs, a former female employee has claimed in a shocking new memoir. Jamie Fiore Higgins rose to the level of managing director in Goldman’s New York offices after 17 years but quit in 2016. One of the few senior women bankers, Ms Higgins said that she experienced harassment, physical abuse and bullying at the hands of male colleagues. In the most shocking alleged incident, she claims that a male subordinate grabbed her by the throat and pinned her against a wall, screaming: ‘If I could, I’d rip your f***ing face off.’ It came after the man, who was married, is said to have had an affair with one of his clients, leading Ms Higgins to remove him from the client account. According to the memoir, the affair was reported by the colleague’s spouse, leading another senior staff member to respond: ‘I can’t get rid of him, but I can tell him to control his wife.’ Ms Higgins, who at the time of her resignation was earning a prebonus salary of $875,000 at the age of 40, also said that she was told she got her promotion ‘because of [her] vagina’. The same male colleague purportedly said: ‘Don’t you know how Wall Street rolls, sister? At Goldman, sex will propel you further than an Ivy League diploma.’ In another alleged incident, male traders kept ‘f***ability’ rankings of women in the office. The memoir also claims that the bank had a booklet of new analysts’ ID pictures, which Ms Higgins wrote, triggered ‘whistles, hoots, and hollers from traders’ every time it was brought out. ‘Research needs to be done on these ladies. I want t** size, ass shape, and leg length. We can’t rank on f***ability by just a black and white picture,’ a colleague allegedly said after seeing the booklet. Outside the office, Ms Higgins describes booze and drug-fuelled parties with clients where infidelity was supposedly rife. ‘Jerry (a colleague) was on the dance floor next to our table, bumping and grinding with one of the assistants. ‘His hands cupped her ass and I could see his wedding ring shine off the band’s strobe lights as he squeezed,’ claimed Ms Higgins, who said she was not immune to advances herself. She claims that a male colleague, so drunk his eyes were bloodshot, tried for a kiss on a night out. ‘I’ve had a thing for you for months. Let’s grab a room tonight,’ said the colleague, who then, Ms Higgins claims, placed his hand on her knee and squeezed hard, despite her pushing him off. The memoir, titled Bully Market: My Story Of Money And Misogyny At Goldman Sachs, also describes a culture where greed was rife, with colleagues purportedly boasting about plans to buy Rolex watches, diamond jewellery and flash cars. ‘I’m still working on my F*** You Money status,’ one banker allegedly said. ‘But for my next vacation I’m chartering a private plane. No more sitting with the fat ugly Joes in commercial.’ Goldman Sachs has said that the claims would have been investigated had they been flagged to its human resources department at the time. Ms Higgins is not the first person to accuse the bank of misogyny. This week news outlet Bloomberg reported that Goldman allegedly paid more than $12million to a female executive to bury claims of a sexist culture. Kathy Ruemmler, general counsel at Goldman, said: ‘Bloomberg’s reporting contains factual errors, and we dispute this story.’ The company is also facing a lawsuit initiated in 2010, which now has 1,200 plaintiffs who allege widespread bias against women in pay and promotions. Goldman Sachs denies wrongdoing.