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July 2021 | GSAM Connect

Leading the Way with Katie Koch

Katie Koch shares her thoughts on the benefits of diverse experiences and lessons learned while leading a team through the pandemic.

A question that has been asked by some of our Summer Analysts so far is around my tenure. I’ve been at Goldman Sachs for eighteen years. A long time, particularly as today people tend to move more quickly from organisation to organisation and job to job. One of the fortunate things about Goldman Sachs is that it’s large enough that I've been able to move around and have a lot of different roles. This diversity of experience has helped me improve professionally and as a leader.

In my time at Goldman Sachs, I've worked in Private Wealth Management, I've run our multi-asset class team and most recently I've had the honor of helping to lead our equity business.  And so while it's been one organization, I've been able to put together a really diverse portfolio of interesting jobs. Aside from making me feel like I’m moving forward in my career, it has also offered practical help: the relationships I’ve made along the way have helped me get things done. As an example, when I joined our equities team, and started working on a turnaround of this business, I was able to call on my colleagues from the multi-asset class business and say, hey, we have some really great products here.  And they were one of our earlier clients that we got on board in turning the business around.  These relationships can help you so much as you navigate an organization, and they multiply and they amplify each other. 

On a similar topic, I’m also keen to remind my team that a lot of the answers to questions we ask ourselves as investors sit outside of 200 West, our head office in New York. A broad network, a broad set of experiences, professionally and personally, help better frame your questions, and are integral for idea generation.

When I started in our equities business, we had a franchise with some great attributes, but to stay competitive we needed to look ahead; we needed to develop new products. From thematic offerings, to more concentrated and ESG integrated portfolios, to customized separately managed accounts, and active ETFs, we developed a range of new strategies and wrappers over the years. We took a look at the active equity space and found areas where we could employ our investment acumen while anticipating client demand for greater returns, transparency, tax efficiency, and customization. In the process, we found that disruption of traditional offerings and wrappers was going to be key in driving better outcomes. In part, ideas for these innovations came as a result of discussions with people outside of Goldman Sachs including clients, competitors, and thought leaders who are closest to these trends and could have a direct commercial impact on our business. Humility is the cornerstone of our team’s culture, so it’s incumbent upon us to seek inspiration from key stakeholders in our broader network in both our investment processes and product development efforts to deliver the best of Goldman Sachs to our clients.

Looking ahead, we have to take some learnings from this pandemic and apply these to the way that we're going to move forward; as investors we know that constraints breed innovation. We now have the tools to improve the work-life balance and to give people a much needed break and a level of flexibility that will help get us more longevity.  As a leader, I'm looking for a lot of employee longevity because I think it's better for the culture and it's better for the results of the organization.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Koch,

Katie Koch,

Co-head Fundamental Equity, Goldman Sachs Asset Management

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