It has been a turbulent year for Goldman’s ongoing attempt to penetrate the consumer lending and savings account market, after Michael Cerda, the head of product for Goldman’s consumer bank Marcus, left in April after just over two years with the bank, followed by the September departure of Harit Talwar, the head of Marcus who was hired from Discovery Financial with the task of converting the “vampire squid” into a “lovable teddy bear.” The two departures sparked speculation that Goldman wasn’t getting much traction in penetrating a market that has traditionally been served by the other US megabanks such as JPM, BofA, Citi and Wells.
So in what is perhaps an attempt to fix the ongoing Marcus growing pains, this morning CNBC reported that in addition to loans and deposits, Goldman is preparing to rollout a new wealth management product “for the masses” via Marcus: “the bank has begun internal testing of a new automated investment service ahead of a broader rollout early next year, according to an email obtained exclusively by CNBC. Employees who sign on to the digital service, called Marcus Invest, will pay an annual management fee of 0.15%, according to the company memo.”
“As we prepare for the public launch in Q1 2021, we are pleased to invite consumer and wealth management colleagues to provide early feedback on Marcus Invest through our beta program,” the email said. The memo was signed by Tucker York and Stephanie Cohen, co-heads of the consumer and wealth management division.
The push to fully embrace a fintech offering, similar to that provided by peers such as Betterment, is the latest example of a shift toward Main Street that begun in 2016 with its Marcus brand of personal loans and savings accounts. The bank, which has long catered to the ultra-wealthy, corporate officers and institutional investors, is seeking new sources of revenue away from trading and investment banking. And, as CNBC explains, as part of that push, the firm hopes to broaden its reach in wealth management to the so-called mass affluent. For years, the bank has mostly targeted clients with at least $25 million to invest for white-glove service from its private wealth management group.