The Indianpost

Pot plants in firing line as Goldman Sachs cuts costs

Goldman’s troops are up in arms over the target of the investment bank’s latest round of cost cuts – the humble pot plant.

The bank is thought to spend tens of thousands of pounds a year on the supply and upkeep of plants in its London headquarters but this week ordered that many of them be removed in a bid to cut down on overheads.

Sources say the decision provoked disquiet at the bank and that some employees tried to block the move, leading to a stand-off between the plant pickers and staff.

In some cases, a solution is believed to have been found only after employees agreed to sign forms guaranteeing to take responsibility for particular plants. Many of those plants that were removed are believed to have been given to charities.

That pot plants were the subject of the controversy will spark surprise given that Goldman is cutting about 1,000 jobs globally as Wall Street and City banks try to cope with difficult markets and lower business volumes.

Banks cut costs and removed perks en masse in the wake of the financial crisis but many of those benefits had reemerged as markets recovered.

Goldman’s policy of removing plants is one of the first examples of cost cutting to emerge in the latest phase of the downturn.

In 2008, Goldman reduced the use of taxis for staff and bankers were encouraged to stay at lower cost hotels.

Other companies took similar steps. Citigroup and Credit Suisse asked employees to cut back on colour photocopying, while DTZ, the property company, stopped supplying biscuits at its meetings.

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