A big question across Wall Street has been the impact the next generation of artificial intelligence will have on the investment-banking workforce. For Goldman Sachs’ investment bankers, the answer may just be over the horizon.

Top Goldman executives told Business Insider that the investment bank is poised to roll out a series of generative AI tools to its workforce as soon as next year.

I am hopeful that 2025 is a year in which a lot of these technologies really land at scale on desks, begin to influence our workflows, begin to help us create new competitive advantages,” George Lee, cohead of the Goldman Sachs Global Institute, said in a June interview with BI.

Lee, a Goldman partner, said it could take years for the consequences of this tech on the bank’s workflows to be fully understood. But he is overall optimistic about how generative AI, an advanced type of machine learning, will impact its workforce.

“It’s going to elevate the creativity and creative problem solving that our bankers bring to clients,” said Lee, who previously sat on the firm’s high-level management committee and served as chief information officer and cohead of the investment bank’s global technology, media, and telecommunications business.

“Putting myself back in my banker shoes, one of the things I’m most excited about is this ability to go into a meeting with a client and being able to get immediate synthesized information,” he explained. “I think instead of taking days to respond to a client request, you can almost iterate a solution and test a hypothesis in a matter of hours,” he added.

Senior bankers will reap the benefits

The focus on AI’s impact on the banking industry comes as companies, big and small, race to determine how their workforces will coexist with one of the most transformative new technologies of the century.

In the context of investment banking — an industry that largely functions through the analog art of dispensing financial advice and leaning on connections — it remains to be seen how AI could upend bankers’ workflows. To be sure, AI solutions could prove a boon to getting work done faster and alleviating the monotony of some aspects of the job, but it’s also expected to result in fewer entry-level roles since some of the tasks typically delegated to junior bankers could be tackled by machines.

“It may reduce certain job categories or roles, but it may create others as well,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon wrote in a letter to shareholders this spring. “As we have in the past, we will aggressively retrain and redeploy our talent to make sure we are taking care of our employees if they are affected by this trend.”

“There probably will be some level of task substitution, probably some level of job substitution,” said Lee. “But — consistent with other waves like this — new functions, new roles, new jobs will emerge.”

Alison Mass, Goldman’s chairman of investment banking, said the topic is still “very, very early,” and “the real productivity gains will be over time.”

While AI could benefit people at all ends of the banking spectrum, she said bankers with lots of experience would be best protected from some of the more unpleasant consequences, like job cuts.

“Generative AI will have very little impact on the M&A banker because of the judgment and advice needed,” Mass predicted in an interview with BI. “AI is not going to replace Tim Ingrassia or Gene Sykes,” she added, referencing two of the firm’s star dealmakers who serve as co-chairs of global mergers and acquisitions.

Goldman eyes ‘productivity gains’

During an earnings call earlier this year, David Solomon, Goldman’s chief executive, said that the bank sees “enormous opportunities for productivity gains and also opportunities for efficiency” from incorporating AI. “I’d really like the focus to be more on productivity,” he added, “and the ability to scale our smartest people to do more with our clients.”

Spending in the space has skyrocketed with Goldman’s own researchers forecasting that AI investments will approach about $200 billion globally by next year.

To help Goldman’s engineers and product specialists liaise about new AI-driven concepts and deliver feedback, Lee said that the bank had set up “several forums” and is evaluating ways that AI can help speed up client-oriented tasks.

Still, some watchers have pontificated that Wall Street firms could shed members of their junior banker classes as they increasingly embrace automation. “In the near term, we anticipate no changes to our incoming analyst classes,” a Goldman spokesperson told the New York Times this spring about the potential ramifications for entry-level financiers. (The spokesperson confirmed to BI that, as of June, this remains the bank’s latest thinking.)

It could improve work for the youngest recruits

AI could also reduce some of the least pleasant aspects of junior bankers’ jobs, like toiling over handmade PowerPoint decks that clients may simply toss in the trash.

Deutsche Bank, for instance, is testing ways to reduce the time some junior bankers spend on tedious tasks from days to seconds, as BI has previously reported. At Goldman, the bank has been exploring how AI could streamline the creation of pitch books or automate company comparison tables.

Many junior bankers spend time on tasks that can sometimes feel “relatively routine,” Lee said. “If we can abstract away some of that work and then take more advantage of their creativity, their intuition, their cognitive skills, et cetera, I think that will both make the job better for them and hopefully bring even more creativity and ideation to client dialogue.”

People like Ingrassia agree that a banker’s best asset — their judgment — will help insulate them from the dangers AI could pose for the financial-services workforce. After all, AI doesn’t yet know how to substitute the thinking of a well-trained, deal-hardened investment banker.

“Clients don’t mandate us for spreadsheets or raw data analysis,” Ingrassia said. “Clients choose Goldman for the interpretation of the analysis we provide aided by our long track record of unparalleled strategic advice.”

The rise of artificial intelligence “is going to be a change the industry needs to confront,” Ingrassia added, but the firm feels confident in its preparedness. “We are very focused on it and think we will be poised to further increase our productivity.”

Business Insider has reported extensively on the ways Wall Street is interacting with AI, from the opportunities to the threats. Here’s a look at some of our recent coverage.

Do you work on Wall Street or in artificial intelligence? Contact this reporter. Reed Alexander can be via SMS/the encrypted app Signal at (561) 247-5758, or via email at ralexander@businessinsider.com.

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