Few details of the initial public offering plan were made available, but Goldman is widely expected to sell a 10 percent to 15 percent stake this summer, likely raising more than $2 billion.
The partners' approval was anticipated. In a major embarrassment, the 130-year-old firm pulled an IPO plan off the table last year amid emerging-markets turmoil.
Goldman said that co-Chairman Jon Corzine would step down after the offering and that the firm's head of finance, David Viniar, has been tapped as the new chief financial officer. Viniar joined the firm in 1980 as an investment banker.
Goldman said it expects to file its registration statement outlining its IPO plan on March 16.
"We are taking this step to secure permanent capital to grow; to share ownership broadly among our employees now and through future compensation; and to permit us to use publicly traded securities to finance acquisitions," Goldman officials said in a statement.
Rivals Merrill Lynch (MER) and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (MWD) have larger market capitalizations than the $20 billion to $22 billion at which some analysts now value Goldman.
Written By Emily Church, CBS MarketWatch