Goldman Sachs Q3 too sluggish for a thoroughbred

October 15, 2015

The bank’s $1.4 bln profit only missed estimates by a hair. But steep revenue drops in bonds and equities knocked its return on equity down to 7 pct for the quarter. That’s Citi and BofA territory. Goldman’s intentionally edgier business model requires better returns.

Goldman’s bank deal swaps one risk for another

August 14, 2015

Snapping up $16 bln of deposits from GE Capital helps cut the firm’s costs and reliance on bond market financing. Regulators may be happy, but the more deposits it has, the more Goldman, like Morgan Stanley, can use them to fund some trading. That poses systemic issues, too.

A Goldman governance fix could serve Blankfein

February 23, 2012

The bank has resisted separating the chairman and CEO roles for years, but there may now be a convenient reason to do so. Becoming chairman only would allow Lloyd Blankfein to gracefully move on and put the onus on his presumptive successor, Gary Cohn, to carve his own path.

Goldman follows board stitch-up with smackdown

April 2, 2012

The Wall Street firm just avoided a push to split the chairman and CEO roles by simply renaming its top director. Now it has given the job to the wrong guy. James Schiro is already on the board, and his record hardly proves he’ll ask tough questions. Goldman isn’t getting it.

Goldman should relish being lost in crowd for now

April 17, 2012

The firm is used to standing out, but couldn’t match JPMorgan’s Q1 investment banking returns. Goldman’s prudent approach to risk and taxes, however, may offset concerns over treating clients like muppets. It could be welcome relief after a spate of governance and image problems.

Goldman at last gets a conflicts comeuppance

September 11, 2012

The bank forfeited $20 mln after playing both sides of Kinder Morgan’s $21 bln El Paso deal. It’s peanuts next to Goldman’s other profits from the transaction. But on the heels of Barclays and Del Monte, it warns Wall Street about skewed incentives in terms it can understand.

High-speed traders just latest market rent-seekers

April 1, 2014

In “Flash Boys” Michael Lewis claims they are rigging equity markets. Even the Goldman COO acknowledges concerns. New rules, taxes or structures could reduce unfair advantages. While someone has to make money making markets, profit shouldn’t be allowed to grow unchecked.

When denials can be as instructive as the truth

March 7, 2014

Goldman’s elevator annotator failed for a denial of identity. Bitcoin’s fingered father rejects founding the crypto-currency. From this shadowy world, such confusion is expected. Not so among systemically important insurers, where Pimco’s “Bond King” Bill Gross reigns supreme.