By Matthew Goldstein and Steve Eder
NEW YORK, June 4 (Reuters) – The decision of Goldman Sachs Group Inc not to tell shareholders that U.S. regulators might sue the bank over a subprime mortgage-linked security could cause other companies to rethink the way they handle regulatory investigations.
The investment banking powerhouse has said its lawyers found no reason to disclose a Wells notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission because the transaction at issue was relatively small and the case had little legal weight.
But another calculus may have been at work, too: the potential negative impact that disclosing the Wells notice would have had on the firm’s share price last fall.
A report last summer by Cornerstone Research, a securities litigation consulting shop, found that shares of companies that reported getting a Wells notice from the SEC incurred a “statistically significant market-adjusted” price decline.
A Wells notice is a letter indicating the likelihood of regulatory action and giving the people or company targeted a chance to respond.