Goldman Sachs cuts costs and refocuses business

Losses on equity investments and a slowdown in dealmaking activity were blamed for Goldman Sachs’ fall in 2Q profits of 12%. Goldman earned $927m in the quarter, down from $1.052bn, a year earlier.

Investment-banking revenue fell 17% to $1.2 billion. Financial advisory revenue slumped 26% to $469m, as M&A activity dried up. But institutional client services revenue rose 11% annually to $3.89bn; revenue in fixed income, currency and commodities leaped 37% to $2.19bn; and equities revenue dipped 12% to $1.7bn.

The news saw Goldman shares rise marginally, by 1.87%.

Non-performing equity investments include Goldman’s investment in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China which resulted in a $194m loss. Other public equity investments lost $112m. Overall, net revenues for its lending and investing division declined 81%, to $203m from over $1bn a year earlier. The investment bank’s total net revenue fell 9% to $6.6bn.

In a statement, Goldman Sachs said it was implementing a number of cost-cutting measures to boost its bottom line, including a cut of 100 jobs and a reduction in expenses, such as market development, occupancy and professional fees.

Goldman is also focusing its efforts on parts of the business generating higher margins, such as private banking and prime broking, and moving away from trading activities and corporate deal making.

Part of the streamlining effort has been the decision to sell off Goldman Sachs Administration Services (GSAS), a hedge fund administrator. GSAS, which administers about $200bn in single manager hedge fund assets on behalf of about 150 investment manager clients from around the world, was sold to State Street Corporation for $550m, subject to certain adjustments.

The transaction does not include Goldman Sachs’ prime brokerage business, which remains an important part of the Goldman Sachs business.

Goldman is also building an in-house private bank for wealthy clients. The aim is to substantially boost a loans portfolio to corporates and individuals, up from $12bn to $100bn. 

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