In this case, greatness being Lloyd Blankfein’s glistening, stark-naked body. Read more »
You can look at Goldman’s results from a variety of distances. Up close, EPS estimates were $2.28 and actuals were $2.85 ($3.33 ex-DVA); $2.85 is more than $2.28 and there’s a dividend increase to boot so, yay there you go.
In the middle distance, you could have some concerns. Core, recurring revenue growth was so-so relative to peers, and costs were high, partly due to pleasing comp accruals, which I guess could concern you if you were a mean ungrateful shareholder and/or a former Goldman employee who for whatever reason is no longer accruing said accruals. Most of the outperformance came from appreciation on investing and lending positions.1
In the far distance, what do you make of it? The most awkward moment of the call for me was when the UBS analyst asked the CFO tag team to try to give him a sense of future Investing & Lending profits. You can’t do that! Investing & Lending is like the stochastic slush fund; revenues were $1.8bn this quarter versus $200 last quarter and ($2.5bn) this time last year. If you could predict those revenues you shouldn’t be a banking analyst. The tag team went like this, paraphrasing wildly: Read more »
As you may have heard, eleven short days from now Grand Central Publishing will release Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story. The book is the memoir of former Goldman employee Greg Smith, who in March of last year penned an op-ed for the New York Times called “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” a resignation letter of sorts in which Smith detailed the ways the firm had disappointed, sickened, and ultimately failed him, from opting for “shortcuts” over “achievement” to becoming, in the twelve years he worked there, a place that only cares about one thing and one thing only: “making money.” While perhaps another person would have turned a blind eye and said nothing, Greg had an obligation, as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist and a Maccabiah Games bronze medal finisher in ping-pong, to say ENOUGH. To violate his employer in the most gruesome fashion possible (that is, publicly), in front of clients and other interested parties. To let the world know this place he worked at for over a decade could continue to be a criminal enterprise but that he was moving on.
The piece, as you might have imagined, did not please many people at Goldman Sachs nor did the $1.5 million deal Smith scored shortly thereafter to write the book. In September, a spokesman for the firm issued a delightfully bitchy, exceptionally underminey comment to the press re: Smith’s tale being no more interesting than that of a disgruntled first-year analyst who thinks he’s got a story to tell and yesterday, amazingly and almost unbelievably but you must believe it because here it is, leaked details of Greg’s performance reviews to the Financial Times which, spoiler alert, are less than flattering. Read more »
What do you know about soon-to-be Goldman Sachs CFO Harvey M. Schwartz? Probably not much, but luckily Bloomberg profiled the guy today and came back with a couple moderately amazing tidbits about David Viniar’s successor. Such as one, the fact that he likes his women with some gunshot wounds on their bones (“Schwartz…lives with Annie Hubbard, whom he met in 2003, a year after she was shot helping subdue a hostage-taker at an East Village bar”) and two, to date he is the only known Goldman Sachs executive to play a role in a chick lit novel that went on to become a major motion picture (Jon Winkelried’s cameo in The Notebook, which was left on the cutting room floor, sadly does not count). Read more »
Lock up your Hamptons Houses
Goldman Sachs To Offer More Would-Be Partners Opportunity To Go David Tepper On An Executive’s Ass This YearBy Bess Levin
Each year, after a long and very comprehensive background check, a lucky group of Goldman employees are abducted from their desks, blindfolded, gagged, and led by candlelight through a dark hallway and into a subterranean conference room. Standing on the table before them are Lloyd Blankfein, Gary Cohn and the rest of the management committee, who ask if they are prepared to pledge their devotion to the firm above all else. Those who agree have their nether regions dipped in a vat of gold and, at the stroke of midnight, are inducted into the Brotherhood of the Sach. While there are many ways that becoming a member of the club will change one’s life, the most important one involves the partaking of astronomical profits on payday. As a result, when people are not invited to join the group, they tend to get very upset. For instance, hedge fund manager David Tepper, who became a billionaire many times over after leaving the firm, was still so upset about the snub twenty years later that he bought and bulldozed the house of the guy who passed him over. Others probably wouldn’t have even gone to the trouble of buying the place first, and operated the wrecking ball themselves. Which is why we say in full seriousness that the Partnership Committee might want to watch its back this year. Read more »
Bloomberg has a story today about how, while one side of Morgan Stanley made lots of money on the Facebook IPO in fees and greenshoe trading profits, another side of it did not do so well. So: how much of the subtext here is actually here?
Morgan Stanley, the underwriter that took Facebook Inc. public at a record high market value, said its own money-management unit bought more than 2 percent of the shares sold through the $16 billion offering.
Morgan Stanley Investment Management invested about $380 million in Facebook’s initial public offering, according to regulatory filings late last month, the first to show its IPO purchases. A dozen funds run by the advisory unit’s growth team, headed by Dennis Lynch, each allocated 6.8 percent of their net assets to buying Facebook stock at the IPO price of $38 a share.
Facebook has fallen 42 percent since its offering, increased in size and price at the 11th hour. The drop erased $39 billion in market capitalization, ranking the stock as the worst-performing large technology IPO ever based on the early loss in value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The decline crimped the performance of Lynch’s growth team, described as a “crown jewel” of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and left the bank’s fund investors behind on the investment.
Back in 2009, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar, whose face may not be as recognizable to you as that of Lloyd’s but whose voice you’ve likely found just as if not more soothing each time you hear it during the firm’s earnings calls, decided he was ready to move on after a three-plus decade long career with The Firm. Normally, that would have been just fine; people would have wished Viniar all the best as he happily waved good-bye to all his colleagues and friends from the gondola lift made of fluffy clouds and money that transports all Goldman Sachs executives to retirement.
Unfortunately for DV, however, it was around the time that he started to think about leaving that Goldman hit some unfortunate rough patches that included “a civil fraud suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission over marketing of mortgage-related securities, a federal criminal probe on the same matter, and a civil suit brought by a hedge fund that bought a Goldman CDO.” And while other higher-ups– no names: Jon Winkelried– would have thought nothing of abandoning Lloyd in his time of need or what kind of message it would have sent that a top official was calling it quits, David “Bones” Viniar is a little more loyal than that. Lot more loyal in fact (“He’s so loyal he’s only going to do anything when the timing is appropriate,” one person said at the time, adding that “David will do whatever the firm asks of him”) and so he stayed. Stayed by Lloyd’s side during his darkest hour. Stayed when the Goldman needed him most. And although some might have hoped he’d forget about wanting to leave; that he could be tricked into staying “just one more year” and another and another and another after that; that that good-bye he put on hold would stay on hold forever; that, if all else failed, Gary Cohn could physically prevent DV from leaving by putting him in a sleeper hold with his legs…that good-bye has come. Read more »
Back in May, we reported that there was a bit of tension between some growing first year analysts and higher-ups at Goldman Sachs. The issue was that the li’l fellas, antsy to leave the nest, were making arrangements with private equity firms and hedge funds for the following year, when they still had a little more than twelve months left until their two year commitment to GS was complete. And while Mama Lloyd and Papa Gar want nothing more than to see their babies succeed, they also felt like the kiddos were jumping the gun a little bit (and were in violation of the rule that when you live under their roof, you play by their rules, namely that no analyst shall take part in recruiting until six months from the time they’ve finished the two year program). To set an example, a bunch of particularly bad analysts were kicked to the curb and while it probably did put the fear of God into the others, who’ve remained on the straight and narrow ever since, it didn’t make anyone very happy. So now this is happening: Read more »