Faced With Dimming Sex Appeal, Goldman Sachs Is Working On Its Personality

Lloyd and co are turning into Blanche Dubois with a balance sheet.
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Up is down, down is up, the only law of the universe is chaos.

Lloyd.VDay

We live in a world where Paul Tudor Jones can't hold onto clients, Anthony Scaramucci is out of work and Goldman Sachs is last in something. But while the first two issues might linger on, we feel reasonably confident that the third will start to improve quickly.

Like any intelligent beauty watching her looks fade in the mirror, Goldman Sachs is ready to rely on the kindness of non-strangers:

A 40% second-quarter decline in fixed-income activity, which includes bonds traded by Pimco and its ilk, left Goldman with first-half trading revenue that trailed its major banking rivals—a first since Goldman went public in 1999.
The slump has rattled executives, sparking a charm offensive designed to showcase a more customer-friendly Goldman, focused on solving clients’ problems rather than steering them into trades that benefit the firm’s bottom line.

But this new attempt to be a more client-focused Goldman will have to go on beyond Pablo Salame's foolproof "Just add butter" plan and into a place that makes Goldman Sachs seem - dare we say? - like the nice guys.

Earlier today, Lloyd Blankfein was on "Morning Joe" touting Goldman's 10,000 Small Businesses initiative by sitting with a local nail boutique owner and waxing sweet on the power and beauty of small American business. He even made a point of saying that things in our country aren't as bad as many believe. "Financial conditions and economic conditions are really not as bad as politics would suggest," Lloyd offered in what we are choosing to see as a tacitly passive-aggressive shot at Gary Cohn.

Speaking of Gary, one thing Goldman will have to overcome in the course of this charm offensive is the deep roster of former 200 West Streeters roaming around Trump's Washington. There will be no outdoor rave loud enough for DJ D-Sol to spin phat beats at that will drone out the sound of fury emitting from all corners of America if Fed Chair Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Stevie Mnuchin oversee what could be an organic downturn in the economy. And while that might not seem fair, we urge you to Google "Hank Paulson" and "Neel Kashkari."

While the focus inside Goldman will be trying to take advantage of a bizarrely fertile surge in public markets, there will almost certainly continue to be a major focus on fostering the image of a nicer, more open and kinder Goldman Sachs.

You might even see Harvey Schwartz taking down the Eye of Sauron from the top of 200 West while Marty Chavez whispers "Have you ever noticed what an asshole Jamie Dimon is though? " to a nearby WSJ reporter.

It's gonna be great.

Inside Goldman’s Struggle to Climb Out of Last Place in Trading [WSJ]

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