Goldman Sachs

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The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

legal form Corporation
ISIN US38141G1040
founding 1869
Seat New York City , United StatesUnited StatesUnited States 
management David M. Solomon ,
Chairman and CEO
Number of employees 38,300 (end of 2019)
sales 36,550,000,000 USD (2019)
Branch Financial services
Status: February 20, 2020

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (abbreviated GS) is a global investment banking - and securities trading company based in New York City .

Goldman Sachs' clients include large corporations and states as well as high net worth individuals who use investment banking , financial management , asset management , prime brokerage and underwriting services, as well as advisory services such as mergers and acquisitions . The company is also active in the private customer business via the direct bank Marcus and issues the Apple Card together with Apple .

The bank is one of 30 major banks that have been classified as a systemically important financial institution by the Financial Stability Board (FSB). It is therefore subject to special monitoring and stricter requirements for the endowment with equity . Former Goldman Sachs employees include former President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi , former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti , Chairman of the Financial Stability Board in charge of overseeing the global financial system, Mark Carney, and economic policy advisors to the US Treasury Department Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson .

The company is ranked 60th on the Fortune 500 list of the 500 top-selling US companies.



Bank founder Marcus Goldman

The company was founded in 1869 by the German emigrant Marcus Goldman, initially as M. Goldman & Company with a one-room office in New York's Pine Street. In 1882 Goldman's son-in-law and “inventor of the stock” Samuel Sachs entered the banking business, and from then on both traded as M. Goldman Sachs . In 1885 Goldman took his son Henry and his son-in-law Ludwig Dreyfuss into the company; the company name was changed to Goldman Sachs & Co. The company made a name for itself in pioneering the use of commercial paper for businesses and was invited to join the New York Stock Exchange in 1896 .

In the early 20th century, Goldman was a leader in developing the Initial Public Offering market. It succeeded in one of the largest initial public offerings of the time when Sears, Roebuck and Company was floated by Goldman Sachs in 1906. On December 4, 1928, the "Goldman Sachs Trading Corp." was founded, a closed-end mutual fund whose business model was similar to a pyramid scheme. The mutual fund failed during the stock market crash in 1929 , and the company's reputation was badly damaged for several years.


"Mr. Wall Street “ Sidney Vineyard

In 1930 Sidney Weinberg took on the role of Senior Partner and shifted Goldman Sachs' focus from securities trading to investment banking. Weinberg helped restore the company's reputation and get rid of its tarnished reputation. Under Weinberg, Goldman Sachs was “Lead Advisor” for the Ford Motor Company's initial public offering in 1956, one of the largest initial public offerings at the time. Under Weinberg's direction, Goldman Sachs also set up its own research department and began brokerage for bonds for US municipalities and municipalities.

Gus Levy joined the company as a securities dealer in the 1950s. This point in time marks a trend at Goldman Sachs that led to internal power struggles between investment banking and securities trading. A power struggle between Weinberg and Levy took place during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1969, Levy took over the management of the bank as a retired senior partner with Weinberg and continued to expand Goldman Sachs' trading division. Under Levy's leadership, the philosophy of " long-term greedy" was established : as long as money is made over the long term, short-term losses are not always worrisome. During Levy's tenure as a senior partner, most partners reinvested large portions of their profits in the company, so the focus was always on the future.

Another major crisis hit the company in 1970 when Penn Central Transportation Company filed for bankruptcy with over $ 80 million in outstanding commercial paper , much of it issued by Goldman Sachs. The bankruptcy estate was small, the damage to Goldman Sachs great , and the resulting lawsuits threatened to seriously endanger the company. Credit ratings were introduced for commercial paper issuers following the bankruptcy of Penn Central Transportation Company .

After this debacle, Goldman Sachs began expanding globally in the 1970s. Under the direction of senior partner Stanley R. Miller , Goldman Sachs opened its first international office in London in 1970 and created a “Private Wealth” division, then a Fixed Income division in 1972. Goldman Sachs also pioneered the “ White Knight 'strategy in 1974 during his attempts to defend Electric Storage Battery against a hostile takeover bid from International Nickel and Goldman Sachs' rival Morgan Stanley . John Weinberg , the son of Sidney Weinberg, and John C. Whitehead took over the management as co-senior partners in 1976. One of their initiatives was the establishment of the fourteen business principles that still exist today.


Senior Partner Robert Rubin

On November 16, 1981, Goldman Sachs took over J. Aron & Company, a commodities trading company which was merged with the Fixed Income department to become the Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities department . The focus of activities at J. Aron & Company was the coffee and gold market. In 1985 Goldman Sachs was the underwriter of the IPO of the real estate investment trust , which also owned the Rockefeller Center . In the course of the collapse of the Soviet Union , Goldman Sachs also participated in the privatization of former Russian state-owned companies.

In 1986 the company "Goldman Sachs Asset Management" was founded, which still manages the majority of investment funds and hedge funds . That same year, Goldman Sachs was Microsoft's IPO underwriter , General Electric advisor on the Radio Corporation of America acquisition, and joined the London Stock Exchange and Tokyo Stock Exchange .

Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman took over the co-senior partnership in 1990 and promised to focus on globalizing the company and strengthening the merger & acquisition and trading businesses. During her tenure as managing director, the company introduced paperless trading on the New York Stock Exchange and was lead manager for the first global debt security for a US company. The Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) was also developed during this period . In 1994 a branch was established in Beijing ; Jon Corzine took over management of the company after Rubin and Friedman left.


In September 2000, Goldman Sachs bought the stockbroker Spear, Leeds & Kellogg for $ 6.5 billion. In March 2003 Goldman Sachs took a 45% stake in the Australian investment bank JBWere. Henry Paulsen left the company in May 2006 to become Secretary of the Treasury . Lloyd C. Blankfein was his successor. In January 2007, Goldman Sachs and CanWest Global Communications bought the Canadian communications company Alliance Atlantis. In 2011, Goldman Sachs acquired the remaining shares in JBWere for $ 1 billion.

In the course of the financial crisis from 2007, Goldman Sachs applied for a status change from a pure investment bank to a "holding company". This status change was recognized on September 21, 2008 by the US Federal Reserve System (Fed). Goldmann Sachs thus submitted to the stricter regulation for commercial banks and received easier access to the liquidity supply from the Fed.

In April 2013 placed Goldman Sachs together with the Deutsche Bank , a corporate bond of Apple in the amount of 17 billion US dollars. This was the largest bond issue in history and Apple's first since 1996. On October 30, 2014, Goldman Sachs applied for a patent for a virtual currency called SETLCoin. In August 2015, Goldman Sachs took over the online banking of GE Capital Bank with deposits of 16 billion dollars. In 2016 the company opened the direct bank Marcus by Goldman Sachs .

On September 10, 2018, Goldman Sachs acquired a majority stake in Boyd Corporation, an environmental technology company. On May 16, 2019, Goldman Sachs bought United Capital Financial Partners for $ 750 million.

Business figures

Business and employee development
year Total assets
in US $ million
in US $ million
Balance sheet profit
in million US $
2005 706.804 25,238 5,609
2006 838.201 37,665 9,398
2007 1,119,796 45,987 11,407
2008 884,547 22,222 2,041
2009 848.942 45.173 12.192
2010 911,332 39.161 7,713
2011 923.225 28,811 2,510
2012 938,555 34.163 7,292
2013 911.507 34.206 7,726 32,900
2014 855.842 34,528 8,077 34,000
2015 861.395 33,820 5,568 36,800
2016 860.165 30,790 7,087 34,400
2017 916.776 32,730 3,685 36,600
2018 931,796 36,616 9,860 36,600

Corporate criticism

Goldman Sachs New World Headquarters in New York, headquarters of the bank

Hedge fund losses due to the subprime crisis

In contrast to many competitors, Goldman Sachs was able to avoid losses due to the subprime crisis at the company level. Nevertheless, three hedge funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management lost substantial value, so that the Global Equity Opportunities (GEO) fund, as one of the GS hedge funds, had to be supported by investments worth billions. Goldman Sachs itself invested USD 3 billion and Eli Broad , the former head of the American International Group , Maurice Greenberg and Perry Capital LLC together again invested the same amount in the fund.

Obscurations in the European debt crisis and influence on politics

Goldman Sachs is criticized for its behavior in the European debt crisis and its interdependence with European politics. It was reported that Goldman Sachs systematically helped the Greek government hide its national debt for high profits from 1998-2009. Lucas Papademos , then Prime Minister of Greece, headed the Greek central bank during the controversial deal with Goldman Sachs. Petros Christodoulou , head of the Greek debt management agency, began his career at Goldman Sachs. Mario Monti , Italy's new Prime Minister and Minister of Finance after Silvio Berlusconi , is like Otmar Issing (former member of the Deutsche Bundesbank and on the Executive Board of the European Central Bank) international advisor to the bank. Mario Draghi , the new head of the European Central Bank , was previously a managing director of Goldman Sachs International. These and other links between Goldman Sachs and European politicians continue to be controversial.

In the Federal Republic of Germany , Goldman Sachs had by far the most contacts with the federal government during the legislative period since 2009 .

Allegation of securities fraud

On April 15, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs & Co. and its employee Fabrice Tourre in the District Court of New York for possible violations of the Securities Act . Goldman Sachs is alleged to have advertised the purchase of a synthetic CDO Abacus 2007-AC1 among investors in early 2007 and to have concealed crucial facts about the investment risks. In particular, the Paulson & Co. hedge fund is said to have been secretly involved in building up the portfolio and to have selected particularly loss-making investments. He then bet on failure with credit default insurance, so-called credit default swaps (CDS), which also occurred after the slump in the US real estate market. Goldman Sachs has therefore secretly operated against its own customers. In total, investors are said to have lost more than a billion dollars in the aforementioned financial product. The Paulson hedge fund is said to have won almost the same amount. The bonds were sold to IKB Deutsche Industriebank and the US ACA Capital Management. The Royal Bank of Scotland , which had meanwhile taken over the Dutch ABN Amro , lost around 800 million US dollars through the CDS.

Goldman Sachs was formally notified by the SEC back in July 2009 that it was investigating this case; However, the company withheld this from its investors, which is why a number of investor lawsuits have been filed. Basically, it is criticized that conflicts with the interests of the customers are preprogrammed through the different areas of activity of the company; the company, in turn, claims that it only deals with professional customers.

In July 2010, Goldman admitted that it had withheld material information from its customers when it sold the Abacus 2007-AC1, and fined it $ 550 million. Of this amount, US $ 300 million went to the US Treasury, US $ 150 million to IKB and US $ 100 million to RBS. In the first quarter of 2010 alone, Goldman made $ 3.5 billion in profits. In 2013, Tourre was on trial in New York City. The SEC sued him. On August 1, 2013, the Fabulous Fab , as Fabrice Tourre was also called, was found guilty by a jury in Manhattan - it is said to have withheld important information from its customers when selling securities, threatened with a fine and a professional ban.

Role in the US presidential election

In the 2012 US presidential election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney's largest campaign donation came, directly and indirectly, from Goldman Sachs, at $ 1,003,204. In the previous election, GS had also donated to Obama's campaign.

In the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump accused his rival Hillary Clinton of being "totally controlled" by Goldman Sachs. In an election commercial by Donald Trump, a “global power structure” was also accused of being responsible for “the economic decisions that stole our working class, robbed our country of its prosperity and washed money into the pockets of a handful of powerful corporations and political institutions” . In this advertisement, the face of former Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd C. Blankfein was shown. After the election, however, Trump brought Steven Mnuchin , Stephen Bannon and Gary Cohn , all of whom were managers at Goldman Sachs, to his advisory board.

Role in Malaysian sovereign wealth funds

In December 2018, Goldman Sachs got into public news because of the financial scandal surrounding the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB . Between 2012 and 2013, Goldman Sachs accompanied the issuance of three bonds worth a total of 6.5 billion US dollars for the sovereign wealth fund. The bank collected fees of around 600 million US dollars.

At the center of the scandal was former top manager Tim Leissner , who, according to Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon, had misled the bank. Malaysia calls for 7.5 billion dollars (6.6 billion euros ) compensation from the investment bank.

European financial transaction tax

After the EU Commission had pointed out that the low-taxed financial sector was supported with 4.6 trillion euros in the wake of the financial crisis in 2007 , the Council of EU Finance and Economics Ministers from eleven countries, including France, decided to introduce a financial transaction tax in 2013 . In the same year France ended its cooperation after opposition from the lobby of the financial service providers, from the point of view of critics primarily through Goldman Sachs. Critics also blamed Goldman Sachs for excluding special financial transactions from the planned tax, which were for a few hours or more Night exchange securities from the participants back and forth.

Careers of former employees

A significant number of Goldman Sachs employees have either had careers in other companies or in politics and have nicknamed the bank Government Sachs on the political side .

Here are some examples:

Politics or public service

ECB President Mario Draghi , 2004–2005 Vice-President of Goldman Sachs International
Philip D. Murphy was with Goldman Sachs for 23 years, then US ambassador to Berlin

Executives or investors

Ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker and since 2012 Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank AG Paul Achleitner

Goldmann Sachs Germany

In 1990 the company founded Goldman Sachs AG , based in Frankfurt am Main . This was transferred to Goldman Sachs Europe SE in January 2019 . Its chairman is the investment banker Wolfgang Fink.



  • William D. Cohan (2012): Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World . Anchor: ISBN 0-7679-2826-1 , Penguin: ISBN 0-241-95406-1
  • Charles D. Ellis: The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs , ISBN 978-1-59420-189-9
  • Lisa Endlich: Goldman Sachs. Success as a corporate culture. Heyne, Munich 2000, ISBN 978-3-453-17290-6 .
    • American edition: Goldman Sachs. The Culture of Success. Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1999, ISBN 0679450807 .
  • Greg Smith: The Insatiable. A Goldman Sachs banker accounts. 2nd Edition. Rowohlt Taschenbuch, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-499-61149-0 .
    • American original edition: Why I Left Goldman Sachs. Grand Central Publishing, New York 2012, ISBN 9781455527472 .

Web links

Commons : Goldman Sachs  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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