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Goldman Sachs: Same as it never was

The US firm is changing in subtle ways that are proving to be productive.

Key Speakers at the Handelsblatt Banking Summit
Stephen Scherr, chief financial officer of Goldman Sachs. Source: Bloomberg via Getty Images

What is Goldman Sachs?

It’s a question that chief executive David Solomon has fielded more often than usual in the last 12 months, not least because late-2020 vintage Goldman is starting to look subtly different from the firm of even a few years before.

But he also has a fairly simple answer: Goldman Sachs is a bank. Gone are the days of differentiation between investment banks and other banks, he argues. In today’s world, he told the audience at a Credit Suisse conference back in February, “there are just banks.”

Goldman is certainly starting to look more like a bank. And even the staff of its storied mergers and acquisitions franchise are buying into that identity.

Take transaction banking, a business that featured prominently at Goldman’s first-ever investor day in January.

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