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Add $5 billion: How Goldman hopes to be better at (nearly) everything

Goldman Sachs has laid out a three year revenue growth plan that is nothing short of extraordinary

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The intro music was saxophone classic Take Five, but Goldman Sachs’ presentation at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference in New York on Tuesday was all about Add Five – the $5 billion of incremental annual revenues it thinks it can rustle up by 2020.

The big story heading into the presentation by co-COO Harvey Schwartz was what Goldman was planning to do to fix its underperforming FICC business, but Goldman didn’t see it like that at all.

Yes, there was plenty to be done there – and lots of exciting developments to unveil – but it was wrong to see it in isolation. And all the natty things it was announcing today were things it was already working on. This was just a view “under the hood” to give us a glimpse of what was going on.

FICC might be only part of the story, but it’s the bit that investors are interested in this year, as Schwartz conceded. And here’s why. Goldman’s FICC revenues were down 21% in the first half, including a 40% decline in the second quarter alone, which was also its worst-ever quarter for commodities.