Goldman hopes to put grim FICC year behind it
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BANKING

Goldman hopes to put grim FICC year behind it

Converting boardroom dialogue into a corporate FICC franchise is not as easy as it sounds – even for Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs spent much of 2017 with its fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) under the same level of scrutiny that Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman used to hate a few years ago.

Goldman has underperformed peers throughout the year, with much of the blame lying at the door of its commodities business. And so CFO Marty Chavez had to spend much of his full-year results call in January tackling the issue again, even after COO Harvey Schwartz had outlined a big strategic update in September.

Martin_Chavez-160x186

Marty Chavez,
Goldman

Chavez talked of the industry-wide headwinds facing the fixed income sales and trading business, but while the glimpse of a chink in the formidable Goldman armour seemed curious in the second quarter of 2017, it is starting to have the ring of familiarity.

Chavez trotted out the same talk of industry-wide headings facing fixed income sales and trading – how could he not? – but he will be sorely hoping that the “investments in future revenue opportunities” that Schwartz outlined in the autumn start to bear fruit soon.

Back then Schwartz spoke of a target for an additional $5 billion of annual revenues by 2020, with much of the work targeting the firm’s FICC business, including broadening its corporate client base.

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