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Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs reports profit slump

Published 19/04/2016

Goldman Sachs said net revenues slumped 40% in the three months to March 31
Goldman Sachs said net revenues slumped 40% in the three months to March 31

US banking giant Goldman Sachs has seen profits slip for the fourth consecutive quarter as market volatility dealt a blow to its investment banking and bond trading arms.

The Wall Street Bank said net revenues slumped 40% to 6.3 billion US dollars (£4.3 billion) in the three months to March 31 2016, down from 10.6 billion US dollars (£7.3 billion) over the same period last year.

Chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, said the first quarter had presented a " broad range of challenges" leading to "headwinds across virtually every one of our businesses".

He added: "Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on delivering superior service to our clients and managing our business efficiently, which remain essential to generating shareholder value over the long term."

The lender said net revenues in its investment banking division hit 1.46 billion US dollars (£1 billion) in the first quarter, down 23% over the same period last year and 5% lower than the fourth quarter of 2015.

Meanwhile, net revenues in financial advisory dropped by a fifth to 771 million US dollars (£535 million) in the first quarter compared to the year before, as it felt the impact of a slowdown in the number of mergers and acquisitions.

Revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities (FICC) tumbled 47% to 1.6 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) in the first three months of the year compared to last year.

The update comes after rival US bank Morgan Stanley reported on Monday that is first quarter profits had more than halved, down 54% to $1.1bn (£776m), in the wake of tough trading conditions.

Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo also saw their first quarter profits come under pressure last week as they were hit by under performing energy loans linked to the sliding oil price.

Heavy-weight financial stocks have been in the line of fire in recent months amid investor concern over the gloomy outlook for global growth, falling commodity prices and stubbornly low interest rates in major economies.

Alice Leguay, co-founder of salary benchmarking website Emolument, said US bankers' bonuses for senior staff have also edged lower, with some banks paying zero bonuses, while others are still offering hefty payouts to staff they want to retain.

She added: "American banks have traditionally paid some of the largest bonuses on the Street. However, with base salaries up from 200,000 US dollars (£139,000) to 500,000 US dollars (£347,000) over the last few years in order to make up for bonus cap regulations, US banks have also brought down bonus payments more in line with EU bank practices, saving large bonuses for indispensable business-generating staff."

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