Belfast Telegraph

Goldman Sachs earnings surge 74%

US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has brushed aside the impact of Brexit uncertainty in financial markets to post a 74% surge in earnings.

The group - which has around 6,500 staff in the UK - reported better-than-expected net earnings of 1.82 billion US dollars (£1.4 billion) for the second quarter to the end of June, up from 1.05 billion (£801 million) a year earlier.

Cost-cutting, including a 5% reduction in its workforce, together with sharply lower legal costs helped it offset a 13% drop in revenues in the second quarter, to 7.9 billion US dollars (£6 billion).

Goldman also said it set aside 13% less year-on-year in pay and bonuses for its 34,800 staff, at 3.3 billion US dollars (£2.5 billion) in the second quarter, reflecting the fall in revenues.

Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of Goldman, said: "Despite the uncertainty created by Brexit, we achieved solid results by continuing to serve our clients across our diversified franchise and by managing our business efficiently."

The group recently moved to quash rumours that it was drawing up plans to move its London banking operations to Frankfurt in the wake of Britain voting to leave the European Union.

Responding to reports that the US banking giant had pre-let office space in Germany's financial capital, Goldman Sachs confirmed last month it was not making any immediate changes following the Brexit vote.

But the group was one of a number of banks, including JP Morgan and HSBC, which warned prior to the vote that thousands of jobs in the City of London could be moved to the continent in the event of Brexit.

JP Morgan last week said it was "too early to say" whether it would shift its European headquarters out of London.

The comments came as JP Morgan also posted a forecast-beating set of numbers, reporting a 13% rise in trading revenue within its investment banking arm, while fixed income trading revenue soared 35%.

Goldman was likewise boosted by impressive bond trading as its half-year results showed revenues from trading fixed income, commodities and currencies rose 20% to 1.93 billion US dollars (£1.5 billion) in the second quarter.

Investment banking revenue fell 11% to 1.79 billion US dollars (£1.36 billion), but was 22% higher than the first quarter.

Its results also showed that costs were slashed by more than a quarter - 26% - to 5.5 billion US dollars (£4.2 billion) in the three months to the end of June, while legal costs were a fraction of those put by a year earlier, at 126 million dollars (96 million) against 1.45 billion dollars (£1.1 billion).

Goldman's results were last year impacted by significant legal expenses as the bank settled with state and federal regulators over its role in the US housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis.

For the first half of 2016 overall, Goldman's earnings were 24% lower year-on-year at three billion US dollars (£2.3 billion).

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