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Goldman Sachs concedes case for restraining the big banks

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Sean O’Grady
London Independent
May 3, 2010

The Goldman Sachs chief executive, previously an outspoken opponent of proposals to break up the banks, has conceded that such a move might make institutions such as his “safer”.

 In American television interviews, Lloyd Blankfein also said he wished his firm had “not done some of those things”, in relation to its activities in the now-notorious mortgage-backed securities market and conceded the institution would have to “regain the trust of the public”. “We have no choice,” Mr Blankfein said. “We can’t survive without people thinking well of us.”

The Goldman chief said that he “could” support the Volcker rule – the proposal framed by the former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who is now an adviser to President Obama, that would place restrictions on investments banks. “If it makes institutions safer, that’s good,” Mr Blankfein said. “But if it make institutions forgo revenue opportunities, that fact by itself is bad.”

In relation to his own bank, Mr Blankfein stated that it would lose only a small portion of business. “I think that if we eliminated all the activity that’s unrelated to client activity at Goldman Sachs, we would probably do away with about 10 per cent of our revenue,” he said. He maintained that allowing different investors to take different views on the progress of those prices was elegant and served a “social purpose”.

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This article was posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 at 9:27 am

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