Following an abysmal quarter for investment banks around the globe, which saw salary cuts across the board as a result of sliding revenues in virtually all product areas, we forecast that the next logical step will be ongoing major layoffs of some of the world’s highest paid employees. This morning none other than the most insulated from global financial troubles bank confirmed just this when Bloomberg reported that Goldman had quietly cut investment banking jobs in the last few weeks, joining securities firms that are adjusting to a slowdown in deal activity.
According to Bloomberg, the bank eliminated dozens of managing directors, executive directors and vice presidents across the mergers and debt and equity capital markets teams. The cuts affected bankers in cities including London, New York and Hong Kong and are in addition to the bank’s annual 5 percent cull of employees deemed underperformers, the people said.
Earlier, the firm’s president Gary Cohn said on Tuesday that the same forces that helped fuel mergers and acquisitions in 2015, such as low interest rates and sluggish growth, remain in place today and that the outlook for the business remains bright. However, the future is far less bright to dozens of bankers who have now packed up and are trying to find a similar, well-paying job.
As Bloomberg adds, CEO Lloyd Blankfein is embarking on his biggest cost-cutting push in years as the bank tries to weather a slump in trading and dealmaking. The job reductions follow a similar move in the firm’s trading division this year, driven in part by a 60 percent drop in first-quarter profit.
The investment-banking cuts represent a reversal from 2015 for a unit that was the top-ranked merger adviser during that near-record year and produced the most profit among Goldman Sachs’s four operating segments. Completed mergers worldwide have plunged more than 80 percent so far this year, while equity offerings have dropped about 65 percent.
What is more paradoxical, is that while in 2014 banks complained about the lack of volatility as the scapegoat for not generating enough revenues, in late 2015 and early 2016 it has been too much volatility that was the culprit. Unfortunately, since the Goldilocks market appears a thing of the past, we expect stories such as this one to be the norm in the coming months as the banking industry struggles to rationalize its income statement to a new normal that is no longer overtly generous to banking profitability.
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