Goldman Sachs’ second quarter profit up 44%; CEO Blankfein to retire

In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, the logo for Goldman Sachs appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Updated 18 July 2018
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Goldman Sachs’ second quarter profit up 44%; CEO Blankfein to retire

  • The New York-based bank said Tuesday that earnings reached $2.35 billion in the second quarter
  • Nearly all of Goldman’s businesses saw double-digit growth in the second quarter

NEW YORK: Goldman Sachs’ profits jumped 44 percent in the second quarter compared with a year ago, driven by the investment bank’s core franchises: advising companies on mergers, acquisitions and other deals, and its trading business.
The New York-based bank said Tuesday that earnings reached $2.35 billion in the second quarter, compared with $1.63 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, Goldman earned $5.98 a share, compared with $3.95 a share a year earlier, beating analysts’ forecasts of $4.65 a share.
Separately, Goldman said Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein will retire as of Oct. 1, and be replaced by David Solomon, the president and chief operating officer. Blankfein has been CEO since 2006.
Nearly all of Goldman’s businesses saw double-digit growth in the second quarter. Trading was particularly strong. Goldman’s institutional client services division, which contains the firm’s trading operations, posted net revenues of $3.57 billion in the quarter, up 17 percent from a year earlier.
Goldman’s trading performance can be fickle, driven by whether the market was volatile that quarter and whether the right sort of securities saw the right sort of movement. Like its competitor Morgan Stanley, which will report results Wednesday, Goldman has been looking to diversify its businesses, moving in recent years into consumer lending and consumer banking.
Goldman’s investment banking business also had a solid quarter, posting net revenues of $2.05 billion, which is up 18 percent from a year earlier. The firm saw both higher underwriting revenue, as well as revenue for advisory services.
The firm’s return on equity ratio, a closely watched performance gauge for banks like Goldman Sachs which measures how much money the bank earned with the money investors have lent it, was 12.8 percent in the quarter. Banks like Goldman try to keep that figure above 10 percent.
Company-wide net revenues were $9.4 billion in the quarter, also beating analysts’ expectations.
Goldman shares fell 0.8 percent to $229.25 in premarket trading.


HSBC plans more China tech jobs in push for market share

Updated 45 min 9 sec ago
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HSBC plans more China tech jobs in push for market share

  • Europe’s biggest bank by assets will boost headcount at its technology centers in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an by 14 percent
  • HSBC’s expansion plan in China comes amid growing use of technology in the financial sector — from payments to transactions
HONG KONG: HSBC plans to add more than 1,000 jobs this year at its technology development centers in China, as the Asia-focused lender seeks to bolster its presence in the world’s second largest economy.
Europe’s biggest bank by assets will boost headcount at its technology centers in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an by 14 percent from a current 7,000-strong workforce, said HSBC Chief Information Officer Darryl West.
In recent years the London-based bank has spent $3 billion annually on its group technology operations which employ 40,000 people worldwide, and West said annual investments of $3-$3.5 billion are planned over the next few years.
Many global banks set up low-cost hubs in China and India more than a decade ago to maintain their complex worldwide information technology networks, but these centers have now become a core part of their operations.
The centers develop and implement risk and fraud management technologies, as well as digital applications that make it easier for banks to attract customers and deliver faster and more secure services.
HSBC’s expansion plan in China, a key market for the bank, comes amid growing use of technology in the financial sector — from payments to transactions.
At stake is a bigger share of the billions of dollars worth of retail and corporate banking business in a major financial market with a growing customer base.
“There is a lot more we can do with technology in mainland China. The level of technology adoption and innovation in China is way ahead of other markets,” West told reporters during a tour of HSBC’s technology center in the southern city of Guangzhou last week.
“We see mainland China as a tremendous source of talent, not just for the local market but our technology operations globally. We are hiring very aggressively here,” he added.
About 30 percent of the work done at the Guangzhou center, the largest HSBC tech facility in China with more than 5,000 employees, is for the mainland market and that share is expected to grow over the next couple of years.
HSBC is also using China-based tech centers to develop banking products for its global network, such as the bank’s UK mobile app which was developed in the northwestern city of Xi’an.
Outside China, HSBC employs more than 10,000 people at technology centers in India, with the rest in countries such as Britain, Canada, Hong Kong and the United States.
HSBC has in recent years lifted investment in China, including the prosperous southern Pearl River Delta region. Mainland China and Hong Kong together accounted for nearly 40 percent of the bank’s revenue in 2018.
The bank will invest $15-$17 billion in the next three years in areas including technology and China, its Chief Executive John Flint said last year.
The limited physical presence of foreign banks in China compared to dominant domestic rivals has been a challenge.
HSBC’s losses in retail banking and wealth management (RBWM) in mainland China widened to $200 million last year from $44 million in 2017. The bank aimed to reverse that with its investments in technology.
“Things like that, we see as very important for the next phase of our business growth ... once the major investments have gone in, RBWM will grow bigger and also profitable,” said HSBC Greater China Chief Executive Helen Wong.