Goldman Sachs prop trading, how may I help you?

Jorgé's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | banana points 2,124

"I want 2,500 GOOG!" Sell 200 BRK-A." "Get me 10,000 MSFT!" "<span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/goldman-sachs">Goldman Sachs</a></span> prop <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/trading...">trading</a></span>, how may I help you?"

You might be hearing these the next time you're at <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/goldman-sachs">Goldman Sachs</a></span>' Asset Management Division, which will be seeing a few more members added to it in a few days. The once-infallible Wall Street juggernaut has arguably seen better days, and with harsh banking regulations along the horizon, the most profitable firm on Wall Street, might not be so profitable anymore.

Or is it?

Having been on a tear with their M&A and <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/trading...">trading</a></span> profits of late, the bank's latest move boldly positions itself to rock on with their prop on despite coming financial regulation; <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/goldman-sachs">Goldman Sachs</a></span> has apparently "figured out a novel approach to getting around the Volcker Rule's restrictions on <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/trading...">trading</a></span>." With several large banks possibly following <span class='keyword_link'><a href="http://newyork.ardenreed.com/wso/">suit</a></span>.

According to this article, <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2010/07/27/gold...">GS a step ahead</a> Goldman is planning on moving half of its equity prop <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/trading...">trading</a></span> unit to its <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/what-is...">asset management</a></span> unit, making it client related and non-proprietary, theoretically circumventing the Volcker Rule. The move is said to be made in the spirit of saving jobs and to "preserve some of the same risk taking that has earned it enormous profits."

There are several problems with this arrangement however; first, the prop traders, infamous for their "Eat what you kill", Alpha male attitudes, now have to take on customer calls. Another more significant issue is; giving prop traders client information? Wonder how that's going to work out? Questions of front running and inside information use have already been raised.

Whatever happens, Goldman, with a supposed 1,000 man prop <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/trading...">trading</a></span> unit and over $20 billion in capital for <span class='keyword_link'><a href="//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/trading...">trading</a></span> and alternative investments alone, stands the most to lose and has every reason to fight for it.

Comments (2)

Aug 1, 2010

Pretty sure that's not what traders in GSAM do...my understanding is that they're basically going to seed trading hedge funds with the existing capital and then phase it out with 3rd party capital. They won't be flow traders or take calls from clients any more than SAC's traders do.

Aug 2, 2010