Goldman Sachs (GS) may sell one of its wealth-management businesses as the Wall Street giant looks to steer through a rocky period and scale back its ambitions to serve more mass-market customers.
The firm told Yahoo Finance Monday in a statement that it was “evaluating alternatives” for a registered investment adviser business called Personal Financial Management (PFM) “as we determine where to invest our resources and where we see the greatest opportunity.” PFM managed $29 billion as of the end of last year.
Citywire earlier reported Goldman’s consideration of a sale. Goldman’s stock was down roughly 1.5% as of 12:25 p.m. ET. Its stock is down 7% so far this year, while the KBW Nasdaq US bank index (^BKX) is down 20%.
PFM was formed after Goldman acquired Newport Beach, Calif.-based United Capital Financial Partners for $750 million in 2019.
The deal gave Goldman more than 200 financial advisers who provided financial planning for customers known within the industry as the “mass affluent” — those who are typically less wealthy than the clients Goldman has historically served.
The purchase was part of a bigger strategy to find steadier revenue streams away from the volatility of capital markets, pushing deeper into wealth management and consumer lending. Goldman is now retreating from some components of those businesses, especially consumer banking, as it tries to narrow its focus.
“They tried to do everything at once and they moved too aggressively, but I think everything [CEO David Solomon] was attempting to do was correct,” Odeon Capital banking analyst Dick Bove told Yahoo Finance.
Goldman and Solomon are under a microscope after reporting the firm’s lowest quarterly profits in three years. They are wrestling with everything from job cuts and a global investment banking slump to reports of partner unrest.
Since Solomon became CEO in October 2018, Goldman’s stock is up 50%. The KBW Nasdaq US bank index (^BKX) has fallen 23% for the same period.
The purchase of United Capital Financial Partners in 2019 came during Solomon’s first full year in charge of the firm.
Goldman on Monday said PFM is “a very small component of our overall wealth franchise.” Goldman’s private wealth division oversees $1 trillion in assets. It includes workplace financial planning platform Ayco, a private banking and lending business, and Marcus Savings.
The bank said it sees opportunities to continue investing in those other wealth businesses “where we have a long-term track record of success.”
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