LeoGlossary: Goldman Sachs

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15 min read

Stock Symbol: GS

Founded: 1869

Headquarters: New York, NY

Sector: Financial Services

Industry: Capital Markets

CEO: David Solomon

Company Website

*Goldman Sachs is one of the most recognized and respected names in investment banking and financial services. Founded in 1869, Goldman Sachs has grown to be a global leader in providing innovative solutions for clients across industries.

From its beginnings as a small partnership firm on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs has evolved into an international powerhouse with offices around the world offering comprehensive wealth management services and investments that span asset classes including equities, fixed income instruments, commodities, currencies, and derivatives.

With over 150 years of experience under their belt, it’s no surprise that Goldman Sachs continues to be at the forefront when it comes to delivering top-notch advice for investors from all walks of life.

They offer tailored strategies designed to help individuals reach their specific goals while also helping businesses navigate complex markets through strategic capital-raising initiatives such as IPOs or mergers & acquisitions (M&A).

What sets them apart from other firms is their commitment to excellent client service. This includes maintaining strong relationships with clients by providing personalized attention along with timely market updates so customers can stay informed about current events related to financing.

They have also dedicated innovators who continuously strive towards creating new products such as GS Select Funds, an actively managed portfolio solution, specifically designed for high net-worth individuals. This demonstrates how much focus they place on meeting customer needs while staying ahead of industry trends.

There is no denying that Goldman Sachs holds itself up high amongst its peers when it comes to investment banking & financial services. Not only do they provide exceptional expertise but also unparalleled customer service making them a go-to choice if you want your money handled right.

A Brief History of Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman, a German immigrant to the United States who had a passion for finance and a talent for innovation.

The firm quickly established itself as a leading player in the US financial market, and by the early 20th century it had become one of the largest and most respected investment banks in the country.

In the decades that followed, Goldman Sachs continued to expand its reach, both in the United States and around the world, and today it is a truly global institution with operations in many of the world's major financial centers.


Goldman Sachs is a full-service investment bank that provides a wide range of financial services to its clients, including investment banking, securities underwriting, trading, and asset management.

The firm's investment banking division provides advice and services to companies, governments, and other organizations looking to raise capital through the issuance of securities.

While its trading division is responsible for buying and selling financial assets on behalf of clients. Goldman Sachs is also a leader in the field of asset management, offering a range of investment products and services to individuals and institutions around the world.

Significance of Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and influential financial institutions in the world, and its name is synonymous with excellence, innovation, and integrity.

The firm has a reputation for providing top-quality financial services and advice to its clients, and for attracting and retaining some of the best and brightest talents in the financial industry.

Goldman Sachs is also known for its commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability, and it has a long history of investing in and supporting initiatives that help to build stronger, more equitable communities.

The Business Model of Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is one of the largest and most influential investment banks in the world. It is a global financial services firm that offers a wide range of services including investment banking, securities trading and wealth management. But how exactly does Goldman Sachs make money?

Investment Banking: The Core Business of Goldman Sachs

One of the primary ways that Goldman Sachs makes money is through its investment banking division. Investment banking is the process of helping companies raise capital through securities offerings. This includes initial public offerings (IPOs), secondary offerings, and debt issuances.

When a company decides to go public or issue bonds, it hires Goldman Sachs to act as the underwriter for the securities offering. The underwriter's role is to ensure that the company will be able to raise enough capital to meet its financial needs. In exchange for its services, the underwriter earns a fee from the company.

Goldman Sachs has a long history of working with some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world. This experience and expertise have allowed Goldman Sachs to become one of the most trusted and reliable underwriters in the industry.

Securities Trading: A Key Driver of Revenue

Another important way that Goldman Sachs makes money is through securities trading. Securities trading involves buying and selling stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments. Goldman Sachs has a large and sophisticated trading operation that allows it to take advantage of market movements to generate profits.

Goldman Sachs is known for its expertise in quantitative trading, which involves using complex algorithms to make trades based on market data and trends. This has helped the firm to become one of the most successful traders in the world.

Wealth Management: Helping Clients Grow Their Investments

Goldman Sachs also makes money through its wealth management division. Wealth management is the process of helping clients manage and grow their investments. Goldman Sachs offers a wide range of wealth management services including investment advice, portfolio management, and financial planning.

Goldman Sachs has a large and experienced team of wealth management professionals who work closely with clients to help them achieve their financial goals. By offering a range of services and providing high-quality advice, Goldman Sachs is able to generate significant revenue from its wealth management division.

Asset Management

Goldman Sachs also earns a significant portion of its revenue from its asset management division. This division manages money for individuals, corporations, and other organizations, and earns revenue from fees charged for managing these assets.

Goldman Sachs has a large and diverse asset management business that includes both traditional and alternative investments, such as private equity and hedge funds.

Consumer and Commercial Banking

In addition to its investment banking, trading, and asset management divisions, Goldman Sachs also has a growing consumer and commercial banking division.

This division provides traditional banking services, such as taking deposits and making loans, to consumers and small businesses. The division earns revenue from the interest charged on loans and the fees charged for services, such as overdraft protection and account maintenance.

Marcus Goldman's Entrepreneurial Spirit

Entrepreneurialism and grit are two critical components that have driven some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs to launch their businesses. In the case of Marcus Goldman, the founder of Goldman Sachs, these traits were essential in helping him turn his vision of a successful investment banking firm into a reality.

Marcus Goldman was born in 1821 in Bavaria, Germany. His family emigrated to the United States in 1848 and settled in Philadelphia. Goldman started his career as a peddler, selling household goods and other products door to door. However, he was a man with a vision, and he knew that he was destined for greater things.

Goldman's entrepreneurial spirit led him to start a small business that would later become Goldman Sachs. He began by setting up a small office on Pine Street in Lower Manhattan, where he started trading commercial paper. Commercial paper is a type of short-term debt instrument that companies use to raise funds for their operations. Goldman's expertise in commercial paper trading led to the growth of his business, and he began to attract the attention of wealthy investors.

Goldman's success was not without its challenges. He faced many obstacles along the way, including the Panic of 1873, which caused a significant economic downturn in the United States. However, Goldman's grit and determination helped him weather the storm, and he emerged stronger and more determined than ever before.

Goldman's entrepreneurial spirit and grit inspired his business partners, including his son-in-law Samuel Sachs, to join him in his business ventures. Together, they transformed Goldman Sachs into one of the most successful investment banks in the world, serving clients across the globe.

The success of Goldman Sachs is a testament to the power of entrepreneurialism and grit. These traits allowed Marcus Goldman to persevere through difficult times and emerge victorious, creating a legacy that continues to inspire others today.

Marcus Goldman's story is one of determination, resilience, and the power of entrepreneurship. His journey from a peddler to a successful investment banker is a true inspiration to anyone who dreams of achieving great things. Goldman's story shows that with the right mindset, anything is possible. So, whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur or an established business leader, take inspiration from Marcus Goldman's story and never give up on your dreams.

Goldman Sachs Renaming

Goldman Sachs has gone through several changes over the years, including the adoption of its present name. Marcus Goldman was a German immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1848. He started his career as a peddler and eventually made his way to Philadelphia, where he opened a small jewelry store. In the 1860s, Goldman moved to New York City and became involved in the financial industry. He started a small brokerage firm that focused on trading commercial paper.

In 1882, Marcus Goldman's son-in-law, Samuel Sachs, joined the firm. Sachs had a strong background in finance and quickly became a partner in the business. Together, Goldman and Sachs built the firm into a successful investment banking enterprise.

In 1885, the firm was renamed M. Goldman and Sachs. This name was used for several decades, but eventually, it was shortened to Goldman Sachs. The name change was made to reflect the fact that Samuel Sachs was now a partner in the business.

In 1888, Goldman Sachs added Ludwig Dreyfuss as partner. This merger created the present-day Goldman Sachs & Co. The new name reflected the fact that the firm was now a partnership between Goldman, Sachs, and Ludwig Dreyfuss.

Over the years, Goldman Sachs & Co. has continued to grow and evolve. Today, the firm is a global leader in investment banking, securities, and investment management. The company's success can be attributed to the vision and hard work of its founders, Marcus Goldman and Samuel Sachs.

The adoption of the present name of Goldman Sachs & Co. was a reflection of the firm's growth and evolution over the years. The partnership between Marcus Goldman and Samuel Sachs laid the foundation for the company's success, and the addition of Ludwig Dreyfuss as partner in 1888 helped to solidify its place as a leader in the investment banking industry. Today, Goldman Sachs & Co. continues to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of finance.

Sidney J. Weinberg's: Janitor to Senior Partner

Sidney J. Weinberg's journey from being a janitor's assistant to a senior partner of Goldman Sachs in 1930 is nothing short of inspiring. His perseverance, hard work, and determination propelled him to become one of the most powerful men on Wall Street.

Born in 1891 in Brooklyn, New York, Sidney J. Weinberg had humble beginnings. He was the son of a Jewish immigrant wholesale liquor dealer. After dropping out of junior high school at P.S. 13, and losing three new found positions at different establishments, he found work as a janitor's assistant at Goldman Sachs in 1907. However, he did not let his position deter him from his goals. He was determined to climb the ranks of the company and worked hard to prove his worth.

Weinberg quickly made an impression on the executives at Goldman Sachs with his work ethic and dedication. Especially on the grandson of the firm's founder, Paul J. Sachs, He was promoted to a clerk position in the mailroom and later had his tuition fee for his first investment banking course in New York University paid by the firm. In 1927, Weinberg became a partner of the firm and helped run the investment trusts.

However, it was not until 1930 that Weinberg's hard work truly paid off. He became a senior partner of Goldman Sachs and took over as head of the firm. Under Weinberg's leadership, Goldman Sachs became one of the most influential firms on Wall Street. As he literally save it from bankruptcy.

In addition to his work at Goldman Sachs, Weinberg also held 35 directorships in companies like Ford, General Electric, Sears, National Dairy Products (now Kraft), and B. F. Goodrich. He was also an advisor to five US presidents until his death in 1969.

Expertise of Jon Corzine

Jon Corzine is a name that resonates strongly with the financial services industry. He is widely recognized as a veteran investment banker, with an intuitive and expert understanding of capital markets. Throughout his career, he has shown a deep commitment to solidifying the reputation of the firms he has worked for, and in particular, his role as partner at Goldman Sachs was instrumental in cementing the company's position as a leading player in the financial services industry.

Jon Corzine's rose to prominence in the investment banking world when he joined Goldman Sachs as a bond trader. He quickly made a name for himself as a skilled trader, and his abilities earned him a reputation as one of the firm's rising stars. Within a few years, he had been promoted to partner, one of the most coveted positions in the investment banking world.

As a partner at Goldman Sachs, Corzine was responsible for overseeing the firm's fixed income trading desk, which he turned into a formidable force in the financial services industry. He was instrumental in establishing the firm's dominance in the bond market and was one of the key architects of the firm's strategy for taking on Wall Street rivals. Corzine's focus on innovation and a strong commitment to customer service helped Goldman Sachs to solidify its position as a best-in-class financial services provider.

Goldman Sachs Trading Transformation

One of the leaders that Goldman Sachs owes it success to was Gus Levy, who joined the firm as a trader in 1933 and went on to become a partner in 1945. During his time at Goldman Sachs, Levy transformed the sales and trading function at the firm by popularizing the practice of block trades.

Block trades, as the name suggests, involve the buying or selling of large blocks of securities in a single transaction. By focusing on block trades, Levy was able to create a new market for large-scale transactions that was previously untapped. This allowed Goldman Sachs to differentiate itself from its competitors and generate significant revenue from its trading operations.

Levy's success with block trades also helped to establish Goldman Sachs as a leader in the investment banking industry. By building a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy trading partner, the firm was able to attract more clients and expand its business. This, in turn, led to further innovation and growth, as the firm continued to develop new products and services to meet the evolving needs of its clients.

It's important to note that Levy's success with block trades was not just the result of luck or good timing. He was a highly skilled trader who understood the nuances of the market and was able to develop innovative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities. He also had a strong commitment to client service and was always looking for ways to add value to his clients' businesses.

Friedman and Rubin Partnership

The appointment of Stephen Friedman and Robert Rubin as co-senior partners and co-chairmen of the Management Committee of Goldman Sachs in 1990 was a key moment in the firm's history. Their extensive experience in finance, strategic thinking, commitment to excellence, and integrity made them ideal choices for these roles. Today, their legacy continues to live on, as Goldman Sachs remains one of the most respected and successful investment banks in the world.

Stephen Friedman and Robert Rubin, became co-senior partners and co-chairmen of the Management Committee after John Weinberg retired in 1990.

Stephen Friedman was born in 1937 and graduated from Cornell University in 1959 with a BA. He then went on to receive a LLB from Columbia Law School in 1962. After graduation, he began his career in finance at Goldman Sachs, where he became a partner in 1973. During his time at the firm, he was a member of the firm’s Management Committee in 1982. He also served as co-head of both the Investment Banking and Fixed Income Divisions and head of Mergers and Acquisitions.

Robert Rubin, born in 1938, held an AB from Harvard College (1960) and had earned an LLB from Yale School of Law in 1964. After completing his studies, Rubin began his career in finance at Goldman Sachs in 1966, where he eventually became a partner in 1971. He also served as co-head of the Trading and Arbitrage Division in 1977.

Both Friedman and Rubin had successful careers at Goldman Sachs and they showed dynamic and highly complementary traits as co-heads. During their time at the firm, they brought a deep understanding of trading risk to their leadership roles and explored newer opportunities in the area of trading.

One of the reasons why Friedman and Rubin were successful in their roles was their high propensity to ask questions and probe problems from different angles. This made them develop a deep understanding of the intricacies of the financial markets. Therefore, they thought strategically and made sound decisions that benefited the firm in the long run.

Hank Paulson's Leadership

One of the remarkable leaders that made a significant contribution to the bank is Hank Paulson, who was named Chairman and CEO as Goldman Sachs transitioned from a partnership to a publicly-held company in 1999

Henry Merritt Paulson Jr., popularly known as Hank Paulson, was born on March 28, 1946, in Palm Beach, Florida. He graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was named Phi Beta Kappa and honorable mention All American for football. He also has an MBA from Harvard Business School, which he obtained in 1970.

Before joining Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson was a member of the White House Domestic Council, serving as staff assistant to President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1973 and also worked as a staff assistant to the assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon from 1970 to 1972. Paulson then joined Goldman Sachs in 1974 as an investment banker in the Chicago office. Over the years, he worked his way up the ranks, and in 1982, he became a partner in the firm's Chicago office.

Paulson's contribution to Goldman Sachs during his tenure was remarkable. He played a key role in expanding the bank's international presence and developing strong relationships, particularly in Asia. He also played a significant role in the firm’s global expansion and helped to gain a foothold in China’s domestic financial markets.

In 1998, when the partners of Goldman Sachs voted to take the firm public, Paulson was named co-chairman and co-chief executive officer along with Jon Corzine. A year later, he became the Chairman and CEO of the bank, as Goldman Sachs completed its transition to a publicly-held company. Under his leadership, the bank continued to thrive, and he worked to preserve the firm's partnership culture while continuing the firm's global expansion.

Blankfein's Leadership at Goldman Sachs

In 2006, following the departure of Hank Paulson, Lloyd Blankfein was named Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Blankfein's tenure at the firm was marked by both historic challenges and significant innovation, leading to the growth and success of Goldman Sachs under his leadership.

Blankfein's qualifications for the role of CEO were impressive. After graduating in 1975 from Harvard College, he attended Harvard Law School, where he earned a law degree in 1978.

During his time as CEO, Blankfein's contributions to Goldman Sachs were numerous. One of his most significant accomplishments was leading the firm through the 2008 financial crisis. Despite the severe economic downturn, Blankfein was able to navigate Goldman Sachs through the crisis and preserve the firm's financial stability.

In addition to navigating the financial crisis, Blankfein also oversaw several key initiatives that helped to strengthen and modernize the firm. For example, he was instrumental in expanding Goldman Sachs' presence in emerging markets, by pioneering Goldman Sachs’ foreign exchange business, which helped the firm to diversify its revenue streams and to reinforce the firm’s position as a leading provider of integrated financial and risk management solutions to its clients around the globe.

Blankfein was also a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion within the firm, and he made it a priority to increase representation of women and underrepresented minorities at all levels of the organization. Under his leadership, Goldman Sachs launched several initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion, including the launch of a program to support the advancement of women in leadership positions and other vital initiatives. These included 10,000 Women (2008) and 10,000 Small Businesses (2010), the Business Standards Committee (2010), the Marquee platform (2014) and Marcus (2016).

New CEO of Goldman Sachs: David Solomon

In 2018, Goldman Sachs, one of the world's leading investment banks, announced the retirement of its long-serving CEO, Lloyd Blankfein. Blankfein's departure marked the end of an era for the bank, which had been led by him for more than a decade. However, Goldman Sachs wasted no time in finding a worthy successor in the form of David Solomon, who was appointed as the new CEO and Chairman of the bank.

David Solomon is an accomplished financial personnel with an impressive resume. He holds a degree in Political Science from Hamilton College, where he graduated. His academic qualifications are testament to his strong educational background and his desire to constantly improve himself.

Prior to his appointment as CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, Solomon had a long and distinguished career in financial services, including senior roles at Irving Trust Company, Drexel Burnham and Bear Stearns. He joined the firm in 1999, and rose through the ranks to become partner and co-head of Goldman Sachs’ High Yield and Leveraged Loan Business within the Investment Banking Division (IBD).

During his tenure, he showed extensive experience in managing client relationships. He was also instrumental in bringing a distinct combination of strategic insight, deep business knowledge and an ability to engage effectively with both internal and external stakeholders.

One of Solomon's key initiatives as CEO has been to prioritize the use of promising technology in the bank's operations. He has recognized the importance of digital transformation and had encouraged the firm to embrace a new way of thinking and working capacity. This helped the firm harness better technologies and serve its clients better.

Top Institutional Holders (As of 3/30/22)

Company - Pct.

Vanguard Group, Inc.- 8.90% Blackrock Inc. - 6.86% State Street Corporation - 6.33% Massachusetts Financial Services Co. - 2.68% Price (T.Rowe) Associates Inc - 2.60% Dodge & Cox Inc - 2.23% Geode Capital Management, LLC - 1.70% Bank of America Corporation - 1.09% Bank Of New York Mellon Corporation - 1.09% Northern Trust Corporation - 1.04%

Top Mutual Fund Holders (As of 3/30/22)

Company - Pct.

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund - 2.87% Vanguard 500 Index Fund - 2.16% SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF - 1.66% Dodge & Cox Stock Fund - 1.52% SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust - 1.08% Fidelity 500 Index Fund - 1.04% iShares Core S&P 500 ETF - 0.87% Select Sector SPDR Fund-Financial - 0.84% Vanguard Index-Value Index Fund - 0.83% Vanguard Institutional Index Fund-Institutional Index Fund - 0.74% Price (T.Rowe) Blue Chip Growth Fund Inc. - 0.71%

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