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The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a bank holding company that engages in investment banking, securities services, investment management and other financial services primarily with institutional clients. Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869, and is headquartered at 85 Broad Street, in the Lower Manhattan area of New York Citymarker. The firm has offices in all major international financial centers, and provides mergers and acquisitions advice, underwriting services, asset management, and securities services to its clients, which include corporations, governments and high net worth individuals around the world. The firm also engages in proprietary trading and private equity deals. It is a primary dealer in the United States Treasury security market.

Former Goldman Sachs employees Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson served as United States Secretary of the Treasury after leaving the firm; Rubin under President Clinton and Paulson under George W. Bush.



Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by German immigrant Marcus Goldman. In 1882, Goldman's son-in-law Samuel Sachs joined the firm which prompted the name change to Goldman Sachs. The company made a name for itself pioneering the use of commercial paper for entrepreneurs and was invited to join the New York Stock Exchangemarker in 1896.

In the early 20th century, Goldman was a player in establishing the initial public offering market. It managed one of the largest IPOs to date, that of Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1906. It also became one of the first companies to heavily recruit those with MBA degrees from leading business schools, a practice that still continues today.

On December 4, 1928, it launched the Goldman Sachs Trading Corp. a closed-end fund with characteristics similar to that of a Ponzi scheme. The fund failed as a result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, hurting the firm's reputation for several years afterward. Of this case and others like Blue Ridge Corporation and Shenandoah Corporation John Kenneth Galbraith wrote: The Autumn of 1929 was, perhaps, the first occasion when men succeeded on a large scale in swindling themselves.


In 1930, Sidney Weinberg assumed the role of senior partner and shifted Goldman's focus away from trading and towards investment banking. It was Weinberg's actions that helped to restore some of Goldman's tarnished reputation. On the back of Weinberg, Goldman was lead advisor on the Ford Motor Company's IPO in 1956, which at the time was a major coup on Wall Street. Under Weinberg's reign the firm also started an investment research division and a municipal bond department. It also was at this time that the firm became an early innovator in risk arbitrage.

Gus Levy joined the firm in the 1950s as a securities trader, which started a trend at Goldman where there would be two powers generally vying for supremacy, one from investment banking and one from securities trading. For most of the 1950s and 1960s, this would be Weinberg and Levy. Levy was a pioneer in block trading and the firm established this trend under his guidance. Due to Weinberg's heavy influence at the firm, it formed an investment banking division in 1956 in an attempt to spread around influence and not focus it all on Weinberg.

In 1969, Levy took over as Senior Partner from Weinberg, and built Goldman's trading franchise once again. It is Levy who is credited with Goldman's famous philosophy of being "long-term greedy," which implies that as long as money is made over the long term, trading losses in the short term are not to be worried about. That same year, Weinberg retired from the firm.

Another financial crisis for the firm occurred in 1970, when the Penn Central Railroad Company went bankrupt with over $80 million in commercial paper outstanding, most of it issued by Goldman Sachs. The bankruptcy was large, and the resulting lawsuits threatened the partnership capital and life of the firm. It was this bankruptcy that resulted in credit ratings being created for every issuer of commercial paper today by several credit rating services.

During the 1970s, the firm also expanded in several ways. Under the direction of Senior Partner Stanley R. Miller, it opened its first international office in Londonmarker in 1970, and created a private wealth division along with a fixed income division in 1972. It also pioneered the "white knight" strategy in 1974 during its attempts to defend Electric Storage Battery against a hostile takeover bid from International Nickel and Goldman's rival Morgan Stanley. This action would boost the firm's reputation as an investment advisor because it pledged to no longer participate in hostile takeovers.

John Weinberg (the son of Sidney Weinberg), and John C. Whitehead assumed roles of co-senior partners in 1976, once again emphasizing the co-leadership at the firm. One of their initiatives was the establishment of the 14 business principles that are still used to this day.


In the 1980s, the firm made a move by acquiring J. Aron & Company, a commodities trading firm which merged with the Fixed Income division to become known as Fixed Income, Currencies, and Commodities. J. Aron was a player in the coffee and gold markets, and the current CEO of Goldman, Lloyd Blankfein, joined the firm as a result of this merger. In 1985 it underwrote the public offering of the Real Estate Investment Trust that owned Rockefeller Centermarker, then the largest REIT offering in history. In accordance with the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the firm also became involved in facilitating the global privatization movement by advising companies that were spinning off from their parent governments.

In 1986, the firm formed Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which manages the majority of its mutual funds and hedge funds today. In the same year, the firm also underwrote the IPO of Microsoft, advised General Electric on its acquisition of RCA and joined the London and Tokyo stock exchanges. 1986 also was the year when Goldman became the first United Statesmarker bank to rank in the top 10 of mergers and acquisitions in the United Kingdommarker. During the 1980s the firm became the first bank to distribute its investment research electronically and created the first public offering of original issue deep-discount bond.

Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman assumed the Co-Senior Partnership in 1990 and pledged to focus on globalization of the firm and strengthening the Merger & Acquisition and Trading business lines. During their reign, the firm introduced paperless trading to the New York Stock exchange and lead-managed the first-ever global debt offering by a U.S. corporation. It also launched the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) and opened a Beijing office in 1994. It was this same year that Jon Corzine assumed leadership of the firm following the departure of Rubin and Friedman. The firm joined David Rockefeller and partners in a 50-50 join ownership of Rockefeller Centermarker during 1994, but later sold the shares to Tishman Speyer in 2000. In 1996, Goldman was lead underwriter of the Yahoo! IPO and in 1998 it was global coordinator of the NTT DoCoMo IPO. In 1999, Henry Paulson took over as Senior Partner.


One of the largest events in the firm's history was its own IPO in 1999. The decision to go public was one that the partners debated for decades. In the end, Goldman decided to offer only a small portion of the company to the public, with some 48% still held by the partnership pool. 22% of the company was held by non-partner employees, and 18% was held by retired Goldman partners and two longtime investors, Sumitomo Bank Ltd. and Hawaiimarker's Kamehameha Activities Assn (the investing arm of Kamehameha Schoolsmarker). This left approximately 12% of the company as being held by the public. With the firm's 1999 IPO, Henry Paulson became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the firm. Today, after further stock offerings to the public, Goldman is 67% owned by institutions (such as pension funds and other banks).

In 1999 Goldman acquired Hull Trading Company, one of the world's premier market-making firms, for $531 million. More recently, the firm has been busy both in investment banking and in trading activities. It purchased Spear, Leeds, & Kellogg, one of the largest specialist firms on the New York Stock Exchange, for $6.3 billion in September 2000. It also advised on a debt offering for the Government of China and the first electronic offering for the World Bank. It merged with JBWere, the Australian investment bank and opened a full-service broker-dealer in Brazil. It expanded its investments in companies to include Burger King, McJunkin Corporation, and in January 2007, Alliance Atlantismarker alongside CanWest Global Communications to own sole broadcast rights to the CSI franchise. The firm is also heavily involved in energy trading, including the oil speculation market, on both a principal and agent basis.

In May 2006, Paulson left the firm to serve as U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Lloyd Blankfein was promoted to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Former Goldman employees have headed the New York Stock Exchange, the World Bank, the U.S. Treasury Department, the White House staff, and firms such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch.

Actions in the 2007-2008 subprime mortgage crisis

Despite the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis, Goldman was able to profit from the collapse in subprime mortgage bonds in the summer of 2007 by selling subprime mortgage-backed securities short. Two Goldman traders, Michael Swenson and Josh Birnbaum, are credited with bearing responsibility for the firm's large profits during America's sub-prime mortgage crisis. The pair, who are part of Goldman's structured products group in New York, made a profit of $4bn by "betting" on a collapse in the sub-prime market, and shorting mortgage-related securities. By summer of 2007, they persuaded colleagues to see their point of view and talked around skeptical risk management executives. The firm initially avoided large subprime writedowns, and achieved a net profit due to significant losses on non-prime securitized loans being offset by gains on short mortgage positions. Its sizable profits made during the initial subprime mortgage crisis led the New York Times to proclaim that Goldman Sachs is without peer in the world of finance. The firm's viability was later called into question as the crisis intensified in September 2008.

On September 21, 2008, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the last two major investment banks in the United States, both confirmed that they would become traditional bank holding companies, bringing an end to the era of investment banking on Wall Streetmarker. The Federal Reserve's approval of their bid to become banks ended the ascendancy of the securities firms, 75 years after Congress separated them from deposit-taking lenders, and capped weeks of chaos that sent Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy and led to the rushed sale of Merrill Lynch & Co. to Bank of America Corp.

According to a 2009 BrandAsset Valuator survey taken of 17,000 people nationwide, the firm's reputation suffered in 2008 and 2009, and rival Morgan Stanley was respected more than Goldman Sachs, a reversal of the sentiment in 2006. Goldman refused to comment on the findings.

TARP and Berkshire Hathaway Investment in Goldman

In September 23, 2008, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to purchase $5 billion in Goldman's preferred stock, and also got warrants to buy another $5 billion in Goldman's common stock, exercisable for a five-year term. Goldman also received $10 billion preferred stock investment from the U.S.marker Treasurymarker in October 2008, as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo questioned Goldman's decision to pay 1556 employees bonuses of at least $1 million after it received TARP funds in 2008, That same period, however, CEO Lloyd Blankfein and six other senior executives opted to forgo bonuses, stating they believed it was the right thing to do, in light of "the fact that we are part of an industry that's directly associated with the ongoing economic distress." Attorney General Cuomo called the move "appropriate and prudent," and urged the executives of other banks to follow the firm's lead and refuse bonus payments.

Effect of AIG bailout on profits

In March 2009 it was reported that in 2008, Goldman Sachs, alongside other major US and international financial institutions, had received billions of dollars during the unwind of credit default swap (CDS) contracts purchased from AIG, including $12.9bn from funds provided by the US Federal Reserve to bail out AIG. Goldman has maintained that its net exposure to AIG was 'not material,' since the firm was protected by CDS hedges with other counterparties, alongside USD 7.5B of collateral. Both the collateral and credit default swaps would have protected the firm from incurring an economic loss in the event of an AIG bankruptcy.

Corporate affairs

,  Goldman Sachs employed 23,467 people worldwide. It reported earnings of US$9.34 billion and record earnings per share of $19.69. It was reported that the average total compensation per employee in 2006 was US$622,000. However, this number represents the arithmetic mean of total compensation and is highly skewed upwards as several
hundred of the top earners command the majority of the Bonus Pools, leaving the median that most employees earn well below this number. In Business Week's recent release of the Best Places to Launch a Career 2008, Goldman Sachs was ranked #4 out of 119 total companies on the list. The current Chief Executive Officer is Lloyd C. Blankfein. The company ranks #1 in Annual Net Income when compared with 86 peers in the Investment Services sector. Blankfein earned a $67.9 million bonus in his first year. He chose to receive "some" cash unlike former CEO Henry Paulson, his predecessor who chose to take his bonus entirely in companystock.

Goldman Sachs expected in December 2008 to pay $14 million in taxes worldwide for 2008 compared with $6 billion the previous year. The company’s effective income tax rate dropped to nearly 1 percent from 34.1 percent in 2007 due to an increase in permanent benefits as a percentage of lower earnings and changes in geographic earnings mix

Goldman Sachs is divided into three businesses units, Investment Banking, Trading and Principle Investments, and Asset Management and Securities Services.

Investment banking

Investment banking is divided into two divisions and includes Financial Advisory (mergers and acquisitions, investitures, corporate defense activities, restructurings and spin-offs) and Underwriting (public offerings and private placements of equity, equity-related and debt instruments). Goldman Sachs is one of the leading investment banks, appearing in league tables. In mergers and acquisitions, it gained fame historically by advising clients on how to avoid hostile takeovers, moves generally viewed as unfriendly to shareholders of targeted companies. Goldman Sachs, for a long time during the 1980s, was the only major investment bank with a strict policy against helping to initiate a hostile takeover, which increased Goldman's reputation immensely among sitting management teams at the time. The investment banking segment accounts for around 17 percent of Goldman Sachs' revenues.

The firm has also been involved in both advising and brokering deals to privatize major highways by selling them to foreign investors. In addition to advising 4 state and local governments on privatization projects, including Indianamarker, Texasmarker, and Chicagomarker.

Trading & Principal Investments

Trading and Principal Investments is the largest of the three segments, and is the company's profit center. The segment is divided into three divisions and includes Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (trading in interest rate and credit products, mortgage-backed securities and loans, currencies and commodities, structured and derivative products), Equities (trading in equities, equity-related products, equity derivatives, structured products and executing client trades in equities, options, and Futures contracts on world markets), and Principal Investments (merchant banking investments and funds). This segment consists of the revenues and profit gained from the Bank's trading activities, both on behalf of its clients (known as flow trading) and for its own account (known as proprietary trading).

Most trading done by Goldman is not speculative, but rather an attempt to profit from bid-ask spreads in the process of acting as a market maker. On average, around 68 percent of Goldman's revenues and profits are derived from trading. Upon its IPO, Goldman predicted that this segment would not grow as fast as its Investment Banking division and would be responsible for a shrinking proportion of earnings. The opposite has been true however, resulting in now-CEO Lloyd Blankfein's appointment to President and Chief Operating Officer after John Thain's departure to run the NYSEmarker and John L. Thornton's departure for an academic position in China.

Asset management and securities services

As the name suggests, the firm's Asset Management and Securities Services segment is divided into two components: Asset Management and Securities Services. The Asset Management division provides investment advisory and financial planning services and offers investment products (primarily through separately managed accounts and commingled vehicles) across all major asset classes to a diverse group of institutions and individuals worldwide. The unit primarily generates revenues in the form of management and incentive fees. The Securities Services division provides clearing, financing, custody, securities lending, and reporting services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, and pension funds. The division generates revenues primarily in the form of interest rate spreads or fees.

In 2006, the Goldman Sachs Asset Management hedge fund was the 9th largest in the United Statesmarker, with $20.58 billion under management. This was down from $32.5 billion in 2007, after client redemptions and weaker investment performance.

GS Capital Partners

GS Capital Partners is the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs. It has invested over $17 billion in the 20 years from 1986 to 2006. One of the most prominent funds is the GS Capital Partners V fund, which comprises over $8.5 billion of equity. On April 23, 2007, Goldman closed GS Capital Partners VI with $20 billion in committed capital, $11 billion from qualified institutional and high net worth clients and $9 billion from the firm and its employees. GS Capital Partners VI is the current primary investment vehicle for Goldman Sachs to make large, privately negotiated equity investments.

Major Assets (GS Group)


In December 2005, four years after its report on the emerging "BRIC" economies (Brazilmarker, Russiamarker, Indiamarker, and Chinamarker), Goldman Sachs named its "Next Eleven" list of countries, using macroeconomic stability, political maturity, openness of trade and investment policies and quality of education as criteria: Bangladeshmarker, Egyptmarker, Indonesiamarker, Iranmarker, South Koreamarker, Mexicomarker, Nigeriamarker, Pakistanmarker, the Philippinesmarker, Turkeymarker and Vietnammarker.

Corporate citizenship

Goldman Sachs has received favorable press coverage for conducting business and implementing internal policies related to reversing global climate change. According to the company website, the Goldman Sachs Foundation has given $114 million in grants since 1999, with the goal of promoting youth education worldwide.

The company also has been on Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For list since the list was launched in 1998, with emphasis placed on its support for employee philanthropic efforts. In November 2007, Goldman Sachs established a donor-advised fund called Goldman Sachs Gives that donates to charitable organizations around the world, while increasing their maximum employee donation match to $20,000. The firm's Community TeamWorks is an annual, global volunteering initiative that in 2007 gave over 20,000 Goldman employees a day off work from May through August to volunteer in a team-based project organized with a local nonprofit organization.

In March 2008, Goldman launched the 10,000 Women initiative to train 10,000 women from predominantly developing countries in business and management.

In November 2009, Goldman pledged $500 million to aid small businesses in their newly-created 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. The initiative aims to provide 10,000 small businesses with assistance — ranging from business and management education and mentoring to lending and philanthropic support. The networking will beoffered through partnerships with national and local business organizations, as well as employee of Goldman Sachs.In addition to Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffet and Harvard Business Schoolmarker professor Michael Porter will chair the program's advisory council.

Goldman Sachs employees are known to be highly loyal to their organization.

Criticism and controversy

Goldman Sachs criticism

In 1986, David Brown was convicted of passing inside information to Ivan Boesky on a takeover deal. Robert Freeman, who was a senior Partner, the Head of Risk Arbitrage, and a protégé of Robert Rubin, was also convicted of insider trading, for his own account and for the firm's.

On November 11, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that Goldman Sachs, which earned $25 M from underwriting California bonds, had advised other clients to "short" those bonds. Shorting is essentially betting that the state will default on the bonds, which serves to drive up the cost of the issue to the state. While some journalists criticized the contradictory actions, others pointed out that the opposite investment decisions undertaken by the underwriting side and the trading side of the bank were normal and in line with regulations regarding Chinese walls.

During 2008 Goldman Sachs came under criticism for an apparent revolving-door relationship in which its employees and consultants have moved in and out of powerful US Government positions, where there may exist the potential for a conflict of interest. Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs. Additional controversy attended the selection of former Goldman Sachs lobbyist Mark Patterson as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Geithner, despite President Barack Obama's pledge to limit the influence of lobbyists in his administration.

In July 2009, Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi published an article on Goldman Sachs titled, 'The Great American Bubble Machine', where he condemned the company and assets that Goldman Sachs and similar companies have engineered and then profited off of every economic recession and bubble since The Great Depression. The controversial article was widely criticized by financial journalists, many of whom claimed the piece was inaccurate and misleading, equating it to "sensationalism." Despite this, the piece reportedly impelled Goldman Sachs to take expensive action to attempt to repair its public image.

First Quarter 2009 and December 2008 Financial Results

In April 2009, there was controversy that Goldman Sachs had 'puffed up' its Q1 earnings by creating a December 'orphan month' into which it shifted large writedowns. In its first full quarter as a bank holding company, the firm reported a USD 780M net loss for the single month of December alongside Q1 net earnings of USD 1.81B (Jan-Mar)

The accounting change to a calendar fiscal year, which created the stub month, was required when the firm converted to a bank holding company and declared in Item 5.03 of its Form 8-K U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing of December 15, 2008. The December loss also included a USD 850M writedown on loans to bankrupt chemical maker LyondellBasell, as reported in late December (the chemical maker formally declared bankruptcy on January 6 but the loan would have been marked-to-market – it became clear in mid/late-December that Lyondell would not be able to meet its debt obligations).

Most financial analysts and the mainstream financial press (Bloomberg L.P., Reuters, etc), aware of the accounting change and deteriorating market conditions into December, were unsurprised by the December loss (Merrill Lynch took at least USD 8.1B of losses in the same period). However, their lack of reaction and reporting of what was a widely expected result may have contributed to the surprise attributing this as a sign that the firm was trying to 'hide' losses in December. On the contrary, the results of December 2008 were discussed up front and in detail by CFO David Viniar in the first few minutes of the firm's Q1 2009 conference call, and were fully declared on page 10 of its earnings release document.

On 22 April 2009, Morgan Stanley also reported a USD 1.3B net loss for the single month of December, alongside a USD 177M loss for the first quarter (Jan-Mar). However, whereas Goldman Sachs' first-quarter earnings (Jan-Mar) were well-above forecasts (which led to the speculation that the firm may have 'conveniently' shifted losses into December), Morgan Stanley's results for the same Jan-Mar period were below consensus estimates. This, in addition to Morgan Stanley's losses in December, would appear to support Goldman's rejection of the notion that they deliberately shifted losses into December. Like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley converted to a bank holding company after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

As of June 22, 2009, the company was on track to complete its "most profitable year ever", and has moved forward with plans to reward its workers with record bonus payments.

Involvement with the bailout of AIG

American International Group was bailed out by the US government in September 2008 after suffering a crisis in liquidity, whereby the Federal Reserve initially lent $85 billion USD to AIG to allow the firm to meet its collateral and cash obligations.

In the ensuing months as AIG's obligations to counterparties were being unwound, Goldman Sachs was the largest single recipient of this money (USD 12.9B), although similar payments were also made to Société Générale and Deutsche Bank (USD ~12B each), Barclays (USD 8.5B), Merrill Lynch (USD 6.8B), and other major US and international financial institutions. (As of April, 2009, US Government loans to AIG totaled over $180 billion.) Some have also claimed that Goldman's earnings in 2008 and Q1 2009 benefited materially from the bailout. However, in a statement by CFO David Viniar, the firm stated that profits related to AIG in Q1 2009 "rounded to zero", and profits in December were not significant. He went on to say that he was "mystified" by the interest the government and investors have shown in the bank's trading relationship with AIG.

This money was owed to counterparties under legally-binding contracts purchased from AIG. However, due to the size and nature of the payouts there was considerable controversy in the media and amongst some politicians as to whether banks, including Goldman Sachs, may have benefited materially from the bailout and if they had been overpaid., The New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced in March 2009 that he was investigating whether AIG's trading counterparties improperly received government money.

Firm's response to criticism of AIG payments

Goldman Sachs has maintained that its net exposure to AIG was 'not material', and that the firm was protected by hedges (in the form of credit default swaps with other counterparties) and USD 7.5B of collateral. The collateral and credit default swaps would have protected the firm from incurring an economic loss in the event of an AIG bankruptcy. The firm states that the cost of these hedges was over USD 100M. However, because AIG was bailed out and not allowed to fail, these hedges did not pay out.

Some have speculated that the hedges against their AIG exposure would not have paid out if AIG was allowed to fail, because of the systemic knock-on effects of AIG's failure to other financial institutions selling insurance against AIG. This is sometimes cited as a reason why AIG's bailout was, in effect, bailing out Goldman Sachs. However, in practice, credit default swaps are marked to market (i.e., valued at their current market price) and their positions netted between counterparties daily. Thus, as the cost of insuring AIG's obligations against default rose substantially in the lead-up to its bailout, the sellers of the CDS contracts had to post more collateral to Goldman Sachs. Thus, the firm claims its hedges were effective and the firm would have been protected against an AIG bankruptcy and the risk of knock-on defaults, had AIG been allowed to fail. However, as with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, wider and longer-term systemic and economic turmoil brought on by an AIG default would probably have affected the firm and all other market participants.

Final AIG meetings on 15th September at the New York Federal Reserve

Some have cited, although incorrectly as others have noted, that Goldman Sachs received preferential treatment from the government by being the only Wall Street firm to have participated in the crucial September meetings at the New York Fed, which decided AIG's fate. Much of this has stemmed from an inaccurate but often quoted New York Times article. The article was later corrected to state that Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, was "one of the Wall Street chief executives at the meeting" (emphasis added). Bloomberg has also reported that representatives from other firms were indeed present at the September AIG meetings. Furthermore, Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar has stated that CEO Blankfein had never met with his predecessor and then-US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to discuss AIG; Paulson was not present at the September meetings at the New York Fed. It is also a lesser known fact that Morgan Stanley was hired by the Federal Reserve to advise them on the AIG bailout.

According to the New York Times, Paulson spoke with the CEO of Goldman Sachs two dozen times during the week of the bailout, though he obtained a ethics waivers before doing so. While it is common for regulators to be in contact with market participants to gather valuable industry intelligence, particularly in a crisis, the Times noted he spoke with Goldman's Blankfein more frequently than with other large banks. Federal officials say that although Paulson was involved in decisions to rescue A.I.G, it was the Federal Reserve that played the lead role in shaping and financing the A.I.G. bailout.

Former-New York Fed Chairman's ties to the firm

In May 2009, it was reported that the Chairman of the New York Fed, Stephen Friedman, was a former director at, and shareholder of, Goldman Sachs, having retired from the firm in 1994 and retained substantial stock. The controversy and criticism caused by what was seen as a conflict of interest between Friedman's new role as supervisor and regulator to Goldman Sachs (due to its conversion from securities firm to a bank holding company), and, in particular, his purchase of shares in the firm when it traded at historical lows in Q4 2008, forced him to resign on May 7, 2009. Although Friedman's purchases of Goldman stock did not violate any Fed rule, statute, or policy, he stated that the Fed did not need this distraction. He also claims his purchases, made while approval of a waiver was pending, were motivated by a desire to demonstrate confidence in the company during a time of market distress.

Friedman was named Chairman of the New York Fed in January 2008. However, Goldman's conversion to bank holding company in September 2008 meant it was now regulated by the Fed and not the SEC. When it became apparent that Timothy Geithner, then-New York Fed president would leave his role at the Fed and become Treasury Secretary, a temporary one-year waiver of a rule was granted to Friedman that would otherwise forbid Fed board members from direct interest with those it regulated ('class C' directors).

Friedman therefore agreed to remain on the board until the end of 2009 to provide continuity in the wake of the turmoil caused by Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy. Had the waiver not been granted, the New York Fed would have lost both its president and its chairman (or Friedman would have had to divest his Goldman shares). This would have been highly disruptive for the New York Fed's role in the capital markets, and Friedman claims he agreed to stay on the NY Fed board out of a sense of public duty, but that his decision was "being mischaracterised as improper".

$60 million settlement for Massachusetts subprime mortgages

On May 10, 2009 the Goldman Sachs Group agreed to pay up to $60 million to end an investigation by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office into whether the firm helped promote unfair home loans in the state. The settlement will be used to reduce the mortgage payments of 714 Massachusetts residents who had secured subprime mortgages funded by Goldman Sachs. Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman said it was “pleased to have resolved this matter,” and declined to comment further. This settlement may open the door to state government actions against Goldman throughout the United States aimed at securing compensation for predatory mortgage lending practices.

List of officers and directors

As of Nov 27, 2008
Name Nationality Current Position Since Total Annual Compensation Long-Term Incentive Plans All Other Fiscal Year Total Options Value
Lloyd C. Blankfein Chairman of the board & CEO 2006 US$600,000.00 - $235,943.00 $1,113,771.00 837,127 $63,215,422.00
David A. Viniar CFO & Executive Vice President 1999 $600,000.00 - $222,492.00 $1,100,320.00 506,445 $34,942,903.00
Gary D. Cohn President, COO & Director 2006 $600,000.00 - $163,841.00 $3,661,729.00 828,259 $61,033,100.00
John S. Weinberg Vice Chairman 2006 $16,843,500.00 - $79,736.00 $26,002,896.00 430,905 $30,624,806.00
Michael J. Evans Vice Chairman & Chairman of Goldman Sachs, Asia 2008 $600,000.00 - $2,250,850.00 $5,308,735.00 - -
Michael Sherwood Vice Chairman, Co-CEO - International 2008 - - - - - -
Alan Cohen Executive Vice President, Global Head - Compliance 2004 - - - - - -
Gregory Palm Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Co-Head - Legal Department 1999 - - - - - -
Esta Stecher Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Co-Head - Legal Department 2000 - - - - - -
John H. Bryan Director 1999 - - - - - -
Claes Dahlbäck Director 2003 - - - - - -
Stephen Friedman Director 2005 - - - - - -
William W. George Director 2002 - - - - - -
Rajat K. Gupta Director 2006 - - - - - -
James A. Johnson Director 1999 - - - - - -
Lois D. Juliber Director 2004 - - - - - -
Lakshmi N. Mittal Director 2008 - - - - - -
Ruth J. Simmons Director 2000 - - - - - -


Works about Goldman Sachs

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