By Matt Scuffham

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc management is considering whether to scale back financial targets set earlier this year, as the coronavirus pandemic has hindered the bank’s business model revamp, analysts and sources inside the bank told Reuters.

Goldman unveiled plans to boost returns on equity and cut costs during its first-ever investor day in January. To reach its goals, Goldman would squeeze more revenue from existing businesses like wealth management as well as relatively new ones like consumer lending, while launching additional corporate services like cash management.

Since then, the pandemic has slammed into the economy, crippling loan demand and causing widespread unemployment. It has also prevented Goldman bankers from drumming up business with new customers the way they could before coronavirus lockdowns.

Although Goldman’s trading revenue has soared thanks to market volatility, other initiatives have stalled.

“Unless there’s a silver bullet vaccine cure, it looks like Goldman will not hit its targets,” said Viola Risk Advisors bank analyst David Hendler. “It’s behind on wealth management and it’s behind on consumer.”

A spokesman for Goldman referred Reuters to executives’ prior statements but declined to comment further.

Goldman Sachs executives have stood by their targets, stressing that the path to achieving them in the coming years would not be “linear.” They are not expected to move the goalposts on Wednesday when the bank reports third-quarter results.

Instead, the bank may change targets in January, a year after they were set, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

As it stands, Goldman pledged to produce a return on tangible common shareholders’ equity (ROTE) of more than 14% by 2023, compared with 10.6% in 2019.

The bank also outlined plans to cut expenses by $1.3 billion over that time frame, producing an efficiency ratio

General Electric GE shares jumped higher in pre-market trading Friday after analysts at Goldman Sachs resumed coverage of the industrial group with a buy rating and a $10 price target.

Goldman Sachs analyst Joe Ritchie, citing the progress towards a ‘”leaner, structurally more productive company with better capital discipline” during the two-year tenure of CEO Larry Culp, said the group’s free cash flows will improve next year as its higher-margin businesses recover from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. He also argues there is potential upside for both the stock and its longer-term price target heading into the group’s third quarter earnings on October 28.

Culp told investors last month that GE’s industrial free cash flows would be positive before the end of this year, a noted improvement from his July update that it would likely turn positive on in 2021.

General Electric shares were marked 3.3% higher in early trading Friday to change hands at $6.86 each, a move that extends the stock’s one-month gain to around 10%.

In late July, when GE published a wider-than-expected second quarter loss of $2.2 billion, Culp noted “faster progress on elements within our control, including our targeted cost and cash preservation actions.’

GE’s second quarter revenues fell 38.5% from last year to $17.7 billion, a figure that topped analysts’ forecast by around $700 million for the three months ending in June. Industrial free cash flow was also better-than-forecast, at -$2.1 billion from $-2.2 billion in the first quarter, and the conglomerate said at the time it expected to be free-cash flow positive by next year.

Revenues from GE Power, one of the group’s biggest divisions, remained reasonably solid, down 11.1% to $4.16 billion, while Aviation revenues fell 44% to $4.4 billion as global aircraft demand collapsed during coronavirus travel restrictions and Boeing’s

  • Business Insider obtained a memo that Goldman Sachs sent to employees on Thursday. 
  • It details the bank’s reopening and testing strategy as it brings workers back to offices. 
  • Between 15 and 20% of Goldman Sachs employees have already returned to the office, Business Insider has learned.
  • Goldman’s plan — our best look yet at a big bank’s strategy — involves using three kinds of coronavirus testing: antigen, PCR, and antibody.
  • Do you have information about companies’ reopening strategies? Reach out to this reporter at [email protected] or through Signal/text at 1-252-241-3117.
  • For more stories like this, sign up here for Business Insider’s daily healthcare newsletter.

Business Insider has obtained a Goldman Sachs memo that sheds new light on how the marquee Wall Street firm is bringing employees back to the office.

The memo is dated October 8 and lays out the testing strategy that Goldman is using as one of the first major companies to bring white-collar employees back to physical offices. Between 15 and 20% of Goldman Sachs employees have returned to the New York office, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In it, the company details three kinds of tests it’ll use, plus its rules on social distancing, mask-wearing, and contact tracing. For New Yorkers in particular, Goldman is standing up an in-person screening service too.

Wall Street wants to get back to the office

Large banks have put stakes in the ground over this issue of working from home versus returning to the office. Executives are asking workers to come back to the office, The New York Times reported last month, if only for some days of the week or month. Some of them seem worried about degraded office culture, which in finance typically includes long hours and time spent face-to-face, and dwindling productivity during these



Lloyd Blankfein wearing a suit and tie: Brendan McDermid/Reuters


© Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

  • Goldman Sachs’ former CEO Lloyd Blankfein told CNBC on Thursday that a “wash of free money is clearly creating bubble elements in the markets.” 
  • The banking titan blamed low interest rates for creating free money for large investors. 
  • Blankfein also cited speculation in the growing SPAC market: “Look at SPACs and how much money  is available on the basis of somebody’s reputation as opposed to a business plan.”

Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told CNBC on Thursday that a “wash of free money” due to low interest rates is “clearly creating bubble elements in the markets.”

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“Given that money is kind of free, it presumably is not being allocated in a disciplined way, and so there are bubble elements to this,” Blankfein said. “Look at the credit market — people are lending to what historically would have been weak credits for very little money.”

The banking titan also referred to the SPAC market as a sign that the market is taking on much speculation lately. In this year alone, about 110 blank-check firms led by notable investors like Chamath Palihapitiya and Bill Ackman have raised over $40 billion on public markets. That’s over $26 billion more than what last year’s SPACs raised.

Read more: Citi’s US equities chief warns of an ‘extreme peak’ in earnings revisions heading into the crucial reporting season — and explains why it makes stocks vulnerable to a pullback in the weeks ahead

“Look at SPACs and how much money  is available on the basis of somebody’s reputation as opposed to a business plan,” Blankfein said. 

The banking titan can be added to the growing list of investors voicing concerns about the speculative nature in markets. Last week, venture capitalist Bill Gurley said the stock market reminded

  • Goldman Sachs’ former CEO Lloyd Blankfein told CNBC on Thursday that a “wash of free money is clearly creating bubble elements in the markets.” 
  • The banking titan blamed low interest rates for creating free money for large investors. 
  • Blankfein also cited speculation in the growing SPAC market: “Look at SPACs and how much money  is available on the basis of somebody’s reputation as opposed to a business plan.”

Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told CNBC on Thursday that a “wash of free money” due to low interest rates is “clearly creating bubble elements in the markets.”

“Given that money is kind of free, it presumably is not being allocated in a disciplined way, and so there are bubble elements to this,” Blankfein said. “Look at the credit market — people are lending to what historically would have been weak credits for very little money.”

The banking titan also referred to the SPAC market as a sign that the market is taking on much speculation lately. In this year alone, about 110 blank-check firms led by notable investors like Chamath Palihapitiya and Bill Ackman have raised over $40 billion on public markets. That’s over $26 billion more than what last year’s SPACs raised.

Read more: Citi’s US equities chief warns of an ‘extreme peak’ in earnings revisions heading into the crucial reporting season — and explains why it makes stocks vulnerable to a pullback in the weeks ahead

“Look at SPACs and how much money  is available on the basis of somebody’s reputation as opposed to a business plan,” Blankfein said. 

The banking titan can be added to the growing list of investors voicing concerns about the speculative nature in markets. Last week, venture capitalist Bill Gurley said the stock market reminded him of the dot-com bubble of the