ゴールドマンの下落 初めて、有名な投資銀行がイメージの問題ではなく、ビジネスの問題に直面している。

Goldman Sags
For the first time, the famous investment bank has more of a business than an image problem
Oct 5th 2017



BY TRADITION, Goldman Sachs makes risky financial wagers and stays icy cool under pressure. A bad trade on Treasury bonds in 1986 almost killed it, but was eventually cauterised. The firm’s “big short” in early 2007, when it bet that subprime securities would tumble, helped it to book profits of $14bn in 2008-09 and to perform relatively well during the worst financial crisis for 80 years. Goldman also values candour, at least inside the firm. In this spirit it is time to acknowledge that the bank’s strategic direction is beginning to feel like a bum trade. Its defence is that it is no worse than its group of peers, but being average on Wall Street is a mug’s game and the antithesis of the Goldman way. 

by tradition:伝統的に、慣習的に
wagers:賭け(事); 賭けた物[金銭]; 賭けの対象(bet)
candour:(態度や言葉の)率直さ, 素直さ, 偏見のなさ(frankness)
mug’s game: ばか者だけしかやらないもうかりっこない仕事
antithesis:アンチテーゼ, 反対命題, 反定立

While outsiders think that Goldman’s alumni run the world, on Wall Street the firm’s aura has dimmed. Rival banks view it with indifference, not awe. After shining in the years after the crisis, since 2012 its total return (share price gain plus dividends) has lagged behind the average of its four big American rivals by 36%. Other banks have caught up and Goldman’s trading arm, which executes deals for clients, is misfiring, with its market share dropping. It has struggled to adapt to placid markets and a clampdown on proprietary trading (trading for your own profit). 

aura:(人場所物の独特の)雰囲気, オーラ(atmosphere)
awe:畏れ, 畏敬の念, 畏怖(fear)
misfiring:〈計画などが〉失敗する, 不発に終わる, うまく行かない

Inevitably that gives rise to doubts about the firm’s strategy, which is to slash costs and sit tight, hoping the industry’s nuclear winter ends. So while lower bonuses mean the pay bill is down by 42% since 2007, there has been no wholesale retreat from the main businesses—advising and lending to companies, trading securities and asset management. Meanwhile, the bank is grappling with three problems: mediocre profitability, unconvincing capital allocation and a tricky management succession. 

Inevitably必然的に, 必ず; ⦅おどけて⦆(結果的に)予想通り
sit tight:態度を変えない, じっと我慢する
mediocre :⦅けなして⦆平凡な, 二流の
unconvincing:〈説明議論が〉説得力のない, 〈描写などが〉本物らしくない
tricky:〈物事が〉巧妙な, 手の込んだ; 〈仕事などが〉扱いにくい, 微妙な

Back when it was a partnership, Goldman was more profitable than Facebook is now. Its return on equity was 38% in 1998, before it went public. In 2007 its ROE was 29%, but it fell to 9% in the most recent quarter. Two-thirds of this drop reflects tougher capital rules. Its level of ROE matches the average of JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bank of America. Investors expect a mild recovery, but do not expect Goldman to be exceptional, so its shares do not trade on a notably superior multiple of book value, as they usually did in the glory years between 2006 and 2013. 

superior multiple:より優れている倍数

Another gauge is profits relative to risk-weighted assets, a measure that regulators use to calibrate banks’ risk and size. For every $100 of such assets Goldman made $1.9 of pre-tax profits in 2016, less than the peer group’s average of $2.0. Each bank has a different mix of businesses, but you can compare Goldman to a best-in-class “clone” made up of JPMorgan’s investment banking and asset-management divisions. The clone made $2.2. (Goldman says that this comparison is too crude.) 

calibrate:〈計器など〉の目盛り[口径]を測定する[調整する, 決める]

Mediocre profitability reflects unwieldy asset allocation. Goldman has toiled to cut its balance-sheet, particularly in bond-trading. But it has been hit especially hard by new “Basel 3” rules which determine how its risk-weighted-assets are calculated. As a result Goldman’s have risen by 35% since 2012. The trading arm ties up two-thirds of this, especially its derivatives book. Its lending operation has grown, with exposures to higher-risk firms—those with a credit rating of BBB or less—rising 151% to $129bn. 

unwieldy:(大きさ重さなどのため)扱いにくい, 動かしにくい〈事柄が〉手に負えない; 〈組織などが〉(大きすぎるなどとして)非効率的な

Goldman does not reveal the ROEs of these operating segments but they can be imputed. In 2016 the trading unit appears to have had an ROE of 7% and its lending unit 5%. Most firms would have wielded the knife deeper. The bank has new projects, such as its small online consumer bank. It has returned cash to shareholders. But its core strategy is to wait for trading to recover. This may happen. Volatility may pick up, European competitors might quit the game, or emerging economies could boom. 

wielded:武器道具などを握る, 持つ; …を使う

It is less clear how any of these events would lift the trading division’s returns to a punchy level. There have been highs and lows since the crisis, but its average ROE has been only 10%, based on current capital rules. If the terrible trio of Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse quit the trading game altogether and Goldman won a quarter of their business, its trading division’s ROE would be a lukewarm 9%. China’s markets are booming but local firms dominate, and Goldman is weak in India. 

lukewarm :熱のない, 煮え切らない

Goldman’s “hang-in-there” strategy feeds into the discussion over succession. Lloyd Blankfein has been the boss since 2006, and—it must be said—over the entire period has the best record of any banker other than Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan. But more recently Mr Blankfein may have been too tolerant of the trading division, where he and several lieutenants made their names. 

Hang in there:がんばれ

The problem is that even if he goes, there is no quick fix. The firm’s other businesses—advising companies and asset management—are excellent but mature. A few romantics imagine Goldman could return to being a partnership, but that is silly. In 1998 the partners had $6bn of capital tied up in it; now they would need $97bn to buy it. Might Goldman combine with a commercial bank, a model it flirted with in the 1990s and which JPMorgan has perfected? The only major lender without a big investment bank is Wells Fargo, and the combined firm would have $3trn of assets, enough to make regulators ululate. 

flirted:【危険災害などを】(深刻に考えず)軽々しく扱う; 【考えなどを】もてあそぶ; ≪…に≫ おもしろ半分に手を出す

The wonder years
Goldman says that it has a “record of adapting to changing environments” and notes that its average ROE over the past ten years was eight percentage points above the average of its peers. This legacy means that the board will probably stick with the plan and the man for at least a year. After that, mediocre performance would corrode morale and upset external shareholders, who own 90% of the bank. If no trading upsurge comes, Goldman may have to shrink more. Its reign has been short. In the 1980s it was not yet top dog on Wall Street and was a nonentity abroad. People may look back with puzzlement at the two decades when Goldman Sachs was the undisputed king of the investment-banking industry and investment banking seemed to rule the world. 




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