Goldman Sachs 4Q13 Earnings Call Notes

This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings.

I’m not sure I would be as somber on 2013 as Goldman’s summary suggests

“When you boil it all down the 2013 environment it’s just one where the world took two steps forward followed by one step back. A dynamic which you could see reflected in both price movements in the markets and client activity. To sum it up while we wouldn’t characterize the last two years as a normal cyclical environment given all the items I previously listed it shouldn’t be lost on us that the long term trend is slowly and steadily improving.”

Focus on cost structure (same as other banks)

“ongoing focus on our expense structure has not only benefited recent performance but more importantly also serves as a basis for better results in the future particularly as the opportunity set expands.”

CEOs were frozen by the environment in 2013 in M&A transactions

“The advisory business for a CEO making a decision on a merger, it’s a career defining decision and against the backdrop. Again, go back and look at 2013, against the backdrop in one quarter you are contemplating what is tapering mean and then two quarters later, you are contemplating a government shutdown at that difficult backdrop to make a career defining decision.”

Returning capital

“we are definitely not going to be a firm that’s going to force investing. We are just going to be disciplined and if we don’t take the opportunities, then we are going to look to return the capital”

No impact to revenue from Volcker

“I don’t think the primary issue at this point in Volcker is about revenue impact although we have to see how regulators ultimately digest all the data they are requesting etcetera.”

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