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Goldman Sachs Gets U.K. Approval to Operate Bank Unit

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets, gained regulatory approval to run a branch of its commercial bank in the U.K.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA received the license on March 21, according to a filing with Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. The branch will be able to accept deposits, advise on investments and arrange the safeguarding and administration of assets, according to the filing.

“We are pleased that the request has been approved,” Sophie Bullock, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman in London, said today by e-mail. “The bank’s clients are global and it is important for a number of them to be able to transact with the bank in London.”

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were the largest U.S. securities firms before they converted to bank holding companies after the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Both became subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve and won access to central bank programs such as the discount window, which are designed to protect deposit-taking banks. Goldman Sachs Bank USA was set up as a New York State-chartered bank in 2008.

Goldman Sachs said yesterday that first-quarter net income rose 7 percent to $2.26 billion, or $4.29 a share, from $2.11 billion, or $3.92, a year earlier. That was higher than all 24 analysts’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Financial News reported the approval for a commercial-bank branch earlier.

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