Goldman’s Cohn Says He Doesn’t Know Why FICC Unit Underperformed

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President Gary Cohn said while he doesn’t know what drove his firm’s underperformance in fixed-income trading in the third quarter, he’s vowing to fix it.

“We don’t know precisely why we had a tough quarter, but the results are in, and I can tell you we had a tough quarter in fixed-income,” Cohn said today in a Bloomberg Television interview with Stephanie Ruhle. “We’re very committed, we’re going to redouble or triple our efforts in fixed-income. We believe ourselves to be a very powerful, very dominant, top-tier fixed-income shop.”

Goldman Sachs reported last week that fixed-income, currency and commodities, or FICC, trading revenue dropped 47 percent to $1.29 billion, the lowest since the financial crisis. The firm’s share of revenue among the five largest Wall Street banks is 17 percent so far this year, down from 22 percent in 2010.

The Federal Reserve’s decision not to taper its stimulus efforts didn’t cause a big change for the firm’s business, Cohn, 53, said. Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz said last week that clients were cautious leading up to the decision.

“For Goldman, it meant business as usual,” Cohn said. “Not tapering is the world that we’ve been in for the last year.”

Efforts to improve in fixed-income will include hiring, he said.

“We’re looking for seasoned traders, we’re replenishing our trading supply,” Cohn said. “We’re looking for seasoned salespeople, salespeople who have real client relationships and can come in and help us manage our client relationships.”

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