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Gillian Tan

Behind Goldman Sachs's Trading Slump

One telling chart explains the bank's dilemma.
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Updated on

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has been hiring aggressively to combat its dramatic slump in trading revenue. But given that those traders probably won't be joining the bank for anywhere between three and six months on account of gardening leave -- the paid time employers typically provide to prevent bankers from immediately working for a rival -- they won't be able to do much to improve the situation for a while.

How bad is it? One key metric, revealed in Goldman's most recent quarterly filing, highlights where things have gone sour. During the three months ended Sept. 30, the Lloyd Blankfein-led bank had zero standout days -- defined as days when trading revenue exceeded $100 million in the quarter -- versus an average of 6 to 7 such days per quarter dating back through the beginning of 2013.