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Matt Levine

Goldman Has an Investing Robot

Also Bitcoin 50K, GameStop, Citi’s goof and the wrong Ark.


You could have two basic views of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Marcus consumer-banking product. One is that it represents Goldman’s move into boring consumer banking: Shareholders put a higher multiple on stable recurring consumer revenue than they do on volatile trading profits, so Goldman is giving them what they want by building a boring consumer business. (To make sure it’s boring, it has a pleasant just-call-me-by-my-first-name brand, Marcus, to distinguish it from the more formal Messrs. Goldman, Sachs & Co.) The other is that it is a trick, and Goldman is going to lure consumers and then use their money to do horrifying structured products. Disclosure, I used to work at Goldman, structuring horrifying products (I kid, they were fine, fine-ish), and part of me is always rooting for the trick answer. It would give me immense pleasure to report to you that Goldman was selling synthetic tranches of its Apple-branded credit-card debt to unsuspecting German regional banks and then also betting against those tranches etc. etc. etc. you know all the tricks by now.