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Glodman Sachs

In: Business and Management

Submitted By queensbelfast
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During the past two decades many organisations in both the manufacturing and service sectors have faced dramatic changes in their business environment.

The secondary sector of the economy includes those economic sectors that create a finished, usable product: manufacturing and construction. Some economists contrast the wealth-producing sectors in an economy such as manufacturing with the service sector. Service’ can range from retail, insurance and government. Economists state that an economy begins to decline as its wealth-producing sector loses influence. Along with the service sector producing a service instead of an end product, both these sectors have faced dramatic changes in their business environments during the past two decades.
In the last twenty years, there has been a ‘sectoral shift’, manufacturing, or the secondary industry has declined in parallel to the service sector, this has been more apparent in the UK business environment. One argument is that service costs have escalated, resulting in a greater influence being put on the home e.g. laundrettes having being replaced by washing machines globally. Manufacturing firms have recognised the wider markets here and have put increased emphasis on their marketing activities. The service sector following deindustrialisation has seen a decline in public transport although during the 1980’s financial and business services grew.
One good example of this is the banking industry, in the service sector, which has gone through huge changes in recent years. By taking full advantage of information and communication technology, banks have vastly reduced their number of HR requirements. Many banks and building societies, across the world have merged to form ‘leaner’ business’ capable of reaching out to a wider customer base. The banking industry has shown that its environment has become less labour intensive; the advancements in I.T. have resulted in a more capital intensive business environment, communicating products to customers and streamlining all their practices to increase profits and ensure that they keep their stakeholders satisfied.
The Goldman Sachs group Inc, are a global investment banking and security firm that engage in financial services. Founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman, with its headquarters based in Manhattan, New York City, the multi-billion dollar organisation’s products include, investment banking, prime brokerage, investment management, commercial banking and commodities. Enjoying profits last year of in excess of US$45.173 billion and with 68 percent of her revenues coming from trading, Sachs is a market leader on Wall Street ahead of Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. The company above all puts emphasis on its corporate citizenship, training women in developing countries in business and management. Most significantly the firm’s workers are known for their loyalty to the banking giant.
Despite its prestige and undoubted success, Goldman Sachs has come under intense scrutiny, over the last two years. As of December 2009, the company employed 32,500 people worldwide. In 2006 it was reported the average compensation per employee was US$622,000, the chief executive Lloyd C Blankfein earned a $67.9 million bonus in 2009, little wonder it was fourth on the list out of 119 companies in ‘Best places to launch a career 2008’.
Goldman Sachs primarily operates in the US, were the banking industry is highly regulated with focused regulators. The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has resulted in a greater degree of regulation; however banks like Goldman Sachs have been able to abuse the less strident regulations and use their ‘culture of greed’, being nicknamed ‘Golden Sacks’. Less regulators equates to receiving less assessment and less time spent with each institution resulting in further problems e.g. the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers in September 2008.
These lax regulation laws have let Goldman Sachs enjoy a ‘culture of greed’, although they face external challenges to restrain payouts; they have resorted to internal changes in their business environment. The banking giant have been labelled ‘corporate thieves’ for languishing in enormous bonuses, last year 18 billion dollars went to the major executives via severance packages and other incentives including ‘group therapy sessions’ at top resorts across the US. This is becoming an increasingly addressed topic, for critics and politicians alike, Andrew Cuomo, New York Attorney General, argued why with the ongoing economic distress the banking giant paid 1556 employees bonuses of a least $1 million. The company has faced increased criticism, labelled the ‘Golden parachutes’. Many believe the insane cash payouts have been a direct cause of the global recession, due to the finance sectors lax laws on mega-bonuses. It is widely believed that Goldman Sachs are showing a blatant misuse of corporate assets, otherwise it is becoming more profitable to ruin the firm’s assets and ‘run with the money’.
Although the finance giant has stated it is showing a ‘restraint’ in awarding employees a 57 percent jump in their pay packages, it has been documented that in 2009 the average wage with bonuses came to £308,000 for their London based employees. All this has resulted in involvement form Barack Obama, warning: ‘I’ll fight this culture of greed’ as their ‘casino style’ payouts must be restrained. Britain is addressing these issues, with the organisations 5,500 London based staff getting reduce payouts than other counterparts in Manhattan. However the figures for 2008 and 09 suggest, regulation has not yet had effect with an average £308,000 to each employee. Goldman’s business environment is a culture of cash payouts, Obama stressed how, ‘People will think they are living in an Alice and wonderland world’.
In respect of the changes in regulation, management decided, along with banking giant Morgan Stanley to be nationalised. Sachs and Morgan Stanley in light of the changes in their business environment requested the conversion to bank holding companies. This is evidence that Goldman Sachs are addressing their ‘corporate thieves’ image as they have now become subject to much stricter regulation. Goldman Sachs has acted in light of intense financial scrutiny, having removed their strategic planning and positioning from the head of the banking titan. This represents a new era on Wall Street as ultimately the government are now in the ‘financial services driver’s seat’.
The increased regulation will have adverse impacts on Goldman Sachs stakeholder groups as their business environment has gone through radical change, largely becoming nationalised. With the seizure of Sachs and Morgan Stanley by financial regulators coupled with the changing economic climate means both banking titans will struggle to manage their interest rate in the face of rate competition, industry trends and economic fluctuations. It has become a challenge for the company to set their growth strategies, this challenge remains for all big banking corporations to continue to fight through the downturn and come up with sufficient dividend payments for shareholders. Goldman Sachs also face an aging ownership group, in its Manhattan branch and other counterparts elsewhere, the banks management teams and board of directors are aging, this is a problem made worse by their shareholders, both public and private demanding to pay their dividends.
Goldman Sachs’ mega-bonus culture has resulted in declining asset quality, this along with the lax attitude the company adopts towards regulation has resulted in cuts in some departments i.e. adequate employee training programs. Due to the company enjoying the years of ‘good times’, employees have and will be made redundant to ensure it can compete with its competitors on Wall Street and globally. This is imperative for Goldman Sachs as the banking industry has become ultra-competitive, credit card companies, insurance agencies, credit unions and check cashing services have increased the overall competition in the service sector, resulting in management requiring in re-writing strategies to remain at the fore-front, to preserve their dominance and market share.
The biggest effected stakeholder group by the nationalisation are the general public and customers coupled with the recession, it is becoming standard procedure for congress to ‘shift costs to the general public to assume the risks and losses’, even the customers of the bank. This has become even more apparent with the new rule of law that states, that with these bailouts every U.S. citizen, willingly or not is an investor in all banks. This present scenario has left the general public with a widespread feeling of despair, ‘suffering at the hands of what is nothing more than communism, pure and simple’. Millions of ordinary workers and Americans find themselves paying a heavy price for a recession widely blamed on the irresponsible actions of the banking industry.
The current situation has resulted in ethics now becoming more apparent than ever. The Guardian has stressed in a published report how, ‘Dramatic changes in the banking industry has turned it from a service to consumer financial vampire’, the global downturn and seizure of Goldman Sachs by regulators, has left many unanswered questions, none more so than any potential ethical issues which may arise in connection with the nationalisation. Goldman Sachs’ ethical procedures have been called on in the current climate, their hidden fees and ‘fiscal rape’ are evidence of the company being labelled unethical. Today’s banking laws and regulation allow an average customer an average rate of return of around 20 percent, however most financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs only offer a 3 percent return. The other 17 percent more than likely goes to bonuses, seven figure salaries or company assets; even though the general public are depended on to bail these banking giants out of crisis, despite the fact, the finance sector plunged the world into financial disarray to begin with. Unnecessary, unethical banking charges are becoming more highlighted, Goldman Sachs along with the majority of banks in America charge a fee for a bounced cheque, and are entitled to charge a customer to assess their entitlement despite the fact they could have the sufficient money available. Bouncing a cheque, using the ATM at another bank, paying bills online, in addition to monthly checking account fees and income from loans are now all standard charges, Goldman Sachs along with thousands of other organisations up and down the country, ‘has built a pretty thick and complex nest of income for itself’. Nowadays, bank income relies on transactions against their own customers; the almost widespread neglect regarding banking has let Goldman Sachs, ‘hold all the strings when it comes to our money’. The increased regulation and new practices on Wall Street and elsewhere has been described as ‘highway robbery’ with many of the general public been left to ponder, maybe the right question isn’t really, ‘What’s in your wallet?’ maybe it should be, ‘Who’s in your wallet?’.
In conclusion, with Goldman Sachs worldwide capital appeal and superior influence globally, the banking titan has enjoyed years of rewarding employees with lifetime sums of money for being in the ‘driver’s seat’ on Wall Street. However now that Barack Obama has tackled the healthcare system in America, he has made the banking industry his next frontier. The days of insane cash payouts appear to be coming to an end or at least a significant restraint to rescue the economy. The nationalisation process with Morgan Stanley represents a new era for banking and federal regulators are working to reduce the unacceptable culture that exists in this sector. Yet despite this radical change, not all stakeholder groups will be satisfied, shareholders will have to settle for reduced dividend payments, competitors will almost certainly acquire a greater market share and the general public/ customers are left having to pay inadequate charges and ‘bearing the brunt’ of the non-existent ethics that Goldman Sachs appear to lack.
(1,894 words)
References
The Guardian, 27 January, 2009 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245005/57-pay-rises-Goldman-Sachs-bank-claims-showed-restraint.html#ixzz0iwUJAFNU http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldman_Sachs http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/233209/dramatic_changes_in_the_banking_industry.html?cat http://www.thestreet.com/story/10438582/1/goldman-morgan-stanley-become-bank-holding-companies.html?puc=newshome http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/21/news/companies/goldman_morgan/index.htm http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2008/09/21/the-bank-of-goldman-sachs-and-morgan-stanley/?mod=rss_WSJBlog?mod=marketbeat
Bibliography
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Rock#Subprime_mortgage_crisis_and_nationalisation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Rock http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank#Bank_crisis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banks http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag31-33.htm
http://seekingalpha.com/article/95807-the-nationalization-of-aig

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