Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. On May 7, 1999, we converted from a partnership to a corporation and completed an initial public offering of our common stock. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (Group Inc.) is a bank holding company and a financial holding company regulated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) under the U.S. Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHC Act). Our depository institution subsidiary, Goldman Sachs Bank USA (GS Bank USA), is a New York State-chartered bank.
Our activities are divided into three segments: (i) Investment Banking, (ii) Trading and Principal Investments and (iii) Asset Management and Securities Services.
All references to 2009, 2008 and 2007 refer to our fiscal years ended, or the dates, as the context requires, December 31, 2009, November 28, 2008 and November 30, 2007, respectively. When we use the terms “Goldman Sachs,” “the firm,” “we,” “us” and “our,” we mean Group Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its consolidated subsidiaries. References herein to this Annual Report on Form 10-K are to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009.
In connection with becoming a bank holding company, the firm was required to change its fiscal year-end from November to December. This change in the firm’s fiscal year-end resulted in a one-month transition period that began on November 29, 2008 and ended on December 26, 2008. Financial information for this fiscal transition period is included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In April 2009, the Board of Directors of Group Inc. approved a change in the firm’s fiscal year-end from the last Friday of December to December 31. Fiscal 2009 began on December 27, 2008 and ended on December 31, 2009.
Investment Banking represented 11% of 2009 net revenues. We provide a broad range of investment banking services to a diverse group of corporations, financial institutions, investment funds, governments and individuals and seek to develop and maintain long-term relationships with these clients as their lead investment bank.
Our current structure, which is organized by regional, industry and product groups, seeks to combine client-focused investment bankers with execution and industry expertise. We continually assess and adapt our organization to meet the demands of our clients in each geographic region. Through our commitment to teamwork, we believe that we provide services in an integrated fashion for the benefit of our clients.
Our goal is to make available to our clients the entire resources of the firm in a seamless fashion, with investment banking serving as “front of the house.” To accomplish this objective, we focus on coordination among our equity and debt underwriting activities and our corporate risk and liability management activities. This coordination is intended to assist our investment banking clients in managing their asset and liability exposures and their capital.
Our Investment Banking segment is divided into two components: Financial Advisory and Underwriting.
Financial Advisory includes advisory assignments with respect to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate defense activities, restructurings and spin-offs. Our mergers and acquisitions capabilities are evidenced by our significant share of assignments in large, complex transactions for which we provide multiple services, including “one-stop” acquisition financing and cross-border structuring expertise, as well as services in other areas of the firm, such as interest rate and currency hedging. In particular, a significant number of the loan commitments and bank and bridge loan facilities that we enter into arise in connection with our advisory assignments.
Underwriting includes public offerings and private placements of a wide range of securities and other financial instruments, including common and preferred stock, convertible and exchangeable securities, investment-grade debt, high-yield debt, sovereign and emerging market debt, municipal debt, bank loans, asset-backed securities and real estate-related securities, such as mortgage-related securities and the securities of real estate investment trusts.
Equity Underwriting. Equity underwriting has been a long-term core strength of Goldman Sachs. As with mergers and acquisitions, we have been particularly successful in winning mandates for large, complex transactions. We believe our leadership in worldwide initial public offerings and worldwide public common stock offerings reflects our expertise in complex transactions, prior experience and distribution capabilities.
Debt Underwriting. We engage in the underwriting and origination of various types of debt instruments, including investment-grade debt securities, high-yield debt securities, bank and bridge loans and emerging market debt securities, which may be issued by, among others, corporate, sovereign and agency issuers. In addition, we underwrite and originate structured securities, which include mortgage-related securities and other asset-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
Trading and Principal Investments
Trading and Principal Investments represented 76% of 2009 net revenues. Trading and Principal Investments facilitates client transactions with a diverse group of corporations, financial institutions, investment funds, governments and individuals through market making in, trading of and investing in fixed income and equity products, currencies, commodities and derivatives on these products. We also take proprietary positions on certain of these products. In addition, we engage in market-making activities on equities and options exchanges, and we clear client transactions on major stock, options and futures exchanges worldwide. In connection with our merchant banking and other investing activities, we make principal investments directly and through funds that we raise and manage.
To meet the needs of our clients, Trading and Principal Investments is diversified across a wide range of products. We believe our willingness and ability to take risk to facilitate client transactions distinguishes us from many of our competitors and substantially enhances our client relationships.
Our Trading and Principal Investments segment is divided into three components: Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities; Equities; and Principal Investments.
Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities and Equities
Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) and Equities are large and diversified operations through which we assist clients with their investing and trading strategies and also engage in proprietary trading and investing activities.
In our client-driven businesses, FICC and Equities strive to deliver high-quality service by offering broad market-making and market knowledge to our clients on a global basis. In addition, we use our expertise to take positions in markets, by committing capital and taking risk, to facilitate client transactions and to provide liquidity. Our willingness to make markets, commit capital and take risk in a broad range of fixed income, currency, commodity and equity products and their derivatives is crucial to our client relationships and to support our underwriting business by providing secondary market liquidity.
We generate trading net revenues from our client-driven businesses in three ways:
• First, in large, highly liquid markets, we undertake a high volume of transactions for modest spreads and fees.
• Second, by capitalizing on our strong relationships and capital position, we undertake transactions in less liquid markets where spreads and fees are generally larger.
• Finally, we structure and execute transactions that address complex client needs.
Our FICC and Equities businesses operate in close coordination to provide clients with services and cross-market knowledge and expertise.
In our proprietary activities in both FICC and Equities, we assume a variety of risks and devote resources to identify, analyze and benefit from these exposures. We capitalize on our analytical models to analyze information and make informed trading judgments, and we seek to benefit from perceived disparities in the value of assets in the trading markets and from macroeconomic and issuer-specific trends.
We make markets in and trade interest rate and credit products, mortgage-related securities and loan products and other asset-backed instruments, currencies and commodities, structure and enter into a wide variety of derivative transactions, and engage in proprietary trading and investing. FICC has five principal businesses: commodities; credit products; currencies; interest rate products, including money market instruments; and mortgage-related securities and loan products and other asset-backed instruments.
Commodities. We make markets in and trade a wide variety of commodities, commodity derivatives and interests in commodity-related assets, including oil and oil products, metals, natural gas and electricity, coal and agricultural products. As part of our commodities business, we acquire and dispose of interests in, and engage in the development and operation of, electric power generation facilities and related activities.
Credit Products. We make markets in and trade a broad array of credit and credit-linked products all over the world, including credit derivatives, investment-grade corporate securities, high-yield securities, bank and secured loans (origination and trading), municipal securities, and emerging market and distressed debt. For example, we enter, as principal, into complex structured transactions designed to meet client needs.
In addition, we provide credit through bridge and other loan facilities to a broad range of clients. Commitments that are extended for contingent acquisition financing are often intended to be short-term in nature, as borrowers often seek to replace them with other funding sources. As part of our ongoing credit origination activities, we may seek to reduce our credit risk on commitments by syndicating all or substantial portions of commitments to other investors or, upon funding, by securitizing the positions through investment vehicles sold to other investors. Underwriting fees from syndications of these commitments are recorded in debt underwriting in our Investment Banking segment. However, to the extent that we recognize losses on these commitments, such losses are recorded within our Trading and Principal Investments segment, net of any related underwriting fees. See Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information on our commitments.
Our credit products business includes making significant long-term and short-term investments for our own account (sometimes investing together with our merchant banking funds) in a broad array of asset classes (including distressed debt) globally. We opportunistically invest in debt and equity securities and secured loans, and in private equity, real estate and other assets.
Currencies. We act as a dealer in foreign exchange and trade in most currencies on exchanges and in cash and derivative markets globally.
Interest Rate Products. We make markets in and trade a variety of interest rate products, including interest rate swaps, options and other derivatives, and government bonds, as well as money market instruments, such as commercial paper, treasury bills, repurchase agreements and other highly liquid securities and instruments. This business includes our matched book, which consists of short-term collateralized financing transactions.
Mortgage Business. We make markets in and trade commercial and residential mortgage-related securities and loan products and other asset-backed and derivative instruments. We acquire positions in these products for trading purposes as well as for securitization or syndication. We also originate and service commercial and residential mortgages.
We make markets in and trade equities and equity-related products, structure and enter into equity derivative transactions, and engage in proprietary trading. We generate commissions from executing and clearing client transactions on major stock, options and futures exchanges worldwide through our Equities client franchise and clearing activities.
Equities includes two principal businesses: our client franchise business and principal strategies. We also engage in exchange-based market-making activities and in insurance activities.
Client Franchise Business. Our client franchise business includes primarily client-driven activities in the shares, equity derivatives and convertible securities markets. These activities also include clearing client transactions on major stock, options and futures exchanges worldwide, as well as our exchange-based options market-making business. Our client franchise business increasingly involves providing our clients with access to electronic “low-touch” equity trading platforms, and electronic trades account for the majority of our client trading activity in this business. However, a majority of our net revenues in this business continues to be derived from our traditional “high-touch” handling of more complex trades. We expect both types of trading activities to remain important components of our client franchise business.
We trade equity securities and equity-related products, including convertible securities, options, futures and over-the-counter (OTC) derivative instruments, on a global basis as an agent, as a market maker or otherwise as a principal. As a principal, we facilitate client transactions, often by committing capital and taking risk, to provide liquidity to clients with large blocks of stocks or options. For example, we are active in the execution of large block trades. We also execute transactions as agent and offer clients direct electronic access to trading markets.
Our derivatives business structures and executes derivatives on indices, industry groups, financial measures and individual company stocks. We develop strategies and provide information with respect to portfolio hedging and restructuring and asset allocation transactions. We also work with our clients to create specially tailored instruments to enable sophisticated investors to undertake hedging strategies and to establish or liquidate investment positions. We are one of the leading participants in the trading and development of equity derivative instruments. In listed options, we are registered as a primary or lead market maker or otherwise make markets on the International Securities Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, NYSE Arca, the Boston Options Exchange, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and NYSE Alternext US. In futures and options on futures, we are market makers on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.
Principal Strategies. Our principal strategies business is a multi-strategy investment business that invests and trades our capital across global public markets. Investment strategies include fundamental equities and relative value trading (which involves trading strategies designed to take advantage of perceived discrepancies in the relative value of financial instruments, including equity, equity-related and debt instruments), event-driven investments (which focus on event-oriented special situations such as corporate restructurings, bankruptcies, recapitalizations, mergers and acquisitions, and legal and regulatory events), convertible bond trading and various types of volatility trading.
Exchange-Based Market-Making Activities. Our exchange-based market-making business consists of our stock and exchange-traded funds (ETF) market-making activities. In the United States, we are one of the leading Designated Market Makers for stocks traded on the NYSE. For ETFs, we are registered market makers on NYSE Arca.
Insurance Activities. We engage in a range of insurance and reinsurance businesses, including buying, originating and/or reinsuring fixed and variable annuity and life insurance contracts, reinsuring property catastrophe and residential homeowner risks and providing power interruption coverage to power generating facilities.
Principal Investments primarily includes net revenues from three sources: returns on corporate and real estate investments; overrides on corporate and real estate investments made by merchant banking funds that we manage; and our investment in the ordinary shares of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC).
Returns on Corporate and Real Estate Investments. As of December 2009, the aggregate carrying value of our principal investments held directly or through our merchant banking funds, excluding our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC and our investment in the convertible preferred stock of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (SMFG), was $13.98 billion, comprised of corporate principal investments with an aggregate carrying value of $12.60 billion and real estate investments with an aggregate carrying value of $1.38 billion. In addition, as of December 2009, we had outstanding unfunded equity capital commitments of up to $12.27 billion, comprised of corporate principal investment commitments of $9.82 billion and real estate investment commitments of $2.45 billion.
Overrides. Consists of the increased share of the income and gains derived from our merchant banking funds when the return on a fund’s investments over the life of the fund exceeds certain threshold returns (typically referred to as an override). Overrides are recognized in net revenues when all material contingencies have been resolved.
ICBC. Our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC is valued using the quoted market price adjusted for transfer restrictions. Under the original transfer restrictions, the ICBC shares we held would have become free from transfer restrictions in equal installments on April 28, 2009 and October 20, 2009. During the quarter ended March 2009, the shares became subject to new supplemental transfer restrictions. Under these new supplemental transfer restrictions, on April 28, 2009, 20% of the ICBC shares that we held became free from transfer restrictions and we completed the disposition of these shares during the second quarter of 2009. Our remaining ICBC shares are subject to transfer restrictions, which prohibit liquidation at any time prior to April 28, 2010. As of December 2009, the fair value of our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC was $8.11 billion, of which $5.13 billion is held by investment funds managed by Goldman Sachs. For further information regarding our investment in the ordinary shares of ICBC, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Policies — Fair Value — Cash Instruments” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Asset Management and Securities Services
Asset Management and Securities Services represented 13% of 2009 net revenues. Our asset management business provides investment and wealth advisory services and offers investment products (primarily through separately managed accounts and commingled vehicles) across all major asset classes to a diverse group of institutions and individuals worldwide. Asset Management primarily generates revenues in the form of management and incentive fees. Securities Services provides prime brokerage services, financing services and securities lending services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds and foundations, and to high-net-worth individuals worldwide, and generates revenues primarily in the form of interest rate spreads or fees.
Our Asset Management and Securities Services segment is divided into two components: Asset Management and Securities Services.
Asset Management primarily consists of two related businesses — Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) and Private Wealth Management (PWM) — through which we offer a broad array of investment strategies and wealth advisory services to a diverse group of clients worldwide. In addition, Asset Management includes management fees related to our merchant banking activities.
GSAM. GSAM provides asset management services and offers investment products (primarily through separately managed accounts and commingled vehicles, such as mutual funds and private investment funds) across all major asset classes: money markets, fixed income, equities and alternative investments (including hedge funds, private equity, real estate, currencies, commodities and asset allocation strategies). GSAM distributes investment products directly to the firm’s institutional clients, including pension funds, governmental organizations, corporations, insurance
companies, banks, foundations and endowments, and indirectly to institutional and individual clients through third-party distribution channels, including brokerage firms, banks, insurance companies and other financial intermediaries. In addition, our Global Portfolio Solutions team offers clients investment and advisory services extending to risk management, portfolio implementation, reporting and monitoring.
PWM. PWM provides investment and wealth advisory services globally to high-net-worth individuals, family offices and selected institutions (principally foundations and endowments).
Management of Merchant Banking Funds. Goldman Sachs sponsors numerous corporate and real estate private investment funds. As of December 2009, the amount of Assets under management (AUM) in these funds (including both funded amounts and unfunded commitments on which we earn fees) was $93 billion.
Our strategy with respect to these funds generally is to invest opportunistically to build a portfolio of investments that is diversified by industry, product type, geographic region, and transaction structure and type. Our corporate investment funds pursue, on a global basis, long-term investments in equity and debt securities in privately negotiated transactions, leveraged buyouts, acquisitions and investments in funds managed by external parties. Our real estate investment funds invest in real estate operating companies, debt and equity interests in real estate assets, and other real estate-related investments. In addition, our merchant banking funds include funds that invest in infrastructure and infrastructure-related assets and companies on a global basis.
Merchant banking activities generate three primary revenue streams. First, we receive a management fee that is generally a percentage of a fund’s committed capital, invested capital, total gross acquisition cost or asset value. These annual management fees are included in our Asset Management net revenues. Second, Goldman Sachs, as a substantial investor in some of these funds, is allocated its proportionate share of the funds’ unrealized appreciation or depreciation arising from changes in fair value as well as gains and losses upon realization. Third, after a fund has achieved a minimum return for fund investors, we receive an increased share of the fund’s income and gains that is a percentage of the income and gains from the fund’s investments. The second and third of these revenue streams are included in Principal Investments within our Trading and Principal Investments segment.
Securities Services provides prime brokerage services, financing services and securities lending services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds and foundations, and to high-net-worth individuals worldwide.
Prime brokerage services. We offer prime brokerage services to our clients, allowing them the flexibility to trade with most brokers while maintaining a single source for financing and consolidated portfolio reports. Our prime brokerage business provides clearing and custody in 53 markets globally and provides consolidated multi-currency accounting and reporting, fund administration and other ancillary services.
Financing services. A central element of our prime brokerage business involves providing financing to our clients for their securities trading activities through margin and securities loans that are collateralized by securities, cash or other acceptable collateral.
Securities lending services. Securities lending services principally involve the borrowing and lending of securities to cover clients’ and Goldman Sachs’ short sales and otherwise to make deliveries into the market. In addition, we are an active participant in the broker-to-broker securities lending business and the third-party agency lending business. As a general matter, net revenues in securities lending services in our second quarter are higher due to seasonally higher activity levels in Europe.
Global Investment Research
Global Investment Research provides fundamental research on companies, industries, economies, currencies and commodities and macro strategy research on a worldwide basis.
Global Investment Research employs a team approach that as of December 2009 provided research coverage of more than 3,000 companies worldwide and over 45 national economies. This is accomplished by the following departments:
• The Equity Research Departments provide fundamental analysis, earnings forecasts and investment opinions for equity securities;
• The Credit Research Department provides fundamental analysis, forecasts and investment opinions as to investment-grade and high-yield corporate bonds and credit derivatives; and
• The Global ECS Department formulates macroeconomic forecasts for economic activity, foreign exchange and interest rates, provides research on the commodity markets, and provides equity market forecasts, opinions on both asset and industry sector allocation, equity trading strategies, credit trading strategies and options research.
Business Continuity and Information Security
Business continuity and information security are high priorities for Goldman Sachs. Our Business Continuity Program has been developed to provide reasonable assurance of business continuity in the event of disruptions at the firm’s critical facilities and to comply with the regulatory requirements of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Because we are a bank holding company, our Business Continuity Program is also subject to review by the Federal Reserve Board. The key elements of the program are crisis management, people recovery facilities, business recovery, systems and data recovery, and process improvement. In the area of information security, we have developed and implemented a framework of principles, policies and technology to protect the information assets of the firm and our clients. Safeguards are applied to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information resources.
As of December 2009, we had 32,500 total staff, excluding staff at consolidated entities held for investment purposes. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Results of Operations — Operating Expenses” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information on our consolidated entities held for investment purposes.