Commentary: Goldman has life after Maxwell

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The Independent Online
Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, is showing every sign of shrugging off the repercussions of the Maxwell affair in London, judging by early indications of the growth of its business this year. The bank is a partnership, and as such extremely tight-lipped about its figures. But sources close to the firm say revenues - or gross income - in London are well ahead of last year's record.

London has also kept up with the rapid growth of revenues in the US, where there has been a raft of new equity issues. This means London's share of worldwide revenue at Goldman has remained at about 25 per cent, the same as last year. 'This is not a sick puppy,' said a senior source at the bank. 'Virtually every one of our major clients has supported us.'

Of course, Goldman covers a lot of businesses in London, from bond trading to corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. One possible sign of disapproval has been detected in the markets - there is a suspicion that Goldman was snubbed in the Wellcome share issue because of its link with Maxwell, which could explain why it was conspicuously absent from the list of advisers.

On the other hand, Goldman's sharp drop from first to sixth place in the Acquisitions Monthly mid-year league table of cross-border European mergers and acquisitions does not, on closer inspection, appear to be Maxwell-related at all.

Three large deals pushed the normally unranked Societe Generale to the top of the list, while Goldman's role in at least two big European deals has so far been kept under wraps, but will no doubt be revealed in time for the full-year league tables. In any case, the Maxwell affair is not a preoccupation in Europe.

Much as Goldman's competitors in London would like to see its growth restrained it seems to be riding this one out rather well.