A few weeks ago, New York-based global investment bank, Goldman Sachs, began laying off employees in a massive cost-cutting drive focused heavily on the firm’s investment banking and global markets divisions.
Goldman’s Latest Job Cuts
Goldman Sachs is expected to lay off as many as 3,200 employees in the next few weeks across the global investment bank, with more than 30% of these cuts coming from the investment banking and global markets divisions.
These layoffs are driven by the extreme weakness seen in the both capital markets activity and global IPO business seen in 2022. According to the Dealogic, Global investment banking fees fell by almost 50% in 2022, to $77 billion down from U$132.3 billion a year earlier. Banks earned $517 billion worth of equity capital markets transactions by late December 2022, the lowest level since the early 2000s and a 66% drop from 2021’s record total.
Goldman’s latest round of job cuts is expected to be followed by a broader review of global bank’s corporate travel and expenses. In addition, annual bonus payments are expected to be slashed by close to 40%.
Last week, Goldman announced truly awful 4th Qtr financial results as fourth-quarter 2022 earnings fell 66% to $1.33 billion from the same period a year earlier. Goldman’s investment banking fees fell 48% to $1.87 billion while revenue in its asset and wealth management division fell 27% from a year earlier to $3.56 billion. In addition Goldman raised its loan-loss reserves to $972 million from $344 million a year earlier.
When David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs was asked what went wrong, he answered “We tried to do too much too quickly. I think we probably in some places haven’t had all the talent that we needed to execute the way we wanted.”
The layoffs at Goldman Sachs are part of similar employee reductions across the banking industry as the likelihood of a global recession in 2023 rises. At least 6,000 people are in the process of being laid off at other banks. In addition to the 3,200 from Goldman, Morgan Stanley has already cut about 2% of its workforce, or 1,600 people, while HSBC is planning to shed at least 200 staffers. Barclays announced they plan to cut its workforce in corporate and investment banking by under 3%. Citigroup also recently eliminated dozens of jobs across its investment banking division. Credit Suisse is also planning to accelerate its cost cuts as the bank tries to slashed its cost base by about Swiss francs 2.5 billion ($2.68 billion).
The large job cuts seen at Goldman Sachs and the other banks mentioned above have also impacted their investment research departments. The weakness in 2022 capital markets and IPO activity and concerns about a recession in 2023 have led some banks to reduce the number of research analysts and salespeople they employ. However, the reticence shown by many buy-side firms to boost payments to their external research providers over the past few years has also kept a lid on sell-side research staffing. We doubt this bearish jobs outlook will change anytime soon.